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COVID-19: DON’T GIVE BUHARI, APC ANOTHER $3.4BN LOAN, ACTIVIST CAUTIONS IMF, OTHERS

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… Urges private individuals to donate directly to Nigerians

A political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Timi Frank, has cautioned the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international organisations to be wary of plan to grant another loan to the current General Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in the name of Covid-19.

The Nigerian government is asking for $3.4billion loan to fight COVID-19.

Frank said IMF must ask the current regime how previous loans taken from China and several other sources were used.

The former APC spokesman who said if the loan is approved, would be the largest in the continent, however, warned that the international organisations should not mortgage the future of unborn Nigerians.

The political activist in a statement made available to newsmen on Monday said that inspite all the loans taken in the last five years of General Buhari administration, “Nigeria is still referred to as the poverty capital of the world.”

Frank said: “The APC government has negatively given another name to governance in Nigeria and it is now government of loan. The IMF must demand to see the roads, the healthcare facilities and all manners of infrastructure previous loans were used for.”

The Bayelsa-born activist said if such huge amount of money is given to the current regime it will be mismanaged.

“I hereby advise the IMF and other organisations to be cautious not to facilitate corruption in Nigeria. The proposed $3.4billion loan given to Nigeria to fight COVID-19 is questionable. General Buhari’s government has collected several loans from China & World Bank, but it doesn’t reflect amongst Nigerians.

“The purpose of the loans over the years are not been carried out. Buhari is corrupt, they will end up sharing the money among themselves and give Nigerians contrived stories. The loan will not be used to tackle COVID-19. They will build no hospitals, or buy any medical equipment,” Frank warned.

The activist said virus such as corruption, hunger, poverty, nepotism, and wickedness kill Nigerians daily more than COVID-19.

Frank called on wealthy Nigerians to donate directly to the citizens instead of donating to the federal government.

“I hereby appeal to the private sector and businessmen to quit donating relief funds to the Nigerian government, instead they should donate directly to Nigerians through their BVN; so this money can get to Nigerians directly, instead of giving the money to this corrupt government.”

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Crime

Marwa Warns Against Cannabis Legalisation

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Says “It is money versus life”

 

President Muhammadu Buhari (right) with the Chairman of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mohammed Buba Marwa at the State House, Abuja, during a visit by Marwa to brief him on the activities of the agency (photo by The Guardian)

Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), has enjoined members of the National Assembly not to support to move to legalise cannabis, cautioning that members who vote for it might not be able to return to their constituencies.Marwa made the submission yesterday while fielding questions from newsmen after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.

The former military administrator of Lagos said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed the dangers of cannabis to the brain, disclosing that Nigeria was the highest consumer of the substance globally.

Vowing that Nigeria would not submit to the push for its legalisation, Marwa said: “Now, the WHO itself has declared that cannabis affects the brain, alters brain function. It destabilises and affects behaviour. It also affects body organs, and at some point, it can lead to death.

“So, while we appreciate those who want to legalise it for financial gains, we have to be careful to reconcile it with life. So, it’s money versus life. And up to this point, science has not developed up to the point where it can remove the THC in cannabis to zero.

“Therefore, cannabis is harmful to our health; it is a danger to society. We must never allow its legalisation. What’s more, Nigeria has 10.6 million cannabis users; this is the highest in the world. Isn’t it sad?

“We should be the highest in science, technology, mathematics, physics and not highest in cannabis. That is something we need.

“We can never support legalisation and I don’t see how the National Assembly would pass the bill because I know 90 per cent or more of the honourable and distinguished members of the National Assembly know the implications of this legalisation. They dare not go back to their constituencies if anyone signs legalisation because we are seeing the implication on the ground. The youth, the families are being destroyed because of cannabis and drugs. It wouldn’t be legalised by the grace of God.”

Marwa, who revealed that he has received constant death threats from criminals in the course of his assignment, said he was not concerned even though he takes precautions.

Specifically, on the threats, he quipped: “Severally! It’s almost a daily occurrence because my phone number is open. Equally, messages come through family, through colleagues, and sometimes people at random whom we don’t know but I live in the territory. That said, we also take precautions.”

The NDLEA boss said he was at that presidential villa to brief President Buhari on the recent activities of the agency, especially the move to construct barracks for personnel of the agency, saying he received a positive response from the president on the initiative.

“Well, the President told us well done. And that well done does not go to Gen. Marwa but the NDLEA officers and men. And if there’s a secret behind it, we thank the Almighty God for the successes recorded so far, and also to the gallant and professional officers and men of the NDLEA who have remained upstanding.”

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Health

COVID-19: US Delivers 4m Doses of Moderna Vaccines to Nigeria to Combat Pandemic

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The U.S Mission to Nigeria has stated that the 4,000, 080 Moderna vaccines doses donated to Nigeria was part of President Joe Biden’s commitment to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms Kathleen FitzGibbon, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, said this at the official handover of the vaccines at the national briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 on Monday, in Abuja.

The News Agency Of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 4,000,080 Moderna doses, which arrived on two flights on Sunday, at about 2:15 am of Aug 1, 2021, were received by UNICEF officials on behalf of Nigeria at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The delivery was the second batch of vaccines to arrive Nigeria after four million doses were earlier delivered in March, under the COVAX vaccine sharing facility.

COVAX was set up to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines, particularly to low-income countries, and has already delivered more than 80 million doses to 129 territories.

Nigeria has since exhausted the four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine received to kick-off her nationwide inoculation programme.

The Moderna vaccine received on Sunday is the mRNA type of vaccine manufactured and developed by Moderna NIAID. Two shots of the vaccine are administered through intramuscular injection, 28 days apart.

Listed for emergency use by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and approved by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Modena vaccine is deemed safe and effective, based on data from large-scale clinical trials.

FitzGibbon disclosed that the United States, through COVAX and bilateral donations, was delivering millions of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses to its partners, friends, and allies around the world.

She noted that the it worked with international partners to donate COVID-19 vaccines to the world to end the pandemic.

“America’s support for the global fight against COVID-19 includes: donating 80 million vaccine doses from its supplies to other countries and purchasing 500 million vaccine doses to donate to nearly 100 developing countries.

“Contributing $2 billion to COVAX, the global initiative to equitably distribute safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.

“Delivering essential medicines, supplies and therapeutics, as well as other assistance to help countries rebuild economies, overcome food shortages and strengthen health security.

“The United States will be the world’s arsenal of vaccines in our shared fight against this virus, President Biden said in a June 3 statement.

“We will continue to do all we can to build a world that is safer and more secure against the threat of infectious disease”, FitzGibbon explained.

She noted that in August, the 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine that President Biden committed just before the G7, would also start moving and a significant portion of those will be deployed to Africa.

NAN reports that the US government has begun the process of delivering 25 million doses, as quickly as possible, working closely with the African Union, governments, and COVAX.

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Health

Covid-19: Confirmed Case of Delta Variant Detected in Nigeria

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has detected a confirmed case with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, also known as lineage B.1.617.2. The variant was detected in a traveler to Nigeria, following the routine travel test required of all international travelers and genomic sequencing at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja.

The Delta variant is recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a variant of concern, given its increased transmissibility. The variant has been detected in over 90 countries and is expected to spread to more countries. The variant has also been linked to a surge in cases in countries where it is the dominant strain in circulation. There are ongoing studies to understand the impact of the variant on existing vaccines and therapeutics.

As part of Nigeria’s COVID-19 response, NCDC has been working with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), African Centre for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), and other laboratories within the national network, to carry out genomic sequencing. This is to enable the detection of variants of concern, and initiate response activities. All data on variants from Nigeria have been published on GISAID, a global mechanism for sharing sequencing data. Given the global risk of spread of the Delta variant, positive samples from international travelers to Nigeria are sequenced regularly.

The Government of Nigeria through the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) has initiated several measures to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19. This includes the introduction of travel restrictions from countries where there is a surge in cases associated with widespread prevalence of variants of concern. The national travel protocol which includes compulsory seven-day self-isolation and repeat test on the seventh day after arrival, are in place to reduce the risk of spread of the virus. It is very important that this is strictly adhered to, to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.

Given the high transmissibility of the Delta variant and following its detection in Nigeria, NCDC urges all Nigerians to ensure strict adherence to public health and social measures in place. Proven public health and social measures such as physical distancing, frequent handwashing, and proper use of face masks, prevent infections and save lives. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and offers protection against the disease.

Additionally, states are urged to ensure sample collection and testing for COVID-19 is accessible to the public. Public settings such as schools with accommodation facilities, workplaces and camps should utilise the approved Antigen-based Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) for rapid testing of their population.

According to the Director General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, “Although we have seen a low number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria in the last eight weeks, it is incredibly important that we do not forget to be careful. The surge in cases in countries across the world and Africa is an important reminder of the risk we face. Please protect yourselves and the people you love by adhering to the known public health and social measures, getting vaccinated if you are eligible and getting tested if you have symptoms”.

The recommended control measures to limit the spread of the Delta variant continue to be testing, following the existing public health guidance and abiding by the current travel and public restrictions

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