News Roundup: Face masks now compulsory, telecos can now register NIN, EU bans Nigeria’s bean till 2022, third mainland bridge…


FG signs order enforcing compulsory use of face mask
The coronavirus is taking a second blow at Nigeria but many citizens are still flouting COVID-19 protocols. To address this, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday signed an order to enforce the compulsory use of face masks in public places across the country. This means that masks must be worn at all times within the premises of a market, mall, supermarket, shop, restaurant, hotel, event centre, garden, leisure park, recreation centre, motor park, fitness centre or any other similar establishment. The new law stipulates six months jail term for any violation, including the refusal or failure to wear face mask.

Dangote retains spot as richest man in Africa for the 10th time
The billionaire tycoon, Aliko Dangote, chairman of Dangote Group, retained his spot as being the wealthiest man in Africa for the 10th time in a row as revealed by Forbes. Despite the pandemic, the billionaire’s wealth rose to $12.1 billion as at Friday, January 8 2021, up by $2 billion from 2019. According to Forbes, the increase in Dangote’s net worth, came as a result of a 30 percent rise in the share price of Dangote Cement, by far his most valuable asset. Following closely is Nassef Sawiris of Egypt, with a net worth of $8.5 billion.

Nigeria bags title as second most corrupt country in West Africa
The Corruption Perception Index, an index that ranks countries by their perceived level of public sector corruption has shown that Nigeria scored 25 points out of 100 to place 149th position out of 180 countries. This is one point worse than 2019 when it scored 26 points ranking 146th and two steps worse than 2018 when Nigeria scored 27 points and ranked 144th out of 180. With the current ranking, Nigeria is now the second most corrupt country in West Africa with Guinea-Bissau the only country more corrupt than Nigeria in the sub-region.

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Lagos to restrict movement of trucks and trailers to night operations
In other to ease traffic and fatalities caused by trucks and trailers on the roads the Lagos state government has declared that it will start implementing the restriction of trucks and long vehicles to night operations on certain routes. The government said the restrictions of containerised trailers and trucks will now be from 9:00pm to 6:00am every day. This will help to ease traffic gridlock especially around the Apapa axis and reduce the impact on seaport operations.

South Africa’s first COVID vaccine to arrive Monday
South Africa will most likely be the first African country to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine as the first doses procured by the government from the Serum Institute of India (SII) will arrive in South Africa on Monday, health minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Wednesday. According to the report, it would then take between 10 and 14 days for the vaccines to be cleared by South Africa’s medicines regulator, before being distributed to the country’s provinces. South Africa has the biggest recorded Covid-19 outbreak in Africa, with more than 1.4-million confirmed cases and close to 42,000 deaths

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Nigerian telcos can now register NIN
The Federal government has earlier announced that any SIM not linked to the National Identification Number (NIN) by February 9 would be blocked. In recent development, telecommunication operators in Nigeria have been enlisted to help register millions of Nigerians who risk losing access to services such as banking, phone communication, international passport, or even sit for JAMB examinations should they fail to get their NIN. This helps to reduce the crowd at the various registration centres trying to prevent their lines from getting blocked.

FG to shut third mainland bridge for three days
The Federal Government has announced plans for a total shutdown of the Third Mainland Bridge for another 3 days with effect from midnight on Friday, January 29, 2021, to midnight of Monday, February 1, 2021. This decision was made to enable the contractors to perform another round of delicate expansion joint replacement on the structure.

Tunisia’s President received a letter deadly poison
Tunisia has faced violent protests for several weeks that have at times turned into riots as demonstrations have mainly been held by the country’s youth due to economic hardships. While the heat of the violent protest was still on, the office of Tunisia’s President received a letter containing suspicious powder on Wednesday. The letter was reported to have contained the deadly poison ricin but it did not make its way to the leader. Instead, the Tunisian president’s chief of staff, Nadia Akacha has been hospitalised after handling a suspicious letter addressed to head of state Kais Saied, suggesting an attempted poisoning. Akacha had opened the envelope addressed to Saied but found it empty and later suffered from short-term vision loss and headaches, and was briefly hospitalised, according to a statement from the presidency.

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EU extends ban on Nigeria’s been to 2022
The European Union (EU) has extended Nigeria’s bean export ban till June 2022, over the country’s failure to implement its food safety action plan submitted to the commission in 2018. In January 2013, the EU temporary banned the imports of dried beans from Nigeria due to the excessive use of chemicals by Nigerian farmers to control a pest, Maruca vitrata, from damaging crops on the field but disregarding the impact it has on human health. The ban was later extended in 2015 till June 2019 and now to extended till 2022. This implies that Nigeria cannot export bean to Europe till June 2022.

Legendary actor Cicely Tyson dies at 96
Cicely Tyson, one of the seasoned actors in Hollywood has passed away shortly after her 96th birthday. Tyson set the pace during her years to ensure black women were represented roundly and robustly over seven decades on screens big and small. She trailblazed roles portraying the lives of women ranging from fictional slave-turned-activist Jane Pittman and educator Marva Collins to activist Coretta Scott King and abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Throughout her career Tyson refused to play drug addicts, prostitutes or maids, roles she thought demeaning to Black women. But when a good part came along she grabbed hold of it with tenacity.