News Highlights

NAFDAC Declares AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Vaccines Safe, GSC Kagara Attack : Bandits Took 42 Captives, Fled On Motorbikes

NAFDAC Declares AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Vaccines Safe For Nigeria

NAFDAC DG Addressing The Press On AstraZeneca Vaccines

Nigeria’s bid to safely achieve herd immunity to Covid-19 by vaccinating millions to prevent further spread of the pandemic virus, may be closer to reality because NAFDAC made an important announcement to the effect this Thursday.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has cleared the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for use in Nigeria.

Director-General of NAFDAC, Dr. Mojisola Adeyeye, made the announcement during a live briefing with the press on Thursday morning.

Addressing the unspoken fear in the hearts of many concerning the efficacy of the vaccine, the NAFDAC DG disclosed the South African Covid-19 variant, which proved resistant to it, has not been found in Nigeria. Finally some good news.

Nigeria has recorded 149,000 Covid-19 infections, with the second wave more virulent than the first wave experience.

Recall South Africa put their plans to roll out AstraZeneca vaccines for their national vaccination programme on hold because it fell short of successfully treating the country’s different viral strain.

The same AstraZeneca vaccine was also the subject of controversy between CaCovid and its member body, BUA group (though for very different reasons entirely).

NAFDAC says it got documentation of the AstraZeneca vaccine a week ago and its safety committee dived in immediately to evaluate its usefulness and safety for Nigerians.

The NAFDAC DG also said there are three additional vaccines undergoing evaluation, which the Nigerian government might be planning to adopt for its herd immunity programme.

With so much talk and buzz about this AstraZeneca vaccine already, do you think Nigerians will find a place in their hearts to accommodate it for preventing the further spread of Covid-19?

Would you, as an individual, trust the Nigerian health authorities enough to take the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine shot if they bring to your doorstep?

(Image Credit – channelstv.com)

GSC Kagara Attack : Bandits Took 42 Captives, Fled On Motorbikes — Eye Witness

More facts are beginning to emerge about the brazen Wednesday morning abduction which took place at Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State.

An eyewitness account has it the bandit made away with 42 captives; 27 students and 15 staff of the college, while shooting a student dead in the attack.

The dead student was said to have tried to raise an alarm when he spotted the approaching bandits in the dark night. His brave endearvour cost him his life.

Another important detail the eyewitness gave was the kidnappers stationed their motorcycles close to another school, Attahiru Secondary School, one kilometre away from GSC Kagara.

The use of the dark, silent night as cover might explain why the school’s security personnel were caught awares and unable to alert or call for help.

The kidnappers were said to have worn military uniforms too.

The victims were reportedly tied in pairs before being marched away to bandits’ get-away motorcycles and taken away into the bush.

The Niger State governor had ruled out the option of paying a ransom to secure the return of the captives. He was said to have taken the stance to prevent encouraging more miscreants taking up arms against the state.

The governor also reportedly met with Sheik Gumi, the Islamic cleric who held a widely publicized meeting with a group of bandits in the Zamfara forests last week.

President Buhari on Wednesday dispatched a high-powered team of security chiefs to coordinate a search-and-rescue operation with Niger State officials and security agencies on ground.

(Image Credit – bbc.com)

Obigbo 63 Detained By Army Regain Freedom After Controversial 4-Month Detention In Abuja

Army Illegally Detained Obigbo 63 Over Town’s Unrest

No less than 63 citizens of Obigbo Local Government of Rivers State have reportedly been set free after being controversially held for 4 months in the custody of the Nigerian army, an online report has shown.

The citizens, all male, were reportedly detained by the Nigerian Army at Obigbo in Rivers State and kept locked up against their wishes for reasons unknown for a period of four months.

Their freedom isn’t unconnected with a bail application filed on Wednesday, 10th February, 2021 before an Abuja Grade 11 Magistrate Court in Wuse by a human rights lawyer, Barrister. E.R Okoroafor.

The reason for these unnamed individuals detention is sketchy but it is believed they were taken away from Obigbo following the unrest recorded in October 2020 between the men of the Nigerian Army and operatives of the Eastern Security Network, the military arm of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group.

The citizens were set free from Army, Department of State Services (DSS) and Police detention centers in Abuja and its environs.

The detention centers were namely from Mogadishu Army Barracks, Annex B at Asokoro, DSS Training Center at Central Business District (CBD) and its abandoned facility at Zuba, and the Nigeria Police College at Suleja in Niger State.

The Nigerian Army and DSS have yet to speak publicly on the arbitrary detention of these 63 individuals and the whereabouts of a further 53 female citizens of Obigbo still unaccounted for.

The Rivers State government has not confirmed nor denied the detention of her citizens by the army and other security agencies too.

While the international human rights lawyer deserves a pat on the back for coming to the aid of the detained citizens, what role did the Rivers State government play in securing their freedom?

Is it right for the military to snatch people off the streets and the State government do nothing in setting them free? What do you think?

(Image Credit – thenigerianvoice.com)

NNPC Says No Plans To Hike Fuel Price This February

NNPC Says No Hike In Price This Month

There may be no reason for the long queues and panic buying of petroleum products seen in some cities as the NNPC has poured water on rumours on an impending hike in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

The management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said there will be no increase in pump price of petrol in the country in February.

The national oil company said regardless of the rise in the price of crude oil in the international market, it won’t push up pump price at home for the mean time.

Rumours of a possible increase in the price of PMS has been making rounds in recent weeks because of a rebound in the rise of crude oil prices around the world.

It is open secret local pump price of fuel has a directly proportional relationship with the price of international crude. Once crude goes up, PMS rises with it because the Nigeria imports refined product due to her useless and moribund refineries.

The rise in pump price speculation in recent weeks wasn’t helped by fuel marketers call for a hike to recoup their investment, the rising landing cost of PMS, fuel depots experiencing a shortage of products and the return of queues at filling stations.

The NNPC, however, has said pump price won’t be going up this month to allow the company, organized labour and other stakeholders reach an agreement on a pricing framework that won’t bring hardship to the average Nigerian.

The company also advised fuel marketers not to hoard petrol in order not to create artificial scarcity, that it has enough stock of petrol to keep the nation well supplied for at least the next 40 days.

How much is the current price of petrol in filling stations in your city? N162? N170? Or N173?

(Image Credit – ifm923.com)

Federal Government To Sell, Concession Refineries And 35 Other National Assets To Fund 2021 Budget

ICC Abuja – One Of The National Assets Listed For Sale To Fund Budget 2021

Reports emanating from the nation’s capital, Abuja, has it the Federal Government is putting finishing touches on hauling off some national assets if the 2021 budget must see the light of day.

No fewer than 36 national properties would be sold off or put up for concession by the Nigerian government to finance the ginormous N13.58 trillion 2021 budget, according to a document submitted to the National Assembly.

The document titled, “NCP Approved 2021 Work Plan” contains the names, sale strategy, duration of process and the cost of properties earmarked for sale before the lawmakers.

These national assets cut across energy, industries, communication and infrastructural sectors and billed to be sold or put up for concession between January 2021 and November 2022.

Among the national assets the government plans to sell or concession include (but aren’t limited to):-

  • The Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB)
  • The Abuja International Conference Centre (ICC)
  • The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN)
  • The Abuja Water Board
  • The Nigerian Film Corporation
  • Some of the national refineries

and a host of other assets.

Needless to say the sale of these assets won’t be done without any stiff resistance, as the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), is already saying the much talked about sale is very open to corruption and mismanagement.

The Nigerian landscape is a carcass of national assets which went belly up after being auctioned off by the Federal Government to friends, cronies or proxies.

The National Shipping Line, Nigeria Airways and Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) are few amongst national assets run aground by the political elite in recent history.

If these sales or concessions do really happen, do you think they would be to the benefit of the general Nigerian populace? Drop your thoughts, please…

(Image Credit – thepicloc.com)

Uganda Jails Seven Soldiers For Beating Up Journalists

Uganda Military Manhandling A Pressman

It’s always been said the pen is mightier than the sword but if you’re in doubt, check out the fate of seven soldiers who got convicted for assaulting journalists in Uganda.

The Ugandan military has handed down varying jail sentences to seven soldiers who beat up journalists outside the United Nations Human rights office.

The power drunk four privates, a lance corporal and two captains faced a military disciplinary committee which decided to put them behind bars for between 2 to 3 months, to cool their heels.

They will serve their sentences in a military facility, the Uganda military has said.

The soldiers got in hot water for bashing and injuring six reporters who came to cover opposition member of Parliament, musician Bobi Wine’s petition over human rights abuses to the UN.

Uganda’s army chief apologised for the violence and went about correcting the impression of impunity the unfortunate soldiers have displayed during the press conference.

Needless to say those soldiers won’t be calling anyone, “Bloody civilians” whenever they make it through their detention ordeal.

Hope the rest of Africa is learning a vital lesson on defending human rights in the Uganda instance. The military is set up to protect the people and not to bash them at the slightest whim.

(Image Credit – theindependentco.ug)

Vice-President Gets First Shot As Zimbabwe Kicks Off COVID-19 Vaccinations Programme

Zimbabwe VP Chiwenga Leading The Line And Taking Covid-19 Jab

Zimbabwe has kicked off their national vaccinations programme with the Vice-President getting the opening shot on Thursday.

Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who also doubles as the Zimbabwe’s health minister, took the country’s first Covid-19 shot at Harare’s Wilkins Hospital.

Zimbabwe had received a donation of 200,000 doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine earlier in the week and is still looking for other vaccines to achieve the target set in the national vaccination programme.

The country hopes to start vaccinations with its 60,000 healthcare and other frontline workers in the first round, then proceed to the elderly, and those with chronic conditions.

Zimbabwe has reported more than 35,000 COVID-19 cases, with more than 1,400 deaths.

The cash-strapped country is hoping to vaccinate at least 10 million people, roughly 60% of the population, in its national vaccination programme, which comes at no cost to its citizens, high and low.

(Image Credit – reuters.com)

Liberia On Double Red Alert As Suspected Ebola Case Is Found

Frontline Worker Getting Disinfected Against Possible Ebola Virus

For a small country with meagre resources, battling the Covid-19 virus is exhausting enough, and now Liberia has been put on double red-alert following the discovery of a suspected Ebola case in the country.

A suspected case of Ebola in Liberia has been detected in a woman who came from the Guinean town of Nzérékoré.

For the uninformed, Nzérékoré is border town battling a new outbreak of the returning Ebola virus between Guinea and Liberia.

Liberia’s Health Minister, Wilhelmina Jallah, had informed the press the suspected Ebola carrier has had her samples taken and is currently in isolation at a leading Monrovia hospital.

Guinea has officially declared the country is dealing with an Ebola epidemic after the deaths of at least three people from the virus.

How President George Weah intends to dribble his way (as an ex-footballer) through this impending medical red-alert remains to be seen but it is expected he would come public with findings once investigation on this suspected case is concluded.

(Image Credit – bbc.com)

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