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COVID-19: Vice Chancellors Insist Schools Can Reopen

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Vice-Chancellors of some federal and state universities in Nigeria have expressed readiness to reopen schools.

Though the Academic Staff Union of Universities had said that varsities were not ready for reopening, the VCs said they had planned to reopen their institutions as directed by the Federal Government.

One of the VCs of a federal university in the South-West told our correspondent that it was wrong for ASUU to claim that there were no guidelines for reopening varsities.

Apart from the scare arising from the second wave of COVID-19, another VC said some of them (VCs) had planned to stagger resumption.

“I think ASUU should begin to speak to facts. Inasmuch as we do not want the COVID-19 outbreak on our campuses, we had our plans. Some academic activities can resume for classes with a few populations,” one of the VCs told our correspondent on the telephone.

“LASU recently held examinations for students in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, and it went well. What do they mean by saying there is no guideline for reopening?” another VC queried.

On his part, VC of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Prof. Felix Salako, said the varsity would resume academic activities on January 18, in compliance with the directives of the Federal Government.

Salako maintained that the university was ready to resume academic activities, saying that measures had been put in place, including COVID-19 protocols as stipulated by the Federal Government.

He said it was mischievous and political for any lecturer to go to the media to say that the university was not ready for academic activities.

Salako noted that the school had undergone fumigation more than 10 times since March 2020, just as there had been massive infrastructural rehabilitation.

He added that the management had been producing its own hand sanitisers, as well as procuring hand-washing basins and soaps needed to keep the students and members of staff safe from contracting the virus.

The vice-chancellor also said the university would be running what he described as “hybrid” teaching, a mix of physical and virtual learning, while no fewer than 150 solar panels had been installed in some of the buildings, to provide alternative sources of electricity and facilitate the planned hybrid system of learning delivery.

“The virtual learning will take care of large classes, like the part one students, but for fewer classes, we have large halls to accommodate the students”, NAN quoted Salako as saying.

Meanwhile, the University of Ilorin has started online lectures as scheduled.

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Finally, Buhari Fires Service Chiefs, Names Replacements

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After years of complaints by Nigerians about the worsening security situation amidst the overstay of Nigeria’s military chiefs in office, President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday relieved the officials of their positions.

Presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said in a statement, Tuesday, that Mr Buhari “accepted the immediate resignation of the Service Chiefs, and their retirement from service.”

The four men – Gabriel Olonisakin, a general and Chief of Defence Staff; Tukur Buratai; a lieutenant general and chief of army staff; Abubakar Sadique, an air marshal and chief of air staff, and Ibok Ibas, a vice admiral and chief of naval staff – were supposed to have retired over two years ago based on their years of service.

But President Buhari kept them in office even as the security situation across the country worsened with bandits wreaking havoc in the North-west and North-central states, the Boko Haram carrying out attacks in the North-east and kidnapping becoming the norm in several states across Nigeria.

As the security situation got worse and more Nigerians called for the replacement of the service chiefs, Mr Buhari stuck to his guns, insisting they were doing their best and did not deserve to be replaced.

Even when he finally relieved them of their positions on Tuesday, the president praised the officials for their “overwhelming achievements in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country.”

President Buhari’s claim of “overwhelming achievements’ by the outgone military chiefs not only contradicts the perception of many Nigerians but also contradicts the position of the National Assembly dominated by members of the president’s party, APC.

At least on three different occasions, the National Assembly called for the sack of the service chiefs based on the worsening security situation. On each occasion, the president ignored the lawmakers and retained the Olonisakin-led service chiefs who were appointed on July 13, 2015, after President Buhari assumed office.

In his statement, Mr Adesina announced that the president appointed Leo Irabor, a major general, as the Chief of Defence Staff.

Mr Irabor formerly led Nigeria’s war against Boko Haram as the Theatre Commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole.

Ibrahim Attahiru, also a major general, was named the new Chief of Army Staff. Like Mr Irabor, Mr Attahiru had also led the war against Boko Haram.

The president also appointed A.Z. Gambo, a rear admiral, as Chief of Naval Staff and Isiaka Amao, an air vice marshal, as Chief of Air Staff.

“The President congratulates the new Service Chiefs, and urges them to be loyal and dedicated in the discharge of their responsibilities,” Mr Adesina said.

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Just In: Chelsea Fire Manager Frank Lampard

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Chelsea announced on Monday they had sacked manager Frank Lampard after a poor run in the Premier League.

“This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him,” said owner Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea are struggling in ninth place in the Premier League table, 11 points behind leaders Manchester United.

They have lost five of their past eight Premier League matches after a good start to the season.

Former Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel in line to take over, reports said.

(AFP)

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Eagles Captain, Ahmed Musa Set to Join West Brom

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Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa is set to join Premier League club West Bromwich Albion on a short term deal.

The 28-year-old has been unattached since quitting Al Nassr in October 2020.

According to Daily Mail, the Baggies have requested a visa for the winger and have also scheduled him for a medical on Wednesday.

Capped 95 times by Nigeria, Musa’s career has stalled since he left CSKA Moscow in 2016. Having scored 55 goals in 167 appearances for the Russians, he joined Leicester City in the summer of that year.

Things did not work out at the King Power Stadium, as the African made just seven league starts in 21 outings.

He joined after the Foxes had claimed the Premier League title and hoped to be part of something special with the club.

But he was loaned back to CSKA for the second half of the 2017/18 campaign.

He was then sold to Al Nassr in January 2019 and played 62 times in all competitions before being released.

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