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Confirmed Indonesia’s COVID-19 cases exceed 1m

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Indonesia’s confirmed corona virus infections since the pandemic began crossed 1 million on Tuesday and hospitals in some hard-hit areas were near capacity.

Indonesia’s Health Ministry announced that new daily infections rose by 13,094 on Tuesday to bring the country’s total to 1,012,350, the most in Southeast Asia. The total number of deaths reached 28,468.

The milestone comes just weeks after Indonesian launched a massive campaign to inoculate two-thirds of the country’s 270 million people, with President Joko Widodo receiving the first shot of a Chinese-made vaccine. Health care workers, military, police, teachers and other at-risk populations are being prioritized for the vaccine in the world’s fourth most populous country.

Officials have said that Indonesia will require almost 427 million doses, taking into account the estimate that 15% of doses may be wasted during the distribution process in the vast nation of more than 17,000 islands, where transportation and infrastructure are limited in places.

Jakarta remains Indonesia’s hardest hit city, confirming more than 254,000 cases as of Tuesday, including 4,077 deaths. Only 8.5% of a total 8,066 hospital beds in the city were left for new patients as of Tuesday, while beds with ventilators were filled.

Other provinces across the country’s most densely populated island of Java, such as West Java, East Java and Yogyakarta, have also been seeing high bed occupancy rates, up to 95%, in the past few weeks. Even in Jakarta’s neighboring province of Banten, the occupancy rates reached 100% last week.

Health Ministry data showed hospital capacity nationwide was at about 70%.

Abdul Kadir, the director general of health services at the ministry, called the situation “dire.”

The government has issued a circular urging private hospital owners across the country to allocate up to 40% of beds for COVID-19 patients, Kadir said.

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Health experts have warned that adding hospital beds is merely a quick fix that will eventually falter if the number of daily cases continues to rise.

Health policy expert Masdalina Pane from the Indonesian Epidemiologists Association said the government should instead amplify testing and tracing efforts as well as reinforcing health protocols and ensuring public compliance.

She said high positivity rates are a sign of insufficient testing and wide transmission of the virus, and efforts to force asymptomatic people to quarantine at home would help slow the spread of the virus.

The number of coronavirus-related cases and deaths has been rising dramatically since early December, prompting seven regional governments on the islands of Java and Bali to reimpose restrictions on public activity.

The virus has killed more than 11,000 people in Indonesia since Dec. 1, representing 40% of the total number of casualties since the outbreak started in early March.

“This is time for us to mourn as many of our brothers and sisters have died, including more than 600 healthcare workers, while dealing with pandemic,” said Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said Tuesday in a televised addresss.

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He vowed his ministry will continue to proactively implement measures to curb the spread of the virus and urged people to observe health guidelines with discipline to reduce the burden of the country’s healthcare system.

“This 1 million figure gives an indication that all Indonesian people must work together with the government to fight against the pandemic even harder.”

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BREAKING: Tinubu, PDP’s G5 Members Meet In Aso Rock

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President Bola Tinubu and the members of G5 or the Integrity Group of the Peoples’ Democratic Party )PDP) met at the Aso Villa, Abuja.

The G5 group, led by one serving governor and four former governors caused a major division within the Peoples Democratic Party after demanding the then National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu step down for a southern replacement as a precondition to support the presidential ambition of the party’s flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar in the February 25 poll.

Both Atiku and Ayu called the then governors’ bluff and did not succumb to their demands in the just-concluded elections.

Makinde and Wike reportedly played supportive roles to Tinubu ensure his victory at the February 25, presidential election.

Those at the meeting are Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state as well as former Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).

The current governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah was also present.

Tinubu had met with Wike and Makinde some times since his election and inauguration.

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Govt Declares June 12 Public Holiday To Mark Democracy Day

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NBC Fines Arise TV N2m Over Fake Report On Tinubu
President Bola Tinubu

The Federal Government on Thursday declared Monday, June 12, 2023 a public holiday in commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day.

Disclosing this in a statement, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade congratulated all Nigerians on the occasion.

She said: “Nigeria’s democratic journey has, like in many other climes, encountered both stormy and smooth sails, but the ship of State, its institutions and most importantly, the Nigerian people have remained steadfast on the tenets of democratic governance.

“On this memorable occasion therefore, Nigerians and friends of Nigeria are invited to appreciate the progress that has been made, celebrate the milestones covered and look forward to a better future for the country’s democracy.

“The Permanent Secretary wishes all Nigerians a Happy Democracy Day celebration”.

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Senate Rejects Controversial Water Bill

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Senate President Ahmed Lawan

The controversial National Water Resources Bill, 2023 has been rejected by the Senate.

The bill was lined up for concurrence in the order paper but was rejected by the majority of the senators.

This brings an end to the controversy by governors and the federal lawmakers particularly those from the Southern part of the country.

When the bill was read for concurrence on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, Senator Gabriel Suswan from Benue North West, raised Order 85 of the Senate Rules which provides that Senators must have full details of the provisions of any bill coming for concurrence.

Senator James Manager from Delta South, who seconded Senator Suswan’s point of order, also stressed the need to have details of the bill since provision was made for only the title of bill.

The Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who later ruled in favour of the rule cited, adjourned the plenary for the day.

It would be recalled that the House of Representatives had passed the bill in 2020 amidst suspicion by members and the general public that the proposal had sinister motives.

Before the passage, the chairman of the House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli, said the former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), as well as commissioners for justice and attorneys-general of the 36 states of the federation had been consulted and the opinions received would be attached to the bill and distributed to all members.

To buttress the suspicion of some members of the public, a member of the House from Benue State, Mark Gbillah, raised the alarm when the bill was to be taken for the first reading.

Only the short title of a bill is written on the Order Paper for first reading, while a long title, which has more details, is written when listed for second reading.

Gbillah said, “I am aware that the matter listed for first reading, the National Water Resources Bill, generated a lot of controversy within this honourable House and even across the country, and some of us wonder why this issue is still being represented on the floor of the House, because some of us are not comfortably in support of this bill in the first instance Mr Speaker. I thought I should bring that to the notice of the Right Honourable Speaker.”

The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, who admitted that Gbillah “raised a very cogent point,” noted that Nigeria is a very diverse country and everybody’s sensitivity must be taken into consideration.

Gbillah, however, disagreed with the Speaker, stating that the lawmakers were duly elected and given the mandate to represent the interests of their constituents.

He said, “Whatever the governors might have agreed upon may not be acceptable to us. It is we that have those powers as enshrined in the Constitution to enact legislation that will be binding on this country.”

There were fireworks in the House on September 29, 2020, with some members, mostly from the southern part of the country, raising various legal and procedural issues against the bill.”

The then President, Muhammadu Buhari, had in 2017 presented the controversial bill to both chambers of the National Assembly, which seeks to transfer the control of water resources from the states to the federal government.

The legislation was titled, “A Bill for An Act to Establish a Regulatory Framework for the Water Resources Sector in Nigeria, Provide for the Equitable and Sustainable Redevelopment, Management, Use and Conservation of Nigeria’s Surface Water and Groundwater Resources and for Related Matters.”

The summary of the bill reads, “This Act repeals the Water Resources Act, Cap W2 LFN 2004; River Basin Development Act Cap R9 LFN 2004; Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (Establishment) Act, Cap N110A, LFN,2004; National Water Resources Institute Act Cap N83 LFN 2004; and establishes the National Council on Water Resources, Nigeria Water Resources Regulatory Commission, River Basin Development Authorities, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, and the National Water Resources Institute.”

The proposed bodies, if established, will “provide for the regulation, equitable and sustainable development, management, use and conservation of Nigeria’s surface water and groundwater resources.”

Though the 8th House managed to pass the bill, the controversy had frustrated passage of the bill by the Senate, as the Red Chamber on May 24, 2018, considered the executive bill for second reading, during which senators were divided across regional lines.

While Northern Senators had supported the proposal and its objectives, their Southern counterparts had opposed it.

Those opposed to the bill had pointed out that the bill, if passed into law, would further centralise power and resources of the country. This, they pointed out, would counter the move towards devolution of power domiciled with the federal government.

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