Connect with us

Headlines

Okonjo-Iweala Assures Nigeria’s Share of COVID-19 Vaccine to Arrive January 2021

Published

on

Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has assured Nigeria and other African countries of access to COVID-19 vaccines from the end of January through the first quarter of 2021, a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday.

The statement quoted Okonjo-Iweala as disclosing this after a closed-door meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja.

“As long as one person has it in the world, no one is safe. And that is why poorer countries, lower-middle-income countries like Nigeria, need to get it as quickly as possible,” she was quoted as saying.

Okonjo-Iweala is currently the African Union Special Envoy on mobilising international economic support for the continental fight against COVID-19 and Nigeria’s candidate for the Office of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization.

She disclosed that the international initiative involved the World Health Organisation, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, GAVI, and the international community, to get vaccines delivered to developing and poorer countries, in an affordable manner and quickly.

According to her, the Pfizer vaccine and the AstraZeneca were presently being negotiated so that poor countries don’t have to stand in a queue behind rich countries.

The former finance minister described Africans as blessed, for not having the same incidence rate of COVID-19 as other continents, but warned African nations against complacency.

Okonjo-Iweala recalled that a platform called the COVAX facility had been developed with 186 countries on board, saying that the side interested in serving the poor countries had 92 countries, for which resources have been raised to try and get the vaccines to them quickly.

“So, the Pfizer vaccine, the AstraZeneca, those are being negotiated now so that poor countries don’t have to stand in line behind rich countries.

“So, we hope they are starting by the end of January. We will be able to reach these countries, including most of the African countries, Nigeria included, will be able to get access to some of these vaccines.

“Initially, it will be for frontline health workers, followed by some other target groups – older people, those with underlying conditions, and then, from there, the rest of the population. I think the COVAX facility can cover maybe 20-23 per cent of the population by the end of next year,” Okonjo-Iweala said.

(NAN)

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headlines

Lagos CP Promises Improved Multi-Agency Collaboration for Better Security in Lagos

Published

on

The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has assured the good people of Lagos State of improved and sustainable synergy among security agencies for better policing of the state.

CP Hakeem Odumosu gave the assurance today Friday 15th January 2021 at the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration that was held at Tafawa Balewa Square, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The Commissioner of Police, amongst other security chiefs in the state, assisted the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwoolu, in performing the remembrance rites and laying of wreath accordingly. Others in attendance were the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Prince Dr Femi Hamzat, the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folashade Jaji, top government functionaries, the State Chairman ,Nigerian Legion, Col S Akande (retd) and senior officers from the armed forces and the police.

The police boss, who doubles as the chairman of the Lagos State Security Council, seized the opportunity to pay tributes to the fallen heroes and admonish the gallant officers and men on the field, defending the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our beloved country, Nigeria, to be focused and patriotic as the present security challenges in the country are not insurmountable.

The Lagos police boss also appealed to Lagosians to always pray for security operatives, be law-abiding and embrace community-based policing as a civic responsibility.

Continue Reading

Headlines

Armed Forces Remembrance Day: Sanwo-Olu Commends Nation’s Security Officers

Published

on

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has commended all officers in the Military, Nigerian Police and the legion for their efforts in protecting the country against external aggression and keeping the peace internally.

Speaking at the year 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day parade and wreath laying ceremony at the Remembrance Arcade, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos on Friday, Governor Sanwo-Olu said Nigerians should be thankful to God for celebrating this year’s ceremony despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Sanwo-Olu while applauding the organisers of the programme, said despite the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and other parts of the world, they could keep up with the yearly ritual while adhering to safety protocols.

He said: “It is usually a yearly ceremony and we are thankful that this year’s ceremony could still be observed.

“I want to congratulate and commend all of our officers in the military and also the Nigerian Police, but more especially men of the Legion and everybody that has participated in this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance ceremony, the parade, men on guard and everything.

“I think it has been a testimonial and it is a yearly ritual that we are thankful to God that we can still keep this year’s activity as important as it is. We were still able to observe all of the protocols and you could see that everything has gone very well. It is just a one hour event and we are thankful for the organisers that they have been able to put this together again.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day laid the wreath at the arcade and also released white pigeons and balloons into the air.

Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), Mrs Folasade Jaji; Service Commanders; State Chairman of Nigeria Legion and other dignitaries also laid the wreath during the ceremony in memory of the falling heroes.

The event was attended by service chiefs and members of the State Executive Council.

Continue Reading

Headlines

Kukah Has Offended People, But Should Not Be Expelled from Sokoto, Presidency Tells Islamic Group

Published

on

The presidency has chided an Islamic group over its criticism and veiled threat against the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, over a recent controversial message he issued during Christmas.

The Islamic group, Muslim Solidarity Forum, had asked the outspoken cleric to tender apology to Muslims in the state “or leave the state” over his controversial Christmas message.

The clergyman in his Christmas message titled: “A Nation in search of vindication” alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari was not living up to expectations due to the various economic and security challenges affecting the country.

He also alleged that Mr Buhari was “institutionalising northern hegemony against national interests,” adding that if a Southern Christian president had practised such nepotism, there would have been a military coup in Nigeria.

The statement, however, triggered controversy as, for instance, a Muslim group described the bishop’s sermon as “irresponsible and seditious.”

Islamic group, Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) had said Mr Kukah’s message “was a prepared address considering the occasion and the audience, one cannot but agree that it was a calculated attempt to insult Islam which is typical of him. His veiled insinuation that Muslims have a pool of violence to draw from, is disgusting, disheartening, as well as condemnable.”

In response to that, the bishop responded saying JNI was inciting violence against him.

Also, the Muslim Solidarity Forum (MSF), warned the cleric to “quickly and quietly leave” Sokoto, the Seat of the Caliphate.

MSF through its acting chairman, Isah Maishanu, said Mr Kukah’s “innuendos and parables” in his speeches were against Islam and its adherents, adding that they were provocative.

However, the presidency has waded into the face off via a statement signed by Garba Shehu, the spokesperson of President Buhari.

Mr Shehu said: “under Nigeria’s Constitution, every citizen has the right to, among others, freedom of speech and expression, the right to own property and reside in any part of the country, and the right to move freely without any inhibitions,” in a bid to defend the cleric’s rights.

“Nigeria’s strength lies in its diversity. The right for all religions to co-exist is enshrined in this country’s Constitution. The duty of the government, more so, this democratic government, is to ensure that the Constitution is respected. But all must respect the rights and sensitivities of their fellow Nigerians.

“Father Kukah has greatly offended many with his controversial remarks against the government and the person of the President, with some even accusing him of voicing anti-Islamic rhetoric.

“On matters such as these, responsible leadership in any society must exercise restraint. Knee-jerk reactions will not only cause the fraying of enduring relationships, but also the evisceration of peaceful communities such as Sokoto, the headquarters of the Muslim community as beacon of pluralism and tolerance. The Sultanate has historically had good relations with followers of all faiths. That is why Father Kukah was received on his arrival in Sokoto with friendship and tolerance,” Mr Shehu said.

“Under our laws, groups or factions must not give quit notices, neither should they unilaterally sanction any perceived breaches. Where they occur, it is the courts of law that should adjudicate. Unilateral action is not the way to go.

“Groups such as the Muslim Solidarity Forum must be seen to share and uphold the country’s multi-religious principles. And individuals like Father Kukah must respect the feelings of his fellow Nigerians in his private and public utterances,” he added.

Premium Times

Continue Reading