The FG has said states who have not met the criteria for vaccine safety won’t get a share of the almost four million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines in the country. Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this at a State House briefing in Abuja on Thursday. He also said President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, will receive shots of the vaccines on Saturday to dissipate vaccine hesitancy amongst Nigerians. Shuaib said, “After we are able to get our strategic leaders to publicly demonstrate that these vaccines are safe, the plan is to now go to the state level to start the launch at the treatment centres of the states and also get strategic leaders such as governors to publicly take the vaccines. “By the time all of these happen, we will have finished all of the necessary preparations, we will have created a dashboard that will track very carefully the status of the preparedness of the states. “We will not be sending vaccines to the states that have not fulfilled all of the criteria that will ensure that if the vaccines get to the states, they are going to be safe. “For example, we have communicated to the states that they have to wrap up their security around their cold stores because these are very valuable vaccines and we do not want a situation where vaccines are taken to the states and criminal elements take advantage to vandalise these stores. “We are also aware that during the #EndSARS vandalisation, there were some cold stores that actually suffered. I know that the state governors are trying to fix those but we have to verify that those are ready to receive our vaccines. “We are working with the sub-national level; we are in conversation with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to see how Nigerians can rapidly get their vaccines. It is very critical that we roll out rapidly so that we can cut into any kind of mutation that can lead to the development of resistance against our vaccines.” The NPHCDA boss also enjoined Nigerians who wish to receive the vaccines to register on the website of the agency.

About 100 officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army have deserted their duty posts around Marte in Borno state, The Cable reports citing unnamed military sources. Marte, Dikwa and other neighbouring communities have come under continuous attacks from Boko Haram insurgents in the past weeks. In February, the troops recaptured Marte from the insurgents. The victory followed a 48-hour ultimatum given by Ibrahim Attahiru, the chief of army staff.  While giving the ultimatum, the army chief promised to provide the necessary things needed by the troops in the fight. But military sources said the troops’ requests for reinforcement and additional weapons from the authorities were turned down, and they learnt that the insurgents were planning to launch another attack. “They deserted in protest, actually,” one of the sources said.  “When the enemies attacked earlier, the troops were dislodged because they didn’t have enough ammunition to match those of BHT. But, the troops pulled the courage, returned and cleared that area, giving the BHT a run back to the bushes. “They were expecting that the authorities would send in reinforcement and more equipment for them to prepare against any incoming attack. But sadly, they didn’t see anything. Most of them got angry and left.” Mohammed Yerima, army spokesperson, was not immediately available to comment on the development.  In a memo, however, from the Operation Lafiya Dole headquarters, the officers and soldiers were accused of absconding from a defensive location during the Boko Haram attack on Marte and Dikwa. “You are requested to declare the named officers and soldiers’ deserters WEF 19 Feb 21. You are also requested to cause HQ NAFC to freeze their accounts and apprehend/bring them under military escort to this Headquarters if seen within your AOR,” a part of the memo read.

Residents of Enugu have taken to Twitter to lament the widespread water scarcity in the state. The online protest started by @coal_City on Wednesday with #NoWaterInEnugu totalled over 14,000 tweets by Thursday afternoon. Residents shared photos of people in long queues and snaky lines to get water. One of the residents @king eze lamented, “I had to use pure water to do virtually everything in my house for five days. I’m in tears and it’s not funny at all.” Another resident, @bomaye2, noted that “750 gallon of GP Tank is ₦5,000 and it doesn’t last up to 14 days.” The coal city has been known for its water scarcity problems for years. Last year, the state government declared a state-of-emergency in its Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector. Some residents also said the effect of the scarcity is mostly felt by pupils and university students. The state government has not made any statement as regards the situation.

Ghana’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld President Nana Akufo-Addo’s election victory, rejecting a challenge by the runner-up John Mahama who had alleged irregularities in the results. Akufo-Addo was declared the winner of the Dec. 7 vote with 51.59%, ahead of former president Mahama, who received 47.37%. Mahama alleged that votes had been added to Akufo-Addo’s total in some polling stations, pushing him above the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff. The court said his allegations were without merit. “The petitioner did not demonstrate in any way how the alleged errors… affected the validity of the (results),” said Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah. At least five people were killed in election-related violence, a rarity in a country that has a reputation as one of West Africa’s most stable democracies.