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KDSG Shuts Telecoms Services over Insecurity

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By Gom Mirian, Abuja and Jude Dangwam, Jos

The Kaduna State Government yesterday announced the closure of telecommunications services in some part of the state, with effect from Sept. 30.

The Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, made the announcement at a press briefing in Kaduna.

“I am here to inform you of, and to formally announce the implementation of certain measures to assist the security agencies in parts of the state.

“Relevant federal agencies have today informed the Kaduna State Government that the processes for telecoms shutdown in parts of the state have commenced as part of the steps to address the current security situation in the state and neighbouring states in the North-West and North-Central regions.

“KDSG has held several meetings with security agencies to adopt critical measures towards crushing bandits in their identified hideouts.

“The military and other security forces have been carrying out assaults on the identified locations.

“The state government is advised that certain measures are now necessary to assist the spirited efforts of these security agencies.

“The following measures become effective from Thursday, 30 September –

“The complete ban on the use of motorcycles (Okada) for commercial or personal purposes, for three months in the first instance.

“Ban on possession of or wielding of dangerous weapons.

“Tricycles are allowed to operate only from 6am to 7pm. All tricycles must remove all curtains. Movement of all tricycles are restricted from dusk till dawn (7PM to 6AM).

“All vehicles used for commercial transport must be painted in yellow and black within 30 days. Vehicles that are part of ride hailing services are to carry yellow and black stripes.

“Ban on the sale of petrol in jerry-cans or other containers in Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Chikun, Igabi, Kachia, Kagarko and Kajuru LGAs,” Aruwan said.

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The commissioner said other containment measures previously communicated by the Kaduna State Government remain in place.

These include the ban on felling of trees and forestry activities in Birnin Gwari, Giwa Igabi, Chikun, Kachia, Kagarko and Kajuru LGAs.

“Ban on firewood and charcoal transportation, ban on the transportation of livestock into and out of the State.

“Also, cessation of weekly markets in the frontline local government areas of Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Chikun, Igabi, Kajuru and Kawo weekly market of Kaduna North local government.”

The Commissioner said the state government regrets the severe strain and inconvenience these measures will place on peaceful and law-abiding citizens.

He appealed for the understanding and cooperation of all residents of the affected areas, and indeed across the State. These difficult times have demand that difficult decisions be made.

“The measures have been adopted purely in the interest of our collective safety and security, and to aid our brave forces in their fight against these mindless criminals.

“Too many lives have been lost, and too many families have been shattered.

“Small groups of wicked persons cannot continue to hold us to ransom, and force us to live in perpetual fear.

“The hardship we face will be temporary, and we are confident that in the end, it will pay off. Good will prevail over evil,” Aruwan said.

The Commissioner recalled that Governor Nasir El-Rufai announced in a chat with newsmen earlier in September that the state government has formally requested the federal government to enforce the shutdown of telecom services in parts of the state identified by security agencies as requiring such measures.

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Independence Anniversary: IG Orders AIGs, CPs to Lead Security Operations

Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Usman Baba, has ordered Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs) and Commissioners of Police (CPs) to lead security operations during the 2021 Nigeria’s Independence anniversary.

The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Frank Mba, made this known in a statement he issued yesterday in Abuja.

The IG had also directed AIGs and CPs in all the Zonal and State Commands and the FCT to ensure high visibility and confidence-boosting patrols.

He urged them to focus the patrol around the venues of the celebrations, residential areas and other public resorts, to prevent any infiltration by hostile elements.

Baba pledged the commitment of the Nigeria Police to ensure maximum security across the country ahead of the Nigeria’s 61st Independence anniversary.

He said the Force had put in place adequate security measures to protect the citizens and ensure the success of all the activities lined up for the celebration.

The IG said the idea was to prevent any untoward situation throughout the period and beyond.

He congratulated Nigerians on the occasion of the anniversary and pledged the unalloyed loyalty of the Nigeria Police to the sovereignty of the country.

Baba, also pledged the unflinching commitment of the Force to combat crimes and criminality in the country and ensure the safety of the citizens.

He urged Nigerians to go about the celebrations in the most peaceful and law abiding manner.

The I-G called for a new sense of pan-Nigerian spirit, patriotism, love and deliberate efforts by leaders at all levels at de-escalating ethnic tensions and suspicions in the land.

He enjoined the citizenry to continue to cooperate with the Police and other security agencies in the fight against crimes and criminality in the country.

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Herdsmen Kill Four in Plateau

From Jude Dangwam, Jos

Four persons were ambushed and killed by people suspected to be Fulani herdsmen in Miango area of Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State.

The victims were said to have been killed o Tuesday along the Twin Hill Road, of Jebbu Miango of Rigwe Chiefdom, Bassa LGA of Plateau State.

The National Publicity Secretary of Irigwe Development Association (IDA), David Malison told to DAILY ASSET yesterday in Jos that the two were killed instantly, while one sustained gunshot injuries.

“Four Rigwe people in Bassa LGA of Plateau State have been confirmed killed by Fulani Terrorists on Tuesday September 28th, 2021.

“Around 6:50pm, three persons on a motorcycle were ambushed along Twin Hill Road, Jebbu Miango, Miango District of Rigwe Chiefdom, Bassa LGA of Plateau State where two were killed instantly and one sustained gunshot injuries.

“They were on their way from Jebbu Miango to Miango community when the Fulani Terrorists laid ambush on them, the motorcycle was also burnt down to ashes.

“Same evening, two persons were killed in the farm at Nzhwerenvi Jebbu Miango,” Malison added.

He named the four young men killed as Bitrus Bulus 45 year old, Yakubu Chohu a 35 year- old, Friday Gani Kyeri 33 year-old and Kyeri Gani 19 year old lost their lives in the hands of the attackers.

Also, 27 year-old Musa Wah, was said to have been injured from a recent attack and is receiving treatment at the moment.

The Plateau State Police Command through the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Gabriel Ubah confirmed the killings.

“Four persons were ambushed and killed by yet to by identify persons. Security personnel have been deployed there while investigation is ongoing,” Ubah said.

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16, 17 Year Old Can Now Take COVID-19 Vaccination – NPHCDA

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

 National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, said it has given a vaccination waiver for individuals aged 16 and 17 to enable them to receive coronavirus jabs.

The agency said this in an advisory made available to newsmen.

According to the agency, “The NPHCDA has given a waiver for persons aged 16 and 17 to receive COVID-19 vaccines if required for educational purposes,” the advisory read.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government, through the NPHCDA, had earlier recommended that only eligible Nigerians from age 18 and above would be allowed to take the vaccine.

It was also reported that countries in Europe and the United States of America, following the rise in the number of child infections, had also begun the administration of vaccines for children, a move which global health bodies and agencies had castigated following the lack of vaccine equity in countries across the world.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation’s regional office for Africa, has declared the Omicron variant of COVID-19 as the dominant strain in two African countries – Nigeria and Cape Verde.

Though the body did not reveal the number of Omicron cases in the two countries, it noted, “While it took around four weeks for the Delta variant to surpass the previously dominant Beta, Omicron outpaced Delta within two weeks in the worst-hit African countries.”

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control had on December 1, 2021, announced three new index cases of the Omicron variant, which was dubbed a variant of concern in the country.

As of December 21, 2021, the centre added that the number of Omicron cases in the country had risen to 45.

Speaking during a virtual press briefing, the WHO Director of Emergency Preparedness, Dr. Abdou Laye Gueye, who spoke on behalf of the Regional Director, Dr. Moeti Matshidiso, explained that the low vaccination drive had continued to fuel the variants, adding that the next wave might not be so forgiving as the Omicron variant.

“In countries experiencing a surge in cases, the fast-spreading Omicron variant has become the dominant type. While it took around four weeks for the Delta variant to surpass the previously dominant Beta, Omicron outpaced Delta within two weeks in the worst-hit African countries.

“Early indications suggest that Africa’s fourth wave has been steep and brief, but no less destabilising. The crucial pandemic countermeasure badly needed in Africa still stands, and that is rapidly and significantly increasing COVID-19 vaccination. The next wave might not be so forgiving.

“So far, 30 African countries, and at least 142 globally, have detected the Omicron variant. The Delta variant has been reported in 42 countries in Africa. In West Africa, where COVID-19 cases are on the rise, the number of Omicron sequences undertaken by countries, including Cabo Verde, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, is growing.

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“In Cabo Verde and Nigeria, Omicron is currently the dominant variant.

“This year should mark a turning point in Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination drive. With vast swaths of the population still unvaccinated, our chances of limiting the emergence and impact of deadly variants are frighteningly slim.”

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WHO Recommends Two New Drugs for COVID-19 Treatment

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

In order to treat those that are sick with coronavirus, COVID-19, the World Health Organisation (WHO), has recommended two new drugs for the treatment of severe and non-severe COVID-19 infections.

The global health body said the recommendation is based on new evidence from seven trials involving over 4,000 patients with non-severe, severe, and critical COVID-19 infection.

According to the WHO, the new drugs are baricitinib and sotrovimab.

The drug baricitinib (a type of drug known as a Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitor, also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis) is strongly recommended for patients with severe or critical COVID-19 in combination with corticosteroids, a WHO Guideline Development Group of international experts said.

The recommendation is based on moderate certainty evidence that it improves survival and reduces the need for ventilation, with no observed increase in adverse effects.

The WHO experts noted that baricitinib has similar effects to other arthritis drugs called interleukin-6 (IL-6) inhibitors, adding that when both are available, physicians can choose one based on cost, availability, and clinician experience. It is not recommended to use both drugs at the same time, they said.

The experts also advised against the use of two other JAK inhibitors (ruxolitinib and tofacitinib) for patients with severe or critical COVID-19, noting that low certainty evidence from small trials failed to show benefit and suggests a possible increase in serious side effects with tofacitinib.

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In a statement issued by WHO and made available to  journalists in Abuja, WHO also makes a conditional recommendation for the use of the monoclonal antibody sotrovimab in patients with non-severe COVID-19, but only in those at highest risk of hospitalisation, reflecting trivial benefits in those at lower risk.

“A similar recommendation has been made by WHO for another monoclonal antibody drug (casirivimab-imdevimab). The experts also note that there were insufficient data to recommend one monoclonal antibody treatment over another – and they acknowledge that their effectiveness against new variants like omicron is still uncertain.

“As such, they say guidelines for monoclonal antibodies will be updated when additional data become available.

“Today’s recommendations are based on new evidence from seven trials involving over 4,000 patients with non-non-severe, severe, and critical COVID-19 infection.

“They are part of a living guideline, developed by the World Health Organisation with the methodological support of MAGIC Evidence Ecosystem Foundation, to provide trustworthy guidance on the management of COVID-19 and help doctors make better decisions with their patients,” it said.

The global health body noted that living guidelines are useful in fast-moving research areas like COVID-19 because they allow researchers to update previously vetted and peer-reviewed evidence summaries as new information becomes available.

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“To make their recommendations, the panel considered a combination of evidence assessing relative benefits and harms, values and preferences, and feasibility issues.

“Today’s guidance adds to previous recommendations for the use of interleukin-6 receptor blockers and systemic corticosteroids for patients with severe or critical COVID-19; conditional recommendations for the use of casirivimab-imdevimab (another monoclonal antibody treatment) in selected patients; and against the use of convalescent plasma, ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine in patients with COVID-19 regardless of disease severity,” WHO noted.

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Buhari, Benue IDPs Want To Go Back To Farm

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By Benjamin Ngutsav

The President, General Muhammadu Buhari had a few weeks ago, during an exclusive recorded interview with Channels Television, said Nigerians have to go back to the farm.

General Buhari was responding to a question on how the economy nosedived to an alarming level under his watch with the country’s debt profile now at about N32 trillion as against N12 trillion in 2015 when he took over power true deceit and campaign of calumny against those who were then in power.

One of the interviewees, Seun Okinbaloye also mentioned rising inflation, unprecedented level of unemployment and skyrocketing exchange rate as some of the concerns leading to that question.

The President’s response left many wondering if he understood the question or not. But his reply only revealed that the general is unaware of the security status of the country because he simply made a point regarding agriculture even as it appears he does not know the people need to be secured to farm.

His reply: “Well, I am not sure how correct your calculations are, but all I know is that we have to allow people to have access to the farm. We just have to go back to the land.”

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Many, including this writer were quick to fault his reply; but I think General Buhari, even as incoherent as he was, made a point. Nigeria was known for agriculture and we should go back to the farm to produce more and grow the economy.

Sierra Leone, Somalia, Togo, the United States of America, China, India, Brazil and a host of other countries depend on Agriculture to grow their economies. In 2017, Sierra Leone had the Highest Agriculture GDP Percentage of 60.7% in Africa as obtained from whichcountry.co. In China, the land is highly employed for agriculture. Brazil produces one-third of the planet’s oranges. So agriculture is no doubt, the new crude oil.

So, General Buhari was right to say we need to go back to the farm. He is is apparently obsessed with farming. On Friday, December 17, 2021, he said he would return to his farm after the expiration of his tenure. “I look forward to the year 2023 when I finish, to go home to take charge of my farm,” he said.

While General Buhari was right with his ‘go back to farm’ statement, it begs the question of whether he was also speaking to Benue Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, who for five years now cannot access their land for farming.

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Since 2018 till date, the Federal Government under the leadership of General Buhari has seen and heard their plight; but has deliberately refused to come to their aid. These farmers who the General has asked to go to farm have been displaced by armed Fulani herdsmen and their land forcefully captured. They can not return. Any attempt on their own to return is suicidal. How can they return to their farmlands where senseless killers lurk? How can they return to their farmland where security personnel have not been given the matching order to clear the wrong occupants of the land?

At some point of the killings by armed Fulani herdsmen, General Buhari could only tell Benue people to learn to live with their neighbours. How do you live with invaders as neighbours? He had neither empathy nor sympathy for those killed. Even the promise to relocate the IDPs has far been forgotten.

It was Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who had visited the IDP camps and made the promise that Benue State would benefit from the N10 billion earmarked for the resettlement of IDPs in Nigeria. One can only hear of IDPs resettlement in the North East, but not in the middle belt and Benue state. Oh, Middle Belt! how Buhari has forgotten about you!

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It is the beginning of the year and preparations for another cropping season have already begun. Since the President has charged everyone to go back to the farm, one would expect the President to fix security issues to allow those in different IDP camps across the country to have access to their farmland.

The President, General Muhammadu Buhari should know that Benue IDPs have heard his clarion call to go back to the farm. They are willing as they have always been. But armed Fulani herdsmen would not grant them access to their land. The President must hear the cries of those Benue IDPs and solve their problem before he returns to his farm in 2023.

Benjamin Ngutsav writes from Agbeede, Konshisha LGA, Benue State.

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