Covid-19: Giving.ng Seeks N1bn For Health Workers In Partnership With Sterling Bank

Giving.ng, a crowdfunding platform, has said it is partnering Sterling Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading commercial bank, to raise N1 billion from donors to support healthcare professionals taking care of persons infected with the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across the country.

A statement released in Lagos by the crowdfunding platform today urged well-meaning individuals, associations, corporations and institutions to contribute to the fight against the Coronavirus disease through the intervention fund by visiting www.giving.ng to donate. 

It added that Sterling Bank launched the fund with a donation of N25, 000, 000 (Twenty-Five Million Naira) to support healthcare workers at the frontline of the effort to keep citizens safe while caring for persons infected by the Coronavirus disease.

Initiated by giving.ng, in partnership with Sterling Bank, the fund will enable corporations, institutions and individuals at home and in the Diaspora to come together and reward healthcare workers, in addition to the hazard pay they will receive from their employers, for their sacrifice and bravery.

Commenting on the donation, Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank said, “Medical responders are generally working in environments that put them at a higher risk of contact with COVID-19. They are continuously saving lives, helping individuals and families and serving the nation at this uncertain time. They are truly heroes for putting their lives at risk in the service of others. Their bravery inspires us to look forward to a time when this will be in our collective past.

“Combating COVID-19 is beyond the capacity of any single institution or sector. It is a crisis that is stretching the capacity of healthcare infrastructure and personnel world over. And stopping this pandemic requires the elimination of boundaries to resources. One way to do that is by setting funds aside to support brave medical responders at this time. “

On her part, Olapeju Ibekwe, Project Manager for giving.ng, said “The N25 million donation by Sterling Bank shows the commitment of the bank to the common good of all, especially at a time when individuals, families, corporations and governments must make sacrifices for the survival of the human race.”

She said giving.ng believes that additional hazard pay should be given to frontline healthcare workers evacuating and treating infected persons, testing and supporting exposed contacts despite the risk associated with their daily routine, adding that, “We are certain Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora as well as friends of Nigeria will donate generously to this fund” 

The giving.ng crowdfunding platform provides donors with the opportunity to become part of a movement focused on supporting healthcare workers to put an end to Nigeria’s COVID-19 epidemic through additional welfare packages that inspires them to go the extra-mile.

LIRS Extends Deadline For Filing of Annual Returns To May 31

In view of the coronavirus pandemic altering socio-economic activities around the world and as part of the on-going efforts to mitigate the effect on businesses and taxpayers, the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) has extended the deadline for filing of Annual Returns for Individual taxpayers including self-employed persons for two (2) months from April 1 to May 31, 2020.
Statutorily, the filing of annual returns expires on the March 31st of every fiscal year, and attracts stiff penalties for defaulters. With this extension as announced by LIRS, taxpayers are given a breather.
According to the Chairman of Lagos State Internal Revenue Service Mr. Ayodele Subair, the extension of deadline of the Annual Returns is in response to appeals made by taxpayers as well as a policy shift by the agency to assuage the effect of COVID-19 on the taxpayers and residents of Lagos State. “We implore the taxpayers to access our eTax platform for all tax operations and administration matters, including filing of annual returns from the comfort of their homes and offices. They can do this, by simply logging on to the eTax platform via https://etax.lirs.net or calling our Customer Care Centre on 0700 CALL LIRS (070022555477)’’  he concluded.
While further updates on business operations and alternative payment platforms of the service can be obtained by visiting the LIRS website, (www.lirs.gov.ng), and its various social media handles, the management and staff of LIRS appeal to the residents of Lagos State to support the efforts of the Lagos State Government ably led by Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu by adhering strictly to the COVID-19 safety guidelines as issued by relevant health authorities.

Those Whose Prayers God May Not Answer, By Olusegun Fafore

With the public outrage following the flouting of government’s directives by some religious institutions last weekend over the number of worshippers that could attend mosques and churches for prayers in the face of the deadly pandemic ravaging the world, God may have nullified some supplications for putting His creations in danger.

The contribution of a South Korean Church to the Coronavirus spread, which represents about 60% of the country’s confirmed cases of over 4,000, motivated restrictions on the number of people who can congregate at places of worship at this time.

The restriction terms, which allowed 50 worshippers, was further revised to 20 people, with ample space between seats and individuals who must be at worship centres for their supplications to be heard by God or Allah.  

As attendance at religious gatherings were monitored for compliance, social gatherings did not go off the sight of governments. This is because governors will be labelled as failures and ineffective if the ruthlessness of the virus overruns our communities. 

At a speed matching the invasive tendencies of the deadly Coronavirus, governments across the globe made pronouncements and took decisions targeted at protecting their citizens, limiting the spread of the virus and managing the level of fatality.    

In the city of Rome, the capital of Italy, a country that lost about 743 people to the Coronavirus outbreak in just one day, the lockdown forced churches to suspend Mass. 

Meanwhile, before this outbreak, Rome was the downtown of Catholic worship. The Pope resides in the Vatican City, a sovereign City-State enclaved within Rome, which has been a center of Christian Pilgrimage for centuries.

With death in the air, excursion to the holy city stopped. Priests in the Vatican found other ways to reach their congregations since science has established that Coronavirus thrives amidst multitudes. 

Perhaps this was why Saudi Arabia’s King Salman locked-down the country’s capital, Riyadh, and the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Beyond this action, the country, which hosts millions of pilgrims annually, suspended all educational and Qur’anic activities at all Mosques, closed malls, restaurants, cafes and parks, and banned Muslim pilgrims from coming for Umrah this year.

These decisions, are not only unusual, but are far-reaching, and genuinely reflective of the value placed on citizens lives by the government of the county.  And the impacts of these decisions are evident in the containment effort of the State, which has limited casualty of the dreaded virus to only 1, out of the 767 reported cases, since the country confirmed its first case on March 2, 2020. 

Public safety sentiment echoes across the globe. It is a critical index for measuring purposeful leadership at this unnerving period in human existence. So that you know, the time has gotten direr in Israel and the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to implement a total lockdown.

The number of sick Israelis infected by novel Coronavirus has climbed to 2, 369. And it is the responsibility of the State to cater for them and prevent them from adding to the number of deaths attributed to the pandemic.

“These steps we have taken here in Israel are being taken all of the world; however, they are not enough because the number of patients is doubling every three days” said the Prime Minister who added that “in two weeks we are liable to find ourselves with thousands of patients many of whom will be in danger of death”.

If this statement does not provide hint of the despair in the Prime Minister’s voice, it is reflective of the fact that he is under enormous pressure to protect his people from the scourging death and save his land from the spate of Coronavirus.

Netanyahu’s predicament reflects what every leader all over the world is going through at this period. Even, his case should be different because Israelis have an unending covenant with God, and they can afford to ignore the roving signs of over the world. 

Leadership is a huge responsibility. People occupying such positions are wearing thorny crowns at this moment.  Whether they are calm or spirited, their minds are in crisis. They are thinking about the safety of everyone, and the purity of their territories, which could be a sovereign or sub-national. 

Forget the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s calm demeanor. Every additional case of Coronavirus in the State unsettles him. Since when the first case, which later turned negative was announced in Lagos State, the Governor’s determination to contain the pestilence has increased. Every update, he wished had included the announcement of a vaccine, or drugs that can permanently wiped-out the deadly Coronavirus from our World.       

“There are about 22 million people in my care and everyone is only an arm’s length away from the other. This pandemic is highly transmissible and travels in the air from one person to the other. Aside from my domain being the most populous in the country, with an incredible density, it is also the major entry point into Nigeria. Daily, thousands of travelers come into Lagos from different parts of the world, even from Coronavirus worse-hit countries”, captures the minute-by-minute thoughts on Governor Sanwo-Olu’s mind.

So, his mind cannot idle away from the conjectures coming in gushes. Even, complicating the situation is the centrality of Lagos to managing the containment of the deadly virus in Nigeria. The level of the State’s preparedness and quality of facilities make it a destination for case management and patient treatment. 

As the facilities get stretched by cases imported from outside Lagos, his mind skips; because of the ever-present imbalance between needs and available resources in life. If not for our recklessness, may be the number of cases in Nigeria would still have been as low as five, and Lagos will be zero with the index case turning negative. And this would have perhaps contributed to reduction in his anxieties.

But we are strange and very funny people, with immeasurable capacity for disobedience. It is ridiculous that government needed to enforce compliance with directives to stem the tide of a lethal microbe that has claimed 21,367 lives from the 475,879 cases in 198 countries.  

We sneered at instructions as basic as restricting the number of congregations to 20 if there must worship in our Churches or Mosques and self-isolate for 14 days, if we just returned from overseas trip, to abate the spread of Coronavirus amongst us. 

Even, the call to avoid public places and social gatherings at this perilous time is pointlessly ignored just as much as the need for personal hygiene is discounted.

Excuse me, why are the doctrines of “wash your hands regularly with soap” and “observe the principles of social distancing” to protect yourself from a deadly infection difficult to obey? Are we just being suicidal, or deliberately inclined to committing large scale murder?  

Don’t we understand that our disobedience endangers other people’s lives and diminishes government efforts at protecting the land against pandemic? If we assemble somewhere in the name of prayer or worship, and enable coronavirus fly at a geometric progression through community spread, we have not only disobeyed civil authorities, but also committed evil in the sight of God. Good citizenship is one of the conditions precedent to Godliness. For Christians, Apostle Paul espoused this in his homily on civil obedience in Roman 13: 1-1.

The holy Quran does not defer on civil obedience and respect for constituted authority. In verse 59 of Surah An-Nisa in the Quran, which is known as Uli al-Amr verse, Believers are ordered to obey Allah, obey the prophet and those vested with authority (Uli al-Amr).

So, where did the disobedience come from? If your recalcitrance increases the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria and results in loss of several lives, you are a murderer! If you fail to self-isolate when you return from overseas or are exposed an infected person, you are killer because your indiscretion will infect people with the novel coronavirus.

We need to comply with the social distancing and personal hygiene precepts. No one should commit suicide by disregarding these principles. God holds human life sacred. That is why the 6th commandment, Exodus 20;13 “Thou shalt not kill” is a clear directive to preserve human life.

More importantly, suicide is a grave sin before our creator.  It is true that in times of pestilence, prayer is a means of privileged communication with the Almighty God. No one is in doubt about the power of prayer as a source of strength in moment of crisis, but like Peter cautioned Christians to conduct their lives properly;  so that their “prayers be not hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7). 

If your actions or activities cause self-death or death of others, or endanger the society, God may not answer your prayers. 

Stay safe. Wisdom is profitable to direct. 

Fafore is Executive Assistant on Public Relations and New Media to Lagos State Governor

COVID-19: FirstBank Donates N1Billion, Reiterates Commitment To The Safety of Nigerians

FirstBank has announced its donation of the sum of N1bn towards the joint effort by the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) to rapidly expand the health facilities; especially Testing, Isolation, treatment and the provision of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) facilities pivotal to controlling the spread and importantly, treating individuals diagnosed with COVID- 19. This is in addition to the Bank’s drive to move one million children to e-learning, together with an early partner – Roducate – as recommended by the Ministry of Education, Lagos State

In line with the 14-day stay home directive for Lagos, Ogun and FCT Abuja in the speech by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Bank has also reiterated its preparedness to provide essential Banking services through its alternative channels to its customers and the public at large which is in line with its robust Business Continuity Plan.

Updating on the Bank’s efforts; the Bank’s CEO, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, said “we promise to continue to look at all areas of intervention where our business infrastructure, reach, digital platforms and other natural strengths lie and can be deployed to further support all efforts for Nigerians; young and old alike.

To that end, we will continue to communicate ways in which we can do more together.

We thank our community of friends, customers and other stakeholders who have continued to send us ideas and initiatives and are gladdened at the solidarity we see as Nigerians come together to tackle this under one umbrella.

Please stay safe and let’s work together to flatten the curve”, he concluded.

Lagos Discharges Five Coronavirus Patients

Lagos State Government on Monday discharged five coronavirus patients at Infectious Disease Centre, Yaba Mainland Hospital, The Nation reported. Therefore, this brings to eight the total number of discharged patients from the centre.
The patients, who had been quarantined at the isolation centre for weeks, looked stable and unruffled.
Although the discharged patients preferred anonymity, they expressed joy and satisfaction over the treatment they received.
While thanking the State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his support and proactiveness, the report has it that they pleaded that the workers at the Centre should be given life insurance.

While speaking to reporters, one of the patients said: “I came in here on the 15th and after the test showed positive, I was asked to come back the next day. So I was admitted here.
“Initially, there were hitches but it later turned out fine. The health workers did fine, all our challenges were attended to. I’m a living witness together with my other colleagues.”
He gave an impressive hope, saying people should not panic as the virus could be defeated.
“We can beat it. I want to assure others that this is not their resting place. Encourage yourselves, take your medications and in no distant time, you will get out of here.


“I want to appeal to the federal government and Lagos State government that, they should remunerate all those workers who have volunteered to work accordingly, so as to serve as an encouragement to others, adding that, “If they are not here as first responders, many would have died.”
Another patient said “I was admitted last Sunday. Initially, there were challenges, the following day, they brought to bed, mask and some equipment.

“Apart from what my colleague said, the workers should be insured. Proper insurance will let people do what they have to do.
He narrated a scenario where the workers could not attend to him because he tested positive, saying “they went back and I slept of. I woke up around 3 a.m. So they deserve life insurance to encourage them to do their job.”

Adenuga Donates N1.5Billion Towards Fight Against Covid-19

Billionaire mogul and Globacom Chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr, has joined the growing list of billionaires raising hopes in the fight against the novel Covid-19 as he donated an initial sum of N1 billion to the Federal Government and N500 million to the Lagos State government. 
The businessman made the donation on Monday, through his foundation, The Mike Adenuga Foundation.

In a letter to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and delivered by his daughter, Mrs. Bella Disu, Adenuga stated that, “the various timely, broad and focused measures being put in place are highly commendable and worthy of support as they shall in due course end the insidious propagation of the dreaded virus.
“We wish, Sir, to affirm our unequivocal readiness to work with the Lagos State government in ensuring a smooth and expeditious achievement of Your Excellency’s noble objectives.  


“We are to this end attaching herewith our bank cheque in the sum of Five Hundred Million naira (N500,000,000) as our modest initial contribution to the success of the laudable efforts being vigorously pursued under Your Excellency’s proactive and brilliant leadership.”
Adenuga added, “We shall in addition to this contribution actively continue our ongoing efforts to assist various bodies and institutions in the country with the supply of such essential items as Sanitizers, Masks, Test kits, Ventillators, PPEs and other necessary requirements.”



In another separate letter to Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, the Globacom founder applauded the federal government’s measures to address the negative impact of COVID-19 virus on the health, finance and other sectors of the economy.
He also lauded the CBN’s Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19, which he described as a commendable and worthwhile initiative that deserves the moral and financial support of all stakeholders of the private sector. 
“Given its broad scope and focused thrust, we are convinced that effective execution of the well-articulated objectives of the coalition is certain to yield the type of very positive results that will stand the country in good stead in the ongoing battle to checkmate the malignant COVID-19 virus,” he stated.

“We are towards this end pleased to attach a bank cheque in the sum of One Billion Naira (N1, 000, 000, 000) as our modest initial contribution to the success of this welcome initiative,” Adenuga wrote. 

Phebean Ogundipe Author of Brighter Grammar Dies At 92

Phebean Ogundipe, author of famous English textbooks, Practical English and Brighter Grammar has died. She was 92.
She died 27 March in Charlotte, North Carolina in the United States.
Ogundipe, nee Itayemi, was born in Esa-Oke, Osun on 6 May 1927.
She had her elementary education in Esa-oke and Imesi-Ile. She later went to Queen’s College, Yaba, Lagos on a full scholarship for her secondary education.

Thereafter, she went to University of St Andrews, Scotland for a Master of Arts in English.

Upon completion of her studies, she began her career in the Federal Ministry of Education and served in different schools as an English teacher.
One of the schools was Queen’s College, Ede, where she met her husband, Adebayo Ogundipe.

Lagos Socialite, Eletu Odibo, Others In N250m Fraud Saga

Justice Sherifat Solebo of a Special Offences Court, Ikeja-Lagos state, has issued a bench warrant against a Lagos Socialite, Waheed Gabadamosi Eletu Odibo, for his failure to appear before the court to take his plea on alleged criminal charge of N250 million fraud.

Other affected by the order is one Yemi Idowu and two companies; Aircom Nigeria Limited and STB Building Society.

Justice Solebo order was sequel to an application for the defendants’ arrest, filed and argued by the counsel to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Ahmed Yerima.

In asking Justice Solebo to grant the application, Yerima told that request for issuance of arrest warrant against all the was based on the order of another court, that dismissed a fundamental rights suit filed by the defendants against EFCC.

Yerima also told the court that following the dismissal of defendants’ suit against his Commission, they were charged to court on the alleged crimes.

Yerima said: “My lord, another court where the defendants filed a case of breach of fundamental human right against the Commission, ordered the defendant to appear before this court to face the charges against him and no right was breach by the commission.

“But has my lord can see they are not in court today, disobeying that order. In that circumstance, would be asking for a bench warrant against the all the defendants.

Justice Solebo, upon hearing the EFCC counsel’s request, issued the warrant against all the defendants.

Waheed Gabadamosi Eletu Odibo, Yemi Idowu, Aircom Nigeria Limited and STB Building Society are to face an 8 count charge bothering on stealing, obtaining money under false pretence

The offences which are contrary to section 278(1),(5)(a), 285(1)(b) 390, 390(1) and 419 of the criminal law of Lagos state of Nigeria 2011 and criminal code law of Lagos state of Nigeria 2003, respectively.

The defendants, according to the petition dated December 21, 2016, by the nominal complainants, the dou of Ononeyi Okonkwo and Mr Uchenna Anazodo, told the Commission about the alleged fraudulent sale of four plots of land situated at Osapa London, Lekki, Lagos State valued at about N250 million by persons believed to be acting for the Gbadamosi Eletu family, who conspired with prime movers and directors of one Aircom Nigeria Limited and STB Building Society

The petition further stated that some members of the Gbadamosi Eletu family from whom the nominal complainants purchased the land to have same land sold to them at higher price thereby supplanting the nominal complainants interest over the land.

The charge sheet against the defendants read: “that you Waheed Gabadamosi Eletu Odibo, Yemi Idowu, Aircom Nigeria Limited and STB Building Society, sometimes in 2013 at Lagos within the Ikeja judicial division, dishonestly converted for your own use 3 plot of land measuring 254,588 hectares, situated at Crystal Road, Osapa Village, Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos, property of Onononyi Patrick Okonkwo.

“That you, Waheed Gabadamosi Eletu Odibo, Yemi Idowu, Aircom Nigeria Limited and STB Building Society sometimes in 2013 at Lagos within the Ikeja judicial division, dishonestly converted for your own use 1 plot of land, measuring about 669,572 square meters, situated at Crystal Road, Osapa Village, Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos, property of Uchenna Temple Anazodo”.

Justice Solebo has adjourned the matter till May 13, 2020, for arraignment and trial of the defendants.

Folasade Adunni Adesoye: The Ultimate Jewelry Aficionado of Nigerian Society

One of Nigeria’s most prominent society matriarchs, Otunba (Mrs) Folasade Risiquat Adunni Adesoye, was in a whoop of joy, as she celebrated her 58th birthday recently.

It was a double-edged celebration for this adorable society maven, who is regarded as the Ace of Diamonds within the Nigerian social circuit, an enviable position she shares with society powerhouses like Hajia Bola Shagaya and Senator Daisy Danjuma.

Adesoye is one of the most celebrated society ladies in Nigeria. She owns a jewelry store, Jewelry Affairs, which is situated in Civic Center, Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island. She has been trading in the jewelry business for over 30 years and was operating from her home, before she opened her store in 2007. And over the years, she has come to win the love and adulation of most society ladies, who patronize her. Beyond her good sense of business style, Adesoye is also an embodiment of humility, grace and warmth.
To celebrate her new age, the she did a photo shoot, taken by Banke Meshida-Lawal of BMPRO Makeup.

Those Not Affected By Lock Down of Lagos, Ogun, FCT

President Muhammadu Buhari, on 29 March, addressed Nigerians on Covid-19 ravaging everywhere. As part of the measures to combat it, he ordered a total lock down of Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory.

However, this order, according to him, does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.

Furthermore, the order, in his words, does not affect commercial establishments such as:

a. food processing, distribution and retail companies;

b. petroleum distribution and retail entities,

c. power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and

d. private security companies…

He added: “Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored.

Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted.

All seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with the guidelines I issued earlier. Vehicles and drivers conveying essential cargoes from these Ports to other parts of the country will be screened thoroughly before departure by the Ports Health Authority.”