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Travellers Must Bear Full Costs Of COVID – 19 Tests – Sani Aliyu

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images 26 Travellers Must Bear Full Costs Of COVID - 19 Tests - Sani Aliyu

The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID- 19, Dr Sani Aliyu, has said the country cannot afford to conduct free COVID- 19 tests for passengers arriving into Nigeria.
Aliyu, who made this statement on Saturday during a webinar organised by the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission , Abike Dabiri-Erewa, explained that the country would run out of test kits if it chooses to test the 5, 000 to 7,000 persons who come into the country daily .
For this reason, he said , travellers must pay for the full cost of COVID- 19 testing.
The coordinator explained that the kits were expensive and testing everyone was not sustainable .
He said , “ The main reason why we can ’t test people is due to the number of passengers we get into Nigeria. It is nothing compared to Ghana or other countries. We get between 5, 000 and 7 ,000 passengers when we fully open the airport every day. There is a slightly smaller number that goes out.
“ At the moment, we have done just half a million tests . The tests are very expensive as we all know. PCR tests are very expensive in Nigeria and even in developing countries. At any point in time, we have 300, 000- 400, 000 test kits available . The majority of these test kits are donated by our donors . We have some we have bought . We are in the process of buying about another half a million or so.”
He added, “ If we were to take up the travel testing, we will run out of test kits in no time, believe me. We will be tripling the number of tests every day and it is not sustainable . Even in developed countries, like the United Kingdom for instance, yes you do testing and it is free under the National Health Service but it is not for travel purposes .
“ The moment you say travel , they would ask you to go private . We have had colleagues that had paid £ 250 for a test in the UK before coming from the private sector . We are trying as much as possible to push the cost of PCR down for the private laboratories but one of the things we have said is that they will not be allowed to double- dip.
“ They will not serve the public sector and private sector . They have to do it only within the travel sector side and the more laboratories we have coming onto the portal , the easier it will push down the cost . I am very sure the cost will come down. ”
The PTF Coordinator listed Lagos as the only one charging N50, 000, noting that others were charging between N 36, 000 and N 39,000 for testing .

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President Buhari’s Speech At The Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem

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images 2020 10 28T181408.503 President Buhari's Speech At The Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem


I am indeed happy to welcome everyone here to the formal launch of the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem and Appeal Fund.
Today, we are gathered here to first remember and commend the sacrifices of our fallen heroes and veterans of the First and Second World Wars, the Nigerian Civil War and Peace Support Operations around the world.
We also seize this opportunity to pay tributes to those men and women currently engaged in Internal Security Operations, particularly the ongoing fight against insurgency, terrorism and armed banditry in some parts of the country.
Despite the global Coronavirus Pandemic, these gallant officers and soldiers have remained steadfast in the difficult task of restoring peace and security in our nation.
We honour the memory of our gallant officers and men who have paid the supreme sacrifice in order to keep the country united as one entity. The nation remains grateful for the efforts and sacrifice of the Armed Forces especially in the fight against insurgency and other internal security challenges confronting Nigeria.
The Armed Forces Remembrance Day or Veterans Day as it is known in some parts of the world is an important event observed in commemoration of the end of the Second World War.
In Commonwealth member countries, the Remembrance Day is observed on 11th November yearly. However, for us the date was changed to 15th January annually to accommodate the commemoration of the end of the Nigerian Civil War.
Therefore, the occasion reminds us of the need to guard jealously the unity of the nation which was won at great cost.
It also serves as a reminder for our citizens to desist from divisive actions and comments that could jeopardize the unity and progress of the nation.
Nigeria’s strength lies in her diversity.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our dear nation has witnessed numerous security challenges since independence. These security threats have undermined Nigeria in the areas of trade, investment and economy, education, health as well as agriculture and frequently denied Nigerians the freedom of movement.
I am however pleased to state that a lot has been achieved in the Internal Security operations in the North West and North Central zones where in addition to Operations LAFIYA DOLE, HADARIN DAJI, HARBIN KUNAMA, WHIRL STROKE, other operations such as ACCORD, SAHEL SANITY and KATSINA were successfully launched.
This has led to the return of normalcy in some of the affected areas.
However, all hands must be on deck to check attacks on soft targets. On our part, we will continue to forge useful alliances with neighbours and friends in the international community for the total defeat of the security threats affecting the sub-region.
Our Administration will also ensure the timely provision of adequate resources and necessary logistics support for the Armed Forces to operate with the best and modern warfare equipment, while at the same time addressing the issues of their welfare.
We are quite aware that it is our responsibility to provide a conducive environment that is devoid of security threats. I want to re-assure Nigerians that security being one of the pillars of this administration will continue to be at the forefront until peace and security are restored in the country.
We will create an environment in which Nigerians and foreigners are guaranteed freedom and returns on investments.
On this note I urge business enterprises to render discounts and rebates to our men and women in uniform as a symbol of appreciation for their sacrifices. This kind gesture will make life easier for them and deepen their patriotism.
The unfortunate cost of the fight against insurgency and other internal security challenges, is the unavoidable loss of lives of some of our officers and men of the Armed Forces.
The reality is that the spouses and defendants of these bread-winners in most cases experience trauma and deprivation. However, we can be of support to them to lighten their burdens especially in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
I therefore call on all to spare a thought for them and take positive steps to come to their aid.
Let me use this medium to commend charity organizations involved in this cause of bringing succor to the families of our fallen heroes and veterans.
I will like to also call on more organizations that are yet to participate in this cause to please come forward and do your duty.
To ensure that our veterans continue to share the comradeship that existed while in Service and that their welfare is adequately catered for, the Federal Government established the Nigerian Legion AS WELL AS FULLY PAID ALL PENSION ARREARS OF VETERANS.
I am delighted to note that the Legion has continued to be a rallying point of veterans and has done a lot in catering for the welfare of their ailing members.
It is in this spirit, that I urge Nigerians to support and participate in the Legion’s initiatives in the areas of transportation, agriculture and housing development.
On my part as the Grand Patron, I wish to pledge my continued support and that of the Federal Government to the Nigerian Legion. I want to also urge state Governors who are patrons in their respective States to continue to support the Legion.
Similarly, government agencies at the Federal and State Levels are encouraged to continue patronizing the services of the Nigerian Legion Corps of Commissionaires in the provision of security services. The potentials of our ex-servicemen are enormous and we can indeed leverage on them for national development.
As I launch the emblem shortly, I wish to call on all Nigerians and others residents in Nigeria to procure and wear the emblems with pride in order to identify with those who laid down their lives for the peace and security of our fatherland.
I encourage all to donate generously in support of our veterans and dependents of our fallen heroes.
Esteemed veterans, ladies and gentlemen, it is now my honour and privilege to launch the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem and Appeal Fund.
Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Okonjo – Iweala Emerges World Trade Organisation ‘ s Director General

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images 2020 10 28T153155.293 Okonjo - Iweala Emerges World Trade Organisation ' s Director General

Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonji-Iweala has emerged the new Director General of the World Trade Organisation.
According to sources from the European Union, she emerged victorious in the contest over her South Korean rival Ms Yoo Myung-hee, by a wide margin.
Okonjo-Iweala’s victory is expected to be announced formally by the WTO later today.
Details later

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FG Rejects Proposal To Repair Ports’ Scanners With N753m

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images 2020 10 28T122225.058 FG Rejects Proposal To Repair Ports’ Scanners With N753m

There is an indication that the five faulty scanners at the Apapa ports have been abandoned as the Federal Government rejects proposal to repair them at a cost of N753 million.
This development, Vanguard Maritime Report learnt, comes at the backdrop of the move by the government to acquire 300 new scanners at the cost of N688.6 billion as recently approved by the Federal Executive Council, FEC.
Consequently, the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, NCMDLCA, have petitioned President Muhammudu Buhari over the decision.
The petition signed by NCMDLCA president, Lucky Amewiro, disclosed that three main level of improvement for the five scanning equipments were given to government, which are upgrading, updating and enhancement.
The petition said Smith Detection Consultants recommended updating which was the vital refurbishments necessary to return the system to “as delivered” state. Amewiro gave the breakdown of the estimated cost for the refurbishments as follows: the one in Apapa port (Euro- E76,152,00), mobile scanners at Idiroko Border (Euro- E200,052,00), fixed scanners at Seme Border (Euro- E326,518.00), mobile scanners in Warri port (Euro- E663,645.00) and mobile scanners at Apapa port (Euro- E407,123.00).
According to the petition, Smith Detection the manufacturers of the scanners, were mandated to re-evaluate the scanners to know the present state, look into the main cause of the collapse and if possible work out a Public Private Partnership, PPP, arrangement to maintain them.
The petition, therefore, called on the federal government not to waste scare resource in the acquisition of new scanners. They ask the government to conduct a fresh audit of the scanners with a view of determining their condition.
It stated: “The Council called for the re-evaluation of the scanners to know the present state and update the scanners as recommended by Smith Detection, the Manufacturers. “Look into the main cause the collapsed scanners and if possible work out a Public Private Partnership arrangement to maintain the scanners. ”Alternatively, the federal government should release part of the one per cent FOB for maintenance and repairs of the scanners.”

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