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Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has mandated COVID-19 vaccine for his executive council (exco) members, public servants, health workers and others in the state.

The state is following the steps taken by Edo and Ondo states making it compulsory for workers to vaccinate.

Oyetola held that the directive is part of the measures to curb the spread of Coronavirus in the state.

The directive was contained in a memo from the office of the Head of Service, dated September 15th, signed by its permanent secretary, S. A. Aina and titled, “Mandatory taking of COVID-19 vaccine and observance of its protocols”.

The memo was addressed to the office of Secretary to the State Government, Chief of Staff and its deputy, commissioners, Special Advisers, Chairman of Board & Statutory Commissions, Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Non-Ministerial Departments, Vice-Chancellor, Osun State University, Osogbo, General Managers and Executive Secretaries, Chief Medical Director, UNIOSUN Teaching Hospital; heads of the state’s tertiary institutions and council managers.

The letter read: “Consequent upon the rampaging and virulent third wave (Delta Variant) of the COVID-19 virus, Osun State government is determined to halt its continuous spread in the state. Hence, the government has provided COVID-19 vaccine to be taken by all workers in its various health facilities. This is with a view to ensuring that the vaccine is taken in order to protect and prevent the workforce and residents from being infected with the virus.

“Arising from the foregoing, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has mandated all public servants who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 to visit the nearest Government Health Centre to them or their place of work to get vaccinated forthwith. This directive of Mr. Governor must be taken very seriously by all the affected workers across the entire state and local government services.

“In addition to the above, the governor has directed that all public servants should continue to follow all COVID-19 protocols such as wearing of face mask, staying at least six feet away from one another, avoiding crowded places, constant washing of hands/ use of hand sanitisers, among others.”

Also, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr. Siji Olamiju, at the weekend, said: “We have given them three weeks to have themselves vaccinated, and in this regard, the head of the service is the campaigner for this, sensitising with all the ministries, department and agencies of the availability of test and eventual vaccination. And after this given period, anyone who citrate to this, then we would know which action to take.”

 

 TheNation

Sharing formula of proceeds from fraudulent purchase of substandard equipment led to petition

Ex-IGP Abba testifies as witness, opens can on worms 

AGF, Malami warned management against flouting NPTF Act

Former dep gov/serving senator eyeing 2023, minister fingered in sub-standared equipment purchase

Following the invitation of Management staff of the Nigerian Police Trust Fund (NPTF), by ICPC over investigations into the N11 billion sub standard equipment fraudulent purchase for the Nigerian Police, it has emerged that in-fighting among management staff over sharing formula of money acquired from the contract led to the petition.

Sources disclosed that while some management staff were allegedly given between N3 million and N5 million as their share of the proceeds that came out, some were said to have gotten between N7 million and N8 million prompting underground agitation.

Meanwhile, former Inspector General of Police and Chairman NPTF Board, IGP Suleiman Abba, retd, appeared before the ICPC investigation team as a witness and disclosed that the management of the Police Trust Fund solely went about the procurement of the sub-standared equipment without his knowledge while doing everything possible to frustrate both him and his staff from resuming work at the office provided for them by the Nigerian Police Force. 

“In all my interactions with the management, I always start my address by harping on transparency and due process. But the management took responsibility of such important operational equipment without my knowledge. They went about this gross anomally with support of the Bureau for Public Procurement and the Ministry of Police Affairs took responsibility,” the ex-IGP told Vanguard.

“The truth of the matter is that the Federal government meant well by creating this Trust Fund to improve the Nigerian Police Force. We came in here to do our best to improve the state of equipment and training for the Force. But people with a mindset of enriching themselves hijacked the process. They virtually told me to hands off.” 

“I have gone to the ICPC as a witness. I have given my testimony. I told them I am not a party to how the take off grant for the NPTF was spent. I have not been paid a Kobo for the work I have done so far including visiting Lagos and other places to ascertain the state of dilapidation in Police personnel accommodation.”

“They circumvented all efforts by myself as Chairman of the board to do the right thing hiding under some circular that had nothing to do with operations of the NPTF which is guided by the NPTF Act of 2019, which was even pointed out by the Attorney General of the federation”.

Asked what he was expecting as outcome from the ICPC investigation, Abba said: “Let us wait and see. Let us not pre-empt them”

The NPTF Act in Section 4, states that the Fund shall consist of ”An amount consisting 0.5% of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account; ”A levy of 0.0005% of the net profit of companies operating businesses in Nigeria and ” Any take-off grant and special intervention fund as may be provided by the federal, state and local government of the federation among others.

Section 11 states, the Board of Trustees is responsible for ”Setting out the policies and programmes for the training and training of personnel of the Nigerian Police Force and it’s auxiliary staff in Nigeria and abroad in accordance with objective of the Act.

”Approving the disbursement of money from the Trust Fund to finance projects or activities of the Nigerian Police Force and Police Institutions beneficiaries of the Proceeds of Trust Fund.

Section 12 (1) states, the Board of Trustee has ‘powers’ to award contracts of any kind or description for any amount, whether in local or foreign currency in conformity with the due process requirements as provided under any law, rule, guideline or regulation.

Regarding the role of management, Section 15 states that the Executive Secretary is the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Trust Fund and is responsible for the administration of the Trust Fund.

Furthermore, Schedule 9 (5) Supplementary Provisions states under miscellaneous that “The fixing of the seal of the Trust Fund shall be authenticated by the signature of the Chairman or any other person authorized generally or specially to act for that purpose.”

But the Executive Secretary in circumventing the Act, wrote BPP on July 10, 2020, vide BPP/S.1/ CCM/20/Vol.1/289, “Requesting Clarification on Financial Limits and Thresholds, Procurement methods and threshold of Application and Expenditure as related to the Nigeria Police Trust Fund”.

On his part, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, stated clearly in a letter vide HAGF/PTF/2021/VOL.1/1 dated 6 August, 2021, that the Act establishing the Fund in section 11 made it known that, “The NPTF Board of Trustees is responsible for the management of the Trust Fund.

‘’The Board of Trustee is empowered to set out policies and programmes, approve disbursements of monies from the Trust Fund, scrutinize and approve projects and carry out other activities which are considered necessary for the attainment of objectives of the Act.”

Sources also told Vanguard that a serving ranking senator from one of the states in the North West, who was once a deputy governor but currently eyeing the governorship of his state in 2023, and working in cahoot with certain ministry officials were behind the procurement scam.

It would be recalled that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, last week invited the Director-General of Budget Office, Mr Ben Akabueze and other management staff, in its ongoing investigation into alleged procurement of substandard equipment for the Police.

Vanguard had reported a fortnight ago  that some of the procured equipment by the Nigeria Police Trust Fund, NPTF, for the Police, including bullet proof vests and helmets, were below standard, as the bullet proof vests were discovered to have protective shield in front only, while the helmets were too small.

It was discovered that some of the vehicles purchased with the   N11 billion intervention fund for the police were refurbished, with majority suspected to be used vehicles from war torn regions like Sudan and Libya.

A source said one of the vans which was attached to the convoy of one of the First Ladies from states had it’s top blown off while on motion to venue of President Muhammadu Buhari’s son’s recent wedding in Kano State, adding that it was providence that prevented a calamity.

Medical equipment purchased were also discovered to be substandard, with one of the items said to be the IV fluids, otherwise known as infusion drips, a sterile solution made of sodium chloride and water, which came in sachets, instead of plastic tubes.

The ICPC letter inviting the management staff, had read:  “The invited staff   are   to come with the following documents as applicable to their office and schedule as well as original copies for sighting: two copies of all contract agreement for contract awarded from the take off grant and capital; copies of staff nominal role; comprehensive list of staff on transfer, posting and secondment ; vote for take-off grant; breakdown of all spending and approvals; print out of ledger vote and spending, all no objection certificates from Bureau of Public procurement, BPP, and evidence of BPP clarification on contract award, financial limits and thresholds, procurement methods and thresholds of application and expenditure as related to NPTF”

 

 

Vanguard

As Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari flies out of the country, has directed the incorporation of a new company in the name of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, according to news from the Villa.

Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), in a statement issued today issued. Except: – as the statement mentioned, “This is in consonance with Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the Minister of Finance on the nominal shares of the Company.”

Mr Mele Kolo Kyari who is the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, authorised to take necessary steps in ensuring the incorporation of the NNPC Limited.

As part of the Board and Management appointments are the following according to the release statement and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari with effect from the date of incorporation of the company.

Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as Chairman of the Board

Ifeanyi Godwin Ararume born is a Nigerian politician. He is the Senator representing Imo North at the 9th Nigerian National Assembly. He was elected Senator for the Imo North constituency of Imo State, Nigeria at the start of the Nigerian Fourth Republic, running on the People’s Democratic Party platform.

Born: 16 December 1958 (age 62 years), Imo, Nigeria

 

Mr. Mele Kolo Kyari Chief Executive Officer

Mallam Mele Kyari comes to the job with a very rich oil and gas industry experience spanning over 27 years. A 1987 graduate of Geology and Earth Science from the University of Maiduguri, the incoming GMD served as a Well Site Geologist with the Directorate of Foods, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) between 1987 and 1988 under the National Youth Service Corps.

Thereafter, he worked with the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency between 1988 and 1991 before joining NNPC as a Seismic Data Processing Geophysicist in the Data Processing Department of Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL) in 1992.

He also made his mark as a labour union leader when he served as the NNPC Group Chairman of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) from 1997 to 1999.

He was later appointed as Exploration Geophysicist, Production Sharing Contract (PSC), at the National Petroleum Investments Management Services (NAPIMS) in 1998 from where he was made the Head of NAPIMS Operations in Abuja in 2004. In 2006, he was appointed the Supervisor PSC, Crude Oil Marketing Department (COMD) of the NNPC, from where he rose to the position of Head, and later Manager of Production Contracts Management of the COMD between 2007 and 2014.

Mr Kyari was appointed General Manager Oil Stock Management, COMD where he worked till 2015 when he was appointed Group General Manager, COMD and later Nigeria’s National Representative at OPEC.

 

Umar I. Ajiya – Chief Financial Officer

Umar Ajiya holds a B.Sc Accounting from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria in 1987 and MBA from the Lagos State University, Nigeria in 1998. Ajiya has about 30 years’ experience in oil and gas sector.

Umar Ajiya holds a B.Sc Accounting from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria in 1987 and MBA from the Lagos State University, Nigeria in 1998. Ajiya has about 30 years’ experience in oil and gas sector.

He started his working career in1987 at Peugeot Automobile in Kaduna State, Nigeria where he took part in the madatory National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) after which he joined Elf Petroleum Nigeria Limited (now Total Nigeria) in 1988 before leaving in 1991 to work as part of the pioneer staff of Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG).

Whilst at NLNG, he held several Managerial positions including that of Manager Treasury, Finance Manager of BGT and then Marketing & Business Development Manager of NLNG.

Ajiya joined the service of NNPC as General Manager Commercial with the LNG Division under the Gas & Power Directorate of NNPC. He was responsible for the development of a business that led to the establishment of NNPC LNG Limited, a holding company for the NNPC’s interest in the LNG Marketing Joint Ventures. Furthermore, he was the pioneer MD of West Africa LPG Limited, a trading Joint Venture between NNPC and Ocean Bed Limited, which now owns its own LPG vessel built and delivered in 2016 by HMD Shipyard Korea.

Mr Ajiya was appointed the Group General Manager Corporate Planning & Strategy (CP&S) of NNPC in March 2016. Key achievements of Mr Ajiya as the Head of NNPC CP&S was the Transformation and the development of new business models for NNPC Autonomous Business Units and the resuscitation of the NNPC Price Review Committee which ensures value protection through appropriate and competitive pricing of NNPC crudes, derivatives and products. Mr Ajiya became the Managing Director of Petroleum Products Marketing Corporate (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC in July 2017. Since his appointment, he has initiated and executed several reforms which transformed the company into a viable and profitable commercial entity. Notably include products price optimization, Business Process Review, SAP implementation, sales automation, Legacy debt reduction, commercial reorientation, effective stakeholders’ management strategy as well as unprecedented revenue and profit growth leading to a declaration of profit in 2018 for the first time in its history.

Following his remarkable success at the helms of PPMC, Mr Ajiya was appointed the Group Executive Director (GED) Finance and Accounts; the Chief Financial Officer of NNPC in July 2019. Presently, Mr Ajiya is championing the restructuring of the NNPC Group Balance Sheet towards a full commercialization of NNPC in the wake of the Nigerian Petroleum Industry Bill 2020 aimed at broader oil and gas industry reform including commercialization of NNPC.

Other Board Members are;

Dr Tajudeen Umar (North East),

Dr. Tajudeen Umar is a Petroleum Geologist with some 30 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry. He has held several positions in the public and private sectors ranging from purely technical to management and executive.

His last position in the public sector was that of Executive Chairman, Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Authority. He also doubled as Executive Director, Monitoring and Inspections, of the same organization while serving as Chairman. He is presently an independent oil and gas consultant with business interests in various sector of the economy, specifically the Bank Note Industry.

He was first appointed a member of the NNPC Board in 2016 and reappointed to the Board in June 2020.

 

Mrs Lami Onayi. Ahmed (North Central)

Board Member – Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation LTD

​Mrs. Lami Onayi Ahmed has over 30 years working experience covering the entire value chain of the oil & gas industry.

Her quest for educational pursuit and continuous personal development has seen her bag three master’s degrees in Physiology, Business administration and Social work.

Mrs. Ahmed is a successful businesswoman and philanthropist who is involved in several charity endeavours and humanitarian services across the country. She is an avid golfer with extensive interests across business, social work and politics.

She was appointed to the Board of the NNPC in June, 2020.

 

Mallam Mohammed Lawal (North West)

Mallam Mohammed Lawal is an Engineering Procurement Specialist with over 35 years’ experience covering Design and Maintenance Engineering, Engineering Procurement (Supply Chain Management), Public Policy Administration and Politics.

This has seen him function meritoriously as a director in several public and private organizations across the country.

Mallam Mohammed who was reappointed to the NNPC Board in May, 2020 has been a board member of NNPC since 2016. He has extensive interests in politics and business. His hobbies include traveling, reading, photography, aviculture amongst others.

 

Senator Margaret Chuba Okadigbo (South East)

The Senator Margery is the wife of late Senator Chuba Wilberforce Okadigbo. Margery’s husband, Chuba, was first elected to exactly the same position in 1999 and became the Senate President the same year following the impeachment of Evans Enwerem, who lasted only a few months in office, in November 1999.

She made history as the first woman to sit on the same seat as her husband in the senate. She was a member of the seventh National Assembly on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

Mrs. Margery Okadigbo had represented the people of the area in the upper legislature from 2013-2015.

 

Barrister Constance Harry Marshal (South South)

Barrister Constance is a seasoned legal personality and comes from the Harry Marshall family. She was a former Coordinator in Rivers State for the Project 4+4 Rivers State Chapter. An advocate of women’s empowerment in Nigeria. She is few national boards where she provides management consultations from her legal background.

 

Chief Pius Akinyelure (South West)

Chief Pius Oluwole Akinyelure is a certified accountant and oil industry technocrat. Following a 35-year career in both the Upstream and Downstream Sectors of ExxonMobil from where he retired as Executive Director, Finance & External Relations, he has continued to maintain interests across business, industry and politics.

His hobbies include travelling, listening to music, networking and philanthropy.

He was first appointed a member of the NNPC Board in 2016 and reappointed to the Board in June 2020.

The Middle Belt Forum says Obadiah Mailafia, the former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), endured a miserable ordeal in the hands of doctors before he died on Sunday morning.

 

In a statement released by Isuwa Dogo, the national publicity secretary, the Middle Belt Forum narrated the series of events it claims led to Mailafia’s death.

The forum said he died at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada, after which he had been taken to the CBN Hospital and EHA Clinics, respectively.

“Arising from various enquiries from Nigerians over the circumstances of his death, the Forum wishes to state as follows: That Dr Mailafia arrived Abuja last Sunday September 12, 2021 from Akure and was received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by his wife,” the statement reads.

“On arrival at home, the wife noticed he was not in the best of health conditions and seemed to be suffering from malaria. After three days of treatment without signs of improvement, he went to the CBN Hospital on Friday September 17, 2021 where he was shabbily treated. It took the intervention of a senior medic who immediately placed him on oxygen and admitted him.

“Dr Mailafia’s was later given the option of choosing three hospitals: Gwagwalada Hospital, National Hospital and EHA Clinics. The wife opted for the third choice. On arrival at the EHA Clinics, the wife was subjected to yet another moment of anxiety as it took a direct order from the top management of the hospital to accept him.

“After few hours of treatment, the EHA Clinics told the wife that it was expedient to transfer the former CBN Deputy Governor to Gwagwalada as the clinic was not fully equipped to handle the case.

“The wife opposed the decision and insisted that she was opposed to the idea of taking her husband to Gwagwalada. Mailafia’s wife only succumbed when the consultant assured her that nothing bad will happen to her husband.

“Yesterday, Saturday September 18, 2021, Dr Obadiah was transferred to Gwagwalada. on arrival, the name of the doctor that was billed to attend to Dr Mailafia was not on duty. Even when an attempt was made by foreign health consultants to save the situation, the doctor on duty got angry and said he was not obligated to listen to any foreign consultants that had been brought into the matter with the sole purpose of ensuring nothing goes wrong.

“Wife of the former CBN Deputy Governor was asked to pay the sum of N600’000 as deposit even when it was a referral case, with accruing medical bill to be settled by the CBN. At a point, Dr Mailafia complained over his breathing problems and pleaded with the doctors to place him on a ventilator. The doctors flatly refused.

“Even after the doctors declared Dr. Mailafia dead, foreign consultants who were brought into the matter through Dr Mailafia’s son that is living abroad, had directed a family member who is a medical professional, with the wife of the CBN Deputy Governor, to mount pressure on the chest of Dr. Mailafia for resuscitation and thereafter place him on life support. 

“The doctors in Gwagwalada refused all entreaties by the family members of Dr Mailafia to follow the advice of the foreign consultants, insisting that they have already pronounced him dead. Even when the wife could feel the pulse of her husband, the doctor flatly declared there was nothing they could do since they had already pronounced him dead.”

The forum said it is anticipating the autopsy report, adding that Mailafia’s passing “represents a dark day” for the middle belt and Nigeria.

 

 TheCable

Covenant University retained her status as the best private institution in Nigeria and one of the topmost generally, as the Times Higher Education (THE) released the 2022 World University Rankings on Thursday, September 2, 2021.

Hitherto ranked 801-1000, Covenant soared to 601-800 in the rankings.

The metrics for the rankings indicated an improvement in the University’s comparative performance in the five metrics for the current orders, which included Teaching, Research, Citation, and International Outlook.

In teaching, Covenant improved in the 2022 rankings by 19%, showing a 3.83 percentage change. Equally, there was an 11.41% improvement in her research ratings. Similarly, Covenant had an 11.18% improvement in her citation ratings, and the University recorded a 7.5% upgrade in international outlook in the 2022 rankings compared to the 2021 rankings.

The list of Nigerian institutions in the 2022 rankings featured six other Nigerian institutions. The University of Ibadan led the pack, having been ranked 401-500 and the University of Lagos 501-600. The University of Lagos, University of Ilorin, and Obafemi Awolowo University all ranked 1201+.

Reportedly, the World University Rankings 2022 included a total of 1,662 Universities compared to 1,527 in 2021. Covenant progressed from the fourth position in the 2021 rankings with her third-place ranking among Nigerian institutions in 2022.

The University of Oxford tops the ranking for the sixth consecutive year, while mainland China had two institutions in the top 20 for the first time. These were Peking University and Tsinghua University that shared 16th place.

The United States was the most-represented country overall, with 183 institutions and the most represented in the top 200 (57).

[NewsDirect]

Spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, has said heaven will not fall if a northerner is elected the next Nigerian President.

Maintaining that northerners are not second-class citizens, he said the north will not accept to serve as a second fiddle in 2023, when the region has the population to go to clinch the first position.

He said this while delivering a keynote address at the maiden Maitama Sule Leadership Lecture Series organised by the students wing of Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, at the weekend.

He said, “The North is not for sale and northerners will surprise those waiting for them to queue up in 2023 and be given money in exchange for their votes.”

He said anyone who does not want a northerner as President should leave the country if one emerges.

He also charged the students to be proud of who they are, challenging them not to accept being treated as second-class citizens in their own country.

“We will lead Nigeria the way we have led Nigeria before, whether we are President or Vice President, we will lead Nigeria. We have the majority of the votes and the democracy says vote whom you want.

“Why should we accept second class position when we know we can buy form and contest for first class and we will win?

“Why does anybody need to threaten us and intimidate us? We will get that power, but be humble because power comes from God. We inherited leadership, being honest is not being stupid.

“There are Nigerians who believe that because the economy of the North is being crumbled; we are running away from insecurity, we are politically vulnerable, they think they can buy us for 2023 but they are making a mistake.

“We are ready for this; we will consider every economic adversity, challenge, we will fix the Northern economy and we are the only one who can fix this Northern economy. For that reason, we are not for sale. We are in the process of rebuilding the North and we will rebuild the North from 2023.”

Baba-Ahmed said whether the north holds power in 2023 or not, anybody who wants to break up in this country will say so, as they were just looking for excuses.

He also charged the youths to be active in politics.

“Don’t accept second class status because you are a northerner. No northerner is a second-class citizen in this country. If we want to support a southerner, we will support a southerner because that will be in our own interest and we can decide for ourselves.”

Also speaking, a Commissioner in the Police Service Commission (PSC), Hajia Naja’atu Bala Muhammad, urged the youths to stop being intellectually lazy and selling their rights to leadership for peanuts.

Earlier, the lecturer at the event, Dr. Riyahuddeen Zubair Maitama, who spoke on “Ethical Reorientation for Positive Attitudinal Change: An Urgent National Imperative”, called for urgent ethical reorientation for positive attitudinal change among Nigerians both the governors and the governed especially the youth on whose shoulder the future of the country rests.

[Dailytrust]

The Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has described the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as a ‘Capo’.

 Akeredolu, who described Tinubu as a leader in the southern region of the country, said he was awaiting the arrival of the APC leader in order to take critical decisions ahead of 2023.

Akeredolu, who is the Chairman of South West Governors’ Forum stated this during an interview on Arise Television on Sunday.

While stressing that his recent visit to the former Lagos State Governor in London had nothing to do with the 2023 election.

On whether he will support Tinubu as Presidential Candidate of APC in 2023, Governor Akeredolu said only the party where he is a member will decide that.

“APC is a party. APC will decide who the candidate will be. I have said it several times. I’m going nowhere. If I leave APC, I am going back to my chamber. For me, whatever APC decides,I will follow.

“We went to London because It was important for us to go and see for ourselves. How he’s doing. He’s the Capo for us here. By the time he comes, we can make some serious decisions.”

[Dailypost]

THE Federal Government may consider barring unvaccinated individuals from accessing government facilities, among other measures, if the COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy being witnessed continues, The PUNCH has learnt.

It was gathered, however, that the decision would only be taken if the government did not notice any significant improvement after the ongoing enlightenment and engagement across the country.

Recall that the Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, had said the government might enforce the law against those who refuse COVID-19 vaccination.

The Edo State Government had already started barring government workers without COVID-19 vaccination certificates from accessing government buildings.

When asked on Friday if the Federal Government was also considering such step, the Secretary to the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Dr Mukhtar Muhammed, told The PUNCH it would be considered if it became necessary.

Muhammed said, “We don’t have

such plans but if it becomes necessary, it is something that can be considered.

“There is a lot of mobilisation going on. We have community engagement in all the states where the communities and traditional leaders are engaged.

“We will continue to persuade people through all available means to make sure that people would realise the need and take the vaccines by themselves. For now, there is no plan to do that.”

 1.6% fully vaccinated- NPHCDA

Meanwhile, data obtained from the website of the NPHCDA on Sunday revealed that as of September 18, 2021, only 1.6 per cent of the over 200 million Nigerians had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the NPHCDA, only 4,373,434 eligible citizens have taken their first dose of the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines, while 1,764,649 of the initial four million had taken their second doses.

Shuaib added, “We will continue to monitor for side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines and as it is common with all vaccines, there have been reports of mild to moderate reactions.

“This is normal with any vaccination. We are working with NAFDAC to keep a close watch on those who have been vaccinated for any unlikely case of serious adverse effect,” he said.

As of September 18, 2021, no fewer than 201,630 confirmed cases had been reported in Nigeria with a total of 2,654 fatalities, with 190,288 cases discharged.

[Punch]

Attempts by a female passenger, Obehi Isesele, and one Emmanuel Omebere to export illicit drugs to Europe through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, have been thwarted by narcotic officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.

The agency said the suspects were arrested before they boarded their flights.

The NDLEA Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, in a statement on Sunday, said,  “While Isesele was nabbed on Saturday, September 11, 2021, during outward clearance of an Ethiopian airline flight at Gate B, Departure Hall, of the Lagos airport on her way to Milan, Italy, with 312 sachets of Tramadol, weighing 1.5 kilogrammes, concealed in crayfish and dried vegetables, Omebere was caught with 137.45 grams of the same drug concealed in foodstuffs at the Abuja airport on Thursday, September 2, during outward clearance of a Turkish airline flight to Istanbul, Turkey.”

Meanwhile, efforts by traffickers to export varying sizes of consignments containing cocaine, heroin and other illicit drugs through courier firms were also reportedly foiled.

Babafemi said, “Some of these include 475g of heroin concealed in food items going to Canada; 202g of cocaine hidden in body cream containers going to Australia; 720g of Cannabis Sativa tucked in computer hard drives heading for the United Arab Emirates, and another 2.1kg of cannabis hidden in body cream bottles going to Oman, while 60g of cocaine concealed in degree certificates meant for Australia was also seized, all from three courier firms in Lagos.

“Curiously, a 38-year-old pregnant woman, Kate Ngozi Nwuju, was arrested on Tuesday, September 14, at her residence in Rumueme, Mile 4 area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, with 4.5kg of cannabis following intelligence that she sells drugs.

“Also, one Aliyu Saidu, suspected to be a fake soldier was arrested with 2.3kg of Cannabis Sativa in a commercial bus from Lagos to Makurdi, on Monday, 13th of September, at Aliade checkpoint, Benue State.

“In Kano, one Shuaibu Yusuf was arrested on Friday, September 17, with 537kg of Cannabis Sativa, concealed among bags of cement in a truck, while in Ogun State, five persons were arrested on Tuesday, September 14, after their truck conveying 552kg cannabis was intercepted at Ogere Remo, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.”

The Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Marwa (retd.), commended the officers and men of the agency for maintaining the heat on drug dealers.

[Punch]

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja 11, on Sunday, began seven days of seclusion preceding the annual ‘Olojo’ Festival in the ancient city.

‘Olojo’ in Yoruba means ‘the day of the first dawn’, but in the lore of Ile-Ife, the Olojo Festival is an annual cultural festival created to celebrate the day the Almighty created the earth.

Speaking before going incommunicado, Oba Ogunwusi said that he would dedicate this year’s seven-day seclusion to pray for a better Nigeria.

The Ooni said that Nigerians had every cause to thank God in view of the devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the rest of the world.

“When we compare what has been happening in other nations, we have every cause to glorify God, for He has been so faithful to us by delivering us from the power of coronavirus.

“Our efforts to protect people from the pandemic by providing fumigators for 36 states and Abuja, the FCT cannot be over-emphasised.

“But we shouldn’t relent in our efforts to see to the welfare of people generally that’s why am dedicating my sixth seclusion on the throne to pray for our leaders.

“Seclusion is so significant that I cannot joke with it because I inherited it from my ancestors thousands of years ago,” Ooni explained.

The Oba said that he would also use his period seclusion to pray for God to touch the hearts of Nigerian politicians to stop playing games with people’s lives and be sensitive to people’s yearnings.

“Our politicians in this country have the same value, same character, politicians, but am going into seclusion to pray for our leaders to have a change of mind, so that things could get better.

“Our leaders should be ready to serve us genuinely, as promised during their campaigns, so am going there to pray to my ancestors to touch their hearts, for them to make life more bearable to us.

“We cannot continue like this, things need to change and there cannot be any change without the hands of God, for the prayer of the righteous availeth much,” the Ooni said.

(NAN)

 
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