The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, has on Thursday clarified that the mutant strain of the COVID-19 virus in the UK has not been found in Nigeria.
The NCDC boss made the disclosure during the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja urging Nigerians to stay calm and safe as he emphasized that the agency has been monitoring reports of the virus mutating in the United Kingdom, South Africa and some other countries, he added “but it’s important to establish some facts about what we know, what we do not know and what we are willing to learn over the next few years.”
According to him, the NCDC, in collaboration with the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), did some sequencing in the past but didn’t find the UK variant which he described as deadlier than the original strain.
“Over the last few days, we’ve monitored reports of the virus mutating in the UK, South Africa and some other countries, but it’s important to establish some facts about what we know, what we do not know and what we are willing to learn over the next few years.
Iheakwazu said “however, we are doing more sequencing now. Is it possible that they are circulating? Yes. This is because there are a lot of travels between the UK and Nigeria,”
Iheakwazu said the NCDC will continue to collaborate with other stakeholders to collect new samples for sequencing in order to determine their variant.
He also urged states to reopen their testing centres, saying the NCDC alone could not conduct all COVID-19 tests received from states.
Farmers, Drivers, Forest Guards, Ondo Monarchs Back Akeredolu’s Herdsmen Order
The order by Ondo governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu that unregistered herders in the state must vacate government forest reserves is receiving strong support from most Ondo residents.
But, different reactions have been coming out of the presidency and northern elders on the governor’s order.
The presidency says the governor should not issue a unilateral order banning unregistered herders from the state’s forest reserves. Akeredolu responded he would do what is right for the state.
Northern elders, on the other hand, have basically issued an order to the governor to leave the herders alone.
To ensure the governor would not back down, his supporters, including farmers, drivers, and forest guards, took to the streets of Akure to encourage him to stick to his order. One protesting farmer said if the current state of insecurity is not quickly checked, it might lead to famine in the state.
Meanwhile, Ondo traditional rulers are also throwing their weight behind governor Akeredolu’s directive to the unregistered herders.
The monarchs briefed journalists after an emergency meeting in Akure on Thursday during which they called on president Muhammadu Buhari to demonstrate to the world that he is the father of all Nigerians, irrespective of ethnicity.
They also said some persons are deliberately twisting the governor’s directive. But they stated the Fulanis, like any other ethnic group, are free to live and conduct their legitimate businesses anywhere in the country, including Ondo State.
Kaduna Govt Sacks 65 Primary School Teachers
The Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has on Friday confirmed the sack of 65 primary school teachers after investigation revealed they were recruited illegally in Sanga Local Government Area of the state.
According to an official who served as the secretary of the investigation committee confirmed the development to Newsmen in Kaduna.
Earlier, the council Chairman, Charles Danladi, had on Wednesday announced the sack of the teachers to journalists in Gwantu, the Council headquarters.
Danladi alleged that the anomaly was detected through the over-bloated wage bill of the teachers, which kept increasing every month without new employment.
Their appointments have been terminated.
Nigeria To Get COVID-19 Vaccines By February
Nigeria can now look forward to assessing COVID-19 vaccines by the end of February. Nigeria governors’ forum chairman, Kayode Fayemi says the country is collaborating with the world bank to ensure the country is able to assess the vaccines.
Fayemi gave the information while briefing the forum on his meeting with the chair of the board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on the roll-out of the vaccines.
Reports say Fayemi had told the meeting there is an arrangement for the world health organization to work on ensuring equity in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in developing nations.
He said Nigeria one of a dozen African nations that has expressed the readiness among the 92 qualified countries for the facility. Its first shipment of vaccines should arrive by the end of February.