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Why we criminalized denial of existence of COVID-19 – Gov. Lalong

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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.

Muhabarishaji 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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Kaduna; Army joint patrol neutralises armed bandits north of Gidan Audu

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The Kaduna state government on Tuesday said a joint patrol team of troops have killed several bandits in Kaduna villages

This was contained in a statement on Tuesday by the State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan.

He said the Air platforms supported ground troops in patrols across Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Igabi and Chikun local government areas.

Aruwan disclosed that the patrol exercise led to the neutralisation of armed bandits sighted with herds of cattle north of Gidan Audu.

‘As contained in the operational feedback to the Kaduna State Government, Kabula, Muya and Dankwala were covered following reports that bandits with rustled cattle were sighted at these locations.”

“Armed reconnaissance was then conducted over Sarkin Pawa, Kwakwau, Beni, Kudame, Sikiti, Abulo, Gidan Amale, Old Dakolo, New Dakolo, Rishi, Akilbu, Kuna, Rugu and Kuzo. ”

“These locations were observed to be calm, as confirmed by ground troops at Sarkin Pawa in Niger State.

“During another mission, armed bandits were sighted with herds of cattle just north of Gidan Audu, and were engaged with rockets. A second pass was conducted southwest of the location, with more bandits neutralized.” The statement further explained

“Similarly, ground troops reported movement of armed bandits with cattle at Gbakopai. They were engaged and neutralized by the fighter jet crew.

“The crew then carried out Armed reconnaissance over the Kaduna-Abuja highway, with free-flowing traffic and normal activities observed. Such was also the case at Rijana, Polewaya, Akilbu, Katari, Jere, Zuba and environs.

“Governor Nasir El-Rufai expressed his gratitude to the troops and fighter jet crews on the successful joint patrol and encouraged them to keep up the stellar work in denying the bandits freedom of action.

‘Air and ground patrols will continue in these areas and other locations of interest across the state.” The statement said

Kaduna; Army joint patrol neutralises armed bandits north of Gidan Audu

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Iran

Tehran, Yerevan to boost coop. in joint tech. projects

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Tehran, Yerevan to boost coop. in joint tech. projects

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Armenian Minister of Economy Vahan Karubian met and held talks with Iranian Vice President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari so as to discuss the conditions for the development of the relations between the two countries in the field of technological infrastructure and scientific achievements.

Referring to Iran’s program and initiatives to return Iranian elites to the country, he said, “First, some mechanisms are provided for their return to the country. For example, by creating science parks, innovation centers, and innovation factories, we pave the way for elite activities in the country and then encourage them to return home.”

He went on to say that through this plan, in 3 years, 2,000 Iranian students, graduated from the top 100 universities in the world, have returned to the country.

Given that this model is closer to the culture of Armenia, it is certainly more applicable to the officials and managers of this country for the return of their elites. Iran is also ready to provide Armenia with its native model, Sattari said.

Sating that Iran owns the largest start-ups in the region specialized in the field of information and communication technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, stem cells, as well as about 50 science parks, he said, “Today, 98% of the medicine needed in the country are produced domestically by Iranian experts.”

He also expressed Iran’s readiness to assist Armenia in the development of new technologies.

Armenian Minister, for his part, welcomed the implementation of a joint project in the field of technology parks, saying that Iran enjoys high scientific and technological capacities, his country interested in using them.

Armenia seeks a program to repatriate its elites and educated people from all over the world. Therefore, elite return program implemented in Iran can be used in Armenia indigenously, he added.

RHM/5131158

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Ireland

Independent investigation to examine mother and baby homes in North

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Residents of homes for unmarried mothers and their children in Northern Ireland suffered a “lifetime of trauma”, Stormont’s First Minister has said.

A “victim-centred” independent investigation was ordered and Arlene Foster pledged the voices of survivors would be heard “loudly and clearly”.

A research report into operation of the institutions examined eight mother and baby homes, a number of former workhouses and four Magdalene laundries.

Ms Foster said: “It is with huge regret that we acknowledge the pain of those experiences and the hurt caused to women and girls who did nothing more than be pregnant outside of marriage, some of them criminally against their will.

“None of us should be proud of how our society shunned women in these circumstance and of their experiences while resident in these institutions.”

More than 10,500 women entered mother and baby homes over a 68-year period from 1922.

Around a third of those admitted were aged under 19 and most were from 20-29.

A number were the victims of sexual crime, including rape and incest.

Ms Foster added: “The research report to be published later today is only the start of a process to allow the long-silenced voices of women and their children to be heard.

“For too long they have carried a burden of shame and secrecy.

“Too often their treatment from those who were in positions of power and trust caused them real harm and a lifetime of trauma.”

Infant mortality

Around 4 per cent of babies were either stillborn or died shortly after birth across the entire period.

The research report does not reach firm conclusions about rates of infant mortality in mother and baby homes, the DUP leader added.

An estimated 32 per cent of infants were sent to baby homes following separation from their birth mother.

Other babies were boarded out – fostered in today’s terms. Others [around a quarter of babies] were placed for adoption.

Ireland

NI mother and baby home numbers may be ‘significan…

In the Republic, the report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes was published on January 12th. It revealed stories of cruelty, emotional abuse and soaring infant death rates in a series of State- and religious-run institutions.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the report outlined a “dark, difficult and shameful chapter of recent Irish history” in which an “extraordinarily oppressive culture” had “treated women exceptionally badly”.

The State, churches, the families of pregnant women and the fathers of their children were responsible for the ill-treatment of women, according to the report which took more than five years to research and compile.

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