Why We Criminalize Denial Of COVID-19 Existence – Lalong

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State on Wednesday warned those misinforming residents about the alleged non existence of COVID-19 to desist or face the full wrath of the law.

The Governor said as a survivor of COVID-19, he knows not to joke about the disease and does not wish his enemies the experience of contracting the virus.

He added that once the vaccine is made available in the state, he will be the first to take it; “Let us be careful of promoting unsubstantiated rumours about the vaccine”.

Lalong disclosed this during an engagement with Plateau stakeholders on the second wave of COVID-19 and security issues in Jos.

He said, “As you may be aware, we are experiencing the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic where there is a resurgence of cases across the nation including here on the Plateau.

“As a result of this, we are recording more daily cases in the State than previously. Sadly, we are also recording an increasing number of deaths that is very worrisome. In the past weeks, we have seen some prominent persons in Plateau State and indeed across Nigeria die from COVID-19”, he decried.

“Mostly we hear of the big names but do not get to hear of the others involving people that are less prominent. This should give us serious concern because it means that the situation is bigger than what we seem to know.

According to him, “The most worrisome point here is that despite this situation, most citizens appear to be careless and reluctant to observe the COVID-19 protocols. In fact, many have abandoned and refused to observe simple protocols of wearing face masks, maintaining social distance and washing hands regularly.

“This worries me a lot because this recklessness is further exposing more people to the virus and then increasing the casualty figures.
“While we have no intention of imposing another lockdown to avoid further damage to the economy, some members of the public are not helping us.

The Governor, however, said, as a government, it will not fold it arms to witness people dying over a situation that is preventable.
“I hope we shall see a change of attitude going forward as we resume the more vigorous level of enforcement of all the protocols”, he maintained.

“For those who are in denial and continue to misinform others that COVID-19 does not exist, I want to warn them to desist.

DAILY POST recalls that recently, the State Executive Council criminalized the denial of the existence of COVID-19 in the state.

Lalong warned that, “In other words, if you deny the existence of the disease, keep your denial to yourself because if you are caught propagating it or instigating others to follow you, you will be arrested and prosecuted no matter how highly placed you might be.

The Governor further said the state plans to re-strategize and embark on more education and sensitization particularly at the grassroots.

“I have directed that my Commissioners and other senior government officials go down and engage the people henceforth. We want to break the resistance and ensure that the people own the response. COVID-19 is a personal matter that affects people directly. They need to be involved”, he stressed.

Speaking on the issue of the vaccine, the Governor said, “I have already heard some people peddling conspiracy theories. I want to say that I will be the first to take the vaccine whenever it is available in Plateau State. Let us be careful of promoting unsubstantiated rumours.

“By the way, we are still hopeful that the drugs being developed by the Plateau State Medical Research Team which are currently undergoing clinical examination will pass the necessary approvals.

“This will also give us another option for prevention and treatment. At least, this is our own initiative and there is no conspiracy theory attached”, he stressed.

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EDUCATIONNon-academic staff tell Fayemi to increase subvention to Ekiti varsityPublished 1 min ago on January 13, 2021 By Emmanuel Ani
As the non-academic staff of the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti (EKSU) under the auspices of Joint Action Committee of Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU ) join the national strike, a call has gone to Governor Kayode Fayemi to increase subvention to the institution.

The staff, who started a three-day protest in line with the directive of their national bodies, appealed to Governor Fayemi to pay the four months outstanding subvention owed the university to meet workers’ demands and execute projects that can transform the university.

These appeals were made on Wednesday, by SSANU and NASU Chairmen, Coms Kolapo Olatunde and Olajide Olayinka respectively, during a solidarity rally held in EKSU in tandem with the directive the three- day national strike declared to press home for their demands.

The SSANU leader regretted the nonpayment of arrears of minimum wage, delay in negotiation for different unpaid allowances and nonpayment of earned allowances to university non-academic staff.

Olatunde said: “It is sad that this university has not received capital funding for 10 years while subventions being paid monthly were not enough to pay salaries let alone effecting capital projects.

“As of today, the government is owing four months’ subvention, which has made it practically impossible to pay salaries of staff and gratuities of retirees.

“In the last budget of year 2020, the subvention was jacked up to a sum of N300 million monthly, but we are still collecting the old amount, which was around N255 million. They must understand that delay is dangerous.

“The FG and respective states must agree with the five years renegotiation of allowances signed with workers. University workers would no longer tolerate non -payment of gratuities and owing of salaries and allowances.

“And if nothing is done to rectify all these, we may not be able to guarantee industrial harmony in EKSU”.

Olatunde appealed to the federal government not to rush into reopening of schools in view of the spread of COVID-19 disease.

“We shouldn’t rush to reopen schools. The online study is now in place. Tertiary institutions can resume, but the teaching must be online in order not to endanger the lives of lecturers and students”, he warned.

Also speaking, the NASU leader, Com Olajide Olayinka, said nothing has been done to palliate the sufferings of the universities’ non-academic staff, despite the long drawn battle with the governments.

He said: “All we are requesting for are legitimate rights. FG and state government must listen to us if truly they are committed to the future of our youths.”

CONTINUE READING BUSINESSPlateau government targets N21.6 billion as 2021 IGRPublished 6 mins ago on January 13, 2021 By Agabus Pwanagba
The Plateau State Internal Revenue Service (PSIRS) on Wednesday said it is targeting a total of N21.6 billion as its Internally Generated Revenue(IGR) for the 2021 fiscal year.

The PSIRS also said it has adopted a strategy called “Explosive Revenue Drive 2021”.

This was disclosed by the Chairman of the agency, Mr Dashe Arlat, while briefing journalists in Jos, the State Capital.

Arlat added that this would involve massive taxpayers registration, increased revenue assessment, Taxpayer representatives approach, collecting agent and revenue agent registration among others.

According to him, “With the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented drop of oil prices that had resulted in the drop in statutory revenue allocation to the state, there is an urgent need for government and citizens to brace up and confront the present realities of a harsh economic climate that will enable them look inwards and take advantage of any activity that is income yielding to ensure that revenues are enhanced and collected amidst the pandemic to keep the wheels of government turning in order to meet the needs of the people

“The 2021 strategies and policy direction of the service will be in pursuant to section 40 of the Plateau state consolidation law 2020. So far, over 500,000 taxpayers have been captured by the Service but more are going to be captured this year.

“And With 4.39 million population in Plateau state with a projection of 1.56 million taxable adults, we are hopeful that we will meet the IGR target of N 21.6bn for the year 2021”

He urged the people to cooperate with the agency to enable it meet its obligations while assuring that a post pandemic strategy must be developed and deployed to ensure business activities resume seamlessly in the state after the pandemic has abated.

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