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FG Orders Activation of COVID-19 Isolation Centres Nationwide

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The federal government has directed all COVID-19 Isolation Centres across the country to immediately activate their facilities in anticipation of a possible spike in infection. Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, gave the directive yesterday in Abuja at a media briefing on the COVID-19 update.

The move came as the government said it had identified 10 positive cases of COVID-19 Delta variant in passengers who came in mostly from the Lagos and Abuja airports. It stressed that henceforth, stringent measures would be put in place to monitor incoming passengers from countries where the virus had become more virulent, maintaining that anyone who breaks the isolation rule would be prosecuted.

The minister said the federal government had deployed rapid testing kits at all official entry points to the country, including the Idioroko and Seme border posts, to ensure stricter monitoring and prevention of disease importation into Nigeria.

Ehanire disclosed that in the past 24 hours, the world had witnessed an increase in reported cases of the virus across a significant number of countries, due to the high transmissibility of the Delta Variant. He said there was a rising incidence of COVID-19 in the country, adding that treatment bed occupancy is also recording an increase given the established emergence of a third wave.

“We have already asked our hospitals to reactivate all their isolation centers and prepare them for any possible surge,” he said.

According to Ehanire: “As of July 25, 2021, we have confirmed a total of 170,895 COVID-19 cases and 2,132 fatalities. There are 4,180 active cases across the country, including 216 new cases recorded in the last 24 hours from seven states; 108 cases from Lagos State, 96 cases from Akwa Ibom State, four from Oyo, three from Rivers, two from Edo, and one each from Ekiti and Kano states.”

He regretted that despite the evidence of the emergence of a third wave of the pandemic, citizens continued to refuse adherence to public health advisories.

The minister said in preparation for the anticipated rise in cases, the Federal Ministry of Health had taken steps to urgently scale up and enhance local oxygen capacity before any increase in oxygen consumption. He said the government had invested directly and strategically in ensuring oxygen availability to avert the incidence of oxygen insufficiency for COVID-19 patients in the country.

On the country’s push for COVID-19 vaccine sufficiency, Ehanire said Nigeria was expecting, “over 29 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines purchased by the government of Nigeria through the African Union AVATT facility; and over four million Moderna and almost 700, 000 AstraZeneca vaccines through the COVAX facility from bilateral donations from the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom; as well as Pfizer and Sinopharm from both bilateral agreements and through the COVAX facility.”

The minister allayed fears over the recent donation of the Sinopharm COVID19 vaccine by the Chinese government, saying the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has been asked to subject the vaccine to regulatory test for the needed approval.

Ehanire also said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is a one-dose shot, would be advantageous in the Nigerian context, with weak Civil Registration Vital Statistics (CRVS) and a nomadic population.

According to Ehanire government expects to take delivery of the vaccines this quarter, with the Johnson & Johnson expected in August.

Earlier, the minister said the country had stop vaccination in July 10, because it ran out of vaccine doses.

When asked about efforts to commence manufacturing of vaccines in the country, he said Nigeria had put up a good case for citing a vaccine manufacturing company in the country.

Ehanire added that the government had also approached prominent Nigerians in the private sector to support the venture.

He explained, “We are talking to eminent Nigerians, we are waiting for the next step to put up a concept note and business plan. We are working with a company that the federal government owns 49 percent equity and the company will be the only company we will present as the one to do the manufacturing and government will support them in many ways to get the technical transfer and to be the one supported to produce the vaccine.”

While giving an update on COVID-19 testing and treatment around the country, the Director of Disease Surveillance and Epidemiology, Mrs. Elsie Ilori, said, “So far we have identified 10 Delta variants of COVID-19 in the country. The Delta variant is more virulent than the normal one and the symptoms it presents are not in consonance with what we are used to, that is why we need to be careful.”

BIG STORY

It’s Insulting Comparing Me With Hushpuppi, He Can Never Achieve What I’ve Achieved — Invictus Obi Speaks From Prison

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As a seasoned criminal journalist of Virginia, Obi’s case fascinated me as I wondered how a successful businesses man that graced the front pages of several business magazines found himself in jail.

I reached out to Obinwanne Okeke, popularly known as Invictus Obi, for a prison interview and he kindly accepted. I met Obi on a hot summer August day where he greeted me with a firm handshake, a confident smile, and the charisma of someone very intellectual. My interview was to find out his journey, thoughts, and regrets as he now starts his 10-year prison sentence.

Hi Obi, thanks for accepting this interview, how are you doing?
I am doing very well thank you, I am alive and healthy which I always give thanks for.

How is your reality now you have started serving your 10-year sentence?
The transition from the outside world to prison is hard but I have to face the music. I did what I did and I accept the consequences. I am just making sure I become a better man day by day.

Let’s go back a bit, how would you describe Nigeria growing up?
Nigeria is great when you are young and naive but when you become old enough to fend for yourself you quickly realize that Nigeria is a hazardous obstacle course that most will never navigate their way through. Nigeria is a beautiful country but poverty is too widespread and you can’t rely on the government for help but you have to find your own way. Basic needs such as 24 hours electricity is unheard of, fuel scarcity is common, inflation is high and many are dying of hunger. Most Nigerians are in a state of desperation.

How did the journey to the frauds you are accused of come about?
I was doing a little here and there but the level changed through this one particular friend I used to look up to. I visited him one day and he was living very comfortably with three new cars and a huge house at a young age. When at his house I noticed him on a website www.vionz.to that was selling crypto and bank logins. I asked him about the website and he showed me that he buys bank and crypto logins from there and easily withdraws above $20,000 at a time, that’s how he was funding his lifestyle. In 15 minutes he demonstrated it to me and from there I tried it myself when I got home. After successfully doing my first transfer so easily it was hard to stop after that. From there I got introduced to other money-making schemes that got me where I am today.

How much money have you made from fraud?
I didn’t really keep count, I am a very ambitious person in anything I do regarding money. I believe I will always be an overachiever.

According to your case charges, you made $11 million?
Then there’s your answer, you already know the details.

People compare you to Hushpuppi (Abbas Ramon) who is also facing jail if found guilty, what are your thoughts?
It’s insulting, I and Hushpuppi are not on the same level. Hushpuppi could never achieve what I achieved. He cannot run a business and we are not similar in any way. He was out to please the crowd, I was out to change lives, create jobs, and conquer the business world. I have done so much for my community back home with my charity foundation, which lives has he helped? Nobody.

It sounds like you dislike Hushppupi?
No, I have never met him, but I just find the continued comparison very annoying. Our impact on the world is very different. I have made a much more positive contribution to society than he has.

What do you miss most about the outside life?
I miss being in business, I was a workaholic and most of my joy came from growing my businesses bigger and bigger. I miss family too and of miss my daughter.

Do you have any regrets?
Of course, I do, if I was a little more patient I could have achieved everything I achieved in business by not rushing to get startup capital the way I did, however, hopefully, I can be a lesson to the younger generation that may be tempted to take the quick route in life.

What’s your advice to the youth of Nigeria?
Pick your role models wisely, look up to great leaders and people of good character that look after their communities and families. Believe and you will achieve. Also, remember life is a marathon, not a sprint.

Yahoo News.

 

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BREAKING: Gunmen Kidnap Air Vice Marshal Sikiru Smith In Lagos

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Masked gunmen have abducted Air Vice Marshal Sikiru Smith (retd.), in the Ajah area of Lagos State.

Smith is a cousin to a former Inspector-General of Police and current Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Musiliu Smith.

It was learnt that the retired general, who is currently the Chairman of Double Wealth Ventures Limited – a dredging and engineering firm – was supervising work on a site in the Ajah area of Lagos State on Monday when masked gunmen invaded the place and shot sporadically.

The gunmen were said to have whisked the retired general away in a waiting speedboat and sped away.

According to an SOS voice note shared by his driver, Corporal Odiji, the retired AVM engaged in a struggle with the gunmen before he was subdued.

Odiji stated, “This is an emergency. I am Corporal Odiji attached to Air Vice Marshal Smith. They just abducted him from the site where we were working. Some gunmen who were wearing masks just came and snatched my boss now. They shot everywhere. I was near where I was fixing my boss’ vehicle.

“As I was coming, I saw them leaving in a boat but I wasn’t armed so I just ran to the site and I saw his glasses and where he struggled with them. Please pass this information. It is an emergency.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Adekunle Ajisebutu, promised to make inquiries and give a detailed response in due course.

The Spokesman for the Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, also promised to make inquiries and provide information on the matter later.

AVM Smith was commissioned into the Nigerian Air Force as a Pilot Officer in 1979 and had a highly successful military officer that combined soldering with serious academic pursuit.

He holds BSc, MSc, MBA, and Ph.D. degrees. He is an Alumnus of Harvard University and a fellow of many professional bodies including the Institute of Management, Nigeria.

Smith attended several military courses both locally and overseas which include flying and engineering. He was awarded numerous military decorations such as Distinguished Service Star, Pass Staff College (Dagger), and Fellow of the prestigious National Defence College.

The notable appointments he held include Commanding Officer Air Engineering Wing, Sierra Leone/Liberia; Commander, Nigerian Air Force Station, Calabar; Deputy Director, Air Engineering, Nigeria Air Force Headquarters, Abuja, Commander 333 Logistics Group, Kaduna, Commander, 401 Aircraft Maintenance Depot, Ikeja; Chief of Logistics, Nigerian Air Force Headquarters, Abuja and Chief of Defence Communications, Defence Headquarters, Abuja.

Smith, who was a guest on The PUNCH Roundtable recently, had advocated for the use of drones in security surveillance and military offensives in the country to curb the use of military jets.

 

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eNaira: All You Need To Know About Nigeria’s New Digital Currency

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The official website of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) digital currency, the eNaira, has gone live, exactly one week to the planned launch of the initiative.

The CBN will launch the eNaira on October 1, 2021.

Let us take a closer look at the eNaira, what it means for you, and how you can position to take advantage of its launch.

What is the eNaira?

eNaira is a central bank digital currency (CBDC) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as a legal tender. It is the digital form of the Naira and will be used just like cash.

The e-Naira will be a digital representation of the paper Naira currency issued by the CBN. The eNaira will be a “complementary” legal tender in Nigeria, having the same exchange value as the Naira, and maintain a “parity of value” with the Naira. The e-Naira will not earn any interest to holders. The e-Naira is built on a blockchain open ledger technology. Creating the eNaira on the blockchain means you cannot have a duplicate or fake eNaira. Each eNaira note will be unique.

What is eNaira wallet?

The eNaira wallet is a digital storage that holds the eNaira. It is held and managed on a distributed ledger.
The eNaira wallet is required to access, hold and use eNaira.

What makes eNaira different from the money in your bank account?

eNaira is the digital form of cash and is a direct liability on the Central Bank of Nigeria while the customer deposits are direct liabilities on the financial institutions.


Is the eNaira a Stablecoin?

A stable coin is a cryptocurrency backed by reserves. The keyword is reserves, but what kind of reserves? Stable coins are backed by holding an equal equivalent of FIAT money like the US dollar. FIAT means government-issued but usually not backed by any commodity, e.g., gold. Thus a stable coin like USDT is tied to a currency, the US dollar, and maintains a stable exchange value. Note, stable, not immovable. The eNaira technically is linked to the FIAT Naira, but is the Naira stable? Well, not exactly. To be a stablecoin, the eNaira has to be tied to a currency like the US Dollar or Euro or even the Yuan.

How safe is the e-Naira?

Think of the e-Naira in this way; you want to send N100 to an uncle in a remote village without a bank branch. A common practice is to buy mobile phone recharge cards of that value, load them to your phone, and text your uncle. Your uncle can then go to any phone card retailer and discount his N100 mobile phone credit for N95. The mobile retailer can redeem the call credits and pay cash because he trusts the person doing the exchange; however, he cannot tell if the mobile numbers are real.

The eNaira is designed to solve this verification risk by assuring all holders that each eNaira is a valid token. This authenticity is achieved by building the eNaira on the blockchain. Thus instead of buying phone credits, I will debit my bank account for N100, convert to eNaira, and transfer it to my uncle. My uncle can spend the funds directly from his phone or transfer and get cash. Every retailer is more likely to accept the eNaira because it can’t be easily faked.

How will I get the eNaira?

The CBN has planned a rollout in a tiered manner; first, it will issue the e-Naira, to financial institutions like banks. Your bank will then retail the e-Naira to you. If your transaction value is less than N50,000 a day, you don’t need a bank account to get the eNaira; you can use a NIN verified phone number to buy eNaira. If you want to withdraw more than N50,000 but up to the daily limit of N1 million, then you will need a BVN in addition to a NIN verified phone number. The CBN has very strict ‘Know Your Customers” protocols for this process, the aim being to assure all retailers of the safety and utility of the eNaira.

Why should I use the eNaira?

The eNaira has a low-cost advantage when compared to FIAT. The daily transfers between accounts are at no cost to the holder of the account. Lower transaction cost is a massive incentive as traders will pay no fees for withdrawals and deposits to and from their bank account. No transaction fees reduce the cost of commerce while improving safety.

How will dollar remittance to eNaira work?

The e-Naira will be integrated into the CBN’s forex process, and this is to make it easier to receive remittances to Nigeria. These transfers could be from the CBN crediting e-Naira directly to the International Money Transfer Organisation (IMTO). A Nigerian abroad sending $100 to his uncle can debit his US bank account and credit $100 to an IMTO, who will buy eNaira from their corresponding Nigerian bank. The $100 is converted to e-Naira instantly at a far lower transfer fee which is a real benefit and a significant advantage the e-Naira will enjoy.

What about inflation?

The street definition of inflation is too much cash chasing too few goods; however, not all inflation is this simple. Coins in Nigeria are scarce; thus, most merchants round up their prices to match with available currency, usually notes. This rounding up induces an artificial rise in prices because any cost-push does not cause the price hike but other factors, for example, selling eggs for N100 instead of N88. With the e-Naira, it becomes possible to transfer the exact cash price in the marketplace, especially in rural areas. This reduces the possibility of “round-up inflation.”

The eNaira can be the ECOWAS currency

The eNaira can be used by any two parties who can credit a Nigerian banking institution with corresponding currency. This means a trader banking with UBA in Burkina Faso can settle his import bills from the Gambia using e-Naira. This will be the next level of the rollout. The financial institutions and FINTECH start to build out an ecosystem with eNaira as the base product.

The eNaira helps the financially excluded

The e-Naira will also bring in the vast majority of the unbanked Nigerians who have no bank account but have a phone into the formal financial economy. With the e-Naira, salary payments and payments for goods and services can be concluded. A plumber can accept payments on his phone, store them in his wallet, and make transactions with any vendor.

What are the risks?

Data security. The e-Naira is online, the BVN and NIN information is also online, the risk of malicious actors attempting to hack or gain access to the data is very low. The process of minting and burning eNaira tokens by the CBN has to be top-notch.

Overall, it’s a plus to the Nigerian economy, and it’s a positive progression towards a cashless society, with lower costs, and higher productivity.

(Additional information by Nairametrics)

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