The Federal Government has explained why children in the country will not be receiving the approved COVID-19 vaccines when it finally arrives.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, while speaking at Monday’s weekly briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, said the vaccines have not been proven to be safe for children.
“What the evidence has shown is that the vaccines have been tried in individuals above 16 years of age for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and above 18 years in the Oxford- AstraZeneca vaccine,” Mr Shuaib said.
“The guidance is that these are the only individuals that it is safe to try the vaccines on.”
He noted that data is being gathered on the effects of COVID-19 on children.
“However, from the data that has been shared by the NCDC, people who are most affected by COVID-19 are those that are adults or those that have co-morbidity, especially the elderly,” he said.
Nigeria is set to receive four million doses of the approved Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines as the first batch of vaccines expected in the country.
The government had said it aims to vaccinate about 109 million of its population against COVID-19 over a period of two years.
It, however, said only eligible population from 18 years and above, including pregnant women, will be vaccinated.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) recently approved the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for use in Nigeria with vaccination expected to begin by the end of February.
Nigeria has recorded over 150,000 COVID-19 cases and over 1,800 deaths from the virus.
Mr Shuaib reiterated that the country has the capacity to store and manage the expected vaccines, with the cold chain requirements of +2 °C to +8°C.
He said this aligns with the agency’s cold chain equipment used during the fight against poliovirus.
“The vaccines will be stored in Walk-in Cold Rooms (WICR) at the National, Zonal and state levels. At the LGA level, the vaccines will be stored in vaccine refrigerators and at Health facilities with Solar Direct Drive Cold Chain Equipment,” he said.
He said approximately 7,500 political wards in the country have Solar Direct Drive (SDD) refrigerators to store vaccines even where there is no electricity supply.
“The remaining political wards that do not have these in their facilities are currently been fed by installation agents that have assured us that the process will be completed by the end of this year.
“With the trend in the rate of installations, we have no reason to doubt their ability to deliver on this task. In the meantime, those wards without SDDs will be supported from neighbouring health facilities,” Mr Shuaib noted.
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.”