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NITDA Warns Nigerians on Fake Messages Circulating on Social Media

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National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in line with its efforts at enlightening Nigerians on the nefarious actions of cybercriminals exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to mislead and defraud unsuspecting victims, has drawn the attention of the general public to the recent COVID-19-related fake news in circulation.

NITDA Warns Nigerians on Fake Messages Circulating on Social Media

The fake news tagged “Argentina Is Doing It”, being circulated over social media, particularly on WhatsApp, is aimed at causing panic and inducing terror in individuals.

The message warns the recipient not to open a video file called ”Argentina Is Doing It” as it will hack their phone in 10 seconds. Furthermore, in order to lend credibility to the message, the message falsely claims that the Cable News Network (CNN) also reported it.

NITDA in a statement by Mrs Hadiza Umar, head, Corporate Affair and External Relations, said “the message has been identified as fake as it exhibits some of the following characteristics of fake/hoax messages: The message content includes instructions to forward the message, the sender claims some kind of affiliation with a credible source or organization.

“The message aims to induce panic or shock the recipient, often making impossible claims or serious consequences about the effect of the virus or malicious software, and the messages contains alarming languages tending to emphasize the urgent nature of the threat”.

The statement however said “the general public is therefore urged to disregard this as there is no CNN article regarding this hoax. Furthermore, the message is a variant of a similar message in circulation since 2017.

“NITDA calls on all well-meaning Nigerians to support the Federal Government in its efforts at containing the spread of COVID-19 in the country by not spreading fake news. We are also encouraged to strictly adhere to recommendations given by health experts, and follow updates from verified sources of the relevant agencies handling this outbreak.”


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WHO Confirms COVID-19 Vaccines in Phase 3 Clinical Trials

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Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, director-general, World Health Organisation (WHO), Monday, said that a number of vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials to prevent COVID-19 pandemic.

WHO Confirms COVID-19 Vaccines in Phase 3 Clinical Trials

Ghebreyesus who made this known at a virtual news conference at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva, said that: “ We all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection.

“However, there’s no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be; for now, stopping outbreaks comes down to the basics of public health and disease control.

“Testing, isolating and treating patients, tracing and quarantining their contacts. Do it all.

“Inform, empower and listen to communities. Do it all.

“For individuals, it’s about keeping physical distance, wearing a mask, cleaning hands regularly and coughing safely away from others. Do it all.’’

Ghebreyesus said the message to people and governments was clear: “Do it all, and when it’s under control, keep going! Keep strengthening the health system.

“Keep improving surveillance, contact tracing and ensure disrupted healthcare services are restarted as quickly as possible.

“Keep safeguards and monitoring in place, because lifting restrictions too quickly can lead to resurgence.

“Keep investing in the workforce and communicating and engaging communities.

“We have seen around the world, that it’s never too late to turn this pandemic around,’’ he said.

According to him, if we act together today, we can save lives, we can save livelihoods, if we do it all together.

He told journalists that the Emergency Committee on COVID-19 met on Friday and reviewed the current pandemic.

“It was a sobering moment coming six months on from when the committee advised.

“And, I agreed that the outbreak constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

“At the time, Jan. 30, there were fewer than 100 cases and no deaths outside of China.

“When the Committee met three months ago, three million cases of COVID-19 had been reported to WHO, and more than 200,000 deaths.

“Since then, the number of cases has increased more than five-fold to 17.5 million, and the number of deaths has more than tripled to 680,000,’’ the director-general said.


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Confusion as PR Firm Contradicts Shoprite Exit Rumour

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Contradicting statements from Shoprite, Africa’s largest retail chain, and Chastex Consult, public relations firm, have cast airs of confusion over the reported plans by Shoprite to exit the Nigerian market it entered 15 years ago.

Confusion as PR Firm Contradicts Shoprite Exit Rumour

Earlier on Monday, Shoprite, disclosed in a statement titled: “Operational and Voluntary Trading Update (52 Weeks Ended June 28, 2020), that “Following approaches from various potential investors and in line with our re-evaluation of the Group’s operating model in Nigeria, the Board has decided to initiate a formal process to consider the potential sale of all, or a majority stake, in Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Shoprite International Limited.

“As such, Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited may be classified as discontinued operation when Shoprite reports its results for the year. Any further updates will be provided to the market at the appropriate time,” the company explained.

It disclosed that its international supermarkets (excluding Nigeria) contributed 11.6 per cent to the group’s sales and reported 1.4 per cent decline in sales from 2018. South African operations contributed 78 per cent of overall sales and saw 8.7 per cent rise for the year.

It stated that despite difficult circumstances occasioned by the Covid-19 lockdown and accompanying regulations governing trade, transport and operations, the group increased total sale of merchandise for the 52-week to June 28, 2020 (including the impact of hyperinflation in the prior year), by 6.4 per cent to approximately R156.9 billion.

But Chastex Consult, PR firm handling Shoprite claimed that “Shoprite is not leaving Nigeria”

Ini Archibong, country director, Chastex Consult, said Shoprite is only allowing Nigerian investors into the South African retail company, and not packing up from Nigeria.

According to him, the superstore giant won’t shutdown its $30 billion investment as it makes no sense, “Shoprite is not leaving Nigeria.

“We have only just opened to Nigerian investors which we have also been talking to just before now. We are not leaving, who leaves over a $30billion invest and close shop? It doesn’t sound right. We only just given this opportunity to Nigeria investors to come in and also help drive our expansion plan in Nigeria. So we are not leaving.

“I have tried to say this as too many people as I can. There should be no panic at all and all of that. There is no truth in that report.” Archibong told Vanguard in a report.

 


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Why We Sacked Pilots-Air Peace

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Air Peace, Nigeria’s biggest carrier Air Peace has confirmed the sack of some of its staff due to the “devastating effect of COVID-19 pandemic.

Why We Sacked Pilots-Air Peace

The airline said it took the “very painful but rightful decision, in the circumstances the airline has found itself as a result of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations and financial health.”

In a statement, the airline said: “This decision was taken for the greater good of the company and its almost 3000 workforce, the affected pilots inclusive.

“The airline cannot afford to toe the path of being unable to continue to fulfil its financial obligations to its staff, external vendors, aviation agencies, maintenance organizations, insurance companies, banks and other creditors hence the decision to restructure its entire operations with a view to surviving the times.

“The pandemic has hit every airline worldwide so badly that it has become very impossible for airlines to remain afloat without carrying out an internal restructuring of their costs.

“Anything short of what we have done may lead to the collapse of an airline as could be seen in some places worldwide during this period. “Therefore, we decided to review the salaries being paid to all staff. The new salaries reflect a 0%-40% cut of the former salary depending on the salary grades of every staff.

“Even after the cuts, it was obvious that for us to be able to sustain our operations and survive the times, some jobs must inevitably have to go.

“Air Peace has never, for one day, ever owed salaries to its workers in its almost six years of existence, pilots inclusive. Rather the management of Air Peace has always been known to be increasing salaries of its employees periodically without being prompted by staff.

“In fact, in one fell swoop, Air Peace increased the salaries of pilots by over 100% in one day! Our salaries have always been paid even before the end of the month in the last five years! So we love all our staff.”

According to the airline, the decision is inevitable under the circumstances it found itself. “In order to protect the continuity of the majority of the existing jobs and the possibility of creating new ones in future, the survival of the airline is of paramount importance.

“When everything comes back to normal those pilots affected today will have a place to come back to in the future if they so wish.

“The decision is a reflection of the negative impact of the pandemic on airlines and aviation worldwide. We are in trying times.

“Even the biggest airlines in Europe, America, Middle East, Asia, Australia and, indeed, Africa, are all either slashing jobs and cutting salaries in order to remain afloat or are shutting down. Air Peace is not immune to these challenges.”

 

 

 

 


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