Shut­down beck­ons

• Coro­n­avirus cases hit 46 • Aso Rock in par­tial lock­down, more states tighten re­stric­tions • Avi­a­tion to lose over N180b, 22,000 jobs, air­lines halt flights to­day • PDP con­demns bar­ring of me­dia houses from Pres­i­dency

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - Front Page - From Chuk­wuma Muanya, Wole Oye­bade ( La­gos), Ter­hemba Daka, Az­i­mazi Mo­moh Ji­moh and Se­gun Olaniyi ( Abuja)

MED­I­CAL ex­perts and the Nige­rian Academy of Science ( NAS), yes­ter­day, joined the call by First Lady Aisha Buhari for a to­tal shut down of the coun­try. This was as a new study pub­lished yes­ter­day in The Lancet

Infectious Dis­eases jour­nal, noted that a com­bi­na­tion of quar­an­tine, school clo­sures, and work- from- home mea­sures is the most ef­fec­tive way to pre­vent the spread of COVID- 19.

Aisha had on Mon­day said: “It is com­mend­able that state gover­nors have closed down schools. How­ever, this could be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive if par­ents are still go­ing to work. We should not iso­late stu­dents and ex­pose their par­ents. Let us remember that they will meet at home.” Al­ready, various forms of re­stric­tion to move­ment and other activities have been put in place across the coun­try. Should the pan­demic worsen, a na­tional lock­down ap­pears im­mi­nent.

The Oyo State govern­ment, yes­ter­day, warned that it could im­pose travel re­stric­tions at the state’s en­try points. The Nige­rian Rail­way Cor­po­ra­tion also an­nounced the im­me­di­ate sus­pen­sion of the La­gos- Ogun Mass Tran­sit Train Ser­vices ( MTTS). On his part, Kogi State Gov­er­nor Ya­haya Bello or­dered the speedy clo­sure of all en­try points into the state.

Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion Lai Mohammed had ear­lier in the week said the Fed­eral Govern­ment was pre­pared to take far- reach­ing de­ci­sions to tackle the pan­demic.

“We are hop­ing for the best in our ef­forts to con­tain the dis­ease, but we are pre­pared for the worst. The truth is that things may yet get worse than it is now, hence the need for all hands to be on deck. Tougher de­ci­sions may yet be on the way to con­tain this dis­ease,” Mohammed said.

The new modelling study con­ducted in a sim­u­lated Sin­ga­pore set­ting as­serted that a com­bined ap­proach of phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing in­ter­ven­tions is most ef­fec­tive at re­duc­ing the num­ber of Se­vere Acute Res­pi­ra­tory Syn­drome ( SARS) Coro­n­avirus type 2 ( COV- 2)/ SARS- COV- 2 or rather COVID- 19 cases, com­pared with other interventi­on sce­nar­ios in­cluded in the study.

While less ef­fec­tive than the com­bined ap­proach, quar­an­tine plus work­place mea­sures pre­sented the next best op­tion for re­duc­ing SARS- COV- 2 ( COVID- 19) cases, fol­lowed by quar­an­tine plus school clo­sure, and then quar­an­tine only. All interventi­on sce­nar­ios were more ef­fec­tive at re­duc­ing cases than no interventi­on.

The study is the first of its

kind to in­ves­ti­gate us­ing these options for early interventi­on. De­spite height­ened sur­veil­lance and iso­la­tion of in­di­vid­u­als sus­pected to have COVID- 19 and con­firmed cases, the risk is on­go­ing, with the num­ber of cases con­tin­u­ing to in­crease in Sin­ga­pore. Schools have not been closed, and work­place dis­tanc­ing is rec­om­mended, but it is not na­tional pol­icy.

Also, NAS pres­i­dent, Prof. K. Mosto On­uoha, gave rea­sons why the coun­try should be locked down im­me­di­ately. He told jour­nal­ists yes­ter­day: “It is now time for a na­tional lock­down, es­pe­cially now that the dis­ease has in­vaded the high­est level of our gov­er­nance, threat­en­ing our na­tional se­cu­rity. While the ef­fort of in­di­vid­ual state gov­ern­ments is lauded, the lock­down should be na­tional, with uni­form reg­u­la­tions, and led by the Fed­eral Govern­ment.

“With a lock­down, all cit­i­zens are re­quired ( as much as pos­si­ble) to stay at home, leav­ing only for es­sen­tial activities that al­low for ba­sic func­tions such as feed­ing and ac­cess­ing health­care. Only work­ers needed to pro­vide es­sen­tial ser­vices, such as health care and elec­tric­ity, will be ex­pected to go out. No so­cial gath­er­ings would be al­lowed. De­tails of this will have to be worked out con­sci­en­tiously.”

Why lock­down now? On­uoha said though most of the con­firmed cases were im­ported, and with a few more be­ing con­tacts of the im­ported cases, the coun­try is be­gin­ning to have cases with un­clear in­fec­tion sources. This sug­gests the pos­si­ble ex­is­tence of com­mu­nity trans­mis­sion, which needs to be cur­tailed early.

The NAS pres­i­dent said though the govern­ment and its agen­cies are work­ing hard at con­tain­ment, there are re­ports of peo­ple failing to self- iso­late as ad­vised. This is com­pli­cated by the VIP syn­drome that seems to char­ac­terise the coun­try, with some re­fus­ing to be checked or to self- iso­late on ar­rival into the coun­try. He said it is also com­pli­cated when the con­di­tions that ex­ist in many of our ur­ban slums are con­sid­ered.

The sci­en­tist said it is un­clear how wide­spread the dis­ease might be in the coun­try, given the evolv­ing num­ber of cases at this point, and the dif­fi­culty in track­ing their move­ments and those of their con­tacts.

On­uoha said a lock­down for four weeks would help to re­duce the num­ber of new im­por­ta­tions and pro­vide the en­vi­ron­ment and con­di­tion for clear thinking and plan­ning. He said in four weeks, virtually all COVID- 19 cases and con­tacts should have been dis­cov­ered or should have re­cov­ered.

He said Nige­ria should use the lock­down pe­riod to re­strate­gise as the coun­try pro­vides an­swers to the fol­low­ing ques­tions: What do we do about new im­por­ta­tions when we re- open the bor­ders? How do we en­force self- iso­la­tion and or quar­an­tine across the na­tion? What treat­ment modal­i­ties should we adopt and stan­dard­ise across the coun­try? Which re­search ar­eas and activities – drugs, equip­ment, con­tain­ment mea­sures, so­cio- eco­nomic re­cov­ery, etc. – should we fund? And what in­no­va­tive so­cio- eco­nomic safety nets can be provided for the cit­i­zens to ame­lio­rate the cur­rent and com­ing ef­fects of this pan­demic?

On­uoha said the Academy stands by the govern­ment of Nige­ria, and all Nige­ri­ans at this try­ing time. He urged peo­ple to un­der­stand that the mea­sures that need to be taken are chal­leng­ing but nec­es­sary.

A former se­na­tor, Dino Me­laye, also urged Buhari to is­sue an ex­ec­u­tive or­der to lock down the na­tion’s cap­i­tal, Abuja, and the na­tion’s com­mer­cial nerve cen­tre, La­gos. He said the or­der would fur­ther pre­vent the spread of the virus.

As at yes­ter­day, the up­date by the Nige­ria Cen­tre for Dis­ease Con­trol ( NCDC) was: “Two new con­firmed cases of COVID- 19 recorded in Nige­ria. Forty- six cases have been con­firmed, two cases have been dis­charged and one death from COVID- 19 recorded. Of the two new cases re­ported on the 25th of March, one is in La­gos State, one is in Osun State.” Why we can­celled FEC meet­ing, by Pres­i­dency T HE pres­i­dency yes­ter­day shed light on its de­ci­sion to sus­pend this week’s Fed­eral Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil ( FEC) meet­ing, even as it hinted that it is in a par­tial lock­down.

Spe­cial Ad­viser to the Pres­i­dent on Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity, Femi Adesina, said the meet­ing was can­celled be­cause the num­ber of par­tic­i­pants would ex­ceed the rec­om­mended pop­u­la­tion.

He said: “The Coun­cil was sus­pended be­cause of the size. You have over 50 peo­ple seated in the Coun­cil Cham­bers when­ever the meet­ing holds. That is not ad­vis­able at a time like this. “But if there would be a very im­por­tant de­ci­sion to be taken, you can al­ways sum­mon the rel­e­vant peo­ple, three, four or five and hold a small meet­ing and ar­rive at a de­ci­sion.

“It does not mean that one man is go­ing to be tak­ing all the de­ci­sions. Of course, yes, there are ex­ec­u­tive de­ci­sions but the ones that must pass through con­sul­ta­tions, which must have a buy in of the Fed­eral Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil, can al­ways be dis­cussed at a smaller meet­ing.”

On the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in the Villa, in re­la­tion to the pan­demic, the spokesman said: “Things are a bit on a low key. It doesn’t mean that the State House is shut down; it’s just that things are a bit on the low key, just like the rest of the coun­try. The rest of the coun­try is also on a low key; there is par­tial lock­down in most parts of the coun­try. So, what is hap­pen­ing at the State House can also be called a par­tial lock­down but not a com­plete lock­down.” Adesina said fur­ther that the re­sult of Buhari’s test for COVID- 19 was heart­en­ing. “Any­body that does the test and test comes out neg­a­tive, we will re­joice with that per­son. And any­body that does it and tests pos­i­tive, it’s not a death sen­tence.

“We also would pray along with the per­son, give the per­son our good will and best wishes, and they will surely come out of it. Even the index case in Nige­ria re­cov­ered and has been dis­charged.” … Trimmed num­ber of State House jour­nal­ists O N the re­ported ban on the me­dia by the State House, the spokesman said: “Ban is a wrong word. Any­body that uses that word ban is just op­er­at­ing from a mind­set, and you know that Nige­ri­ans love con­spir­acy the­o­ries. But this is no con­spir­acy at all. There is no ban.

“What hap­pened is that in the press gallery, you have about 108 jour­nal­ists in that sin­gle hall. And it goes con­trary to the spirit of the times. The times dic­tate that you don’t have too many peo­ple con­gre­gated in one place.

“Imag­ine 108 jour­nal­ists, if one of them hap­pens to catch the virus, he spreads it among all the jour­nal­ists. So, we said, for now, let them stay away, not much is hap­pen­ing for now.

“But we picked a cer­tain num­ber, rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the me­dia. They will come in, if there is any­thing, they will cover. And those out­side will also not miss be­cause there would be a sys­tem in which they can share re­ports. So, ban will be a wrong word.”

Adesina also dis­closed mea­sures adopted by the Pres­i­dency to cur­tail the spread of COVID- 19. He said: “When you come into the State House, you have about three, four, five spots in which your tem­per­a­ture is tested and you have to sani­tise your hand. And if you come in and your tem­per­a­ture is way above a cer­tain fig­ure, then you will be ad­vised to go for a test and take care of your­self.

“Be­fore you go into the gen­eral area, you will meet about three ar­eas of test. And be­fore you get into the Pres­i­dent’s area, you will meet an­other two. I be­lieve that a lot has been done to en­sure that those who op­er­ate in the Pres­i­dency are taken care of.”

The spokesman added: “Pan­ick­ing will not be the right thing to do be­cause when you panic you are bound to make mis­takes. When you panic, you get ag­i­tated and the sit­u­a­tion does not call for that, rather it calls for co­op­er­a­tion with govern­ment.

“When they give in­struc­tions, let’s abide by those in­struc­tions. A num­ber of things have been put in place to en­sure the well be­ing of Nige­ri­ans is taken care of.” B UT the op­po­si­tion Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party de­scribed as ut­terly con­demnable “the un­jus­ti­fied ban­ning of some me­dia houses from cov­er­ing activities of the pres­i­dency.”

It said the de­vel­op­ment is a “most heinous form of of­fi­cial vic­tim­i­sa­tion ex­e­cuted in bad faith” The party also de­scribed the ac­tion as “highly de­testable, un­demo­cratic and to­tally against the pro­vi­sions of the 1999 Con­sti­tu­tion ( as amended), the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion ( FOI) Act, as well as the tenets and guid­ing prin­ci­ples of rule of law.” The party, in a state­ment by its na­tional pub­lic­ity secretary, Kola Olog­bondiyan, said the pres­i­dency had no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the move.

“This is not the time for un­nec­es­sary pet­ti­ness, vic­tim­i­sa­tion and bar­ring of me­dia houses, a de­vel­op­ment which has sparked off sus­pi­cion in the pub­lic space as be­ing de­signed to con­ceal cer­tain facts from the pub­lic.

“It is in­deed in­struc­tive for the Buhari Pres­i­dency to note that our na­tion is in dire need of hope and di­rec­tion con­tained in timely in­for­ma­tion, es­pe­cially from the govern­ment,” the party said.

A PRES­I­DENCY source yes­ter­day con­firmed that Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari has re­sumed work in his office at the Pres­i­den­tial Villa, Abuja.

The source how­ever said that the State House was quiet as no guests vis­ited the Villa or the Pres­i­dent. The Pres­i­dency had on Tuesday wit­nessed an up­set as Chief of Staff Abba Kyari tested pos­i­tive for coro­n­avirus. Buhari tested neg­a­tive. Vice Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo went into self- iso­la­tion but has since been con­firmed neg­a­tive.

Laolu Akande, Se­nior Spe­cial As­sis­tant to the Pres­i­dent on Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity, Office of the Vice Pres­i­dent, told State House correspond­ents: “I have been in­un­dated with calls on whether in­deed the vice pres­i­dent had un­der­gone a COVID- 19 test and the out­come. Yes, he has done the test and the results is neg­a­tive.”

Con­se­quent upon the di­rec­tive by the Pres­i­den­tial Task Force ( PTF) on COVID- 19, the Fed­eral Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil ( FEC) meet­ing did not hold.

Secretary to the Govern­ment of the Fed­er­a­tion/ Chair­man PTFCOVID- 19, Boss Mustapha, had on Mon­day an­nounced ad­di­tional mea­sures by govern­ment to curb the spread of the pan­demic.

The Pres­i­dency had also on Tuesday scaled down the num­ber of per­son­nel work­ing in the State House, say­ing the de­ci­sion was in line with the need for so­cial dis­tanc­ing.

The se­cu­rity department was seen yes­ter­day en­forc­ing re­stric­tions at the Pres­i­dency. Per­sons whose names were not on the list of those cleared to en­ter the State House were po­litely turned back.

Na­tion­wide shut­down im­mi­nent

A GRAD­UAL na­tion­wide shut­down has be­gun in the lo­cal avi­a­tion in­dus­try, with some air­lines ex­press­ing plans to stop all sched­uled ser­vices from to­mor­row.

Though only Air Peace, Aero Con­trac­tors and Arik Air­lines con­firmed op­er­a­tional shut­down, the mas­sive dis­rup­tion will cost the en­tire sec­tor at least N180 bil­lion in pas­sen­ger rev­enue.

The Fed­eral Govern­ment, early this week, closed all in­ter­na­tional air­ports for the next four weeks, as part of mea­sures to slow down the spread of COVID- 19.

The move mean­while has par­tially crashed the en­tire air travel mar­ket. Travel agen­cies yes­ter­day con­firmed the mar­ket crash to The Guardian, say­ing many have been forced to lay off their work­ers to cut the huge losses. The lead­ing car­rier in the coun­try, Air Peace, yes­ter­day an­nounced the sus­pen­sion of all its flight ser­vices, be­gin­ning from mid­night Fri­day, as part of ef­forts to stop the COVID- 19 pan­demic. The chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of the air­line, Toyin Ola­jide, said it was with a great sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity that they de­cided, in the best in­ter­est of the na­tion, pas­sen­gers and work­force, to tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend sched­uled flights un­til April 20, 2020.

The air­line reck­oned that pas­sen­ger traf­fic has slumped dras­ti­cally in the last three weeks as a re­sult of the pan­demic, “so it is, there­fore, very un­wise to con­tinue rak­ing up avoid­able costs that the air­line could not af­ford.”

Ola­jide said: “Con­tin­u­a­tion of flight op­er­a­tions, in the present cir­cum­stances we find our­selves as air­lines, could lead to the to­tal col­lapse of any air­line, hence the need to quickly stem the ris­ing fi­nan­cial bur­den and costs of op­er­a­tions. “While the sus­pen­sion is on, we are, how­ever, will­ing to do spe­cial flights both for the govern­ment and our peo­ple. Nor­mal sched­uled flight op­er­a­tions shall re­sume on

April 20, 2020,” she said.

Sim­i­larly, Aero Con­trac­tors hinted on plans to tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend flight ser­vices ef­fec­tive mid­night to­day, in line with the La­gos State govern­ment’s pro­hi­bi­tion on more than 20- per­son gath­er­ings.

In the in­terim, the air­line has of­fered its air­craft, both fixed wing and he­li­copters, to the Fed­eral Govern­ment for the air­lift of re­lief ma­te­ri­als, med­i­cal equip­ment and per­son­nel.

The CEO of the com­pany, Cap­tain Ado Sanusi, de­scribed the move as the air­line’s con­tri­bu­tion to the govern­ment’s fight against the pan­demic.

He said that the air­craft would, hence­forth, be at the dis­posal of the Pres­i­den­tial Task Force for the Con­trol of Coro­n­avirus in Nige­ria, headed by the Secretary to the Fed­eral Govern­ment of Nige­ria ( SGF), Boss Mustapha.

The In­ter­na­tional Air Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion ( IATA) had warned that Nige­ria risked los­ing 2.2 mil­lion over­seas­bound pas­sen­gers, $ 434 mil­lion ( N156.24 bil­lion) in rev­enue, and over 22,200 jobs, if the im­pact of the virus es­ca­lates. The as­so­ci­a­tion, which rep­re­sents some 290 air­lines, said the gloomy out­look is not pe­cu­liar to Nige­ria.

Pres­i­dent of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria Travel Agen­cies ( NANTA), Bernard Bankole, said the loss could be more than N156.2 bil­lion or at least N180 bil­lion, if the cri­sis and its af­ter- ef­fects last till June.

“The N180 bil­lion is half of what we made in 2019. It’s al­ready wiped off due to this cri­sis. What­ever hap­pens, the high pa­tron­age dur­ing Easter and sum­mer pe­ri­ods is al­ready en­dan­gered. That is a great loss to the in­dus­try,” Bankole said. He said the shut­down of lo­cal air­lines was ex­pected, given the re­stric­tion on in­ter­na­tional air­lines. With about 50 per cent loss in traf­fic al­ready, “it is just a mat­ter of time be­fore they start shut­ting down too.”

The in­dus­try risks a to­tal col­lapse, he said, ex­cept the Fed­eral Govern­ment and the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria ( CBN) in­ter­vene with bailouts for travel agen­cies to avoid de­fault in the re­mit­tance of funds to IATA.

He ex­plained that travel agen­cies are in a dilemma as the money for the sale of tick­ets is tied down with various clients, who are yet to pay. The tick­ets had been pur­chased from air­lines, but due to travel re­stric­tions, the clients could not travel.

“Even those that have paid are putting in for re­fund. Yet, no for­eign air­line is do­ing cash re­fund. This dis­rup­tion has al­ready cost the in­dus­try half of the $ 1 bil­lion ( N360 bil­lion) sales made in 2019.

“That ex­plains why mem­bers are lay­ing off their staff or plac­ing them on half salary. When the staff come to the office and they are not is­su­ing tick­ets, it means there is no need keep­ing them and there is no sup­port com­ing from any­where to aug­ment your cost. “We need a bailout from the govern­ment. It will en­able us to ac­cess in­ter­est- free loans to aug­ment our li­a­bil­i­ties at this pe­riod. We are not ask­ing any­body to come and dash us money. The cir­cum­stance has cre­ated a cash flow short­age whereby we can­not ful­fill our obli­ga­tions to the air­lines through IATA when due. This puts ev­ery­one un­der a lot of pres­sure,” Bankole said. Govt to sup­port in­dus­tries, says min­is­ter HIS came as the Fed­eral Min­istry of In­dus­try, Trade and In­vest­ment, af­ter series of meet­ings with the Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria ( MAN) and the Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Man­u­fac­tur­ers Group ( PMG) of MAN ( PMG- MAN) and other key stake­hold­ers, said mea­sures would be taken to ad­dress

Tchal­lenges, po­ten­tial threats and the im­pact of COVID- 19 on the na­tion’s econ­omy.

Min­is­ter of Trade and In­vest­ment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Ade­bayo, told jour­nal­ists yes­ter­day that the mea­sures in­clude: man­age­ment of all in­dus­trial sites should sen­si­tise and ed­u­cate their work­ers on com­pli­ance with COVID- 19 guide­lines of the Nige­ria Cen­tre for Dis­ease Con­trol ( NCDC); all in­dus­tries shall pro­vide req­ui­site fa­cil­i­ties and sup­plies for the pre­ven­tion of COVID- 19, in line with ex­tant guide­lines of the NCDC.

All in­dus­tries are en­cour­aged to do their best to sus­tain on­go­ing op­er­a­tions in or­der to avoid the shut­down of pro­duc­tion activities; man­u­fac­tur­ers are en­cour­aged to scale up their pro­duc­tion, es­pe­cially of es­sen­tial com­modi­ties such as phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, con­sum­ables, san­i­tary and hy­giene prod­ucts needed to cur­tail the spread of the virus. Ade­bayo said govern­ment will con­tinue to do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to sup­port in­dus­tries to sus­tain their op­er­a­tions, and where nec­es­sary, even stim­u­late a surge in the pro­duc­tion of es­sen­tial com­modi­ties es­pe­cially medicines and san­i­tary prod­ucts.

He ad­vised all Nige­ri­ans not to in­dulge in any fear- in­duced be­hav­iour such as panic buy­ing, adul­ter­ation, hoard­ing or price hik­ing, as govern­ment, man­u­fac­tur­ers and other stake­hold­ers are work­ing closely to min­imise the im­pact of COVID- 19 on the pop­u­lace.

“It is my sin­cere prayer that the COVID- 19 pan­demic will soon come to an end in Nige­ria and world over, and that Nige­ri­ans will not suf­fer any hard­ships in its wake. We shall over­come,” the min­is­ter added.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, the Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal So­ci­ety of Nige­ria ( PSN) com­mended the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria ( CBN) and the Bankers’ Com­mit­tee for the re­cent de­ci­sion to pro­vide a N100 bil­lion loan pack­age to the health sec­tor with fo­cus on lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing.

PSN pres­i­dent, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, told jour­nal­ists yes­ter­day: “This is a lon­gawaited de­vel­op­ment be­cause for many years we have drawn at­ten­tion to the dan­gers of to­tal de­pen­dence on im­por­ta­tion for our lo­cal drug needs. We have com­plained that this cre­ates a real na­tional se­cu­rity ex­po­sure, yet not much at­ten­tion was paid to us.

“We had ar­gued that phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals should get part of the at­ten­tion paid to agri­cul­ture, as to all in­tents and pur­poses, medicines come next to food. And to be truth­ful, for some of our peo­ple, medicines have be­come food. Again, some peo­ple thought we were talk­ing of pro­tect­ing the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try from a com­mer­cial point of view.

“That is why our joy knows no end to see the Cen­tral Bank Gov­er­nor, lead­ing the Bankers’ Com­mit­tee, come to the con­clu­sion that, as afore­men­tioned, global sup­ply chains have been dis­rupted, in­clud­ing dom­i­nant drug sup­ply chan­nels from China and In­dia. In fact, many coun­tries have or are plan­ning to ban ex­port of drugs and med­i­cal sup­plies from their coun­tries.

“Clearly, we have no choice but to pro­duce these items lo­cally. As a re­sult, the Com­mit­tee has iden­ti­fied a few key lo­cal phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies who shall be granted naira and FX fund­ing fa­cil­i­ties to sup­port the pro­cure­ment of raw ma­te­ri­als and equip­ment re­quired to ex­po­nen­tially in­crease lo­cal drug pro­duc­tion in Nige­ria. These loans would be granted at sin­gle- digit in­ter­est rate and for long tenures, in­clud­ing grant­ing nec­es­sary mora­to­rium.”

PHO­TOS: PHILIP OJISUA

Fed­eral Sec­re­tariat, Abuja de­void of usual hus­tle and bus­tle... yes­ter­day.

Supreme Court on forced re­cess... yes­ter­day.

PHOTO: SUN­DAY AKINLOLU

COVID- 19: Bank cus­tomers out­side the bank­ing hall to con­form with the max­i­mum of 20 peo­ple gath­er­ing as di­rected by the La­gos State Govern­ment … yes­ter­day.

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