The FG on Wednesday gave an indication that it might declare a state of emergency in Anambra if the incessant killings and rising insecurity in the state persists. This, it said, is so as to protect the sanctity of the scheduled November 6 governorship election in the state. Attorney of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, gave the indication while briefing newsmen at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in the State House, Abuja. He said no possibility will be ruled out inclusive of a declaration of a state of emergency in the determination to ensure a hitch-free exercise. “When our national security is attacked, and the sanctity of our constitutionally guaranteed democracy is threatened, no possibility is ruled out,” Malami said. “As a government, we have a responsibility to ensure the sustenance of our democratic order. As a government, we have a responsibility to provide security to life and properties. So, within the context of these constitutional obligations, of the government or the desire to establish democratic norms and order, there is no possibility that [state of emergency] is out ruled. The government will certainly do the needful in terms of ensuring that our elections are held in Anambra in terms of ensuring necessary security is provided, and in terms of ensuring protection is accorded to lives and properties,” he added.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disqualified people under the age of 18 from registering and owning a SIM card in Nigeria. The new regulation was announced during the public inquiry on three regulatory instruments on the rulemaking process in Abuja. The regulatory instruments include the registration of telephone subscribers regulation, the SIM replacement guidelines and the spectrum trading guidelines. The draft copy of the modified Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations described subscribers as persons above the age of 18. In the modified regulations, the NCC insisted on 18 years and above for anyone who wants to own and register a SIM card in Nigeria. A “subscriber’ means a person not below the age of 18 years who subscribes to communications services by purchasing a subscription medium or entering into a subscription contract with a licensee,” the commission said.  The regulations were made in line with the powers conferred upon the commission by section 70 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003. In accordance with Section 57 of the Act, the NCC conducted a public inquiry on the registration of telephone subscribers regulations, alongside the draft SIM replacement guidelines and the draft spectrum trading guidelines at its head office in Abuja on Tuesday. The regulation withdraws licence from “subscribers registration solution provider” who is usually contracted by the NCC for conceptualization, design, development and delivery of registration solutions which covers all licences and providing detailed subscribers information in a manner facilitating seamless integration into a central database. Also, independent registration agents will no longer have access to subscriber information. It also says that all agents or people who register SIM cards in shops or private agents or sub-agents will no longer have access to the details of subscribers. They now have limits to personal information. These regulations will affect everyone using a SIM card for communications in Nigeria and anyone who uses a Nigerian number outside the country or diaspora. At the public inquiry, operators, including MTN, urged the commission to revise the age limit down to 14 years and above. The NCC refused.

Fuel marketers have increased the price of diesel as the rise in global oil prices and naira depreciation pushed up the cost of importing fuel into the country. The price of diesel, which is not regulated by the government, has surged by over 40 percent so far this year from an average price of ₦225 per litre in January. As of early July, diesel was sold for between ₦275 and ₦290 per litre at some filling stations in Lagos. Some business owners told The Punch that the spike in diesel price might force more businesses to sack employees amid rising energy costs. Diesel is mostly used by businesses, especially manufacturers, to power their generators amid a lack of reliable power supply from the national grid. Many vehicles transporting goods and people across the country also use diesel. Crude oil price accounts for a large chunk of the final cost of petroleum products, and the further increase in oil prices means that the landing cost of imported fuel will rise. Oil prices have extended their rally in recent days. The international oil benchmark, Brent crude, rose on to as high as $83.47 per barrel on Wednesday, its highest since October 2018, but fell to $80.95 per barrel as of 1730 hours WAT. The Managing Director of 11Plc, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, said that marketers importing diesel into the country could not get access to dollars at the official rate of ₦413/$1. The price of diesel ranged between ₦303 and ₦320 per litre at several filling stations in Lagos.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday the only approved vaccine against malaria should be widely given to African children, potentially marking a major advance against a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people annually. The WHO recommendation is for RTS,S – or Mosquirix – a vaccine developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline. Since 2019, 2.3 million doses of Mosquirix have been administered to infants in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi in a large-scale pilot programme coordinated by the WHO. The majority of those whom the disease kills are aged under five. That programme followed a decade of clinical trials in seven African countries. “This is a vaccine developed in Africa by African scientists and we’re very proud,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “This vaccine is a gift to the world but its value will be felt most in Africa.” Malaria is far more deadly than COVID-19 in Africa. It killed 386,000 Africans in 2019, according to a WHO estimate, compared with 212,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in the past 18 months. The WHO says 94% of malaria cases and deaths occur in Africa, a continent of 1.3 billion people. The preventable disease is caused by parasites transmitted to people by the bites of infected mosquitoes; symptoms include fever, vomiting and fatigue. The Mosquirix recommendation was jointly announced in Geneva by the WHO’s top advisory bodies for malaria and immunization, the Malaria Policy Advisory Group and the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation. The vaccine’s effectiveness at preventing severe cases of malaria in children is only around 30%, but it is the only approved vaccine. The European Union’s drugs regulator approved it in 2015, saying its benefits outweighed the risks. In late 2015, the WHO expert panels called for a pilot programme in three to five African countries to inform a future decision about the widespread use of the vaccine. On Wednesday, nearly six years later and two years after the start of the pilots, the WHO panels recommended the vaccine be rolled out for children across African countries where malaria is endemic, alongside the other authorized means of preventing malaria such as bednets and spraying. In 2019, the WHO said the fight against malaria had stalled. But it said on Wednesday that using the vaccine as an additional tool against the disease could save tens of thousands of lives each year.