The FG has asked Nigerians to register for COVID-19 vaccination via the portal of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). Nigeria is expected to receive 3.92 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine today, 2 March, from COVAX. According to the NPHCDA, the delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine is part of an overall 16 million dose allocation to be delivered to Nigeria in batches “over the next months by the COVAX facility.” “Please visit the website http://nphcda.gov.ng and click on ‘COVID-19 Vaccination e-registration’ to register for #COVID19 vaccination,” the government said in a tweet. Ghana was the first country in Africa to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine from COVAX, followed by Côte d’Ivoire. NPHCDA CEO, Faisal Shuaib, said the country has enough cold chain systems to store all types of vaccines. “We are fully prepared to receive and deliver the vaccine to eligible Nigerians as we have commenced the training of health workers and ensured that cold chain facilities are ready at all levels,” Mr Shuaib said. “We have a robust cold chain system that can store all types of COVID-19 vaccine in accordance with the required temperature. We are therefore confident that we will have a very effective roll-out of the vaccine, starting with our critical healthcare workers, who are in the frontline in providing the care we all need.” Speaking earlier on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora said frontline workers would be prioritised because they are facing the battle against the virus. “Secondly, the elderly; those above 60 and 65 particularly with existing health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and things like that,” he said. Dr Mamora had also said the President and other strategic leaders of the country will take the vaccines in public to boost the confidence of Nigerians.

All 279 girls kidnapped from their boarding school in Jangebe, Zamfara, have been released and at the Government House in Gusau, the state capital. “I am happy to announce that the girls are free,” Dr. Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara state, told journalists. “They have just arrived in the government house and are in good health.” Reporters saw hundreds of girls wearing hijabs, gathered at the government premises. Authorities initially said 317 girls were abducted in the raid by hundreds of gunmen on the Government Girls Secondary School in the remote Jangebe village on Friday, but Mr Matawalle said the “total number of female students abducted” was 279. Government officials had been in talks with the kidnappers, known locally as bandits. A source said “repentant bandits” had been contacted to reach out to their former comrades as part of efforts to free the students.

Business operators in Kwara and neighbouring states have heaved a sigh of relief as free movement of foodstuffs resumed after some hoodlums reportedly blocked the Ilorin-Jebba Expressway over the weekend. Truckloads of food items from the northern parts of the country were denied entry into Kwara State and other states of the South-West zone. Some Hausa youths stationed at the outskirts of Niger State, Kara-Jebba, near Jebba in Kwara State, had stopped many truck drivers carrying food items such as tomatoes, beans, yams, cattle, peppers among others, from going further from Kara into Kwara and other states in the South-West. The situation saw the trucks being parked along the road, creating gridlock. The free movement of goods and vehicles resumed on Ilorin-Jebba Expressway early Monday morning. Confirming the reopening of the road in Ilorin on Monday, Ibrahim Adebara, son of the traditional ruler of Jebba, said that a troop of military operatives drafted by the FG effected the free movement. Mr Adebara, who said that the military personnel had been stationed along the road to maintain law and order, added that they threatened to treat anyone who blocked the road as terrorists. One of the affected traders, who gave her name as Madam Balogun, said she was happy with normalcy that had returned. She, however, lamented the loss caused by some perishable items that got bad while the situation lasted.

Suspected Islamist militants riding 4×4 vehicles and armed with machine guns killed nine civilians in attacks on three villages in central Mali late on Sunday, local officials said. Two different sets of assailants struck the ethnic Dogon villages of Gorey, Simikanda and Djamnati in the Mopti region, which has been ravaged in recent years by Islamist and inter-ethnic violence, the officials said. Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of Bankass, which is near Gorey and Simikanda, blamed the attacks on the same militants who killed eight people in attacks on a Malian military post and a gendarme base last Thursday. Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State regularly attack Malian security forces, U.N. peacekeepers and civilians in the area, and they have stoked ethnic conflict between farming communities like the Dogon and Fulani herders. Guindo and Yacouba Kassogué, the deputy mayor of Doucoumbo, which is near Djamnati, said four people were killed in Gorey, four in Djamnati and one in Simikanda. “They attacked, set fires and stole cattle,” Kassogué told Reuters. Mali has been in crisis since Islamist militants seized its desert north in 2012, forcing France to intervene the following year to push them back. But they have regrouped and extended their operations into central Mali and neighbouring countries in West Africa’s Sahel region.