The Republic of Benin has resisted Nigeria’s attempts to hastily extradite the Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, to the headquarters of the Department of State Services in Abuja. The PUNCH gathered that the Federal Government planned to extradite the activist on Wednesday (yesterday), but Benin Republic insisted that it would not be part of any process that was against due process. A security source in the West African country, who spoke to The PUNCH, said, “The Nigerian government planned to extradite him on Wednesday, but our government said the rule of law must be followed as the world is watching us.” One of the lawyers of Igboho, Pelumi Olajengbesi, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said Benin Republic had shown itself to be a country that respects the rule of law and due process. The lawyer said Igboho’s legal team in Benin Republic were in talks with the Beninise government. He noted that despite pressure from the Nigerian government, the government of Benin had insisted on following due process including a repatriation hearing to determine whether Igboho was guilty as accused by the Nigerian secret police. A member of Igboho’s legal team, Olajengbesi told one of our correspondents that Igboho and his wife, a German citizen, were still in police custody in Cotonou and his lawyers were meeting with the government to argue their case. He said, “The disposition of Benin Republic is that it is a country that respects the rule of law. We are making efforts that he is not repatriated wrongly to Nigeria. We are ensuring that everything is done in accordance with the law and we are very hopeful that we would succeed because we expect that there should be a repatriation hearing before they can extradite him if at all they would do that.”

Zamfara police say they have secured the release of 100 villagers kidnapped in early June following negotiations with their abductors. Mohammed Shehu, state police spokesman, said in a statement on Tuesday that the release was “unconditional” and that it had been secured “without giving any financial or material gain” to the gang. The released hostages would undergo medical checks before being reunited with their families, Shehu said. The group, including women and children, had been brought to a forest hideout after gunmen, locally known as bandits, stormed Manawa village on June 8. A source familiar with the negotiations told AFP the bandits agreed to release the kidnapped villagers after the police and state authorities “assured them no action would be taken against them for the kidnap”. Northwest and central Nigeria have in recent years fallen prey to gangs of cattle thieves and kidnappers who raid villages, killing and kidnapping residents in addition to stealing livestock after looting and burning homes. The criminals have begun to focus on raiding schools and kidnapping students for ransom. Hostages are usually released after ransom payment, with those whose families fail to pay often being killed by the captors. These groups operate from camps in the vast Rugu forest, which cuts across Zamfara, Katsina, and Kaduna states in Nigeria, as well as neighbouring Niger.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring more than 200 people in 27 states for possible exposure to monkeypox after they were in contact with a man who contracted the rare disease in Nigeria earlier this month. No additional cases of the smallpox-related disease have been detected in the US so far. The patient travelled from Lagos to Dallas with a layover in Atlanta on 8 and 9 July, nearly a week before being diagnosed with the rare bug, which can be transmitted through respiratory droplets and body fluids, the CDC said. The people being monitored include fliers who sat within six feet of the patient or used the mid-cabin bathroom on the overseas flight, according to the article. Airline workers and family members were also being evaluated for possible exposure to the virus, which has an incubation period of three to 17 days, the outlet reported. “It is a lot of people,” Andrea McCollum, epidemiologist for the National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases, reportedly said. “We’re in the timeframe where we certainly want to closely monitor people.” The disease causes fever, chills, swollen glands, and a rash accompanied by pus-filled blisters that appear across the body. Cases outside West Africa are rare, and an outbreak has not been seen in the US since 2003 when 47 confirmed and probable cases were traced to a shipment of infected exotic animals. The Texas case comes after three confirmed cases of the disease linked to a Nigerian worker were found in the UK. In 2018, three people in England who had all travelled to Nigeria contracted the virus, which has a 10 percent mortality rate in Africa. The disease was first discovered in 1958 when outbreaks occurred in monkey colonies, according to the CDC.

Companies will partner with South Africa’s Biovac Institute to manufacture Covid jabs from 2022. Pfizer and BioNTech will begin manufacturing their Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa, as part of an effort to accelerate the rollout of the jab on a continent battling another wave of infections. The US pharma group and German biotech, who together created the first mRNA-based Covid vaccine to win regulatory approval, said on Wednesday that they would work with the Biovac Institute in Cape Town. The collaboration with Biovac will enable its facility in Cape Town to complete the final stages of production, known as “fill and finish”, while still importing the vaccine material from Europe. Under the plan, the manufacture of finished doses will start in 2022 and aim for annual production of more than 100 million. The announcement comes a month after BioNTech’s founder and chief executive Ugur Sahin outlined plans to establish production facilities in Africa that will ultimately help tackle other diseases. Pfizer is among the drugmakers to have come under fire for resisting a move to waive international intellectual property rights on Covid vaccines, a step advocates argue will ensure the world’s population is inoculated more quickly. Pfizer and BioNTech will begin the technical transfer, equipment installation and development of the Biovac facility immediately. Sahin said the plan reflected BioNTech’s ambitions to pursue mRNA technology in Africa. “This is why we will continue to evaluate sustainable approaches that will support the development and production of mRNA vaccines on the African continent,” he said.