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Omicron: LCCI advises FG

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Omicron fuels 15m new weekly COVID-19 cases-WHO

… As NCDC says Nigeria records 754 additional COVID-19 infections ***

In the face of the Omnicron variant, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has advised that the imposition of lockdown as a measure to contain and manage the spread of the coronavirus should be avoided at all costs.

LCCI President, Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, gave the advice at a news conference on Thursday in Lagos.

Also read: Omicron: NGF condemns stigmatisation of Nigeria

“While we celebrate the positive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth recorded all through the three quarters of this year, the recovery of the economy from the impact of COVID-19 in 2020 is still fragile.

“Government must do everything in its power to sustain the positive growth trajectory towards an inclusive and sustainable growth rate.

“Nigeria needs a long-term containment strategy and public health action plan to manage epidemics and pandemics without having to lock down the economy,” he said

Olawale-Cole said that scientists, epidemiologists, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) had recommended vaccination as the most potent protection against the COVID-19 virus.

He, however, noted that developing countries, unfortunately, suffered from a lack of access to vaccines and a weak pharmaceutical manufacturing base.

“In addition, and like in other parts of the world, vaccine hesitancy has been prevalent.

“Recent statistics from Our World in Data indicates that as of 2nd December, the number of vaccines doses administered in Nigeria was 10.9million, translating to about 1.8 per cent of the Nigerian population.

“Meanwhile, South Africa has administered about 26.3million (about 25 per cent of the population), Kenya about 7.58million (5.5 per cent of the population) and Ghana’s vaccination statistics for total doses given stood at 3.5 million, translating to about 2.7 per cent of the population.

“We are obviously lagging behind our peers,” the LCCI President said.

He charged the government to take the pandemic as an opportunity to make sustainable changes and improvements in the Nigerian healthcare sector.

According to him, it is a pathway to accelerating progress toward the achievement of Universal Health Coverage.

Olawale-Cole proposed in the short term that the government develop and deploy strategies, addressing the supply and demand side of vaccination to get more citizens vaccinated.

 

“The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) needs to conduct quick studies on the new variant and advise the government on the next steps of containment.

“Government needs to clamp down on any existing vaccine card racketeers who issue fake vaccination cards to outbound travelers from Nigeria to developed countries.

“In addition, the government needs to create an intelligence monitoring mechanism to check the utilization of funds allocated to COVID-19 interventions,” he said.

Olawale-Cole also proposed steps that the government should take in the medium to long term.

He said that the government needed to provide the necessary support and enabling environment for the private sector to invest heavily in the manufacturing of vaccines that could meet the nation’s domestic demand and for export.

“In the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), this has the potential to be a major source to earn foreign exchange,” he said.

 

In the same vein, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said 754 additional COVID-19 infections were recorded on Thursday across 11 states of the federation and the FCT.

The NCDC stated this on its verified website on Friday morning, adding that the country recorded one fatality on Thursday.

It said the 754 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday indicated an increase from the 268 reported on Wednesday.

The NCDC added that the infection toll had increased to 215,918, while the fatality toll from the disease stood at 2,981, as of Thursday.

The public health institute said 4,662 people were currently down with illness from the virus, while 207,619 people had been treated and discharged.

The agency added that Lagos State, the country’s epicentre of the virus, reported more than half of the new cases.

The NCDC said a backlog of 595 confirmed cases for Dec. 8, (294), and Dec. 9  (301),  2021 were from Lagos.

Amongst others, the FCT recorded (68), Imo (49), Edo (13), Oyo (9), Delta (5), Katsina (4), Kano (3), Plateau (3), Ekiti (2), Gombe (2) and Rivers (1).

It said the country had conducted a total of 3,629,527 sample tests since the virus was announced on Feb. 27, 2020.

It added that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), activated at Level 2, continued to coordinate the national response activities.

Health and Safety

Amotekun Recovers Ak-47 Rifles, Ammunition hidden in Oyo Forest

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Amotekun Recovers Ak-47 Rifles, Ammunition hidden in Oyo Forest

 The Oyo State wing of the Southwest Security Network (Amotekun Corps) has recovered AK-47 rifles, military camouflage and other items hidden in a forest in the state by suspected kidnappers.

Commandant of the corps in Oyo State, retired Col. Olayinka Olayanju, told newsmen in Ibadan on Monday that the corps recovered four AK-47 rifles, four magazines and 50 rounds of 7.62mm live ammunition.

Also recovered were wraps of Indian hemp, raincoats, two Nigerian Army caps, and a beret.

He said the items were recovered while operatives of the corps were combing forests following rising cases of kidnap on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

“Last weekend, efforts of our men were rewarded when the arms and ammunition were found in one of the forests following a tip-off that some gunmen sighted in the area.

“The security network’s agents are still present in the forest to possibly apprehend the criminal elements,’’ he said.

In his remarks, Special Adviser to Gov. Seyi Makinde on Security Matters, retired Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said the governor had directed security personnel in the state to take proactive steps to stop abductions in the state.

Owoseni said collaboration with local hunters and vigilantes assisted greatly in recent successes recorded by the Amotekun corps in the state.

He assured that the state government would provide the equipment needed for the smooth operation of the corps to enhance their performance.

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Health and Safety

Motor Park Attacks: Osun Police Recover 5 guns, Arrest 10 Suspects

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Motor Park Attacks: Osun Police Recover 5 guns, Arrest 10 Suspects

 The Osun Police Command on Monday said it had arrested 10 suspects over the attacks across some motor parks in the state on the premise of the forceful takeover of the parks.

SP Yemisi Opalola, the Command’s Spokesperson, in a statement, said five guns, nine live and four expended cartridges and five cutlasses were recovered from the suspects.

“This is to inform the general public that the Osun State Police Command is aware and frowns at the crises that erupted within the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state in the early hours of today (Monday).

The Commissioner of Police, the Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers, and other stakeholders had met with the NURTW executive, members and other stake holders to avert the crisis and forceful take-over of the parks in the state.

“All consented to maintain peace, but it was a surprise to learn about the attacks by NURTW members in several parts of the state with attendant destruction of offices and injury to some persons and police personnel.

“The CP, Faleye Olaleye, swiftly charged the Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers and Tactical Commanders to ensure the situation is brought under control and arrest culprits.

“Consequently, the Police operatives tactical operation led to the arrest of 10 suspects and recovery of one Barretta pistol, two Pump Action guns, two Barrel guns, nine live and four expended cartridges, five cutlasses and charms,” she said

She said the CP was, however, assuring the public that the command was fully on top of the situation as mobile, conventional, tactical and patrol teams had been deployed to curtail the crises.

The CP also advised members of the public to go about their lawful businesses without fear of insecurity or attacks.

He warned that anyone found culpable in the unwarranted violence and attacks would face the full wrath of the law.

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Health and Safety

LASTMA apprehends 2 suspected ‘one chance’ robbers; Troops neutralize 4 Kaduna Bandits

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LASTMA apprehends 2 suspected ‘one chance’ robbers; Troops neutralize 4 Kaduna Bandits

Operatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) have arrested two suspected ‘one chance’ armed robbers in Ikate, Lekki-Ajah area of Lagos.

The General Manager of LASTMA Mr. Bolaji Oreagba, said this through the Director, Public Affairs of the authority, Mr. Taofiq Adebayo, in Lagos on Sunday.

 Oreagba disclosed that the suspects were nabbed by the patrol team of the Agency while on duty monitoring and controlling traffic around Lekki-Ajah axis of the State.

 “Our officials heard passengers with loud voice shouting, thieves! thieves!! while on patrol team, in an unpainted commercial bus.

“While trying to stop the driver, he drove dangerously and our men pursued them with LASTMA patrol vehicle down to Ikate where they were blocked by another pathfinder car belonging to a good Samaritan”.

“Two suspects were arrested while the remaining two suspects escaped with the P.O.S. they used to withdraw passengers’ money inside the T4 commercial bus.

“The two arrested suspects with the recovered unpainted T4 commercial bus were later handed over to R.R.S personnel who were on pin-down at Chisco, along Lekki- Ajah”.

“They were all later moved down to Ilasan Police Station for further investigations,” Oreagba said.

The General Manager advised Lagos residents to always ensure they board buses at designated garages adding that they should be vigilant, especially when boarding public vehicles.

One of the rescued passengers Mr. Christophe Omukoro is quoted as saying that he boarded the unpainted commercial bus from Alfa-Beach going to Ikate.

He disclosed that they were four with P.O.S machine collecting passengers’ ATM cards and withdrawing money from individual accounts.

Omukoro confirmed that passengers started shouting thieves! thieves!! thieves!!! after they had collected their phones with other valuables from them.

In another development, the troops of Operation Forest Sanity have neutralized four bandits during clearance operations in identified bandits’ hideouts around Tsohon Gayan, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan confirmed the development in a statement on Sunday in Kaduna.

“The troops made contact and pursued the fleeing bandits, two bandits were neutralized during the engagement while credible human intelligence sources revealed that two others died from gunshot wounds.

“Credible sources in the general area reported that two of the four neutralized bandits have been identified as Dogo Mallam and Bello Mallam.”

According to him, the troops recovered one AK47 rifle, one magazine with 22 rounds of ammunition and a motorcycle.

The commissioner said Gov. Nasir El-Rufai praised the troops for their resilience and courage.

He assured that the clearance operations will continue in the general area and other locations.

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