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Covid-19: Massive Breakthrough in Corona Vaccine

Benjamin Ukpabi

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Covid-19: Recently there has been a massive breakthrough in finding a vaccine for this virus

The first effective coronavirus vaccine can prevent more than 90% of people from getting Covid-19, a preliminary analysis shows.

The developers – Pfizer and BioNTech – described it as a “great day for science and humanity”.

Their vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised.

The companies plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month. (Covid-19)

No vaccine has gone from the drawing board to being proven highly effective in such a short period of time.

There are still huge challenges ahead, but the announcement has been warmly welcomed with scientists describing themselves smiling “ear to ear” and some suggesting life could be back to normal by spring.

“I am probably the first guy to say that, but I will say that with some confidence,” said Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University.

 

The data shows that two doses, three weeks apart, are needed. The trials – in US, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Turkey – show 90% protection is achieved seven days after the second dose. (Covid-19)

However, the data presented is not the final analysis as it is based on only the first 94 volunteers to develop Covid so the precise effectiveness of the vaccine may change when the full results are analysed.

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Dr Albert Bourla, the chairman of Pfizer, said: “We are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis.”

Prof Ugur Sahin, one of the founders of BioNTech, described the results as a “milestone”.

When will the vaccine be available?
A limited number of people may get the vaccine this year. (Covid-19)

Pfizer and BioNTech say they will have enough safety data by the third week of November to take their vaccine to regulators.

Until it has been approved it will not be possible for countries to begin their vaccination campaigns.

The two companies say they will be able to supply 50 million doses by the end of this year and around 1.3 billion by the end of 2021. Each person needs two doses.

The UK should get 10 million doses by the end of the year, with a further 30 million doses already ordered.

Who would get it?
Not everyone will get the vaccine straight away and countries are each deciding who should be prioritised. (Covid-19)

Hospital staff and care home workers will be near the top of every list because of the vulnerable people they work with, as will the elderly who are most at risk of severe disease.

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The UK is likely to prioritise older resident in care homes and the people that work there.

But it says a final decision has not been made, saying it will depend on how well the vaccine works in different age-groups and how the virus is spreading.

People under 50 and with no medical problems are likely to be last in the queue.

Are there any potential problems?
There are still many unanswered questions as this is only interim data. (Covid-19)

We do not know if the vaccine stops you spreading the virus or just from developing symptoms. Or if it works equally well in high-risk elderly people.

The biggest question – how long does immunity last – will take months or potentially years to answer.

There are also massive manufacturing and logistical challenges in immunising huge numbers of people, as the vaccine has to be kept in ultra-cold storage at below minus 80C.

The vaccine appears safe from the large trials so far but nothing, including paracetamol, is 100% safe.

How does it work?
There are around a dozen vaccines in the final stages of testing – known as a phase 3 trial – but this is the first to show any results.

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It uses a completely experimental approach – that involves injecting part of the virus’s genetic code – in order to train the immune system. (Covid-19)

Previous trials have shown the vaccine trains the body to make both antibodies – and another part of the immune system called T-cells to fight the coronavirus.

The UK’s chief medical advisor Prof Chris Whitty said the results showed the “power of science” and was a “reason for optimism” for 2021.

The US president-elect Joe Biden said it was “excellent news”.

“It is also important to understand that the end of the battle against Covid-19 is still months away,” he added.

The UK Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the results were “promising” and that “the NHS stands ready to begin a vaccination programme for those most at risk once a Covid-19 vaccine is available”.

Prof Peter Horby, from the University of Oxford, said: “This news made me smile from ear to ear. (Covid-19)

“It is a relief… there is a long long way to go before vaccines will start to make a real difference, but this feels to me like a watershed moment

Source: BBC news (Covid-19)

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Buhari orders NYSC members to enroll for National Health Insurance Scheme

Wisdom Nwachukwu

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The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Major General Muhammadu Buhari(retired) has ordered all National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) members to enroll in the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Brigadier-General Shuaibu Ibrahim, the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps said this on Monday in Abuja during a media chat with the Bureau chiefs and media Executives, He made it clear that NYSC has strengthened their relationship with security agencies to protect the corps members wherever they are posted in the country.

He said “I wish to use this opportunity to again express our gratitude to the security agencies and other stakeholders for their support. Furthermore, the scheme has concluded arrangement with the NHIS for the enrolment of corps members into the NHIS in line with a presidential directive. We have also expended huge resources on critical health needs of corps members, including footing of medical bills”.

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Kaduna State to install new Emir of Zazzau today

Benjamin Ukpabi

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Kaduna State is set to install the new Emir of Zazzau, Ahmad Bamalli

He is to replace the former Emir of Zazzau Shehu Idris who recently died.

The Kaduna State government has recently urged the citizens of the state to show up in massive numbers in support of this memorable event.

Ahmad Bamalli will be installed as the 19th Emir of Zazzau.

This event will be held at the Mohammadu Aminu Square in GRA Zaria

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, on Wednesday, announced the Magajin Garin Zazzau, Alhaji Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli, as the 19th emir of Zazzau

Alhaji Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli was born in 1966 in Zaria, Nigeria.

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He studied Law as his first degree from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in 1989 and a Masters degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from the same institution in 2002.

He also has a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology in 1998.

He did a fellowship on conflict resolution at the University of York (UK) 2009 before going on to hold another Diploma in organisational leadership from Oxford University, UK in 2015.

The new Emir of Zazzau is a Senior Chevening Fellow with about twenty six years cognate experience covering Banking, Public Sector, Telecommunications, and Manufacturing.

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He is also an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School where he obtained his GMP in 2011.

His Royal title of Magajin Garin Zazzau was the second most senior princely title of the Zazzau Emirate.

He is happily married to Mairo A. Bamalli and they are blessed with 5 children – a boy and 4 girls.

Bamalli was an ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand as well as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

He was a Commissioner of Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission between 2015 and 2017.

The new emir was the Acting Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer & ED Corporate Services at the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Plc between November 2011 and 2014.

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Between 2007-2009, he was the Human Resources Manager at the Nigerian Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTEL).

Bamalli was the Chairman, Board of Directors, Tawada Limited (Subsidiary of Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Plc from November 2012 to 2014.

He was a member of Transition Committee, Kaduna State in 2016.

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News in Nigeria today (Latest and Breaking news)

Benjamin Ukpabi

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News in Nigeria today (Latest and Breaking news)

Here are the latest news in Nigeria today by Flliqqa.com

1. Buhari government addressing youth unemployment: Lai Mohammed.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in Lagos said that the Federal Government will continue to address job creation for the youth.

Mohammed said this while speaking with newsmen after the meeting of governors, ministers and traditional rulers of South-West states following the EndSARS protest mayhem. (News)

The meeting was attended by a Presidential delegation, led by the Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.

He said that the government would continue to engage the youths and address the issue of poverty alleviation.

“It is not as if the government has not been addressing the issue of unemployment. The newly launched funds by the government was actually aimed at creating job opportunities.

“What the government has done so far is to provide platforms where businesses can thrive,´´ the minister said.

Mohammed said that the purpose of the South-West meeting was to allow governors and other political leaders in the South-West to interact. (News)

He also said that the federal government delegation used the moment to commiserate with the Lagos State Government following the attack it suffered recently in the EndSARS protest mayhem.

“It was a peaceful meeting and it was agreed that the state and the federal government response to the initial demand of the EndSARS protest was appropriate,´´ the minister said.

He said that the government would continue to invest in the development of human capacity, with more implementation of economic policies that will engender development and building of more public infrastructure that would empower the teeming youths.

2. FG not ready for quick end to strike, ASUU alleges.

President of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, in a statement Monday morning, explained that the Union has shifted position on some key expects of the demands to facilitate quick resolution of the crisis wondering why government has continued to prevaricate.

He said even though steady progress has been made on some of the issues, what has stalled meaningful dialogue was government’s insistence that payment of the withheld salaries and other entitlements of the lecturers would only be effected through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS). (News)

He demanded unconditional payment of the outstanding salaries and release of the Union check-off dues, which he accused Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) of illegally seizing all the deducted Union check-off dues in the last nine months.

While maintaining that it was government that is prolonging the matter, Ogunyemi said: “In closing the meeting between the leadership of ASUU and the Federal Government team last Wednesday, 4th November, 2020, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, promised to send to the Union government’s written position on ASUU’s response to their initial offer.

“He said all concerned Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) would be consulted on Friday, 6th November, for their inputs into government’s new position.

“Nigerians should bear with us. ASUU is doing their battle. Our Union is struggling to ensure that the children of the poor, who cannot afford the prohibitive cost paid in private universities or do not have opportunities to study outside Nigeria, get quality education which is not priced beyond their reach.

“This will only happen when government adequately funds public universities and addresses the rot and decay in them,” he said.

Ogunyemi said ASUU has shifted positions in some respects, saying for instance that members the Union have reduced their demand of one tranche, N220 billion, of the outstanding revitalization fund by 50 per cent.

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He said the Union has also agreed that N30 billion out of the so far verified arrears of N40b of the earned academic allowances (EAA) be paid to the members while the balance of N10 billion could be spread over the next two tranches.

ASUU President said: “We were equally making steady progress on other issues. What has stalled meaningful dialogue was government’s insistence that payment of the withheld salaries and other entitlements of our members would only be effected through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

“Government is punishing university teachers because they rejected IPPIS, which was imposed on the universities against the provisions of the law on autonomy and universal practices.

“ASUU is at the final stage of the integrity test of the Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

“UTAS was developed locally by ASUU members, unlike IPPIS which was engineered by the World Bank. (News)

“UTAS has been presented to the Minister of Education and senior management staff of the Ministry, the President and leadership of Senate, and the Office of the Accountant-General where NITDA and Office of the National Security Adviser and other MDAs were fully represented.

“Last Thursday, 5th November, 2020, the National Universities Commission (NUC) facilitated the presentation of UTAS to Vice-Chancellors and Bursars of federal universities.

“All questions raised at the four levels of presentation of UTAS were satisfactorily answered. With the full cooperation of the concerned agencies, the final test with NITDA could be completed as a matter of days and UTAS adopted in place of IPPIS in our universities.

“ASUU disagrees with government on the use of IPPIS during the so-called transition period. In practical terms, there is no transition period if government is sincere.

“It would take a longer period to capture more than three-quarters of our members who are not yet on IPPIS than the time required to run through the last stage of the integrity test for UTAS.

“The claim by government that the platform used in paying our members’ salaries before the imposition of IPPIS has been dismantled is not true.

“Some of our members who have not enrolled in IPPIS were paid part of their withheld salaries last week. But, in furtherance of the attack on ASUU, the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) has illegally seized all the deducted union check-off dues of our members in the last nine months.

“So, government should release all what is due ASUU members and the union without the conditionality of IPPIS.

“That would enable us conclude on the outstanding five demands (revitalisation, EAA, renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement, inauguration of the Visitation Panels, proliferation of state universities and governance issues in them) of the Union to pave way for the quick resolution of the lingering crisis.

“It is government that is prolonging the matter, not ASUU,” he said.

3. 2023 Presidency: Goodluck Jonathan Warned Not To Run.

A Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Garus Gololo warned former Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan against contesting the 2023 presidential election.

Though Gololo admitted that it would be the turn of the South to produce the next President, but he said it would certainly not favour Jonathan as it is no longer for South-South region.

Gololo, while speaking to newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, said it would be foolhardy for Jonathan to think he could still win any election in Nigeria. (News)

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Some northern groups and associates of Jonathan in the South, according to Sunday’s Nation newspaper edition, had reportedly met in Abuja, while considering drafting the Bayelsa-born politician to gun for 2023 Presidency.

Their calculation is that, the Presidency can return to the North in 2027 since Jonathan, if he wins in 2023, will be ineligible to contest again.

But Gololo, while reacting to questions, said such calculation was evil and selfish.

He said, “I’m from the North and I want to say it emphatically that power should return to the South in 2023 for eight years.

“Northerners are not the only Nigerians in this country. I can’t support such evil and selfish permutations. And for Jonathan, he should rather go and rest. If he dares to contest, we shall do to him what we did in 2015”.

Dr. Gololo also warned the former President to be weary of some political jobbers who may be muting the idea of drafting him into the contest.

He said, “there is nothing wrong in asking someone to come out to contest, but what makes the difference is the votes. The votes shall decide who becomes the next President and if PDP like, let them give it to Jonathan, same fate shall repeat itself, like in 2015”.

When asked which region should produce the next President from the South and if he had anyone in mind, the national APC Chieftain said there are many other capable hands in the South that can deliver.

“It must not be Jonathan. He was there before and we all know what happened then. Let’s try fresh people who have capacity. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is there. He has enough capacity.

“I would even prefer PDP giving it to Jonathan so we all mobilise and team up for Tinubu in APC and Jonathan’s defeat will shock him, like Donald Trump. We are wise now and this country is bigger than any individual”, Gololo added.

4. Reps summon Kyari on alleged $20b NLNG withdrawal.

House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has summoned Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, over alleged withdrawal of $20.3 billion from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) dividend account.

Its chairman, Wole Oke, expressed concern over the NNPC chief’s supposed refusal to respond to the quiz by Auditor General of the Federation (AGoF). Oke (Osun: PDP) argued that there was need for Kyari and heads of relevant agencies to appear before the committee to do clarication. (News)

Details of the fund were contained in a document submitted to the panel by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) on the need to investigate NNPC management’s ‘illegal withdrawals from the NLNG’s dividends account’.

The text revealed that from the $21.686illion that accrued to NLNG dividend account from 1999 to 2020, NNPC spent $20.3 billion, leaving a balance of $1.384 billion as at June 30, 2020.

The report also stated that the NLNG generated $100 billion in sales revenue since inception out of which it paid over $18 billion as dividend through the NNPC and $6.1 billion as Company Income Tax (CIT) through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

“Additionally, the company spent over $15 billion for the purchase of feedstock gas for its operations. Between April 2002 and March 2007, it paid $450,000 as Licence fees and N28.696 million as NLNG licence renewal between 1999 and 2017.” Govt continued: “On payment of dividend, NLNG paid all dividends due to the Federation Account to NNPC,” it added.

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But a breakdown of the NLNG income tax payment from 1999 to 2020 showed that no revenue was paid between 1999 and 2013, as it enjoyed pioneer status.

It however, paid $1.301b in 2014, $1.491b in 2015, $625.331m in 2016, $304.669m in 2017, $704.182m in 2018, $907.754m in 2019 and $764.143m in 2020.

“As part of its monitoring mandate, the RMAFC visited the NLNG in August 2008 and March 2013, and consistently requested the NNPC to remit all dividends received from NLNG to the Federation Account.

“Information available to the Commission indicates that $21.685b accrued to the NLNG Dividend Account from inception to June 30, 2020,” the report stated.

Details of how the NNPC disbursed the $20.3b showed that NLNG secretariat got $1.854m, NLNG scheme 4 top up received $159.250m, funding of Brass LNG Scheme got $574.420m, the West African Gas Pipeline ($259.900m), N-Gas (Takoradi CEB Account, Gas Monitoring Station ($9.433m), Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline ($1.278m), Olokola LNG ($216.928m), while security project received $1.520b.

The report also stated that $4.372b was transferred to Federal Government, Product Importation Loan to NNPC received $5b, while $3.335b was spent on Paris Club Refund, Sovereign Wealth Fund got $1.050b, $1.200b went for 2016 JV Cash Call Balance and $2.6b was spent on National Fuel Support Fund.

In its recommendation to the Committee, RMAFC Chairman, Elias Mbam said: “The commission does not support diversion of revenue to the Federation Account for whatever reason, as it is illegal and contravenes section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“The NNPC or any other agency does not have the powers under the law to withdraw money from the NLNG Dividend Account for any other purpose apart from remitting it to the Federation Account.” (news)

5. One Dead, Others Injured As Ogun #EndSARS Hoodlums Clash.

There was tension in Ogun community as a yet-to-be identified person was reportedly shot dead during a clash involving Orimerunmu Boys and Asese Boys in the Obafemi Owode Local Government.

According to PUNCH, the unrest occasioned by the #EndSARS demonstration in the state prompted the hoodlums to block the Asese area of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway where they reportedly demanded cash from motorists plying the axis to their destinations.

An undisclosed prominent man was said to have given the hoodlums a huge sum of money but a fight was said to have broken out among the hoodlums.

Speaking with newsmen, a resident simply identified as Seyi disclosed that one of the hoodlums allegedly sustained bullet wounds and was taken to hospital for treatment.

Seyi added that another clash broke out when it was learnt that the injured victim died on Saturday.

He said, “The hoodlums blocked the Asese area of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway during the #EndSARS unrest and were collecting money from motorists plying the expressway. But a popular man gave them a huge sum of money and that money caused a fight among the hoodlums.

“One of the hoodlums was severely injured during the clash and was taken to the hospital. And for a while, we didn’t hear of the crisis until the injured person died on Saturday. They have been creating unrest in the area.”

Footage in possession of our correspondent showed armed hoodlums engaging each other in a free-for-all along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, halting vehicular movements in the process.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi said a manhunt had been launchef for those responsible for thr victim’s death.

Oyeyemi added that normalcy had been restored in the area.

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