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Nigeria Is Better Than I Met It Five Years Ago —- Buhari

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In a self-assessment yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari awarded his administration high marks, saying the country is better than he met it more than five years ago.

But the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, faulted the president’s claim, contending that he has underperformed.

Buhari, in assessing his administration yesterday, gave himself a pass mark for a job well done, tasking the elite to be fair in their criticism of his stewardship.

Buhari, who spoke while hosting the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission, Reverend Yakubu Pam, painted a bad picture of the economy, infrastructure as well as security situation in the North-east as at the time he became president on May 29, 2015.

The president, in a statement by his media adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, charged Nigerians, especially the elite, to be fair in their criticism of his administration, given the state of the nation in 2015 and thereafter.

He said: “Those criticizing the administration should be fair in terms of reflecting on where we were before we came, where we are now and what resources are available to us and what we have done with the limited resources.

“We had to struggle paying debts, investing in road repairs and rebuilding, to revamp the rail and try to get power. This is what I hope the elite when they want to criticize, will use to compare notes.”

On security, especially in the northeast, the president said: “What was the situation when we came? Try and ask people from Borno or from Adamawa for that matter and Yobe. What was the condition before we came and what is the condition now?”

Buhari added that although there are still some security challenges in the northeast, the situation has improved.

“Still, there are problems in Borno and Yobe, there are occasional Boko Haram problems, but they know the difference because a lot of them moved out of their states and moved to Kaduna, Kano, and here (in Abuja). We were not spared of the attacks at a time. The government is doing its best and I hope that eventually, our best will be good enough,” he stated.

The president also expressed the determination of his administration to ensure a better life for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

“The people in IDP camps, the weak, the aged; I feel sorry for the young because this is the time they are supposed to get an education. We must not allow this time to pass because it will never be regained. So we are really interested in what is happening there and we are doing our best.”

He commended Pam on his appointment and activities on peacebuilding around the country despite his short time in the saddle.

Earlier, Pam had intimated the president with some of the activities of the commission since he was appointed in July 2020.

These, he said, include the organization of a peace summit on Southern Kaduna as well as peacebuilding efforts in Plateau, Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa States, adding that the commission is proposing to host Christian leaders at a summit to ease tension in the polity.

BIG STORY

NPHCDA: No Microchips In COVID-19 Vaccine, No Changes In DNA

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Faisal Shuaib, chief executive officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), says the belief that the COVID-19 vaccine contains microchips and changes the DNA, is false.

Nigeria received its first batch of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine containing 3.9 million doses on Tuesday.

In an interview with Channels Television on Wednesday, Shuaib said it was the responsibility of health workers and scientists to address any concern that Nigerians may have regarding the vaccine.

“We as health workers; we as scientists have been working in the last few years to make sure that we don’t take for granted any questions or concerns that Nigerians will have. It is our responsibility not to just offer the vaccine but we also have to put in the hard work to convince Nigerians, to provide them with the information around their questions. So is there a chip for example? No there is no chip in the vaccine. Is it possible that this will change your DNA? No, that doesn’t happen,” he said.

His comment comes amid misconceptions by some Nigerians concerning the vaccine — such as ”it changes the DNA; it contains chips, and it is the mark of the Antichrist”.

While addressing concerns that only the rich will get access to the vaccine, Shuaib said the distribution will only be done according to priority — with frontline health workers as first priority followed by vulnerable groups.

”We have not already allotted these vaccines to the rich people or the people in the urban areas. Absolutely not. The president has been very clear , and the vice-president has also added his voice. The Chairman of the presidential task force (PTF) has communicated this, and in our PTF media briefing, we’ve made it very clear in terms of who we’re going to prioritize. The first group of people who are going to be taking this vaccine are the frontline health workers,” he said.

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COVID Vaccines Not Allotted To Rich People —– FG

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The Federal Government, on Wednesday, said contrary to widespread insinuations, the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid vaccines presently in the country have not been apportioned to “rich people”.

Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, made this known while featuring on Channels Television’sSunrise Daily’ programme.

Nigeria on Tuesday received nearly four million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF, and WHO.

The 3.94 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine arrived in Abuja at noon on Tuesday.

Speaking on the delivery of the vaccines on Wednesday, the agency boss said, “We are protecting the vaccines very closely, we’ve increased security around the vaccines to make sure that unauthorized access is not possible.

“So, we are waiting on NAFDAC. We feel that they are going to do all of the checks that are necessary and once they give us the green light, we will be ready to roll out the vaccines.”

Asked whether the vaccines have been shared among influential people, Shuaib said, “I will tell you categorically that we have not allotted these vaccines to the rich people or to the people in the urban areas, absolutely not. Mr. President has been very clear.

“Mr Vice President has also added his voice and the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force has communicated this at the Presidential Task Force media briefings. He has made it very clear in terms of who we are going to prioritize and I will repeat it here again that the first set of people who are going to be taking these vaccines are those people who have sacrificed in the last one year taking care of all Nigerians that have come down with Covid-19. So, the frontline health workers.

“On Friday, we are going to be launching the vaccines, we are going to be rolling them out at the treatment centers at the national hospital. Our priority will be the health workers that are frontline. We are going to be giving these vaccines to first responders.

“We are also going to be looking at people outside of the health sector who are at risk of getting Covid-19. We are going to be looking at those strategic leaders like Mr President and the Vice-President, those people who will also want to take the vaccines publicly so that they can motivate the followers to take the vaccines, to convince them that the vaccines are very safe.”

He enjoined Nigerians who wish to receive the vaccines to register on the website of the NPHCDA, adding that over 2.3 million Nigerians have registered in the past few hours.

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FG To Clamp Down On Individuals, Bodies Sponsoring Upheavals

Peter Okunoren

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The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to henceforth clamp down on individuals and groups sponsoring upheavals with the sole aim to destabilize the nation.

It has also given a directive to security agencies to immediately commence the arrest of such individuals on the security watch list of the government.

The National Security Adviser to the President, Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd), who made this known while speaking with reporters at the end of the National Security Council (NSC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja on Tuesday, said the Council also banned mining operations in Zamfara state due to the activities of unscrupulous elements that have threatened the peace of the state.

According to him, the government has enough information about those fanning the embers of disunity in the country and will now go after them.

He said the government had intelligence report that certain individuals and groups were still hell-bent on ensuring that crisis persists across the nation and will now go after them and get them arrested for necessary prosecution.

Details later…

 

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