Over the past year, Nigerians, on the average, consistently paid less for premium motor spirit (petrol), kerosene, diesel and cooking gas; according to a series of reports published yesterday by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The average amount paid by Nigerian consumers for petrol per litre, for instance, decreased to ₦148.1 in June down from ₦150.2 paid in May. This indicates a 1.4% decrease month-on-month. Similarly, the average price for the commodity fell by 1.5% year-on-year according to the report.
But despite the relative decline in average price, some states still paid more for petrol than others. These states include Borno, Kebbi and Sokoto States, where residents paid ₦162.17, ₦158.24 and ₦154.20, respectively, each time they purchased a litre of petrol. Unlike the above-named, Abuja (FCT), Lagos and Oyo States are some of the places where the price for PMS was the cheapest.
Similarly, the average price for diesel (which is also known as automotive gas oil) fell by 2.59% year-on-year, 0.34% month-on-month. Consumers paid ₦204.97 per litre of diesel in June, as against ₦205.67 in May 2018.
As always, some states paid more per litre of diesel than others, including Gombe (₦288.02), Taraba (₦255.12) and Kebbi (₦227.50). On the other hand, Abuja, Adamawa and Nasarawa States all recorded the least average prices of ₦185.03, ₦180 and ₦175.41; respectively.
Moving on, the average price for kerosene also fell 2.64% year-on-year, and 0.22% month-on-month, with consumers paying ₦279.67 per litre in June as against ₦280.29 in May.
The report states the following:
“States with the highest average price per litre of kerosene were Abuja (₦319.44), Yobe (₦309.52) and Enugu (₦309.17). States with the lowest average price per litre of kerosene were Kogi (₦243.52), Borno (₦235.01) and Abia (₦226.67).” – NBS
Lastly, Nigerians paid less every time they refilled either a 5kg or a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas. For one, the average sums paid by most Nigerians to refill both the 5kg and 12.5kg cylinders of cooking gas fell -8.1% and -4.38% year-on-year, respectively. In the same vein, the average price fell -1.80% and -0.46% month-on-month, even as most consumers spent ₦2,034.93 and ₦4,278.95 (respectively) to refill both the 5kg and the 12.5kg cylinders in June; against ₦2,072.24 and ₦4,298.72 in May.
While some states like Kaduna, Ebonyi, and Ogun spent less on gas over the period under consideration, others such as Bauchi, Borno and Benue spent more.
5th evacuation flight for Nigerians in the US scheduled for July 31; see details
The evacuees are to forward the details of tickets and contact addresses of their next of kin.
The Federal Government has approved the 5th Evacuation flight for Nigerians stranded in the United States of America, for July 31.
According to a tweet from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, the Ethiopian airline, flight number ET547 will leave George Bush international airport Houston, Texas on Friday 31, July 2020 by 16:00 hours and arrive Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos on Saturday 1st August 2020 by 20:00 hours.
Notice on the FIFTH Evacuation Flight from the United States of America to Nigeria. #StayHomeSaveLives #COVID19Nigeria #COVID19 #PTFCOVID19 @NigeriaGov @DigiCommsNG @USinNigeria @FMICNigeria pic.twitter.com/JtKJn977ow
— Geoffrey Onyeama (@GeoffreyOnyeama) July 13, 2020
An official statement released by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Atlanta, Georgia in collaboration with other Nigerian missions in the United States of America, states that Nigerians registered with any of the three Nigerian missions in the USA, and interested in boarding the flight, can purchase their one-way tickets.
“The airfare is $1,500 for economy class and $3,000 for business class for adult/child fare, including all taxes, with the usual percentage reduction for infants under 2 years,” it read.
In addition, the intending evacuees are also expected to forward the details of purchased tickets together with the contact address of their next of kin in Nigeria to the consulate.
In line with the protocols announced by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, all of the returnees are to present a negative COVID-19 test result (not older than 14 days), and undergo a temperature check before boarding the evacuation flight, and upon arriving Nigeria, are expected to proceed on a 14-day self-isolation.
In the last couple of months, the federal government, through the ministry of foreign affairs has evacuated hundreds of stranded Nigerians from different countries including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Malaysia, and Thailand.
The returnees bear the cost of their flight tickets and are expected to self-isolate for two weeks, upon their return to Nigeria. Returnees, who receive a clean bill of health after the isolation, are given their passports and allowed to go home.
Global digital population hits 4.5 billion
About 4.57 billion people were active users of the internet in April 2020.
With Covid-19 confining within the four walls of their rooms and home, the internet becomes and is becoming a ready resource or platform for commercial and noncommercial interactions. The implication of this is that more and more people are becoming prone to using the internet. That also has an impact on the global digital population. According to information from Statistica, about 4.57 billion people were active users of the internet in April 2020. This represents 59% of global population.
Among the global internet users, China, India and the United States of America recorded more internet users than the rest of the countries. As Covid-19 makes it more obvious that much can be done through the internet without any physical presence, the current global online penetration rate of 59% will increase in no distant time. Places like Northern Europe are almost there with a 95% internet penetration rate, Other countries with high internet penetration rates include the United Arab Emirate (UAE), Denmark, and South Korea. Ironically, the next-door neighbour to South Korea, North Korea has almost zero internet penetration rate.
Qua Vadis Nigeria: Nigeria as a country and Nigerians as a people have not been doing too badly when it comes to the issue of digital population. According to available data from the National Bureau of Statistics, active internet users/subscribers total 136,203,231 as at the end of Q1 2020. That represents almost 51% of the entire population. Compared to a similar period a year ago, Nigeria recorded an increase in internet penetration rate of 17.1% on year on year basis and 8.03% increase on a quarter to date basis.
State-wide digital population: Lagos state has the greatest number of internet users in Nigeria, with slightly over 17 million users, followed by Kano state with 8.3 million users and then Ogun state with 8.03 internet users. The state with the least internet penetration is Bayelsa state where only 985 thousand people were connected to the internet as at Q1 2020.
MTN remains the carrier with the largest number of subscribers as 57.3 million internet subscribers in Nigeria are with MTN, while AIRTEL came second with 36.8 million subscribers but closely followed by GLO with 33.9 million subscribers. All those three benefits from 9Mobile, whose loss of a few of its subscribers added to the subscription growth of the bigger market players.
Voice subscription: A lot more Nigerians are using their phones for voice services, though. According to the same data from the National Bureau of Statistics, 189, 282,796 Nigerians have voice subscriptions in Q1 2020. This implies that about 54 million Nigerians have phones that are not internet-enabled. With Covid-19 and the need for students in the tertiary and secondary schools being required to do some or most of their assignments on the internet, that number will change very soon.
COVID-19: FG plans safe school reopening, as WHO discloses new guides to contain virus
The best way to reopen schools is once countries succeed in combating the spread of the disease.
The Federal Government has released guidelines for the safe reopening of schools after COVID-19 pandemic closures.
This was disclosed by the Federal Ministry of Education on its official website on Monday, as it published the guidelines and outlined actions, measures, and requirements needed for the safe reopening of schools after the pandemic is contained.
The 52-paged communique, which was signed by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, and Minister of State (Education), Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, was developed in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Health, and health safety experts in the country.
Adamu said, “Now is the time to plan and address the eventual safe reopening of schools and learning facilities. It will be recalled that at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, schools and all learning facilities were closed in order to safeguard the health and general wellbeing of our children, youths, teachers, and educational personnel.
“As a responsible government, it is also our duty to provide comprehensive guidelines for a safe and hitch-free reopening of schools and learning facilities. We do so knowing that the health, safety, and security of learners, teachers, education personnel, and families are priorities.”
According to him, the Guidelines for Schools and Learning Facilities Reopening after COVID-19 Pandemic Closures outlines key strategies for implementing safe and efficient and equitable plans for school reopening and operations.
Mr Adamu further noted that the document focuses on attendance, social distancing, hygiene, cleaning, and non-pharmaceutical interventions for safe and healthy school activities and programs.
The minister noted that given that COVID-19 may be with us for a while, the guidelines also highlight the urgent need to maintain and improve upon distance-learning programs, adding that the government’s aim is to identify and strengthen programs that will guarantee the recovery of learning gaps resulting from the pandemic
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned global leaders that Covid-19 will not disappear in the coming months, and it’s unrealistic to expect that a perfect vaccine will become available to everyone immediately.
This was disclosed by Head, Emergencies programme, WHO, Mike Ryan, at a briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday.
Ryan is optimistic that things won’t return to normal “for the foreseeable future,” as confirmed cases worldwide exceeded 13 million.
He explained that it would be unrealistic to expect that a perfect vaccine will become available to everyone immediately, and it’s not realistic to expect Covid-19 to disappear in the coming months.
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) July 13, 2020
WHO’s stand on when schools can open
Ryan said, “The best way to reopen schools is to do so once countries succeed in combating the spread of the disease.”
Technical Lead Officer, WHO, Maria Van Kerkhove, said, “Not enough is known about the role of children in transmission, though several recent studies suggest that children over 10 are more susceptible to infection than those under 10.”
She added that WHO has sent two scientists as an advance mission to China to work remotely with local researchers as local rules require them to stay in quarantine.
They are learning how animals transmitted the disease will help in fighting it.