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AfDB approves $288.5 million for Nigeria COVID-19 response support program

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Friday approved a $288.5 million loan to help Nigeria tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact on people and businesses.

The loan will bolster the government’s plans to improve surveillance and response to COVID-19 emergencies, ease the impact on workers and businesses and strengthen the social protection system.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and the continent’s largest oil producer, is facing twin crises – a health epidemic caused by COVID-19, and an economic crunch largely occasioned by a global oil price plunge. As of June 5, the country reported 11,516 coronavirus cases, 3,535 recoveries and 323 deaths.

The loan is the Bank’s initial response to help mitigate the slump in oil prices and its impact on the national economy.

About 40.1% of Nigerians live below the poverty line of $1.90 per day and it is feared that the fall in household income during the pandemic will result in wealth deterioration for both the formal and informal sector workers.

“The proposed program will ensure that the fiscal position and the economy are sufficiently supported to weather the COVID-19 shocks, thereby limiting its potential adverse impact on livelihoods and the economy more generally,” Ebrima Faal, Senior Director of the African Development Bank for Nigeria said.

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Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Nigeria’s economy was projected to grow by 2.9% of GDP in 2020 and further expand by 3.3% in 2021. But with the advent of the pandemic and the slump in crude prices, the economy is expected to shrink by between 4.4% under a conservative baseline scenario, and 7.2% should the pandemic persist to end-2020.

Faal said beyond the country’s immediate economic recovery needs, the Bank and other development partners, will dialogue with the government on proposals for medium-term structural reforms to diversify and boost domestic revenues away from the oil sector.

The Bank has instituted strong fiduciary measures to monitor the use of COVID-19 funds, and will maintain dialogue, particularly with the Office of the Auditor General in Nigeria, to ensure adherence to the transparency and accountability of the funds, Faal said.

The Bank’s intervention aligns with its COVID-19 Response Facility (CRF); Ten-Year Strategy (2013-2022); and High 5 priorities, especially “Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa”. It is also consistent with the second strategic pillar of the recently approved Bank’s Country Strategy Paper 2020-2024 for Nigeria.

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Ajimobi lived a fulfilled life – Sheik Bello

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Family frowns at continued politicization of  late governor’s death, burial

 

Immediate past Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi has been described as a once in a lifetime leader who only comes around in a generation.

This was the verdict of Sheik Muideen Bello who delivered the sermon at the 8th day fidau prayers for the former Governor.

 

Sheik Bello said Ajimobi died a fulfilled man after having achieved all God wanted him to achieve.

“ When Senator Isiaq Ajimobi entered Baitul -L- Atik, he asked God to let him see 70 years because no one in his lineage had seen it. He asked God to make him the first Governor to serve two terms in Oyo state. He also asked God to grant him mercy to build a befitting mosque for HIM. God granted all his requests. He died a fulfilled man”, the preacher said.

According to Sheik Bello, an individual like Ajimobi was a special creation of the Almighty Allah and a leader like him will not come around for another 50 years.“ He was a special being, we can never have a Governor like him in Oyo state who had done so well until the next 50 years”.

The scholar who was accompanied by other notable Islamic scholars and clerics in leading series of prayers for the repose of the soul of the deceased recounted the various encounters he had with the Governor and where he (Ajimobi) had emphasised how he longed to break the family jinx of living beyond 70 years.

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“Many times, he didn’t hide his secret prayers of how we wanted to live for 70 years because his father had died before the age of 70.”

 

The cleric also condemned people for only coming out to sing the praises of the deceased Governor after his death said such hypocrisy will attract judgement and punishment from the Almighty Allah. The fidau prayers which started shortly before 11 am was strictly a family affair in line with the Covid-19 protocols as laid down by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). There were less than 30 people at the ceremony which included Dr (Mrs) Florence Ajimobi, wife of the late Deputy National Chairman (South), the All Progressives Congress (APC), the children and extended family members.

Sheik Bello further enjoined those present at the event to be prayerful at all times in order to live a good and fulfilled life like Senator Ajimobi did.

Before the event ended, special prayers were offered for the protection of the family, Oyo state and Nigeria as well as prayers for the departed former Governor.

Meanwhile, the family has reacted to the issue of the inability of the Deputy Governor not having access to the venue.

 

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In a statement signed by Bolaji Tunji, Special Adviser on Media to Senator Ajimobi, the family of the former Governor were not aware of the incident with the Deputy Governor, just as they frowned at the continued politicization of the death and burial of their husband, father and grandfather.

 

“In view of the disinformation going about concerning the inability of the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan’s inability to gain access to the venue of the 8th day Fidau prayers for HE, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

“We want to state clearly that the event was announced as strictly a family affair. However, some dignitaries arrived for the event prior to the commencement of the prayers and were permitted entry and because they were not family, they were taken to a sitting room specially prepared for that purpose.

” There was a need to comply with the Covid-19 protocol as established by NCDC – Social distancing, not more than 30 people in a place and seats arranged, accordingly.

“Once we reached capacity, the gate was locked in order to reduce the continued presence of people at the event.

” No one was aware that the Deputy Governor was coming as neither the advance team nor the protocol informed us.

“The Deputy Governor arrived after the prayers had started and once the family was informed they proceeded to the gate in order to usher in the Deputy Governor.

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“By the time we got to the gate to usher him into the sitting room, he had left. Everything happened within a few minutes.

“Through a serving Senator and a former Attorney General we tried to get in touch with him that it was not to slight him and he could sit in a private sitting room provided by the family. Unfortunately, he had left.

“There was no attempt to disturb or detain the DSS details of the Deputy Governor. From information available, they did not park within the same area as the Deputy Governor and had to do a catch up in order to meet the deputy Governor ‘s convoy that had already left”, the statement explained.

 

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Group congratulates ex-Oyo commissioner, Olowofela on new appointment

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Prof.Olowofela

A socio-political group under the aegis of Tinubu Legacy Forum (TLF) has felicitated with the former Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology in Oyo state, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela over his appointment as member,  Federal Character Commission (FCC).

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday swore in Professor Olowofela and other board members of the commission in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The group in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Hamzat Olalekan on Friday and made available to Mega Icon Magazine, noted that Olowofela’s optimism, intellect, humility, loyalty, perseverance and political consistency paved way for this appointment; urging him to keep the good personality on strive.

“Following the Senate approval of Prof. Olowofela’s appointment and 36 others’ appointments to the Federal Character Commission (FCC), the entire membership of Tinubu Legacy Forum (TLF), nationwide and diaspora under the BOT Chairman, Alhaji Ganiyu Akeem felicitates and rejoice with him as he was sworn-in yesterday, 2nd July, 2020 alongside other members by the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We believe your optimism, intellect, humility, loyalty, perseverance and political consistency paved way for this appointment; keep the good personality on strive and the sky wouldn’t be your limit.

“Accept our heart-warming congratulations, may God Almighty guide, protect and see you through to the next level”, the statement reads.

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The ex- Ido Local Government gaffer would be representing Oyo state at the Federal Character Commission (FCC).

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Ajimobi will be missed’, Makinde condoles with late governor’s family

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The Oyo state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde has stated that his predecessor, late Governor Abiola Ajimobi would forever be missed by all and sundry.

Governor Makinde in a condolence letter dated 29th June, 2020, entitled “Letter of Condolence” stressed that late Governor Ajimobi lived a life of service to humanity and has contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of Oyo State in particular and Nigeria in general, saying, “I have no doubt he will be missed by all and sundry”.

It would be recalled that the former governor was reportedly died of complications from Coronavirus on Thursday June 25 at the First Cardiology Hospital, Ikoyi, Lagos and his remains were laid to rest at his , Oluyole residence on Sunday June 28, 2020.

 

According to the letter which was personally signed by Governor Makinde on behalf of the government and good people of Oyo State, also commiserated with the family over the shocking demise of Ajimobi.

 

The letter which was received and acknowledged on Saturday, (04/07/2020) by the bereaved family reads in part, “our consolation however, is that Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has brought his rich wealth of experience for the transformation of the state.

“As we mourn his passage, let us take solace in the righteous life he lived and his legacies which we shall fondly remember. May God Almighty give members of the family, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss”, the governor submitted.

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