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COVID-19: Group Clears Air On Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine, Urges Citizens To Support NPHCDA’s Efforts

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The National Vanguard for Covd-19 Vaccine Administration and Advocacy says there is no need for panic over the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, assuring Nigerians that it is safe and effective for the cure of the coronavirus.

The group, which gave this assurance at a press conference on Thursday in Abuja, noted that the
benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk or any side effects it may pose.

It also hailed the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), at the forefront of the distribution, administration and sensitisation of Nigerians on the vaccine.

Recall that several European countries recently stopped the administration of the vaccine over reports of blood clots in recipients.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), World Health Organisation and other global health bodies have, however, dispelled fears against the shot which provides “100% efficacy over severe or critical disease and hospitalization.”

And after an independent analysis, the National Vanguard for Covd-19 Vaccine Administration and Advocacy also submitted that the vaccine is safe for Nigerians.

In his address, the group’s Director of Publicity and Enlightenment, Nathaniel Agada, frowned at Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State over his approach to the contagion and vaccines.

Citing Covid-skeptic late Tanzanian President, Joseph Magufuli, as an reference, Agada said the governor is misguided and his “myopic decision” can only bring misfortune to him and his people.

While urging all patriotic citizens to show support for NPHCDA’s efforts, the group added that everyone must be vaccinated for their own safety.

Read full statement below:

INTRODUCTION

Due to the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe, such concerns were raised, and lots of focus have been on the different Health sectors in expectant to come up with a resolute on tackling the threat.

The coronavirus is one of our modern day’s greatest global, human challenge. Now more than ever, access to evidence about the health and socio-economic impact is key to inform the general public and decision-makers in a moment of crisis like this. The need for evidence-based decision-making has never been this greater.

The COVID-19 pandemic is presenting unprecedented challenges for us all, from its effects on our everyday lives to its impacts on the world’s economies. Beyond the tragic health hazards and human consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic uncertainties, and disruptions that have resulted come at a significant cost to the global economy concerning the demographic, social, and economic implications on the Nigerian population.

The Federal Government in partnership with the National Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other concerned Health sectors has taken a great step in saving the lives of Her citizens by administering the approved and safe Corona vaccine to every household.

Matters Arising

The arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine into Nigeria has brought great relief upon the country that has been numbered with a load of tackling the Corona Virus epidemic. Thanks to the immense efforts of the Nigerian government, the horned demon also known as COVID-19 has been effectively arrested in the country. The mortality rate of the virus has been very low. Now, the Buhari led administration has taken the fight to another level by the importation of the COVID-19 vaccine into the country and distributing it to all the states in the country.

According to the Presidential Task Force  (PTF), no fewer than 8000 people have been vaccinated across the country. This is an incredible step towards ensuring a COVID-19 free country. We, the National Coalition for Vaccine Administration (NCVA) highly commend the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his administration and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for working tirelessly in ensuring the health and safety of the citizens of Nigeria. Now we can proudly say that Nigeria is headed in the right direction in maintaining a healthy and vibrant nation.

Several experts in the past had predicted that when the Cocid 19 pandemic hits African countries like Nigeria, it would bring with it a complete disaster. President Muhammadu led the administration and the NPHCDA worked hard to prove these experts wrong. The NCDC also contributed immensely to the fight against COVID-19.

The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine properly or AZD1222 vaccine is a vaccine used for the prevention of the novel Corona Virus in individuals aged 18 and above. It works by teaching the body how to fight the virus whenever it is infected.

It has been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization and is safe and effective for use. This is based on findings from large-scale clinical trials around the world.

The AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Nigeria on the 2nd of March and the vaccination campaign commenced on the 5th of March. The Nigerian government has stated that its goal is to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of the country’s population.

Since the commencement of the vaccination campaign, a sundry of frontline health workers and government officials including President Muhammadu Buhari and several state governors have been vaccinated.

Amidst the vaccination campaign, there have been several concerns raised over the safety of the vaccine such as its effectiveness and possible side effects. These concerns have been the cause of several scepticisms thrown at the vaccine. Many people are afraid of being vaccinated including some healthcare professionals. This is a myopic mindset as it has been proven that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh its side effects.

Since the creation of the vaccine, more than 15 countries, especially in Europe, have suspended the use of the vaccine over concerns raised of the vaccine causing blood clotting in some of its recipients.

Many Nigerians have voiced their concerns over why the Nigerian government hasn’t put a stop to the use of the vaccine in the country despite the reports on side effects and the halting of the vaccination in several countries such as Germany, France, Spain and South Africa.

FINDINGS

Permit us to briefly analyze several findings and data that have proven that the worries raised over the use of the vaccine are utterly meaningless.

To clear the air, over 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally so far, and there has been no recorded death owing to the use of the vaccine.

The European Medicines Agency’s safety committee recently concluded its preliminary review of a signal of blood clots in individuals vaccinated with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca at its meeting on the 18th of March 2021.

The Committee confirmed that:

The benefits of the vaccine in combating the COVID-19 virus outweigh the risk, or any side effects it may pose.

That the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of blood clots in those who receive it.

That there is no evidence of complications related to specific batches of the vaccine or specific manufacturing sites.

 That around 20 million people in the UK and the European Economic Area had received the vaccine as of the 16th day of March 2021 and the EMA had reviewed only 7 cases of blood clots in multiple blood vessels (disseminated intravascular coagulation, DIC) and 18 cases of Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST).

As we can all see, there should be no cause for alarm regarding the possible side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

It is unfortunate that all state governors, aside from Kogi State governor, have launched vaccination programs in their states. This involved the public vaccination of the state governors and strategic leaders to underscore the confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

The Kogi state government has rejected the use of the vaccine claiming the vaccine is dangerous and meant to kill. This a blind decision made by the governor. It is a misguided myopic decision that only aims to bring possible misfortune. It makes me question what his advisers and members of his administration are thinking. Any wise leader should fully comprehend the risks of making such a decision upon his people. The people of Kogi State like every other Nigerians deserve to be kept safe and healthy, and their vaccination would be the right step towards achieving that.

Governor Yahaya Bello should get rid of his obnoxious obduracy and accept the vaccination of the people of his state.

The misfortune that befell Magufuli of Tanzania should serve as a deterrent to the Kogi State governor. Joseph Magufuli just like the governor of Kogi state failed to heed ceaseless warnings regarding his imprudent decisions and disaster came knocking soon. Governor Yahaya Bello’s unwise decision might not only lead to his misfortune but also cause harm to a lot of people involved. He has no excuse for his decision. He has shown himself to be an incompetent leader in many regards.

He has failed to put the interests of the people of Kogi State first. The people of Kogi state are at a dangerously high level of risk by not being vaccinated. If peradventure another wave of the pandemic hits Kogi State, we might get an alarming increase in infection reports and the number of deaths in the state. It might end up being a case of had I known.

The Governor of Kogi state should learn from our dear president how he has the interests of the Nigerian Citizen first in his heart. He already set an example by also taking a jab of the vaccine. Now he can rest assured that he safe from the virus. This is a good example of a leader and Yahaya Bello will do well to emulate.  The governor must turn a new leaf and strive to protect the lives of the people of Kogi State

CONCLUSION

The National Coalition for Administration is very much aware of the fact that these rumours have a political undertone, and are laced with political inclinations and grievances.

We call on every patriotic citizen to dispel the rumours about the AstraZeneca Vaccine posing any threat to Health. It is believed that no vaccine can ever be administered in a state, country, let alone Globally, without it being screened, or has undergone series of lab tests to gain approval by the necessary Health bodies, stakeholders, agencies, and Ministry.

This is a vaccine that is administered globally; by gaining its acceptance and recommendation from relevant stakeholders, including the World Health Organization (WHO). This is the major reason why the federal government has chosen this particular vaccine.

The EU’s health authority and the WHO have maintained that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh any risk it could ever pose.

The Federal Government, through the Presidential Taskforce on COVID – 19  on March 5  2021, has flagged – off a national COVID – 19 vaccination programme at the National Hospital  Abuja after the vaccine was tested and certified to be effective and safe for use in the country by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control ( NAFDAC).

RECOMMENDATION

We, therefore, urge every Nigerian to get vaccinated for their benefit, and the benefit of the people living around them. It is now a known fact that the health benefits outweigh any form of risk that may occur from being vaccinated, as this is known to be a deadly virus.

The National Coalition for Administration further urges the Governor of Kogi state to be a great leader to his people by not putting the life of Kogi people at risk. He advised removing the anti-political blindfold on his eyes.

Every life in this country is precious to our President. Ignorance and political hatred will not be excused or permitted to destroy President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.

God bless Nigeria,

God bless President Muhammadu Buhari.

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Bandits Lay Siege To Armed Forces Command And Staff College, Jaji

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Some criminals, suspected to be bandits, are currently laying siege around the premises of Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) located in Jaji, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Their mission, according to some locals in the community who spoke to our correspondent during a telephone conversation, was to abduct some staff of the college and the communities around the area.

This is coming in less than two months after bandits stormed the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Mando, also in Kaduna and kidnapped no fewer than 39 students.

AFCSC is a training facility for the Nigerian Armed Forces, including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Navy.

A resident of the area, who simply identified himself as Adamu, told Daily Trust via telephone that the bandits have always surrounded the institution while terrorising the communities around the college.

“It is only Allah that has been saving us. They (bandits) have always rustled cows in our communities. Military operatives do engage them in gun battle anytime they come around, that is why we don’t have major casualties yet,” Adamu said.

The Commandant of the college, Air Marshal Olayinka Alade, confirmed this on Wednesday in Abuja when he visited the Army Headquarters to brief Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim, on the development and other issues in the institution.

Alade said the institution has decided to launch impromptu searching and clearance operations in some communities where the bandits are operating around the college having informed General Officer Commanding 1 Division.

“There are some communities around the school that have developed and because it is like part of the college, maybe they are hiding under that cover, so some bandits are there. Because of that, there is collaboration with other institution’s heads in the college. Constantly, we try to conduct an impromptu searching. We conduct search and patrol from time to time.

“What we discovered now is that, not too far ahead, some communities… it is like all these bandits have made all that place their aim, so I discussed with GOC 1 Div. From time to time, we need to carry out clearance operations,” the AFCSC Commandant said.

The Commandant further disclosed that the bandits rustled some cows behind the college on Tuesday, April 13 – a development that led to gun duel between them and the military operatives.

He, however, did not disclose whether there was any casualty, noting that he came to brief the COAS so as not to be surprised if he hears anything subsequently.

According to him, “In fact, yesterday (Tuesday), I was told that some bandits came to come and rustle some cows just behind us. There was an exercise that was carried out by the NACI. They actually encountered these bandits, they had to exchange fire during the exercise.

“Those are the things we’re trying to ensure that we are not surprised if they have come that close, then, we need to sit tight and ensure we clear that place.”

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$1bn Arms Procurement: Clear Your Name Now, Coalition Charges Defence Minister

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The Coalition for Truth and Justice (CTJ) has called on the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magashi, to clear his name from the controversial purchase of security equipment.

The group noted that Magashi must explain how his ministry expended the $1billion approved by the Federal Government in April 2018.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja, national coordinator, Timothy Charles, described the minister’s silence as “unholy” and an “embarrassment” to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Charles said the group is alarmed that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim is carrying out acts to shield the minister.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice, therefore, advised the COAS to be bold enough to stand by the truth instead of being clever by half and attempting to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.

The group also urged all well-meaning Nigerians to demand that the minister comes out clear by providing facts and details on arms procurement under his watch.

While absorbing the former service chiefs of any involvement, the Coalition for Truth and Justice added that Magashi must come clean for Nigerians to take the FG more seriously in its quest to address the security challenges in the country.

Read the full statement below:

The Coalition for Truth and Justice, a non-governmental organization in Nigeria dedicated to the entrenchment of transparency and accountability in governance in Nigeria, welcomes you all to this important press conference that is intended to address some of the pertinent issues that have surrounded the $1 billion released for the purchase of arms in the prosecution of the war against terrorism and other acts of criminalities across the country.

We must agree that these issues are of great importance to the well-being of the country at large, given the country’s security challenges in recent times as well as the government’s efforts in addressing these challenges.

It is common knowledge that the Muhammadu Buhari administration had in April 2018 approved the release of $1 billion to Nigerian Defence authorities for the purchase of security equipment to fight insecurity in the country under the purview of the Ministry of Defence.

Thus, it is pertinent to state that since the coming of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, arms purchases have been domiciled with the Ministry of Defence and not individual services as erroneously projected in the public space.

It is also succinct to state that the Honorable Minister of Defence, who is in charge of the Ministry of Defence, should provide answers to questions surrounding arms purchase in the country. It is thus despicable that there has been some well-orchestrated attempt by some vested interest to divert attention from the Minister of Defence.

We are constrained to add that the statement credited to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, during his appearance before the House of Representatives is diversionary and an indication that he is carrying out the whims and caprices of the Honorable Minister of Defence.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice views the recent happenings as a sad development in the sense that as a high ranking officer of the Nigerian Army and one who is conversant with the operational procedures in the Nigerian Military would elect to feign ignorance to an issue as sensitive as arms purchase in the prosecution of the war against terrorism in the country.

We are aware that the Ministry of Defence is responsible for arms purchases and the unholy silence of the Honorable Minister of Defence in this regard leaves many questions unanswered. This is also an embarrassment of unimaginable proportion to the Muhammadu Buhari administration that the Honourable Minister of Defence cannot articulate a response to the questions surrounding the monies meant for arms purchase.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice uses this medium to call on the Honorable Minister to come out clear by providing the much-needed information surrounding the $1billion released to purchase arms.

If this is not the case, we then wonder why the Honorable Minister of Defence has elected to play to the gallery in a case as sensitive as this. More alarming is that the Chief of Army Staff has been carrying out acts that aim to shield the Honorable Minister of Defence.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice frowns at such display and wishes to advise the Chief of Army Staff to be bold enough to stand by the truth instead of being clever by half and attempting to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.

We are constrained to add that if the Chief of Army Staff who has barely spent months in office would not be bold enough to call a spade a spade, we are afraid that his ability to lead the prestigious Nigerian Army is indeed questionable.

It is also curious that the Chief of Army Staff could ask that the past service chief be invited to answer questions on arms procurement during their tenures. This is indeed an anomaly that all well-meaning Nigerians must resist.

This also goes to the Honorable Minister of Defence, who, by his actions, has displayed that he does not have a grasp of the operational strategies of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It is our considered opinion that the Honorable Minister of Defence must, as a matter of necessity and urgency, provide the general public details on how the $1billion was expended under his watch in the spirit of transparency and accountability.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice calls on all well-meaning Nigerians to demand that the Honorable Minister of Defence come out clear by providing facts and details on arms procurement under his watch.

Therefore, it would be inexcusable for the Honorable Minister of Defence to continue to shy away from his responsibilities by pushing a distractive narrative in the public space. And not until this is done, the government’s seriousness in the prosecution of the war against terrorism would always be called to question.

The general public must also be aware that the former service chiefs were never involved in arms procurement and must do good to ignore the well-orchestrated campaign in this regard. Consequently, the Honorable Minister of Defence must come out to clear the air if we are indeed serious in addressing the security challenges in the country.

This is the position of the Coalition for Truth and Justice as critical stakeholders in the entrenchment of transparency and accountability in governance in Nigeria.

We thank you for your time and charge all present to take this message to their various constituencies.

God bless Nigeria.

God bless the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Thank you.

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UK Group Task Ibomites to Support Their Leaders

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The people of Akwa-Ibom state have been urged to celebrate their own rather than castigating leaders who have sacrificed for the development of their region.

The president General, Global Peace Movement International UK, Dr. Mike Uyi made this declaration in a statement on Thursday in London.

According to him, the people of Akwa-Ibom should see themselves as a region in Nigeria that are lucky to have a leader like the former governor of the state, Godswill Akpabio now minister of Niger Delta.

He said, “People of Akwa-Ibom state should learn to celebrate what they have. For any reason whatsoever, Sen. Godswill Akpabio is a palm tree, an iroko which is known by every native and international farmer”.

“Akpabio is tested and trusted. As commissioner, Governor, Senator, now a minister of Niger Delta, he performed excellently and still have outstanding performance among his minister counterparts. So, why attack him?”.

Uyi said assessing Akpabio’s political journey so far, one will not be wrong to call Akpabio a successful politician because of his antecedents.

“If not for anything else, he puts Akwa-Ibom state in the Guinness book of record. The state or region is currently enjoying what Akpabio left on the ground”.

“Global Peace Movement International UK is saying clearly that the future of Nigeria is in Akwa-Ibom”.

Dr. Uyi said Akpabio’s progressive portfolio has added a label (GSM) to his personality. The label GSM stands for: Governor (G), Senator (S) and Minister (M).

“His starling performance can not be compared to any in the history of democracy in Nigeria and in Akwa-Ibom state since the creation of the state”.

Uyi further stated that Akpabio has long transcended state or regional barriers. “His sole motivation has been raising the standards of living of Nigerians, promoting the good image of the country and empowering ordinary citizens of Nigeria to not only pursue their dreams but more importantly in providing them with the means to achieve these dreams”.

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