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No Criminal Should Enjoy Ethnic Support, Says Ahmed Lawan

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Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, while speaking at an event in Lagos on Friday 19 Nov, said no criminal should go unpunished. Stating that if you commit a crime, you must serve the term. Adding that no criminal should enjoy special support from any ethnic group.

He said this at his speech presented as he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Telegraph at the Federal Palace Hotels in Lagos on Friday.

“Crime committed by anyone is crime. If someone from an ethnic group commits a crime he is a criminal. Is that not what he is? It doesn’t matter. The country is supposed to fight against that person. Criminals should not enjoy any support from any group even if it is from their ethnic group.

“Nigeria faces security challenges, but I feel there is certainly determination by all levels of government to fight the insecurity that we face. In some areas, we succeeded; in others, we are still working hard to succeed. What is important is for us to think to remain focused, undivided and united as a people.”

Lawan also revealed the Senate was set to pass the 2022 appropriation budget before Christmas so the executive would begin to act on it in the following year.

Lawan praised his other colleagues for working together in love and unity to move the Nation forward. “As a member, I have never seen a Senate chamber that is so united, determined and focused on achieving great deeds of legislation and development for our dear nation as this. This is my fourth term in the senate. When we came in 2019, our colleagues decided to give us the opportunity to serve them; we all decided that this time around, we must work for Nigeria, together in spite of our political dispositions.

“So far, the ninth National Assembly has recorded a great deal of successes. That is not to say that we don’t have our failures. We have our failures. It is in this senate that we have been able to pass the budget before Christmas in 2020 and we are sure we would pass the budget for 2022 before Christmas, which would give the executive arm of government the opportunity to start the implementation of the budget in the first month of the New Year.

“I want to also add here that it is this Senate and National Assembly that saw the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill that was denied passage for over 20 years. This is one very important, historic and essential pillar of legislation for our country. We have passed other legislation.

“Our country is going through some challenges. Some we cannot handle through legislation. I believe as politicians at all levels of governance, complement each other, pattern and ensure that we deliver service to the people of our country.”

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IPOB condemns bandits comparison by Sheik Gumi

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The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has voiced its condemnation at the Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, for comparing it to bandits recently pronounced a terrorist group by an Abuja court.

“In case, Gumi has forgotten, Fulani bandits and herdsmen are already designated the fourth deadliest terror organisation in the world. But IPOB as a peaceful Movement maintains its presence in over 100 countries of the world without any molestations,” the spokesperson of the group, Emma Powerful, in a statement on Sunday.

“It’s only in Nigeria that Gumi and his likes will liken IPOB to a terror group that it is not. What a blackmail.

“Can the mischievous Gumi be honest to tell the world if IPOB has kidnapped anybody at any time and demanded ransom for him to liken us with bandits?”

Mr Powerful added IPOB will maintain its peaceful nature with a vision of restoring the Sovereign State of Biafra.

“We believe in peaceful restoration of Biafra and our philosophy has not changed.” he noted.

IPOB also would like to remind Nigerians what Sheik Gumi’s true colours are.

“It’s because of hypocrites like him that bandits and terrorists keep spilling blood across the country as they know he will always make a case for them.

“Were Nigeria to be a sane society, Gumi and his types should have been serving their jail terms for their unhidden sympathy for terrorists.

“An advocate of bandits can’t claim to be a true Islamic cleric,” Mr Powerful concluded.

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PCR tests can detect Omicron, further research still ongoing, WHO says

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While PCR testing can identify Omicron infection, research is being conducted to see whether the Covid-19 variant of concern has any effect on other test types, according to the WHO on Sunday.

“The widely-used PCR tests continue to detect infection, including infection with Omicron, as we have seen with other variants,” WHO said in an update about the new variant.

“Studies are ongoing to determine whether there is any impact on other types of tests, including rapid antigen detection tests.”

The WHO classified Omicron, discovered earlier this month in southern Africa, a threat on Friday. The categorization placed Omicron among the universally dominant Delta and its weaker rivals Alpha, Beta, and Gamma.

Global border closures and further restrictions were reported on Sunday as Omicron spread around the world.

The strain has placed doubt on global attempts to fight the pandemic, causing governments to reimpose safeguards they had thought were no longer necessary.

The WHO stated it was “not yet clear” if Omicron spreads more readily or induces more severe illness than other strains.

“There is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those from other variants,” the UN health agency said.

While early data show a higher likelihood of reinfection with Omicron in those who previously had Covid, data is limited. The WHO said it was studying the variant’s influence on current countermeasures, including vaccinations.

“WHO is coordinating with a large number of researchers around the world to better understand Omicron,” it said. “More information will emerge in the coming days and weeks.”

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South African airports grind to a halt, passengers stranded due to Omicron

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The discovery of the Omicron COVID-19 variant disrupted flights and sparked worries of a hard shutdown in Africa’s most industrialised economy, causing shock and panic in South Africa.

Flights from South Africa to the United States, the United Kingdom, and other European countries were quickly halted after South African scientists reported the virus strain’s discovery on Thursday.

“This is absolute chaos. Nobody can tell us what is possible in terms of travel at this point,” said stranded passenger Steve Lawrence in OR Tambo, one of Africa’s busiest airports.

Since early November, the number of daily coronavirus infections has increased thirteenfold, with 3,220 new cases recorded on Saturday alone. 89,791 people have died in South Africa since the outbreak began.

Panic caused 600 passengers on two KLM aircraft from Johannesburg to Amsterdam to be stuck on the runway at Schiphol Airport.

“It’s naïve for developed countries to believe they can stop the spread of this variant with a blanket ban on countries in southern Africa.

The virus has already found its way into these societies from individuals that haven’t even travelled to or come into contact with anyone from southern Africa,” said Shabir Madhi, a South African vaccinologist, to Al Jazeera.

Flight cancellations increased immediately after the unexpected suspension of aircraft startled the tourism sector.

The South African tourism industry lost $10 billion in bookings in 2020 due to a decrease in international tourists, and an estimated $10 million each week due to airline cancellations.

The South African government labelled any travel restrictions on the nation “misdirected”, while the WHO urged for calm.

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