•sets up border surveillance posts
• sets up Local Government Monitoring Teams
•Bans Public Burials and Weddings
•directs religious bodies to temporarily stop open worship
In furtherance of the commitment of the Rivers State Government to protect residents of the state, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike on Monday announced that beginning Tuesday, March 24, 2020, all public parks, night clubs and cinemas will remain closed till further notice.
In a State Broadcast on Monday, Governor Wike directed religious groups to temporarily stop all forms of open worship.
He said: “with effect from the same date(Tuesday, March 24, 2020), all public parks, night clubs and cinemas in the State are to remain closed till further notice.
“Similarly, after due consultations with religious leaders, it was agreed that all religious organisations are to temporarily stop all forms of open worship . Public burial and wedding ceremonies are also banned within this period.
“In view of the fact that the disease spreads fast through body contact, social distance has become imperative if we are to contain the spread.
“May I, therefore call on all Religious Leaders, Traditional Rulers and Opinion Leaders in the State to assist government to implement these decisions by ensuring that persons under their care do not fall foul of this directive. “
Governor Wike directed Local Government Council Chairmen to ensure that public burials and weddings do not take place in their respective areas.
He said: “May I emphasise that Local Government Chairmen are to be held responsible if public burials and weddings take place in their Local Government Areas.
“Government will set up monitoring teams for the 23 Local Government Areas to ensure compliance. Defaulters will be seen as enemies of the State and will be made to face appropriate sanctions.
“My Dear Good People of Rivers State, the essence of governance is to protect lives and we cannot be indifferent when this COVID-19 continues to claim lives world-wide.
“We urge everyone to remain calm and maintain social distance. We shall continue to review the situation and adjust accordingly.
“Like I said in my Broadcast last Friday, these decisions may seem painful for all of us but there is no price that is too much to pay for us to stay alive. “
The Rivers State Governor stated with effect from Tuesday, March 24, 2020, surveillance posts will be set up across the state.
“The Rivers State Government having reviewed current developments across the country is desirous to further strengthen prevention measures across the State to keep our citizens safe.
“To this end, with effect from tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24, 2020 , Surveillance Posts are to be set up at the following Borders of the State:
(1) Emohua for motorists coming from Bayelsa and States
(2) Omerelu for motorists coming from Owerri
(3) Okehi for motorists coming from Imo State through Etche
(4) Akwuzie in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area for motorists coming from Imo State
(5)Oyigbo Toll Gate for motorists coming from Aba and
(6)Opoku in Khana Local Government Area for motorists coming from Akwa Ibom State.
“Marine entry points: Port Harcourt and Onne Ports , Nembe, Bille,Bonny and NLNG Jetties are also going to be under surveillance. Each of the Surveillance Posts shall be manned by trained health and security personnel who will ensure that motorists and seafarers are tested before they are allowed to enter the State.
“All motorists and seafarers are please enjoined to cooperate with the Surveillance teams as they have been empowered to legitimately enforce this directive,” Governor Wike said.
The Governor added: “I use this medium to call on citizens to minimise family visits . Rather , everyone should maintain contacts through the use of telephones. “
COVID19: Lagos govt confirms 119th case as national total reaches 224
Six new cases confirmed by the Lagos State Government on Sunday has raised the number of Coronavirus infections in the state to 119.
The Commissioner of Health in the state, Akin Abayomi disclosed on his verified Twitter handle that that 24 patients have so far been discharged, following their recovery from the disease.
In a series of tweets, the commissioner wrote: “Update as at 11.20a.m, 5th April, 2020. Six cases of COVID-19 confirmed, bringing total confirmed cases to 119.
“A COVID-19 patient was discharged on 4th April, 2020. The numbers of COVID-19 patients who have fully recovered and discharged are now 24.”
Recall that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had confirmed ten new cases of coronavirus on Sunday.
The new cases were recorded in Lagos, Abuja and Edo thereby bringing the total number to 224.
COVID19: TJ&GP urges Govt to target vulnerable groups with palliative measures, improve on accountability
Tax Justice and Governance Platform, a not-for-profit network facilitating universal fair tax justice and good governance in Nigeria has called on governments and stakeholders involved in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to “pay serious attention and take actions that will directly impact the wellbeing and aspirations of vulnerable, marginalized, excluded and under-served members of our communities.”
“Following the Coronavirus pandemic, the Central Bank of Nigeria earmarked N100billion to enable the country prepare for the worst. Before now, the Lagos State government had requested for financial support to combat and contain the spread of the virus in Lagos, following similar requests by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The President has already approved the sum of N10 billion which was released within two days of the request to the Lagos State government and N5billion to the NCDC respectively. In the same vein, philanthropists, artists and development agencies are set to support the fight in the country, to ensure that these funds are accounted for and used judiciously”, the statement added.
The group in the release sent to FR News said: “ we would appreciate measures that directly target the poor, people living with disabilities, informal sector, unemployed, underemployed, small businesses and start-ups, especially legitimate taxpayers.”
The statement continued thus:
The network is calling on the government to improve on its accountability measures to the citizens, to monitor, drive conversation to spark actions and advocate for a transparent and
inclusive approach of concerned stakeholders and private sector groups and individuals to make public all funds released for the fight against COVID-19 and its implementation plans. Government will therefore be expected to provide all these details in the public domain using available technological tools and media platform.
Instructively, after due consultations with our members, partners, stakeholders and the public, we make the following suggestions in the interest of Nigerians as our contribution to stemming the tide of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria and alleviating the sufferings of the people.
Our suggestions are as follows:
1. Governments at all levels should increase accountability and transparency measures in its COVID-19 Intervention funds utilization.
2. Put in place monitoring mechanisms towards ensuring that funds meant for the Covid-19 intervention are accounted for and used judiciously.
3. Promote equal and improved health care interventions for all victims of COVID-19.
4. Improved space for citizen’s participation in the intervention in demanding for transparency and accountability in the health sector towards reducing inequality experienced in that sector.
5. Improved response of Government at all levels towards equitable distribution of relief materials to citizens especially at rural and semi-urban households.
6. The inclusion of civil society actors in the various COVID-19 task forces across board to strengthen transparency, accountability and diversity in the process.
7. The decentralization of the task forces to meet geopolitical needs and deal with specific challenges.
8. The issuance of a circular from the FIRS/JTB to officially extend the date of returns and waive all penalties on late filing of VAT, PIT/PAYE, WHT, CIT and CGT.
9. The suspension of all consumption taxes by the JTB in conjunction with state governments and compliance by collecting agents, accordingly.
10. Stipulation of a specific timeline for the commencement of the palliative measures as “in the coming weeks” is not good enough and will not allow for effective monitoring and measuring of impact.
11. Provision of more proactive, practical and measurable steps or actions using data and info graphics to communicate to the people at both the national and subnational levels.
12. The downward review of VAT or a suspension of its implementation to reflect present realities, especially for small businesses.
13. Granting of tax holidays to the vulnerable and downward review of all taxes to reflect present realities as seen in other progressive climes.
14. Government is encouraged to consider paying stipends to workers, registered small businesses and individuals with valid accounts for this period.
15. The Nigeria people are more than ever encouraged to support efforts by governments at all levels to mitigate this unfortunate situation by complying with directives and staying at home as long as it is, necessary.
16. Subnational governments should sincerely put precautionary measures in place in the event the pandemic finds its way to their states.
Conclusively, no time can be better than now to demonstrate solidarity, charity and empathy in society as we struggle together to overcome this scourge.