El-Rufai Tests Positive for COVID-19

Kaduna Governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19). The governor, in a live broadcast, said he submitted a sample for the COVID-19 test and the result came in positive.

He stated he has been in isolation according to doctors’ orders.

El rufai

He said: “Earlier this week, I submitted a sample for the COVID-19 test and the result came in this evening and I regret to say that it is positive.

“According to the protocols for managing COVID-19, I am in self-isolation as required by the case management guidelines of the NCDC for someone that is no showing symptoms.

“I wish to appeal to the people of Kaduna State to continue to closely observe the preventive measures already announced.

It is most important that everybody should do their utmost to stay safe, stay home and stay alive. “The Deputy Governor is chairing our COVID Taskforce and will continue to issue statements from time to time,” he said

Governor Ishaku Returns to Jalingo after 87-days Exile in Abuja

Taraba state governor,  Darius Ishaku on  Thursday returned to Jalingo, the capital, after 87 days of exile in Abuja.

The governor arrived at Danbaba Suntai Airport Jalingo exactly 4: 11 pm amidst tight security. Ishaku was last seen in the state on 22nd December 2019 after presenting the 2020 appropriation bill to the State House of Assembly on the nineteenth of the same month.

Governor Ishaku

He later signed the state’s Appropriation Bill there in Abuja, after his aides carried the documents to him in the nation’s capital.

The governor’s long stay outside the state irked the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who threatened to institute a court action against him for failing to transmit powers to his deputy, Haruna Manu.

The governor through his Special Adviser on Media and publicity Bala Dan Abu, told Journalists in a press statement that the governor had a domestic accident and was in Abuja base on medical advice.

The state house of assembly on their part passed a vote of confidence on the governor which many described as supporting impunity in the state.

Addressing journalists, on arrival at the airport, the governor agreed that he had a domestic accident in his Abuja residence at about 8 pm when he was climbing the staircase.

He said his stay in Abuja was not against the Constitution of the country since he was still within the country. He stressed that even in his absence projects were still ongoing in the state.

“On the 22nd December, 2019 I was climbing the staircase, suddenly the light went off and I felt down, for those who saw me the next day I was limping. I traveled abroad for medical treatment and on return to the country, my doctors asked me to rest. That was why I stayed in Abuja, Even in my absence, massive roads construction and other projects are still ongoing”, Ishaku said.

While declaring ‘No handshake’ in Taraba as a result of the coronavirus the governor appreciated the people of the state for their prayers and also warned against unnecessary trips as part of measures to avoid coronavirus.

Presidency Refutes Report of an attack on Buhari in Kebbi

The Presidency has described as false and untrue social media reports on the alleged attack on President Muhammadu Buhari in Argungu, Kebbi State, on Thursday.

A statement by the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, late Thursday night, said a young man had attempted to greet the president at a closed range but was prevented by security officials.

” A young man was very excited to see his President at the Argungu fishing festival. He made to walk straight to him for a handshake. Security details prevented it. Now, opposite people are passing it off as an attempt to attack the President. How malicious can some people be! “-@Femiadesina

The presidential said: ”As the President went round the arena to inspect rice pyramids on display, and take photographs with farmers, a young man was so very excited to see his President so close. He made an attempt to get to him.

  • Femi Fani kayode | I don’t know what that young man had in mind but this is the first time that I have ever heard of a citizen wanting to “greet” his President by charging at him. Must this Government lie about everything? Must they put a spin on every event? Do they think that we are fools? ..And by the way, if all he wanted to do was to give “his President a handshake” because he was “very excited” to see him then why shoot the poor boy in the leg?
  • Gimbakakanda | I just gathered that Buhari is in Kebbi state for the Argungu fishing festival. God will punish Coronavirus for reducing our President to a guest of such village gathering. How do you go from rolling with the Donald Trumps of this world in DC to enduring heatwaves in Argungu?
  • Okonadiza | Even London, his usual hibernation spot where he gets treated for headache, he has refused to go there in a long time. This President is now ready to attend New Yam Festival in Nnewi, Ojude Oba in Ijebu and Eyo Festivity in Lagos. Corona is a bastard walahi.

”World over, such would not be allowed by security details. The young man was prevented, and he protested that he should be allowed to greet his President. ”Now, professional contortionists are making mischief of the event. They are passing the video clip off on social media as an attempt to attack the President.”Malicious people always twist things to give a negative narrative. But they simply dash their heads against the wall. The country moves on.”

Buhari was in Kebbi State on Thursday to declare open the Argungu Fishing and Cultural Festival. It was the first time the international tourism event would hold in 11 years, as security considerations had rendered it impracticable.

How Saudi’s Oil Price War May Push Nigeria’s Economy into Recession

Saudi Arabia’s launch of an aggressive oil price war targeting its biggest rival producers after Russia refused to join production cuts with OPEC, will hit the economy of a weaker oil-dependent producer like Nigeria particularly hard, as it has little scope to increase output and less ability to borrow to plug budget shortfalls.

The action also threatens to swamp the crude market with supplies just as the coronavirus outbreak hits demand.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, plans to raise its crude oil production significantly above 10 million barrels per day (BPD) in April.

Experts say this will be a calamity for Nigeria whose economic mainstay is oil.

Already with the coronavirus outbreak, the Federal Government is considering to review the 2020 budget as oil revenue comes under severe pressure.

The 2020 Nigeria’s budget was benchmarked on an oil price assumption of $57/ bbl and oil production of 2.18mb/d.

The eventual price cuts that will follow the glut threaten to further weigh on international oil prices, with Brent already down from $70 a barrel in early January to near $45 a barrel. It fell 9 percent on Friday alone after the so-called OPEC+ deal unraveled.

Traders and analysts have warned an all-out price war could see oil prices fall to $30 a barrel or lower, bringing back memories of the last time Saudi Arabia opened the taps in 2014.

The Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yussuf, told newsmen that the outbreak of the coronavirus a few weeks ago has profound implications for the Nigerian economy and poses a major threat to Nigeria’s macroeconomic fundamentals, the impact of which may be systemic and far-reaching.

He added that the looming price war contemplation by Saudi Arabia, the largest crude oil exporter, portends even more ominous signs for the Nigerian economy.

He said with the current scenario of tumbling oil price, a drastic reduction in the revenue of government becomes inevitable in the near time.

“This has implications for the level of fiscal deficit in the budget; budget implementation will be constrained; infrastructure financing will be affected; borrowing may increase, and the capacity to fund capital project will be severely constricted. With this scenario, the outlook for oil dependent economies looks rather gloomy,” he added.

According to him, the slump in oil price and the associated adverse expectations will put fresh pressures on the reserves.

He added that the development will lead to weakening of investors’ confidence, enervation of speculative pressures on the currency, likely depreciation of the naira exchange rate, heightened inflationary pressures on the back of currency weakening, likely increase in production and operating costs for businesses and weakening of purchasing power with adverse implications for the welfare of the citizens.

He said global supply chain has been deeply disrupted as China, which is the second-largest economy in the world, is a major supplier of inputs for manufacturing companies around the world, Nigeria inclusive.

“Many manufacturers and service providers in the country are already experiencing acute shortage of raw materials and intermediate inputs. This has implications for capacity utilisation, employment generation and products’ supply to the domestic market. There is also an implication for inflation,” he added.

Managing Director of Danvic Petroleum International, Dr. Afe Mayowa, also reasoned that the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, is not a good omen for Nigeria, adding that it would have severe impact on the nation’s oil and gas sector and the economy in general.

Lukman Otunuga, FXTM research analyst, said recession will continue to affect the Nigerian economy for as long as crude oil remains the primary source of revenue.

He said: “Falling oil presents negative consequences for the economy, especially when considering how roughly 90 percent of export earnings and over 50 percent of government revenues are from crude exports.

“What is even more alarming is Nigeria’s 2020 budget which has set the benchmark for oil at $57. With Brent and Crude both depreciating over 15 percent since the start of 2020, it raises tough questions whether Nigeria will meet its oil revenue goal of N2.64 trillion.

“The woes do not end here. Foreign exchange reserves are poised to decline on lower oil which not only complicates the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) efforts to defend the naira but raises the risk of inflation running rampant.

“The toxic combination of lower government revenues, rising consumer prices and weakening local currency is more than enough to threaten Nigeria’s fragile economic recovery.”

Last week, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, expressed concern over the dwindling revenue from crude oil sales, saying, “We are concerned in the current drop in oil price because it is now below our budget”.

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, had also expressed strong concern about the situation which has left the country’s projection for 2020 with a shortfall that may be too massive to recover in very “short notice”.

He said in Lagos that as coronavirus bites harder, Nigeria’s oil fortunes drop drastically from a projected $57 per barrel to $55 with devastating implications on the country’s ability to sufficiently fund the budget for 2020.

He added that the country was extremely worried about the dip which could fall as low as $48 as more companies shut down businesses in the wake of the disease.