Global scarcity and delays in vaccine supply to Nigeria may alter remaining phases of vaccination, the FG said on Monday. The government is still in the first of four phases in its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, which involves frontline health workers, other frontline workers and strategic leaders. It assured Nigerians who have taken their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine of their second jab, having directed states to stop COVID-19 vaccination once they have reached 50 per cent of their allocated doses to guarantee a second dose. Furthermore, it said Nigeria is set to take delivery of 29.8 million doses of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines from the African Union, even as it expects additional vaccines from COVAX, the global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19, in June. According to the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, “as at April 26, 2021, 1,173,869 Nigerians, representing 58.3 percent of the eligible persons targeted in this current phase, have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.” According to government figures, Nigeria has seen 8,711 cases of mild Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFIs) while there have been 52 instances of moderate to severe AEFIs. Kaduna, Cross River, Yobe, Kebbi and Lagos have seen the most number of AEFIs.
Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike has imposed a night curfew at boundary crossings between the state and neighbouring Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Imo following recent attacks in which security operatives were killed by gunmen. Wike, in a state broadcast on Tuesday, said the curfew would take effect from Wednesday by 8pm. He said it was necessitated by the recent security breaches and deadly attacks on security personnel. The Governor said: “The Government of Rivers State has decided to restrict night movements into and out of the state from the land borders of the state. Consequently, a night curfew is hereby imposed and no person or vehicle is allowed into and out of Rivers State from 8.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m. from tomorrow (Wednesday) 28 April 2021 until further notice. “We wish to advise that those who have any legitimate need or reason to come into or go out of the State must do so before 8.00 pm when the curfew shall come into force daily.” The Governor said security agencies had been posted to monitor and enforce strict compliance to the curfew at all borders with Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Imo states.” According to the statement, some of the incidents that led to the curfew imposition include an ambush on Customs, Police and Civil Defence officers on duty along the Port Harcourt – Owerri Expressway were ambushed and gruesomely murdered in cold blood by armed attackers. He said on Sunday, the state witnessed another deadly attack and killing of officers and men of the Nigerian Army right in their duty post at Abua town in Abua Odual Local Government Area of the state. The Governor said although the security agencies were investigating the attacks with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice, nobody knew where and when the next incident would take place.
President Buhari has asked the United States to consider relocating the headquarters of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) from Germany. The president stated this on Tuesday during a virtual meeting with Anthony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State. AFRICOM, with headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, is one of the 11 U.S. departments of defence combatant commands which focuses on improving security in African countries. The US established AFRICOM in 2007, but it became fully operational in 2008, with operations carried out in Niger Republic, Djibouti, Chad, among others. According to a statement by presidential spokesman Femi Adesina, Buhari said the relocation is necessary as part of efforts to address insecurity in Nigeria and other African nations. “The security challenges in Nigeria remain of great concern to us and impacted more negatively, by existing complex negative pressures in the Sahel, Central and West Africa, as well as the Lake Chad Region,” the president said. “Compounded as the situation remains, Nigeria and her security forces remain resolutely committed to containing them and addressing their root causes. The support of important and strategic partners like the United States cannot be overstated as the consequences of insecurity will affect all nations hence the imperative for concerted cooperation and collaboration of all nations to overcome these challenges. “In this connection, and considering the growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Lake Chad region and the Sahel, weighing heavily on Africa, it underscores the need for the United States to consider relocating AFRICOM Headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theatre of Operation.” On his part, Blinken said he was happy to make Nigeria part of his “first virtual visit to Africa,” adding that the US looks forward to building sustainable relationships that will engender development.
Pro-democracy demonstrators Tuesday took to the streets of Chadian capital N’Djamena and its second-largest city, Moundou, demanding a return to civilian rule after the military took control following President Idriss Déby’s death on the battlefield last week. According to Reuters, at least two people have been killed and 27 injured as police fired tear gas and protesters burned tyres in several neighbourhoods of N’Djamena. Reuters said a health official at a hospital in N’Djamena said 28 people had been brought to its emergency ward with injuries, one of whom had died and witnesses also reported the death of another protester in Moundou. “The police came, they fired teargas. But we are not scared,” a protester, Timothy Betouge, 70, told the news media. The military council had Monday banned protests, saying no demonstrations that could lead to disorder were allowed while the country was still in mourning. Tension has spiked in Chad since Mr Déby’s death and the military seized power after a coup last week. The agitation for democracy underscores citizens weariness of three decades of monolithic, autocratic rule of the former strongman. So too has as anti-French sentiment risen after France pulled its weight behind the coup, saying it was needed to stabilise the country which is battling to fend off threats from rebel forces and terrorists. The military has been unable to consolidate power as opposition politicians have rejected the 18 months transition period announced by the junta now led by Mr Déby’s son, Mahamat. The announcement of Albert Pahimi Padacké as prime minister of a transitional government on Monday has also been met with strong opposition. “We do not want our country to become a monarchy,” Mbaidiguim Marabel, a 34-year-old protester, said. “The military must return to the barracks to make way for a civil transition.”