Contrary to its statement, the Nigerian presidency appears to have blamed the victims of the Borno killings for their own deaths. In a BBC interview on Monday, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, said the 43 farmers killed by Boko Haram on Saturday did not have military clearance to be on the rice farms when they were attacked and killed by Boko Haram. He said his remarks were not to blame the victims but to tell the truth.
Reactions around the country are that the statement actually confirmed the opposite.
Shehu said much of the area had been liberated from Boko Haram terrorists, but a number of locations have not been cleared for displaced villagers to return. He said this means the settlers and farmers must ensure the areas are cleared by the military before resuming activities there.
Many comments questioned whether the government had put in place awareness programs that instructed villagers and farmers on which areas to avoid.
Nigerian Govt Releases N10bn For Local Vaccine Production
The federal government is putting funds behind its call for local production of covid-19 vaccines. The ministry of finance has released ten billion naira to support the effort and is exploring options to kick-start the vaccine production in Nigeria.
The government has also instructed each local government area in the country to conduct at least four hundred fifty covid-19 tests in line with its testing plans.
During the Monday briefing by the presidential task force on covid-19 in Abuja, health minister, Osagie Ehanire said the government was considering collaborative efforts with recognized institutions for vaccine production in the country.
He said the government is looking at ways to augment the one hundred thousand vaccine doses it would receive by the end of this month, the ten million doses it had requested from the African union, and the more than forty million doses from COVAX. He says those would only cover one fifth of the population, but the government plans to cover an additional fifty percent of citizens.
The health minister says the ministry will hold a national vaccine conference in preparation for mobilizing experts, role players, development partners and stakeholders to deliberate on the nation’s COVID-19 response strategy, especially now that there is a spike in cases.
Presidency Warns Akeredolu Over Herdsmen Quit Notice
The presidency has warned Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, not to unilaterally order herdsmen out of Ondo forests. The governor had issued an ultimatum this week to herdsmen to vacate state forest reserves.
Presidential special assistant, Garba Shehu said the governor should not oust the herders whom he said have lived their entire lives in the state on the guise of clearing the forest reserves of criminals. He said terrorism and crimes should be separated from ethnicity, geographical origins and religion.
In response, governor Akeredolu says only unregistered Fulani herdsmen are being asked to vacate the state’s forest reserves.
State commissioner for information and orientation, Donald Ojogo, characterized Garba Shehu’s statement as “a brazen display of emotional attachment,” which he says is inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria.
FG Extends NIN Registration Deadline
Nigerians can breathe easy for now as the federal government extends the registration deadline for National Identification Number, NIN.
Those who have not obtained the NIN would now have until February the ninth to tidy that up and link their numbers with their sims.
The National Identification Management Commission, NIMC, had initially given yesterday, January the nineteenth, as the deadline.
The commission warns the NIN enrolment is free.