The African region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) has arrived in Abuja for its 51st Annual Conference.
Effects of COVID-19 on member states, economic stability and security, amongst other issues, will be discussed at the conference.
The clerk of the Namibian parliament, Lydia Kandetu, said shortly after presiding over the inaugural meeting of the Society of Clerks-at-the-Table, an organ of the CPA that houses clerks to the parliament or national assembly of member states.
According to Ms Kandetu, about 12 countries were expected to send representatives to this year’s CPA, where decisions on various issues shall be taken.
She added that other countries might join later.
On the effect of COVID-19 on the parliaments, Ms Kandetu stated that the conference would discuss whether to resume full sittings in member states or not.
She further mentioned that parliamentarians had been meeting at irregular sessions and virtually since the pandemic started.
“The COVID-19, for example, hit us so hard. So this is the platform where we can also discuss issues of whether we can now start meeting physically or continue virtually as the case may be,” she said.
Ms Kandetu explained that the Namibian parliament had to divide its members to sit in different rooms to ensure social distancing.
“The conference is going to discuss the issue of the countries that were hit and the possible solutions we can come up with so that each country can learn from one another,” she said.
The clerk of Nigeria’s parliament, Ojo Amos, said the conference would allow member states to cross-pollinate ideas on solving pressing issues in their countries.
Mr Amos also noted that President Muhammadu Buhari would officially inaugurate the conference on November 11.
UK stops issuance of visa to Nigerians
The United Kingdom has announced a temporary suspension on reviewing and issuing visitor visa applications from all red list countries, including Nigeria.
The decision was announced in a statement issued on Sunday by the British High Commission.
“To support the UK Government’s aim to protect public health from COVID-19 and associated variants of concern (VOC), UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) will pause making decisions on visitor visa applications in all red list countries, including Nigeria, until travel restrictions are lifted,” the statement said.
This comes after Nigeria was placed on the UK’s red list over growing concerns of the recently identified COVID-19 Omicron variant.
“You cannot travel to the UK if you’ve been in a red list country in the previous 10 days unless you are a British or Irish national, have residence rights in the UK,” the commission had said on Sunday.
On Saturday, Peoples Gazette reported Nigeria’s addition to the UK’s “red list”, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid listing the new restrictions that would come into force on Tuesday. These restrictions include out-bound passengers needing to provide either valid evidence of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative PCR test result within 48 hours of departure.
Nigeria, after confirming two cases of the Omicron variant on December 1, joined the list of African countries, except those in North Africa, which have been placed on red lists as high-risk countries.
Governments across the globe have been emplacing travel bans since the Omicron variant was sequenced and identified in South Africa. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had said that the Omicron variant, now detected in 38 countries, appears to be more contagious than the COVID-19 Delta variant.
APC wins Ekiti council poll boycotted by PDP
The Ekiti State Independent Electoral Commission on Sunday declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of all the seats contested in Saturday’s local government councils poll in the state.
The election was boycotted by the main opposition party PDP which claimed that the APC led administration in the state was incapable of organising credible, free and fair elections without violence.
Justice Jide Aladejana, the chairman of the commission, announced that the APC won all the 35 council chairmanship seats and 176 out of the 177 councilorship seats declared.
Mr Aladejana said that the commission had postponed councilorship election in Erinjiyan ward, following violence that broke out during the poll in the town.
He appreciated security agencies and the staff of the commission as well as the electorate for participating in the poll and for their cooperation for the successful conduct of the election.
The election was held across the 16 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and the 19 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) as well as the 177 wards of the state.
Six other political parties participated in the poll.
They included Action Alliance (AA), African Democratic Congress (ADC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), All Progressives Congress(APC), National Rescue Movement(NRM), and Young Progressives Party (YPP).
Speaking on the election, Raphael Adeyanju, the state PDP Publicity Secretary, described it as a sham.
Mr Adeyanju said that the result of the election and the obvious low turnout of voters had confirmed fears by the party that the result had already been predetermined by the ruling APC ahead of the poll.
The spokesman also described the conduct of election in the newly created LCDAs as unconstitutional, claiming that since the constitution of Nigeria only recognised the existing sixteen LGAs in state, the election in the 19 LCDAs was an aberration and a waste of resources.
Kogi speaker’s wife dies in Lagos
The wife of the Speaker of Kogi House of Assembly, Esther Zainab Kolawole, is dead.
Femi Olugbemi, spokesman to the speaker, Matthew Kolawole, announced this in a statement on Sunday.
He said the deceased died in the early hours of Sunday in a Lagos state hospital.
The statement stated that Mrs Kolawole was 50-years and died after a brief illness.
According to him, the burial arrangements will be announced later.
He said she is survived by her husband, children, siblings and an aged mother.
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