Nigeria is prioritising AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the official heading Nigeria’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign said on Tuesday when asked whether the Sinopharm shot would be used in the country. Dr Faisal Shuaib, head of Nigeria’s primary healthcare agency, said the Sinopharm vaccine had been approved by the national medicines regulator “for emergency use”, but rolling it out was not a priority. “We don’t want a situation where we may have 10, 20 vaccines that have been globally recognised or listed for emergency use, and then you want to take all 20 vaccines to Nigeria, it doesn’t make any sense,” he told reporters at a regular COVID briefing. “We’re prioritising those ones that we’re already familiar with,” he said, adding that whether vaccines other than the four he had named were used in Nigeria at a later stage would depend on availability and on “how this pandemic shapes up”. At a briefing a week earlier, Shuaib had said Nigeria was expecting to take delivery of 7.7 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine through the COVAX scheme aimed at providing vaccines to developing countries. However, he had not made clear whether the Sinopharm doses would be administered or not. So far, 2.9 million people in Nigeria have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 1.4 million people have received two doses. Nigeria’s population is estimated at 200 million. The main constraints are a lack of supply and high levels of vaccine hesitancy among parts of the population. Shuaib said Nigeria had taken delivery last week of close to 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) vaccine supplied by Britain through the COVAX scheme, the latest out of a series of donations from developed countries. The country is also expecting deliveries over coming months of tens of millions of doses of the Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) vaccine which it has purchased through an African Union programme.
Nigeria’s central bank plans to own a stake in Bitt Inc., the preferred partner helping the regulator implement its digital currency initiative eNaira. Financial site Nairametrics cited unnamed “reliable sources within the Central Bank” as saying that one of the conditions being considered for accepting Bitt is for the company to register in Nigeria as a limited liability company allowing the central bank to own shares in its Nigerian entity. The site reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria sees this partnership as mutually beneficial. The CBN reported on Monday that it had selected Bitt from “among highly competitive bidders” and will rely on it to actualise its naira digitisation plans. Media reports say there were over 100 bidders made up of local and foreign potential partners but the CBN went with Bitt on the back of its experience by implementing this in five countries including the Bahamas. There was some backlash from local fintech operators on social media who believed the contract should have been awarded to a local company. Some alluded to the CBN’s decision being tantamount to impinging on Nigeria’s sovereignty. Nairametrics says Bitt’s role is to help mint and distribute the digital currency while local companies are expected to assist with building other capabilities with it such as leveraging on the eNaira to help with remittances, a key objective of the project. The CBN expects the eNaira to be the backbone for digital-enabled financial transactions in Nigeria such as enabling payment by utility companies, helping the government collect taxes and facilitating e-commerce. In another development, the CBN has directed all commercial banks in the country to publish the names and bank verification numbers (BVN) of forex polity defaulters. The banking regulator gave the directive in a circular, signed by banking supervision director Haruna B. Mustapha on Monday. This development comes a month after the bank halted forex sales to Bureaux De Change (BDC) operators. At the end of July’s monetary policy committee meeting in July, Governor Godwin Emefiele alleged that the BDC operators have become conduits for illegal financial flows and money laundering in the country. It said it would continue to channel weekly allocations of dollar sales to commercial banks to meet legitimate FX demands.
Ondo State Governor, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) has signed into law the Anti-Open Grazing Bill passed by the state legislature. Information commissioner, Donald Ojogo made this known in a statement Tuesday, adding that the governor signed the law in his office. Akeredolu, while signing the law, said: “The move is in line with the resolution of the Southern Governors’ Forum at its last meeting in Lagos where September 1st was set as the deadline for governors in Southern Nigeria to sign the Anti-Open Grazing Bill into law. This is worthwhile and a very laudable development aimed at stemming needless instances of skirmishes, conflicts as well as infractions on the enviably peaceful disposition of the good people of Ondo State. It is very pertinent to aver and indeed, reiterate that the law shall rather, engender a more cordial, mutually benefiting relationship amongst residents of the state irrespective of ethnicity, religion or creed. For emphasis, no particular group of persons is the target. While it is the hope of the government that all residents would take ample advantage of this law to enhance our socio-economic well being in Ondo State, compliance of the same shall be given the utmost attention. Government shall pursue with vigour, through lawful means, to ensure strict compliance. In this regard, details of the new law shall be made available to the public for proper information, more depth of understanding on contents as well as other relevant areas.”
New testing has found no evidence that the woman in Cote D’Ivoire who tested positive earlier this month for Ebola actually had the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday. “WHO considers that the patient did not have Ebola virus disease and further analysis on the cause of her illness is ongoing,” it said in a statement. The positive result was found by a lab in Cote D’Ivoire but subsequent testing in France came back negative, WHO said. The initial test led Cote D’Ivoire on Aug. 14 to declare its first Ebola outbreak in over 25 years. The woman had travelled to Cote D’Ivoire’s commercial capital Abidjan from northern Guinea, hundreds of kilometres away. More than 140 of the woman’s contacts were listed in Guinea and Cote D’Ivoire but none of them developed symptoms or tested positive, WHO said. Ebola typically kills about half of those it infects, although vaccines and new treatments have proven highly effective in reducing fatality rates.