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Nigeria Strengthens Cuban Ties in Coronavirus Vaccine Drive

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Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has assured the Republic of Cuba of the Nigerian Government’s plan to collaborate with them in the production of Coronavirus Vaccine.

He disclosed this while receiving in audience, the Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Clara Pulido-Escandell on Monday in Abuja.

 Dr. Onu lauded the Cuban government for their various interventions in Nigeria’s health sector particularly during the outbreak of the Ebola Virus in the country.

In his words, Nigeria produced vaccine in the past, and now needs to produce their indigenous vaccines as the country gradually moves into medium income economy classification.

He reiterated Cuban contributions during the decolonization of African Nations by sending their military to fight for their independence.

Dr. Onu assured the Cuban Ambassador that Nigeria will leverage on the existing relationship between the two Countries in areas of Science, Technology and Innovation for economic and technological development.

Pulido-Escandell affirmed her presence in the ministry to learn, and share experiences in areas of indigenous discoveries and innovation, in order to build scientists capacity.

She further disclosed that her home country, Cuba, has already created capacity for the production of over hundred million Coronavirus vaccines for a population of 11.4million before the end of year 2021.

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Buhari to be Vaccinated on Live TV Saturday – Mamora

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Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari will receive the COVID-19 vaccine at his Aso Villa residence and that will be shown live on television.

Mamora made this disclosure while he appeared as a guest on News Central’s signature news show, Village Square Africa.

Among other things, he remarked that the strategic leadership of the country will be vaccinated, in order to reinstate the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines to Nigerians.

Nigeria, through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency has put mechanisms in place to ensure that the vaccines are not found in stores where they’ll be sold to Nigerians.

Several agencies, including the Department of State Services (DSS) will be involved in ensuring the accountability of the vaccines.

Mamora pointed out that vaccination will begin on Friday, beginning with frontline health workers in hospitals where the disease is being battled.

Before vaccination commences, the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) will run an analysis on the vaccines in line with the dossier earlier provided, the Minister noted.

Other leaders in the country will receive their shots on Monday at the National Hospital while other Nigerians will have to be registered in order to get vaccinated.

People with comorbidities will be prioritised, alongside individuals who are older than 50 years.

Internationally recognised bar codes will be created for registered people who take the shots.

South African Strain and AstraZeneca

Mamora said the B.1.351 strain which has been found to be highly infectious has not been discovered in Nigeria, revealing that vaccination will go on with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which regrettably lacks potency against that strain.

Nigeria received almost 4million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday through the COVAX facility, joining Ghana and Ivory Coast as the only three countries to have received the vaccines through the facility so far.

By getting vaccinated on live TV, President Buhari will join Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa as leaders who have encouraged the citizens by being exemplary.

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Attack on Hospital, Aid Group in Borno, Northeast Nigeria to Affect 100,000 People – UN

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The United Nations has said no fewer than 100,000 people, who rely on humanitarian assistance, will be affected after a terrorist group attacked civilians and several aid facilities in Borno, Northeast Nigeria.

Edward Kallon, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, in a statement on Tuesday, expressed outrage that a hospital and the premises of several aid agencies had been set on fire or otherwise damaged.

The statement read, “I am gravely preoccupied by reports of an ongoing violent attack by non-state armed groups in Dikwa, Borno, during which several aid facilities were directly targeted.

“The attack started last night and information is still coming through. I am outraged to hear the premises of several aid agencies and a hospital were reportedly set ablaze.

“I strongly condemn the attack and I am deeply concerned about the safety and security of civilians in Dikwa, including internally displaced people inside and outside the camps.

“This attack will affect the support provided to nearly 100,000 people who are desperately in need of humanitarian assistance and protection,” he said.

Kallon stressed that civilians and their residence as well as facilities of aid workers should never be a target but must be respected and protected at all times.

He called on all armed parties to immediately stop the violence and respect international humanitarian law and human rights law.

Meanwhile, the Head of Mission, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Franz Celestin, also condemned the attack in Dikwa.

Celestin said in a statement on Tuesday that the attack negated the priority that should be accorded to the safety of those who were striving to rebuild their lives.

“The safety of displaced people and those trying to rebuild their lives after years of conflict must be the top priority in North-East Nigeria.

“Following the latest attack on Dikwa, IOM joins the call on all armed parties to stop the violence and ensure the protection of civilians,” he said.

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Insecurity: Buhari Bans Mining In Zamfara

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Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has banned mining activities in Zamfara State, northwest Nigeria as he seeks to curb the rising spate of kidnapping and banditry in the state.

Buhari made the decision in a National Security Coucil meeting today in Abuja, the Nigerian capital also declared Zamfara State as a no-fly zone.

National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) announced the decision while addressing correspondents after the meeting.

Monguno said every non-state actor playing a part in the insecurity in the state has been placed under surveillance with the defence and intelligence units charged to step up the ante and provide valuable information.

The security chiefs were also tasked with rescuing Nigeria from the clutches of bandits, who have domiciled in various states in Northwestern Nigeria and are advancing towards the south.

Earlier on Tuesday, 279 of the 317 abducted students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Talata-Marafa, Zamfara State were released after four days in captivity.

Insecurity has risen in Northwest Nigeria with strong links placed with increasing mining activities in the region, as Zamfara has some of the finest gold in Nigeria.

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