The Ministry of Finance has released N10 billion to support COVID-19 vaccine production in the country, an official has said.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, made the disclosure at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) COVID-19 briefing on Monday in Abuja.
Mr Ehanire said: “The Ministry of Finance has released N10 billion to support domestic vaccine production.
“While we are working to develop our own vaccines, Nigeria is exploring options for licensed production, in collaboration with recognised institutions. We are also exploring the option of local production of the vaccines in the country.”
He urged Nigerians to ignore claims by some people that they had COVID-19 vaccines for sale in the country.
“I advise all citizens to disregard these claims, as they are criminal. There are procedures for vaccine acquisition and use, which include appropriate regulations and certification by National Agency for Food and Drug and Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
“I advise against fake vaccines, as there is no one approved for use in the country. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) is the only authorised vaccine administrator in Nigeria,” he said.
Mr Ehanire stated that the number of new COVID-19 cases has continued to rise in the country, such that 10,300 confirmed cases were reported from just 50,750 samples tested in one week, translating into 20 percent positivity rate.
“It means one out of every five persons tested in the last one week turned out positive, compared with the previous week which recorded a positivity rate of 14 percent.
“Nigeria’s total number of confirmed cases is 110,387 out of a total of 1,172,234 samples tested, with a cumulative positivity rate of 9.4 percent. 1,444 cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, with sadly 77 deaths in the past week and total fatality of 1,435.
“It is instructive of the second wave that all cases recorded so far this January is more than 20 percent of all confirmed cases in Nigeria, more than the whole of December, barely halfway through the month.
“There is no doubting the fact that we are deeply into the second wave of the pandemic which requires that PTF and FMoH review our strategies to respond to the challenge.
“The federal ministry of health has outlined three approaches to confront the pandemic. These are: infection mitigation, therapeutics and vaccines,” he said.
Mr Ehanire reiterated that reducing infection rate for COVID-19 remained the easiest and cheapest objective of the government.
According to him, government’s main effort is to ensure social mobilisation for testing, strengthening surveillance activities for early detection, active contact tracing, isolation and treatment.
He, however, added that implementation of critical non-pharmaceutical measures required the cooperation of the public.
“This includes much more adherence to wearing masks, social distancing, use of sanitiser, etc. than we are seeing today. Of special concern are the so-called “super spreader activities” that involve congregational settings, which must be reduced, restricted or prohibited in the interest of the common good.
“With regards to therapeutics, we must strive to reduce mortality from this disease by ensuring adequate stock of supplies and strengthening our case management capacity.
“In this regard, the ministry of health is working to expand oxygen availability across the country to address shortages, which have been a challenge globally, and also to review the value of various pharmaceuticals and protocols proposed for COVID-19 treatment.
“Clinicians are also urged to work out guidelines for participating in clinical studies,” the minister said.
Nigeria has witnessed a surge in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks and increased mortality, a situation mostly blamed on non-compliance with safety protocols to curtail the spread of the virus.
Third Mainland Bridge: FRSC Thanks Motorists, Warns Against Reckless Driving
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has appreciated the Lagos public for the maturity and patience exhibited while the closure of the Lagos Third Mainland Bridge for repairs, lasted.
In a statement signed by the Command’s Public Education Officer, Route Commander Olabisi Sonusi, and made available to PointBlank.ng, the Lagos Sector Commander, Olusegun Ogungbemide advised motorists to steer clear of reckless driving and other sundry recklessness associated with road safety.
The Bridge finally opened for use Saturday February 27, 2021 at 12noon.
The statement reads in part:
“You may recall that the repair work which commenced from 24th July, 2020 expected to be completed by January 2021 was delayed because of COVID-19 pandemic and the #EndSars unrest.
“We must say that the motoring public were so cooperative during the entire period the rehabilitation work lasted and this is commendable.
“It has become very imperative for us to enjoin motorists to avoid excessive speed, dangerous overtaking, disregard to lane discipline now that the most important bridge has been opened for use.
Ogungbemide urged motorists to drive defensively at all time on the bridge and other corridors within the state.
He thanked the Federal Government for the rehabilitation, and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his immense support for the Command during the period.
He also expressed delight in the final opening of the bridge and also appeal that motorists should always drive safe and stay safe at all times.
Ogungbemide aldo promised that the command would not relent in its determination and commitment to reduce road traffic crashes and fatalities in the state.
He also appreciated all the FRSC officers and men as well as other sister agencies who worked assiduously during the period of the rehabilitation on the bridge.
Mailafia Accuses Those Who Wanted Jonathan Out of Sponsoring Bandits
A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, says many of the bandits terrorising the country were sponsored by persons who wanted to push former President Goodluck Jonathan out of power at all cost.
Mailafia said this during an interview with The PUNCH on Thursday.
He said, “During the 2015 elections they brought in thousands of foreigners into this country, armed them because it was a case of if Goodluck Jonathan doesn’t surrender, there will be war. They were ready for civil war; they were not ready for peace.
“Of course, Jonathan handed over to them and then they turned their backs on the hoodlums and the hoodlums said ‘look, you brought us here and we are still here’.”
Mailafia, who was the Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress in the last election, said he was also convinced that some foreign powers were behind the bandits.
“There are certain world powers that want to destroy our country. That is what I believe. There was a container load of weapons that were brought in from Turkey. Another time some were brought in from Iran. But nobody probed further and everything was swept under the carpet and that was the end of it,” he said.
The former CBN deputy governor, who was last year invited by the Department of State Services and the police for saying that an unnamed northern governor was a Boko Haram commander, said the fact that other people have come out to say far worse but have not been invited, shows that he was unfairly targeted.
The former CBN deputy governor also disagreed with the approach of Sheikh Ahmad Gumi on the issue of amnesty for bandits.
Mailafia said it was wrong to offer such hoodlums amnesty and then make no provision for the victims, adding that they have no agenda other than to destroy.
He argued that appeasing the bandits would never work even as he said the Niger Delta militancy and the banditry ravaging the country are two different things.
“I do not believe that the Niger Delta militancy can be compared to the terrorists. These people (terrorists) are not even bandits. A bandit is a common thief or a brigand. The ‘agbero’ are bandits. These people carrying sophisticated weapons and rockets are not bandits. They are terrorists.
“They have killed, they have maimed, they have raped and they have wreaked havoc,” Mailafia said.
Zamfara Confirms Abduction, Says Security Operatives, Vigilantes in Pursuit of Abductors
The Zamfara State Government has confirmed the abduction of female students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in the Talata-Mafara Local Government Area of the state.
The confirmation was made by the Commissioner of Security and Home Affairs, Alhaji Abubakar Dauran in a brief interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Gusau on Friday.
The abductors in their hundreds invaded the town and took away the students about 2 am.
“I can confirm to you now that we have sadly received the report on the abduction of the students of GGSS Jangebe and right now, I am on my way to the school.
“At this moment, l cannot say how many students were taken away by the gunmen until l get there, but we have already mobilized security men and members of the vigilantatè who are now in pursuit of the abductors,” the commissioner stated.
A staff of the school who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity said, “The gunmen in their hundreds invaded the town around 2 am on Friday, shot sporadically in the air to scare the residents before coming into the school.
“After taking away most of the students, we rounded up those that escaped or hid from the bandits and conducted a census where we counted 54 students and we are still searching to see if we can get more.”
Also, a resident who gave his name as Haliru Jangebe said the local vigilantes had tried to repel the invaders but were overpowered.
“The bandits were too many and they all seemed to be carrying heavy arms as we heard gunshots from all parts of the town and when the shots stopped, we heard that the students had been taken away.”