The United States government has imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians for their actions surrounding the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa State elections, and in the run up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections.
This was announced by the US Embassy in Nigeria on Monday. The sanction comes a year after the US government-imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians that undermined the February and March 2019 elections.
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Today, the Secretary of State is imposing visa restrictions on individuals for their actions surrounding the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa State elections and in the run up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections » https://t.co/62dsfWOiVB
— U.S. Mission Nigeria (@USinNigeria) September 14, 2020
The US government said it is a supporter of democracy in Nigeria, and remains committed to working “together to advance democracy and respect for human rights, and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations,”
“We condemn the acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption that harmed Nigerians and undermined the democratic process,”
The Embassy, urged all stakeholders participating in the Edo and Ondo elections to desist from participating in electoral violence, and uphold the tenets of democracy, facilitate genuinely free and fair elections, and conduct it in a transparent and non-violent manner.
The statement disclosed that the U.S Government, in January 2019, warned that visa restrictions would be meted out on individuals responsible for undermining Nigerian democratic process, or for organizing election-related violence, citing the July 2019 visa restrictions on Nigerians for the roles in the February and March 2019 elections.
“Today, the Secretary of State is imposing additional visa restrictions on individuals for their actions surrounding the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa State elections, and in the run up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections. These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people, and have undermined democratic principles.”
The Department of State said the visa restrictions only applies to individuals, who participated in undermining the Nigerian elections, and not directed at the Nigerian citizens. It emphasized that this reflects the U.S Government’s role in strengthening democracy in Nigeria.
Just in: Lagos allows cinemas, gyms, others to reopen
In a new development, Lagos government has approved the reopening of gyms, cinemas, others.
The Lagos State Government has announced the reopening of cinemas, gyms, and other recreational centres in the state.
According to a monitored media report, the disclosure was made by the Lagos State Government, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, during a press briefing at the Statehouse, Marina on Saturday, September 19, 2020.
The governor said, they are however expected to operate at just 33% of their capacity, which is a third of their capacity, and must comply with all safety measures.
He, however, said that other sectors of the economy such as bars, night clubs, spas, public parks, event centres, and such others are to remain closed until October when the state government will make pronouncement concerning their reopening.
The Governor said, “Henceforth, cinemas and gyms are permitted to reopen as soon as possible, with a maximum of 33% occupancy, which means that there must be a minimum of two empty seats between occupied seats; and in the case of gyms, there must be constant disinfection of machines and equipment throughout the course of the day.’’
Sanwo-Olu said that it has become inevitable for Nigerians to apply caution as some other parts of the world have witnessed a resurgence of the coronavirus disease with a possibility of further lockdowns.
He warned, “Let me make it clear that if we do not continue to maintain our guard, and sustain the adherence to all required protocols and guidelines, we will find ourselves in a situation where fresh lockdowns are inevitable. The only way to avoid this is to continue to act responsibly: maintain the required levels of hygiene, through regular handwashing and use of sanitizers, wear masks in all public places, avoid non-essential public gatherings, and maintain the prescribed levels of physical distancing at all times”
Just in: Lagos approves resumption of full services for churches, mosques
Resumption of full services in churches and mosques has been approved by the Lagos State Government.
The Lagos State Government has announced the approval of churches and mosques to resume full services in the state. This disclosure was made by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, during a press briefing on Saturday, September 19, 2020, in Lagos.
According to a monitored media report, the government said mosques can hold their prayers 5 times daily, while churches can also resume weekly services. This is against the initial announcement, where worship centres were restricted to just one gathering weekly, after they were allowed to reopen on August 7, 2020, following the lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Sanwo-Olu, however, warned that all safety protocols that had been announced by the government must be strictly adhered to.
School Resumption: Parents commend Lagos Govt, request e-learning infrastructure support for public schools
Government reopening of schools has no doubt been welcomed by concerns by some parents.
Parents of students in leading private schools in Lagos, including Meadow Hall, RMS, Wellspring College, Christ College, Children International School, Alpha Soteria, and many more, are happy with the Lagos State Government’s resolution to re-open schools on the 21st of September.
72.73% of parents surveyed expressed confidence that their children’s schools are COVID-19 compliant and ready, while 27.27% are not sure the schools are ready. The above stats show that the efforts of the government in making sure the schools are well-prepared to resume during this pandemic are paying off and parents are grateful for this; however, 54% of the parents want a new session to start from 21st of September, effectively canceling the 3rd term like other state governments have done.
About 60% of the parents surveyed said that they got value for money from online schooling for their wards, but the challenges were many. They implored the Lagos State Government to work with the schools in solving these challenges, which include:
- Contents not rich and extensive enough.
- Work overload without assessment.
- Feedback mechanism from teachers and performance ratings for the children not properly done.
- No time focused /attention per child, making lecture times ineffective.
- Some parents also said it was stressful navigating the platforms.
- The greatest of all issues mentioned was data, as many lectures were held via video streaming for hours daily.
In all, the parents commended the efforts of the teachers who, regardless of the challenges, tried their best to get the children engaged during the lockdown period. They did this, even without proper warning or planning for online schooling.
Over 90% of the parents surveyed had attended public schools in the past; they encouraged the state government to do more for the public schools in this new normal digital education era, so that public school children wouldn’t be disadvantaged and lag behind.
The parents asked that public schools be equipped with e-learning facilities, internet access for teachers, an internet library for the students, training to skill up teachers in the use of Information Technology for teaching, and laptops for the schools. They also requested that the government provides low-cost funding for the required resources.
In all of this, 60% of the parents surveyed said they are willing to support the government, in a bid to digitally empower the public schools in the state.
Speaking to Sobowale Temiloluwa, CEO, Intelligent Interactive Limited, a digital analytics and technology company on the survey, he said:
“There can be no progress without measurement and feedback, whilst the government is doing their bit, they need to get feedback from all stakeholders, including parents, in order to innovate and improve. The pandemic came as a shock to all, and we were all forced to go online, without adequate preparation. Having done this for months, we need to look back, see where we performed well, and where we performed poorly and improve.”
On public schools he said:
“In the new normal, everyone needs access to the internet, and these resources must be provided, else, the public school children will lag behind. However, this Government cannot do it alone, parents that have benefited from the public schooling system in the past must also support the government to achieve the task of empowering all children with access to digital tools for education.”
“Many global technology giants in Nigeria and Globally, are supporting governments with grants and tools to aid e-learning, the government can reach out to these top companies for help and partnerships. But it must be known that digital education has come to stay, and there must be moves to scale up, so we can meet up with the demands of this new normal period,” he concluded.
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Below are the results of the survey conducted: