The Presidency on Saturday disclosed that Leah Sharibu, the schoolgirl who was kidnapped by a faction of Boko Haram terrorists in February 2018, is alive.
Mr Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammad Buhari on Media and Public made this disclosure while speaking to a group of journalists in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
A year and six months after Leah was abducted from the Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School, Dapchi in Yobe State, Shehu maintained that the Federal Government is making efforts to ensure her release from her captors.
The President’s aide also dismissed reports that the schoolgirl had been harmed by her abductors, assuring that the Muhammadu Buhari administration would not give up on her safe return.
“Instead of giving up, the government is carrying forward processes that should hopefully yield her release by her captors,” Shehu was quoted as saying in a statement.
“Lines of communications remain open with the kidnappers, ISWA, to secure the release of Leah Sharibu.
“Contrary to false reports, she is alive – given assurances from our security agencies –, and the government is committed to her safe return, as well as all other hostages to their families.
“Kidnapping for ransom should never be encouraged. This means not capitulating to the demands of terrorists: refrain from rewarding their heinous crimes with payment.”
Shehu added that the government understands how difficult these times are for Leah’s family and friends, with the abduction.
He, however, stated that the government was “pursuing many options” to ensure the safe return of the girls.
The President’s mouthpiece further submitted “We must commit to law and communication, using the breadth of strategies at our disposal: legal initiatives, stakeholder cooperation, involvement of all relevant parties, and the use of the latest hostage negotiation techniques.
”Kidnapping for ransom is rising across the Sahel. We must – collectively – make sure we implement best practice to prevent its exploitation.”
He described reports of Leah’s death as ‘fake news’, calling for patience in dealing with the challenge the case poses.
He gave assurance that the present administration was fully conscious that any misstep on a delicate issue as such could be costly.
Lock down order takes effect, Lagos-Ibadan expressway blocked
The police have blocked the inbound and outbound sections of the Lagos-Ibadan express way as part of plans to effectively lock down the Lagos metropolis.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in line with local and global best practices for curbing the spread of COVID-19 had earlier gave this directive .
The President, in his nationwide broadcast on Sunday, ordered that a total lock down be observed in two states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), in a bid to combat the virus.
The President directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, the President also extended the restriction to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States.
In line with the President’s order, security operatives have taken to the streets to ensure that the curfew is obeyed.
It is expected that the containment period would be used to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases.
Nigeria: Undisrupted financial services during COVID-19 lockdown
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had issued a directive restricting the movement of people – excluding those on essential service – with effect from 11pm on Monday, March 30, 2020, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun States, as a response to the corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Subsequently, the Minister of Finance, Budget and Planning and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria obtained Presidential approval to permit critical financial services to function during this period.
Consequently, relevant security agencies have been requested to grant passage to critical staff of these institutions to enable essential and strategic financial transactions to go undisrupted during the period of the lockdown. These institutions include:
i. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN);
ii. Deposit Money Banks (DMBs);
iii. The Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) Plc;
iv. Switching companies,
v. Mobile money operators,
vi. Payment solution service providers.
In view of the ongoing restrictions and in order to check further spread of the corona virus disease, the CBN hereby urges the general public to limit their use of cash and avail themselves of the use of alternative payment channels such as mobile banking, Internet banking, Mobile money, Point of Sale, and USSD. The public is therefore assured that financial institutions will remain operational during this period and therefore should guard against panic withdrawals from their banks.
We also urge all Nigerians to adhere strictly to the movement restrictions and follow stipulated guidelines by the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other relevant health agencies of government to curb possible spread of the virus in Nigeria.
Oyo: My COVID-19 confirmation test result is positive – Makinde reveals
Oyo state governor, Engr Seyi Makinde has tested positive for coronavirus and is in self-isolation.
Governor Makinde disclosed this on Monday through his verified Twitter handle, adding that he is asymptomatic.
“I just received my COVID-19 confirmation test result,” he tweeted. “It is POSITIVE. I am asymptomatic and will continue to self-isolate”, he tweeted.
The governor also directed the former Chief Medical Director of the University College, Ibadan, Prof Temitope Alonge, to be the Head of COVID-19 Task Force as he recovers.
“I have designated Prof Temitope Alonge, former Chief Medical Director of the University College, Ibadan, as the Head of COVID-19 Task Force while I recover fully.”
Governor Makinde further urged the people of Oyo State to comply with instructions from the COVID-19 Task Force.
“Stay home, stay safe,” he urged Oyo residents.
He is the third governor in the country to test positive for coronavirus.
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