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Nigeria Records 226 New COVID-19 Cases, Total Now 6,401

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Nigeria on Tuesday recorded 226 new cases of COVID-19 as death toll from the virus inched closer to 200. One person was confirmed dead from the virus on Tuesday.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), with Tuesday’s figure, the total tally of infected people in the country rose to 6,401.

The health agency in a tweet Tuesday night said the new cases were reported in 16 states. These are Lagos, Ogun, Plateau, Edo, Kaduna, Oyo, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) , Adamawa, Jigawa, Ebonyi, Borno, Nasarawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Enugu and Bayelsa

All the reporting states already had at least a case of the virus.

“Till date, 6401 cases have been confirmed, 1734 cases have been discharged and 192 deaths have been recorded in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory, NCDC said.

The 226 new cases are reported from 16 states- Lagos – 131, Ogun – 25, Plateau – 15, Edo – 11, Kaduna – 7, Oyo – 6, FCT – 5, Adamawa – 5, Jigawa – 4, Ebonyi – 4, Borno – 4, Nasarawa – 3, Bauchi – 2, Gombe – 2, Enugu – 1 and Bayelsa – 1.

Nigeria has so far tested 36, 899 persons since the beginning of the pandemic.

A breakdown of all the confirmed cases so far shows that 4,475 cases are still active, 1,734 have recovered and have been discharged, and 192 deaths have been reported.

A breakdown of the 6,401 confirmed cases shows that Lagos State has so far reported 2, 755 cases, followed by Kano – 824, FCT – 427, Katsina – 281, Bauchi – 224, Borno – 227, Jigawa – 205, Ogun – 178, Kaduna – 152, Oyo – 143, Gombe – 136, Sokoto – 113, Edo – 119, Zamfara – 84, Kwara – 65, Rivers – 53, Plateau – 50, Osun – 42, Nasarawa – 34, Yobe – 32, Kebbi – 32, Delta – 27, Adamawa – 26, Niger – 22, Ondo – 20, Ekiti – 19,Akwa Ibom – 18, Taraba – 17, Enugu – 16, Ebonyi – 13, Imo – 7, Bayelsa – 7, Benue – 5, Anambra – 5 and Abia – 5.

There has been an increase in the number of cases reported across the states. Figures from NCDC also revealed that many of the states with increasing figures are those from the northern part of the country.

The presidential taskforce COVID-19 coordinator, Sani Aliyu, said on Tuesday at a press briefing that the response to COVID-19 cannot primarily be driven at the federal level.

“We need states to take more ownership,” he said. “Our responsibility is to provide guidance and ensure adequate compliance to recommended measures across board.”

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Zamfara Gov Accuses Traditional Rulers of Sabotaging Peace Efforts

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The Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, has accused some unnamed traditional rulers of sabotaging his government’s peace efforts in the state.

The governor, at a meeting with the heads of security agencies in the state on Thursday, said the traditional rulers were not playing their expected roles in the fight against banditry.

He said this has led to the recent deterioration of insecurity in the state.

The meeting was also attended by religious clerics, traditional rulers and journalists at the Government House in Gusau.

Mr Matawalle said some traditional rulers were aiding the illegal activities of outlawed vigilante groups in their domains, which he said was provoking reprisal attacks by bandits.

The governor also condemned a statement by the chairman of the state’s traditional rulers’ council, the Emir of Anka, Attahiru Ahmad, in which he challenged the state government to allow citizens to bear arms for self defence, since the government had failed in protecting the citizens.

The governor said “it is discouraging to have a respected personality like the state chairman Council of Chiefs to grant an interview with journalists to challenge the efforts of the government and security operatives.”

Mr Matawalle said security is a collective responsibility and not that of the government alone.

He said if the residents and traditional leaders are not interested in his administration’s dialogue with the bandits, he would withdraw from it.

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Ondo Monarchs Urge South West Governors to Cage Killer Herdsmen

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The Ondo State Council of Obas, on Thursday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to caution his aides who comment on security of the country.

The traditional rulers, who reacted over the comments made by some aides of the President on the order of Akeredolu ejecting the herdsmen from all the forest reserves in the state, said the move was not to chase out the Fulani in the state but to save it from the activities of the bandits.

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of meeting of the monarchs in Akure, which was read by a former Chairman of the council and the Olukare of Ikareland, Oba Akadiri Momoh.

The monarchs said, “We are calling on President Buhari to show to the world that he is a father of all irrespective of ethnic affiliation as well as cautioned his aides to exercise restraints on issues that border on insecurity in the country.”

The obas urged “the governors in the South-West region, the South-West caucus in the National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly to use constitutional means to rein the rampaging criminals masquerading as herdsmen across the region.”

The state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Charles Titiloye, declared that the state had no plan to send anti-open grazing bill to the state House of Assembly at the moment.

He said what was on ground in the state currently was the order of the governor to be complied with within seven days.

Titiloye said, “I may not be able to reply whether the state is planning to send the anti-grazing bill or not because the governor has given an order and after the seven days ultimatum and there is no compliance, then we shall know what to do next.”

Reacting to the claim by the Northern Elders Forum that the herdsmen had freedom of movement, the commissioner explained that the governor’s order had not restrained anybody’s movement, but to flush out criminal elements among herdsmen in the state.

He said, “We are not restraining any movement. Forests have been turned to hideouts of criminals and in order to identify the real herdsmen and the criminal ones; that is why the order of the governor came.

“We know that after seven days, the criminal ones would not leave the forest reserves; and until then we shall know what step to take next.”

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Japan Denies Cancellation of Tokyo Olympics

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Japan doubled down on its commitment to host the Tokyo Olympics this year and flatly denied reports on Friday of a cancellation, in a move that is unlikely to temper public fears of holding the event during a global pandemic.

Though much of Japan is under a state of emergency due to a third wave of COVID-19 infections, Tokyo organisers have consistently vowed to press ahead with the Games scheduled to open on July 23 after having been postponed in March last year.

A government spokesman said there was “no truth” to a report in The Times that Japan was now focused on rescheduling the event to 2032.

“We will clearly deny the report,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Manabu Sakai said in a press conference on Friday.

The Tokyo 2020 organising committee also denied the report, saying its partners including the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee were “fully focused” on hosting the games as scheduled.

In early international reactions, the Australian and U.S. Olympic Committees said they were preparing for the Games as planned.

“Unfortunately, I need to address unfounded rumours that the Tokyo Olympic Games will be cancelled, rumours that only create more anxiety for athletes,” Matt Carroll, the chief executive of the Australian committee, told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

“The Tokyo Games are on. The flame will be lit on July 23, 2021.”

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) is run by the IOC’s pointman for the Tokyo Games John Coates.

Olympic committees from the U.S. and Canada wrote on Twitter they had not received any information suggesting the Games would not happen as planned.

Japan has been hit less severely by the pandemic than many other advanced economies, but a recent surge in cases has forced it to close its borders to non-resident foreigners and declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and major cities.

About 80 per cent of people in Japan do not want the Games to be held this summer, recent opinion polls show, over fears the influx of athletes will spread the virus further.

In an interview ahead of Friday’s report, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said he was cautiously hopeful that successful rollouts of COVID-19 vaccines could help lead to the safe staging of the world’s largest sporting event.

The Olympic Games represents a major milestone for Japan and its premier, Yoshihide Suga, who has said the event would bring “hope and courage” to the world. Suga reiterated on Friday that it would go ahead as planned.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach reaffirmed his commitment to holding the Games this year in an interview with Kyodo News on Thursday.

“We have at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on the 23rd of July in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo,” Bach told Kyodo.

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