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Omicron: Don’t Panic, COVID-19 Vaccines Still Effective, NCDC Tells Nigerians

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The director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Ifedayo Adetifa, has advised Nigerians to dismiss what he described as speculations that vaccines have no effect on the new SARS-CoV2 variant which has been named Omicron.

He said vaccination remains “a very powerful tool to prevent transmission of the disease and death caused by this virus.”

Mr Adetifa, who spoke on Channel’s “Sunrise Daily” programme on Wednesday, said NCDC believes that even if the Omicron variant has any impact on vaccination, “it cannot be equal to full abrogation”.

“So theoretically speaking, if the vaccine was 90 per cent protective against severe disease and deaths from the Delta variant, it may become 80 per cent protective from the Omicron variant. So while we work out what kind of impact it will have on vaccine protective effect, the point remains that vaccines are effective, safe and they confer protection,” Mr Adetifa said.

According to the director-general, the centre, like other scientists across the world, does not know how dangerous the variant is, noting that investigations are still ongoing.

He said; “There are mutations that have been seen in the spike proteins that theoretically may confirm the risk of increased transmissibility, may cause more severe disease or reduced protections from existing vaccines but the reality is that we don’t know.

“What we know is that the cases currently affected by this variant have been mostly asymptomatic, they have been mostly young, and there have been no deaths. So we are still watching, we need more time to see what happens when it affects slightly different pockets of the population like the susceptible or the elderly. But for now, we don’t know much.

“What we know is that current public health safety measures and vaccination confer protection. It might not be 100 per cent but the protection they offer is useful and beneficial and people should adhere to those measures and make use of every opportunity that is currently provided especially in Nigeria to receive their vaccines..”

Mr Adetifa warned Nigerians of the possible emergence of a more dangerous variant and advised them to remain cautious by observing all non-pharmaceutical measures to ward off the danger.

He said the consequences may be bad if they throw caution to the wind.

He said the emergence of the Omicron variant is a reminder that the battle is not over, that there is still a risk.

Mr Adetifa added; “The fact that we thankfully have not seen many severe cases and deaths does not mean that we are not getting infections and does not mean that the virus has not been transmitted. What happens is that if we have unmitigated transmission of the virus within the population, you will always have a chance that a variant that may be more dangerous than the predecessor or even change the pattern of disease for us, may emerge.

“This is why we are calling on people to return and adhere to safety measures that are in place. And of course, vaccination, which is very important.”

The NCDC boss also explained that there is nothing strange about the mutation of the Omicron variant, saying all viruses mutate.

“Viruses mutate at different frequencies depending on what type of virus it is. What is new is the pathogen SARS-CoV2 which we call RNA virus. Most RNA viruses have frequent mutations. It means that in the cause of multiplying, their errors are made in every circle in their genetic code.

“While humans and some other viruses have corrective mechanisms, a lot of viruses especially the RNA virus do not have corrective mechanisms. So errors are carried on to the next generation but just a few are able to survive and go ahead to cause diseases,” Mr Adetifa said.

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Prevail On Nigeria, Benin Republic To Release Sunday Igboho – Afenifere To International Community

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Afenifere, a Pan Yoruba socio-cultural organization, has urged the international community to press the Nigerian and Benin Republic governments to free Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.

The group also urged the Federal Government to pay Adeyemo the damages awarded to him by the court as a result of the attack on his person and property, according to a communique issued at the end of its first annual general meeting held at the residence of its acting national leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, in Isanya-Ogbo, Odogbolu Local Government Area of Ogun State, on Tuesday.

The meeting had in attendance the former governor of Kwara State, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, former deputy governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofo Bucknor-Akerele, Senator Femi Okunrounmu, and Chief Supo Shonibare.

Others were Chief Sola Ebiseni, the Secretary General, Dr. Gbola Adetunji, Chief Korede Duyile, Abagun Kole Omololu, Hon. Leke Mabinuori, Chief Kofoworola Doherty, Dr. Ebun Sonaiya, Chief Tunde Onakoya, Senator Femi Lanlehin, Jumoke Ajasin-Anifowose, Chief Segun Olawoyin, Deacon Owolabi Oladejo, Chief Olu Pesu, and Reverend Goke Omigbodun.

Afenifere also called on the Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu on political consideration as it was done in the case of Asari Dokubo under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The group noted that the country had been under the siege of security challenges which it described as unprecedented in the history of the country, just as it stressed the need for the Federal Government to consider the establishment of state Police in order to address insecurity.

It said: “In recent times, we have consistently expressed concern on the situation of insecurity in Nigeria today. We have also always recommended what we consider the ways out of the unprecedented security challenges facing us. In this respect, we strongly call on the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the introduction of state Police equipped with requisite means to enhance security in the states and that of the federation ultimately.

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3 Out Of 20 FCT Women Experience Office Rape – Survey

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Fifty-one percent of women working in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) say they have experienced some type of sexually related violence at work.

Three out of twenty women acknowledged being raped in their offices, according to the submission, which is based on HEIR Women Development’s research findings.

The study, which aimed to bring the reality of gender-based violence in the workplace to light, found that 55 percent of women do not understand what constituted sexual harassment.

Dr. Obianuju O. Nnadozie, an economist from the University of Benin (UNIBEN), who lead the research team that sampled responses from 1000 women online and 60 women off-line said, 77% of the women complained about bullying in the workplace while 70% of women lamented what they described as inflexible work hours that formed advancement barriers to them.

Dr. Obianuju shared the research findings at an HEIR Women validation meeting of research findings at a zoom meeting.

She said the findings called for an Empowerment of young women against sexual harassment, and support organizational coordination to ensure compliance with sexual harassment policies at workplaces in the Federal Capital Territory.

According to her: “Findings from the online survey and in-depth interviews suggest that sex is prevalent at the workplace in the FCT. Specifically, the online survey shows that:

“1 in 2 women (51%) reported that they have been sexually harassed at the workplace.

“More than 3 in 4 women (78%) have experienced verbal sexual harassment in the workplace.

“About 3 in 4 women (74%) reported that they have experienced cyber sexual harassment.

According to the research Sexual harassment is prevalent at workplaces in the FCT, Abuja and it can/should be addressed.

It continued that “there is little or no organizational measures/mechanisms and, where present, a lack of trust in the existing organizational measures that should address sexual harassment at workplaces in the FCT.”

It also noted that there exists a very limited understanding of the context of a safe working environment, gender-based standards, and its importance.

In the light of the above, appropriate actions should be taken to enlighten young women against sexual harassment as well as encourage organizations existing measures and adopt, where necessary, best practices to harassment/career barriers at the workplace, the survey stated.

More findings on the report showed that 71% of women have experienced online stalking which the researcher pointed out was an emerging threat that must be looked into.

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I Didn’t Abuse Juliana Playoff’s Sister Sexually, I’ve Apologized For What I’m Guilty Of — Pastor Timi Adigun

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The feud between Nollywood actress Olayode Juliana and her former pastor, Timi Adigun, has escalated, with the actress accusing him of sexually abusing her sister.

On Tuesday, Olayode accused her spiritual father and manager, Adigun, of seizing control of her Facebook and other social media accounts.

The actress alleged on Wednesday that the preacher abused her sister during their social media debate.

She wrote, “Did you listen to yourself at all? I don’t think you did. You manipulated and sexually abused my sister and you thought I would be calm. You expect me not to be furious. How are you processing the things you did and the things you said? How? I don’t get you.

“You talk about apology and forgiveness. Forgiving you is a process for me. I forgave you then, for my sanity, just when I am trying to move on. You do something else that triggers me and I get mad at you again and I beg God to help me forgive you again.

“The hurt is really deep, the pain, the trauma, the disappointment, the sleepless nights, the tears that drenched my pillow, the shock, the entire experience is indescribable.”

ALSO READ: Gospel Singer Sammie Okposo Apologizes Publicly, Suspends Self From Ministry Over Infidelity

In response, Adigun said on his Instagram story, “For those concerned for me and asking me to stop responding, if I was brought before a court, I would have to talk or my lawyer would talk.

“I have been brought before a social media jury. I have to speak the truth but it is still up to individuals to choose what to believe.

“That said, I want to make it public here that I am ready to stand before any court or panel and I am ready to be investigated.

“When you know you have told the truth, there is no more fear. I NEVER sexually abused anyone! I have facts, figures, and dates. What I was guilty of, I owned up to and apologized for. The next I want to see is a subpoena.

“I will continue on social media and continue building my businesses and ministry. This is a distraction I have no time for. I will not be posting on this again.”

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