The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has raised alarm over the circulation of fake COVID19 vaccines in the country.
Nigeria on March 2 received 3.92 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines and has since launched the vaccination programme in the country.
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, raised the alarm in a statement released by the agency's Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola. She warned Nigerians to “refrain from procuring the vaccine online to avoid falling into the wrong hands of merchants of death.”
“The public must be on the lookout for these spurious and counterfeit vaccines and other regulated products” she warned
She also warned Nigerians to be vigilant and expose anyone who might want to divert COVID-19 vaccines donated by international donors for profiteering.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, says he recommended Abdulrasheed Bawa for the chairmanship of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission because of his high level of dedication and capacity.
According to Daily Trust, Malami said contrary to reports that he single-handedly picked Bawa to be the chairman of the EFFC, four names were submitted to the president for consideration, and Bawa was subsequently picked.
Malami also denied being related to the EFCC boss.
“I am happy that most of the comments made are not on his capacity, intelligence, competence and the associated ability to deliver. His capacity to deliver was never questioned across the nation.
“The question is whether justice has been served, whether public interest has been served having the chairman appointed with a particular regard to his capacity and ability to deliver.
“My answer is yes. He has the capacity, ability and institutional history of the institution to do justice by way of bringing about added value,” he said.
Malami said having headed three operational divisions of the commission, Bawa’s credentials made him to be selected among the names forwarded to the president.
Malami noted that Bawa “has held various authorities, inclusive of serving in various divisions as the head of operations, including Port Harcourt, Lagos and Ibadan which are adjudged to be the high point.”
The minister said since the law governing the operations of the EFCC had not been altered, the allegation Bawa’s appointment would subvert some of the functions of commission was baseless.
The Kaduna State Government yesterday said it was focused on ensuring the safe return of the 39 students abducted from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, in Igabi Local Government Area.
The students, comprising of 23 females and 16 males are still in captivity with the bandits demanding N500 million for their release.
The state government, through the Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, on Sunday said it acknowledged the efforts of security agencies in the recent rescue of 180 students of the college.
Aruwan said it extends an unequivocal solidarity to the military, police, DSS and other security agencies whose swift intervention prevented the bandits from abducting more persons.
“The Kaduna State Government maintains a clear focus at this time, and that is to ensure the safe return of the missing students, and to consolidate intelligence gathering and security vigilance towards forestalling possible attempts on other facilities or institutions,” he said.
The ongoing investigation into the N2.4 Million allegedly stolen by some members and staff of Ondo State House of Assembly has led to the detention of the lawmaker, Felemu Bankole, the Clerk of the Assembly, Mr. Bode Adeyelu and three other staffers of the Assembly.
The suspects were arrested on Wednesday and detained by the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in its Lagos facility in connection with the alleged fraud.
Other staffers of the Assembly detained are Olusegun Kayode and Afolabi O. J. who were said to be helping the anti-graft agency in its investigation.
Felemu Bankole, who is the lawmaker representing Akoko South West I in the House, is the chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education.
A source in the Assembly had revealed that the speaker, Bamidele Oleyelogun, the House committee chairman and four other members of the committee were said to have been enlisted to attend a two-day seminar purportedly organised by National Productivity, Lagos, slated for Wednesday, 11th and Thursday 12th of December 2019 in Lagos.
But it was revealed that they didn’t attend the alleged phony seminar and allegedly collected money for the seminar.
According to a document obtained, it reads in parts: “The seminar was aimed at institutionally productivity, consciousness and excellence in service among workers and organisations in both public and private sectors, to accord workers and organizations the platform in achieving high productivity as well as giving impetus the seminar in charting the pathway in revitalizing the Educational Sector.”
According to sources at the Assembly, the clerk, the deputy speaker, the committee chairman of the House Committee on Tertiary Education and two members of the committee were scheduled to attend the seminar.
However, the anti-graft agency is after the lawmakers and civil servants working at the Assembly because a petition received by the agency claimed that the lawmakers didn’t attend the said seminar but collected N2.4million from the state Ministry of Finance for the event.
Sources revealed that the speaker had been invited by EFCC to its Lagos office for interrogation, but the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Gbenga Omole, who denied the speaker’s invitation, admitted that some staffers of the Assembly were invited by EFCC.
He explained that all he could say on the issue was that the Clerk and members of staff of the Assembly were invited by the anti-graft agency.
The House of Representatives, may soon pass a Bill for Act, to permit Nigerians from the age of eighteen, to carry arms for self-defence.The House of Representatives may soon pass a Bill for Act to permit Nigerians from the age of eighteen to carry arms for self-defence.
This contradicts President Muhammadu Buhari’s order to security services to shoot any civilian bearing arms.
According to VANGUARDA a bill, entitled: “Firearms Amendment Bill”, was exclusively obtained at the weekend.
The Bill sponsored by Rep. Adejoro Adeogun, states in section 2 subsection 3, that “Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), a person shall be entitled to the grant of a license or permit under this Act if, at the time of application, the person: at least eighteen years of age”. and “has a psychological evaluation certificate from a government hospital not more than six months, has a vision quality certificate from a government hospital not more than six months, has a police clearance certificate not more than twelve months, has a rifle club membership of at least six months and a firearms proficiency certificate issued by the club, and has a national identification number”.
The Bill also demands that the bearer “Has a National Identification Number (NIN) issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC)”, adding that “The Inspector General of Police, shall maintain a manual and an e-register of such permits in force”.
The Bill also states that “The Inspector General of Police, may, with the consent of the Governor of the State, grant a permit to any person to carry on the business of manufacture and repair of the firearms referred to in Part III of the Schedule to this Act”.
The bill seeks a jail sentence of at least 2 years for offences to the law.
“Section 35 (2) of the Principal Act, is amended by substituting for the words, one thousand naira or imprisonment for two years, the words seventy-five thousand or imprisonment of not less than 2 years”.
Parents in the country have expressed sadness over the incessant abduction of school children by kidnappers.
They said it was worrisome and disheartening that Nigeria could degenerate to this level where schools are no longer safe but now target for kidnappers to make a huge sum of money in form of ransom payment.
President of the National Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NPTAN), Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, among others, gave this thought and perception on Sunday in an exclusive interview with Nigerian Tribune.
They described the incessant abductions of students and school workers including the latest at the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation in Kaduna, as a very sad development, saying this is despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise a few weeks ago that kidnapping of students at Kagere school in Niger State would be the last in the country.
According to them, it is sad that kidnappers have now turned schools and abduction of students to the business they are concentrating on in the country.
They said they didn’t know who to turn to again to save the lives of the children who are the country’s future leaders.
As it is now, Alhaji Danjuma revealed, many parents, especially in the northern states where there is already a huge out-of-schoolchildren, are losing interest in allowing their children to go to school again because of fear of possible kidnap.
He said should government had listened to the cry of parents by asking them across tiers to jointly provide adequate security in and around both boarding and non-boarding schools and elsewhere across the country, the situation would not have degenerated so badly as it is.
NPTAN boss said the situation is that majority of the Nigerian school security guards where available are usually older people who, according to him, cannot catch rats much less the invaders with arms.
He said most of the guards are engaged directly by the schools and not the government and be paying as low as N8, 000 or N10, 000 monthly as a salary.
He said but the security of lives and property of all Nigerians including teachers and students in schools and elsewhere is the responsibility of government across tiers.
He, however, asked both the Federal and Kaduna State government to, without delay, find a way of rescuing the traumatized 39 abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation alive and unhurt, saying that is the concern of all the parents and not whether ransom should be paid or not.
The planned disconnection of financial service providers (FSP) from Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services by telecommunications operators has been put on hold.
Weighing the potential impact the action would have on the socioeconomic lives of the citizens, the Federal Government, at the weekend, asked telecom service providers to shelve their impending suspension of USSD services over a N42 billion debt owed by banks.
The suspension order was contained in a statement signed by Femi Adeluyi, Technical Assistant on Information Technology to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.
Last week, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), in a statement, said telcos would disconnect financial service providers from USSD services from March 15 until they paid their over N42 billion debt.
ALTON had explained that the service withdrawal became necessary due to lack of agreement on a payment structure with the banks that did not involve the end-user being asked to pay.
However, in the statement on Saturday night titled, ‘Impending Suspension of USSD Banking Services Put on Hold’, the minister asked the mobile operators to abort the action.
The statement partly read, “In a bid to ensure amicable resolution of the impasse, Dr. Pantami has called for a meeting of all stakeholders, including governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission), the MNOs (Mobile Network Operators), and the financial institutions.
“The meeting is scheduled to hold on Monday, March 15, 2021.
“The outcome of the meeting will determine the next step regarding the status of the USSD financial services.”
The moves by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to reconcile its members ahead of the 2023 general elections appear to have hit the rocks following unresolved issues and latest upheavals in some state chapters of the party.
President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the APC in February 2020 named Chief Bisi Akande, the former Interim National Chairman of the party as the Chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee of the party.
The initial chairman, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, was dropped after some party members, especially in Edo APC, accused him of alleged bias in the political crisis that rocked the state before the governorship election.
Other members of the Akande-led committee included governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello; Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola; Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi; Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Idris Wase; Sen. Umaru Tanko Al-Makura; Sen. Kashim Shettima; Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor; Alh. Nasiru Aliko Koki; Sen. Khairat Gwadabe-Abdulrazaq, and Sen. Binta Garba.
Credible party sources said the committee has not achieved much since its formation and party members are worried that the party may go into the 2023 elections more polarised than it is presently.
While some party members have blamed the outbreak of the COVID-19 as a major impediment to the committee’s work, others blame the indifference of Akande to the assignment owing to the latest developments in the party, especially alleged attempts by some power brokers to humiliate his ally, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos and the party’s national leader.
According to a credible source in the party, who was asked to compare the pace of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Reconciliation and Strategy Committee led by former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and that of the ruling party, many APC members are not really feeling the impact of the reconciliatory efforts of the Akande-led committee and are calling for change.
Aside some unresolved crisis in states like Kwara, Imo, Osun, Ogun, Edo, Ondo, Zamfara, and Rivers which are being managed silently, they also cited the latest developments which led to an open confrontation between Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazak of Kwara State and the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and the altercation between Governor Hope Uzodimma and Senator Rochas Okorocha.
He said: “As you are aware, the Akande-led committee was inaugurated in February 2020.
“That was when COVID-19 outbreak started in Nigeria and this greatly affected the work of the committee as they couldn’t do much.
“Some have said the committee could have deployed the use of technology such as zoom, but we all know that in resolving crisis, that method of virtual meeting won’t be as effective as having a one-on-one meeting where the warring parties will sit together and even embrace after the issues are resolved.”
However, another party source said Akande is not really keen about the task after he and other leaders’ opinion were not sought before the party leadership embarked on the ongoing party registration and revalidation exercise.
Akande had publicly criticised the exercise as an aberration and a waste of money considering the economic situation of the country.
“Many of us in the party believe that Papa Akande is not really keen about the reconciliation exercise owing to certain developments in the party.
“The first is the sidelining of party leaders by the current national executives of the party, led by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, especially on the ongoing membership registration exercise.
“The second is also the issue of alleged attempts to humiliate his ally, Asiwaju Tinubu, over his perceived presidential ambition.
“If you remember, Akande, Chief Olusegun Osoba, Prince Tajudeen Olusi, and Dr. Abayomi Finnih visited the president in Aso Villa in November 2020 and many believed this was the issue they discussed, even though it was not revealed made public.
“The issue is the party cannot keep watching while everything is in disarray and the committee set up by the president is not doing its job of reconciliation.
“We have seen what is going on in the other party and this is a source of worry to us as 2023 is around the corner.”
In the PDP, a member of the Saraki committee said they had achieved 50 percent success rate in reconciling aggrieved members ahead of the 2023 elections.
According to him, with the support it has received from all PDP stakeholders so far, especially the National Working Committee led by Prince Uche Secondus, the committee is confident that all grey areas would be sorted out and the party would be in good shape ahead of the 2023 elections.
Also speaking, Chief Olabode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, has hailed the Saraki-led committee on its ongoing efforts to unite the party and return it to winning ways in future elections.
Speaking with Daily Independent at the weekend, George, the Atona Oodua of Yorubaland, who hailed Saraki’s maturity in handling the assignment, said he was highly impressed with the fact that the former two-time governor of Kwara State had been speaking truth to power without mincing words on the way to go for the party to reclaim its place of pride in Nigeria’s political arena.
He said: “The national reconciliation committee set up by the party headed by Dr. Bukola Saraki is doing a very wonderful job.
He Sultan of Sokoto and the President General Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) , Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has declared Monday March 15, as the first day of Sha’aban 1442AH.
Abubakar, made the declaration in a statement by Prof. Sambo Junaidu, Chairman, Advisory Committee on Religious Affairs, Sultanate Council, Sokoto.
“Sultanate Council Advisory Committee on Religious Affairs in Conjunction with the National Moonsighting Committee did not receive any report confirming the sighting of the crescent.
“This is for the new moon of Sha’aban 1442AH on Saturday March 13, which is equivalent to the 29th day of Rajab 1442AH.
“Therefore, Sunday March 14, will be 30th day of Rajab 1442AH.
“The Sultan has accepted the report, and accordingly declared Monday March 15, as the first day of Sha’aban 1442AH,” the statement read.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Sha’aban is the eighth month of the Islamic calendar, which comes before the compulsory fasting month of Ramadan.
Many pro-Biafra groups, at the weekend, gathered at Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to form a self-indigenous government called Biafra De facto Customary Government, headed by Mujahid Dokubo Asari and other estranged associates of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnadi Kanu.
The new group,it was gathered, would take care of current insecurity challenges faced by the Igbo and also focus on science and technology advancements to make life easier for the people.
Head of Information and Communication for the customary government, Uche Mefor, in a statement, named George Onyibe as secretary of the organisation while Emeka Esiri would be in charge of legal matters.
In his maiden address to Biafrans, last Saturday, Asari said it was time the Igbo take their destiny into their hands and bring freedom to their people, children and generations of Biafrans yet unborn.
He said after the civil war, the resources of Nigeria were confiscated and taken over by those who have now become the masters of Nigeria.
“Today marks a great epoch in our history, a history that has been chequered with pains, sweat and our blood. We went through three years of gruesome genocide. We came out of it and became a people without direction.
“There has been uprising in various parts of Biafra. There was the Ogoni revolt that led to the death of Ken Saro Wiwa and others.
“My comrades, how long will they tell us they must forcefully enter our land and move their animals around? How long will they tell us the acceptable legal principle of ‘Cujus Est Solum Ejus Usque Ad Coelum’ (he who owns the land, owns all that is in the land, above the land and below the land) does not apply in our case? How long will Zamfara has the right to mine its gold and other solid mineral resources and we will not have the right to our own? How long will our creeks, streams, waters, river lets belong to the omnibus Nigerian State, but we have no right to all these resources, as they belong to the Nigerian State?”
Warning the people not to accept the role of second class citizens or play second fiddle; a situation of a slave riding on horseback and master walking on foot, he stressed that all over the world, Biafrans have projected the positive image of the black race, but at home, he said, “we are nobody. In our home, we are now third fiddle. We are mere appendages to Nigeria. It is time we cut ourselves loose.
“This has formed the decision in accepting this position, this trust. I never expected it from all our brothers and sisters across the globe who gathered and said, ‘come and lead’. I hesitated, but I thank God that it is time for us to do our duty and our service to motherland. I have accepted this role; I have dedicated my life hundred percent to play this role.
“I am not your leader, I am not your master; I am just one of you. There are many of you out there who are far better than me; who are more entitled to this position than myself, who are more intelligent than me, who are wiser and have travelled and globe throttled more than me, but you saw in me some qualities that qualified me to even come near this office, I appreciate you.”
He reminded members of the cabinet that many of them may not reach the Promised Land, because the enemy, he said is ever ready to bear his fangs and laws. He, however, assured them that, “by the grace of God, for every Pharaoh, God created a Moses and for every Goliath, God created a David.
None of the six states in the Northeast region of Nigeria is contributing for the pension of its workers under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), a record has shown.
According to the record from the National Pension Commission (PenCom) obtained on Sunday, the states were at various stages of implementing the CPS as of December 2020.
The status of implementation of the CPS in the Northeast region record indicated that Adamawa enacted a law on CPS in 2013 and then drafted the CPS Bill 2020 to establish a scheme similar to Contributory Defined Benefits Scheme (CDBS) but is yet to commence pension remittance, among others.
Bauchi state drafted a CDBS bill in 2015 and recently constituted a committee on implementing the CPS, among others. Borno State drafted a bill on CPS in 2012 and forwarded a copy to PenCom for review.
In Gombe, a law on CPS was enacted in 2008 and amended to become the CDBS Law in January 2019, but has not started any remittance or other processes.
Taraba has had a CPS law since 2009 but no Pension Bureau, no registered employees and no remittances. Yobe has been operating the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS) but raised a committee on the adoption of CPS in February 2020.
Director General of PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, in a recent interview said state’s compliance with the CPS will benefit the states and their workers.
“The Commission has been intensifying efforts at ensuring that State Governments comply with the CPS by providing technical assistance through its six Zonal Offices, one in each of the geo-political zones of Nigeria,” she said.
The Kaduna State Government has said that bandits stormed Government Science Secondary School, Ikara, Ikara Local Government Area, in an attempt to kidnap students, but the students utilized the security warning system in place, and were thus able to alert security forces.
The State Commissioner, Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, while briefing newsmen on Sunday on the security update of the state explained that, “Between the late hours of Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday, suspected bandits stormed the Government Science Secondary School, Ikara, Ikara Local Government Area, in an attempt to kidnap the students.
“Fortunately, the students utilized the security warning system in place, and were thus able to alert security forces in the area. The security forces comprising the troops of the Nigerian Army, Police and some security volunteers moved swiftly to the school and engaged the bandits, forcing them to flee.”
He stated that the military and the police were still on the trail of the armed bandits.
He explained that following a head count by the school management, the Kaduna State Government confirmed that all 307 students have been verified safe and present, stressing that the attempted kidnap was foiled completely and no student was taken from the school.
Samuel Aruwan further explained that similarly, around Ifira village in Igabi Local Government Area, bandits attempted to attack a senior staff quarters around the Kaduna Airport general area.
He noted that the attempt was also foiled as troops of the Nigerian Air Force and the Nigerian Army engaged and repelled them, with several of them escaping with gunshot wounds.
The Federal Government has assured the tripartite labour community of the organised labour, organised private sector and indeed all Nigerians that there is currently no increase in the price of premium motor spirit (PMS).
However this, organised labour, at the weekend, vowed to resist further increase and berated government’s deregulation policy based on importation.
A statement in Abuja by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said there would be no increase in the price of PMS for now, as discussions were still on between government and organised labour as well as other stakeholders on the matter.
“I have made contact with the relevant authorities, the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the NNPC and wish to assure members of the public, especially the organised labour and workers that there is no such increase for now.
“We have an ongoing discussion and standing committees comprising labour and government on one hand and another, comprising the office of the Vice-President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation , governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, group managing director of NNPC and the ministers of labour, petroleum and finance.”
He explained that the discussions were ongoing concurrently and the next meeting between the Federal Government and labour would hold immediately after the Easter break.
According to Ngige, the present attempt to hoist a fait accompli on the government and all its efforts run against the ongoing discussions. “We, hence, wish to warn the insidious harbingers of such information not to portray government as cruel, irresponsible and unamenable to social dialogue and collective bargaining.”
“Government will at the right time do an appropriate pricing for petroleum products but not without taking other issues into consideration. This is to ensure that Nigerians don’t suffer the pangs of any price increase in petroleum products.
“Government has deregulated petroleum products and market forces have to dictate pricing. That notwithstanding, government has decided to give it a human face by agreeing to some palliative measures that will make the price realistic and affordable to ordinary Nigerians.
“We, therefore, wish to re-assure our partners in the organised labour, the NLC, TUC and affiliate unions that there will be no increase in the price of PMS for now. They should therefore continue to cooperate with government side to have a fruitful outcome from the discussions,” he said.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has insisted that its position remains constant as further increase would compound the sufferings of Nigerians.
According to the NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, any further increase will not only lead to hyper-inflation, but will equally erode the purchasing power of every Nigerian.
He said, “Moreso the cost of goods and services will go up, transportation, rent, etc. It will further push many Nigerians into poverty. So, basically, this is why we have remained constant to say that, if the policy of deregulation is based on importation, definitely, we are in for a very vicious cycle. That’s why this issue has gone for a very long time. We are not going to accept it.”
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, on Sunday, assured that the ongoing war against Boko Haram will soon be over.
Attahiru, who was in Yobe to play morale boosting visit on the troops of Sector 2 Operation Lafiya Dole of the Nigerian Army in Damaturu, told the soldiers that he came to assure them that Boko Haram would be ended within a reasonable period of time.
The COAS, while addressing the troops, said, “We have come to Yobe State to meet you, to get to know you and you get to know us as well. We promised to end this issue of Boko Haram.
“I am bringing very special greetings from the President and Commander-in-Chief, he is fully briefed and aware of how and what you are doing.
“I will like to tell you that, I personally as the Chief of Army Staff I am here to take cognizance and note of the challenges you have and ensure that they are addressed to ensure you have the highest level of morale to be able to do your job and do it proudly as Nigerian soldiers.”
The COAS expressed that he was impressed with their performance so far, saying, “I am very pleased, your Commanders have told me what you have done collectively as part of ‘Operation Tura Takai Bango,” how you have pushed the Boko Haram Insurgents. We are so proud of you and I believe in the second phase of that operation you will do more.”
He said he was sure they will go out to the war front and push the insurgents so hard and bring this entire insurgency to an end.
He said, “All your challenges are noted and I will address all the problems.”