Boko Haram jihadists attacked Maiduguri, the capital of Borno in the volatile northeast, killing 16 people, including nine children who were playing football in a field, the AFP news agency quotes local militia as saying on Wednesday. Officials said previously 10 people were killed and 47 were injured in Tuesday’s attack when jihadists fired rocket-propelled grenades on the densely-populated city. Boko Haram has previously made incursions into Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, using heavy guns and suicide bombers. “The death toll has risen to 16,” Babakura Kolo, the leader of a self-defence militia, told AFP. In one of the neighbourhoods affected, Gwange, nine boys were killed when one of the explosives landed in a field where they were playing football, Mr Kolo said. “Initially four died but five more died from the serious injuries they sustained from the explosion.” Another militiaman, Umar Ari, gave the same death toll and said it could still rise as many were injured. Eyewitness Sama’ila Ibrahim said the jihadists crossed the ditch fortification around Maiduguri, sending residents scrambling for safety with sporadic shooting. Mr Ibrahim said the insurgents came through Boboshe village, a known Boko Haram enclave. Attacks by the group aimed at overrunning the regional capital are usually foiled in fierce gun battles with Nigerian troops. In February last year, Boko Haram fired volleys of explosives into the city, injuring several people.

At his inauguration for a second term, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, renewed the clamour for the decentralisation of Nigeria’s policing system to empower sub-nationals to secure their spaces. Mr Akeredolu said that given the pervasive security crisis in the country, it has become imperative for Nigeria to have a state police cadre, adding that the clamour propelled South-west governors to form a regional security network codenamed ‘Amotekun.’ He said the aim was to convince other stakeholders in the Nigeria project to “understand that devolution of authority is inexorable”, and hailed the Amotekun outfit, saying it has recorded successes that justified its establishment. Akeredolu was inaugurated along with his deputy, Lucky Ayedatiwa, who replaced Agboola Ajayi, who was his deputy in the first term, and fell out with his principal over his ambition to contest the last governorship election, which he lost.

The FG will soon commence the arraignment of 5,000 suspected Boko Haram insurgents held across various detention facilities in the country. Aliyu Abubakar, director-general of the Legal Aid Council, said this on Tuesday during a visit to Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno. Abubakar said the inmates were detained at Giwa Barracks, Maiduguri and Kainji correctional facilities, among others, over their alleged involvement in the insurgency. He said the trial would be conducted by the office of the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), office of the national security adviser (NSA) in collaboration with the theatre command of operation Lafiya Dole. He added that the Legal Aid Council was mandated to provide defence for the inmates. Abubakar noted that the council has so far interviewed about 283 of the inmates to ascertain the nature of the offences they committed. “As their defence council, we have to interview them from time to time to enable us to know their own part of the story,” he said. “It is so because regardless of the generous crimes they committed it is possible that out of hundreds, you may find out that one or two persons were innocent of the charges that they are being detained. “It was necessary for them to be represented by counsel to make sure that the official fulfils all the requirements of the provisions of the law. “All evidence must be presented against them before the court of the law so that those that were found guilty are prosecuted and face the consequences of their action.” Abubakar said regardless of the nature of the crimes they committed, “under our laws, they are innocent until proven guilty”. He praised the efforts of operation Lafiya Dole in providing the council with access to its detention facility to meet the inmates.

Ghana has become the first country to receive COVID-19 vaccines through the World Health Organisation’s COVAX program on Wednesday, a joint statement issued by UNICEF Ghana and WHO Ghana said. The shipment, consisting of 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines, arrived at 7 am GMT Wednesday on an Emirates flight at Kotoka International Airport, in Ghana’s capital Accra. The minister for health-designate, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, led a government delegation to receive the consignment. The vaccines were produced by the Serum Institute of India, in the Indian city of Pune, and are part of the first wave of COVID-19 vaccines headed to low and middle-income countries, the joint statement added. “Today marks the historic moment for which we have been planning and working so hard,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “With the first shipment of doses, we can make good on the promise of the COVAX facility to ensure people from less wealthy countries are not left behind in the race for life-saving vaccines.” COVAX is an international coalition set up to give equal access to the vaccine to all countries. Wealthier nations have, in the past, been accused of “hoarding” vaccines and leaving African countries behind in the race to inoculate their populations. In comparison to other regions, African countries have been slow to start vaccinating against COVID, with only a handful of countries who have started a vaccines campaign. Last month, India and the African Union announced plans for the Serum Institute to supply 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa.