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COVID-19: NCDC announces 1 death, 65 additional infections

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Thursday announced 65 additional COVID-19 infections with one death recorded after four consecutive days of no fatality.

In an update on its website on Friday morning, the NCDC said that a death was last recorded on Nov. 21, adding the country’s fatality toll from the disease now stood at 2,975

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 65 infections recorded on Thursday represented a decrease from the 114 recorded on Wednesday.

The NCDC added that the latest figure of confirmed cases had increased Nigeria’s infection toll to 213,883, with 3,814 active cases.

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According to the centre, additional infections were recorded across nine states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The NCDC stated that Lagos State, the epicentre of the disease, reported 20 fresh cases.

The FCT recorded 12 cases, followed closely by Kaduna State in the North-west with 11 cases; Oyo State, nine, while Bauchi and Kano states reported four cases each.

Edo State, the centre said reported two cases, while the trio of Ekiti, Plateau and Rivers states recorded a single case each.

It also stated that Delta, Katsina, Ogun, Osun and Sokoto states reported that they recorded no cases on Thursday.

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The NCDC said that the FCT recorded 50 community discharges on Thursday, while Lagos State recorded a backlog of one discharged case for November 24, 2021.

It said that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre activated at Level 2, continued to coordinate the national response activities.

The centre recalled that the country recorded its first cases in February 2020, and 3,440,172 samples had been tested for COVID -19 so far.



2023: I will not impose my successor on Rivers – Wike

Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers on Thursday said he would not impose any governorship aspirant of his choice on the people of Rivers come 2023.

Wike gave the assurance in a statement issued by Mr Kelvin Ebiri, his Special Assistant on Media, in Port Harcourt.

He assured that the leadership of the party would meet to decide who to support at the appropriate time.

Wike however said that he is obliged to ensure that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wins the 2023 governorship election in Rivers.

“One mistake I will not make is to impose somebody. From my experience as a student of history, reality has shown that it is difficult for you to say Joseph is the man I can trust.

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”Until you give somebody power and money, that is only when you will know whether that person is trustworthy or not,” he said.

Wike stated that God would not allow someone who will destroy all the remarkable progress the state had made over the years to be the next governor.

”God will ensure that it is only someone who is courageous, firm and ready to protect the interest of Rivers that will succeed me.

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“Rivers is a state that so many people have an interest in. It is a state that you have to put your feet on the ground. It is a state that you have to annoy a lot of Nigerians and a lot of Nigerians will hate you.

“But what is important is for you to know is what is good for your people and stand for your people. Do not allow personal interest to sway you against the interest of your people,” Wike stated.


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Netflix Hit Series ‘Money Heist’ Reaches End

By Oreoritse Tariemi

02 December 2021   |   4:07 pm

Streaming giant Netflix will release the final five episodes of its Spanish hit series Money Heist on Friday. Created by Spain’s private Antena 3 network, the thriller about a gang of thieves and their elaborate heists fast became Netflix’s most-watched series not in English after the platform picked up the show in December 2017. The robber characters…

Streaming giant Netflix will release the final five episodes of its Spanish hit series Money Heist on Friday.

Created by Spain’s private Antena 3 network, the thriller about a gang of thieves and their elaborate heists fast became Netflix’s most-watched series not in English after the platform picked up the show in December 2017.

The robber characters have code names from cities around the world that caught the attention of many viewers interested in knowing their fate. In fact, the movie gained recognition in the United States, which was not then used to dubbed shows.

Praising the series, the New York Times described its episodes, twists, and turns as a “joy ride in every sense” while Israel’s Haaretz newspaper called it “seriously riveting.”

The red overalls and Salvador Dali masks sported by the renegade gang members in the series have become popular costumes worn worldwide at parties and street protests.

“This is the first non-English language series to become a global phenomenon,” said Elena Neira, a professor of communication sciences at the Open University of Catalonia.

Thanks in part to the show’s success, Netflix and its competitors “realised that they did not need to produce everything in the United States” to get a global audience, she added.

While the highly addictive Money Heist screenplay is “not revolutionary,” it tells “a very universal story, of the struggle between good and bad…with messages about the power of women, camaraderie and the need to rebel,” said Neira.

“Lupin” shares many of the show’s features, such as its focus on a thief with “a certain moral” aspect who is “very intelligent,” she added.

Netflix picked up Money Heist shortly after the streaming service went live in over 130 countries in January 2016, bringing its coverage to almost the entire globe except for China.

Netflix’s recommendation algorithm also favours series like “Money Heist” with cliffhanger endings and are “highly addictive,” said Alberto Nahum Garcia, a professor of audiovisual communication at the University of Navarre.

“There was a kind of alignment of the planets at a time when distribution became even more global,” he added.

Neira further noted that the show benefited from the US streaming giant’s willingness to invest heavily to dub and add subtitles to shows in dozens of languages.

Following the global success of Money Heist, Spain’s audiovisual sector has received a huge boost.

“It placed Spain’s industry in a place where we never dreamed it could be,” the show’s creator Alex Pina said on Tuesday at a Madrid news conference to promote the second part of the fifth and final season of the series.

In 2018, Netflix signed a deal with Pina to produce new series and projects exclusively for them.

In 2019, it opened its first European production centre in Madrid, part of a multi-million euro investment in Spanish language content.

Netflix head Reed Hastings speaking on the show’s popularity, said it was “amazing” to see Spanish shows like Money Heist and Elite “win the hearts of fans not just in Spain, but globally”.

“Our aim is to be part of the Spanish creative ecosystem. We are investing for the long term,” he added at the opening of the company’s production centre in Madrid.


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IMF warns of ‘economic collapse’ unless G20 extends debt relief

The IMF on Thursday urged advanced economies in the G20 to extend and improve its debt relief initiative, warning that many countries face a dire crisis without the help.

“We may see economic collapse in some countries unless G20 creditors agree to accelerate debt restructurings and suspend debt service while the restructurings are being negotiated,” IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said in a blog, adding that it is critical private creditors also offer relief.

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The G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) expires at the end of the year, and without a renewal, countries could faced financial pressure and spending cuts just as new Covid-19 variants are spreading and interest rates are expected to rise, she said.

“Debt challenges are pressing and the need for action is urgent. The recent Omicron variant is a stark reminder that the pandemic will be with us for a while,” Georgieva said in the blog co-authored by Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, director of the fund’s Strategy, Policy, and Review Department.

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Given the problems with the debt relief program and the common framework for dealing with private creditors, only three countries so far have applied for relief — Chad, Ethiopia and Zambia — and they have faced “significant delays.”

The framework has “yet to deliver on its promise. This requires prompt action,” she said.


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Gambians go to polls in first vote since Jammeh era

Gambians will go to the polls to pick a president on Saturday, in the first election in the poor West African country since ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh fled into exile.

Voters in the tiny nation, the smallest on mainland Africa, which straddles a river and is surrounded by Senegal, are concerned about improving living conditions.

But the shadow of Jammeh, who seized power in The Gambia in 1994 and ruled with an iron fist for 22 years, still hangs over the poll.

His possible return from exile, and how to respond to the litany of alleged crimes under his rule — including rape, torture, the use of death squads and state-sanctioned with hunts — have been central themes.

Jammeh was forced into exile in Equatorial Guinea in 2017, after President Adama Barrow, who was then a relative unknown, defeated him at the polls.

But the former dictator retains significant political support in The Gambia, where his advocates have pushed for his return.

Jammeh has also sought to influence the election, calling in to address rallies of supporters ahead of Saturday’s vote.

Some observers see the election as a test of the country’s new democracy.

Gilles Yabi, founder of the Wathi think tank based in Senegal’s capital Dakar, praised The Gambia’s progress, saying that it has now entered a “period of freedom where people can express themselves without fear of danger”.

But he stressed that democratic gains remain fragile.

“It is important to confirm this direction (towards democracy) with elections that go well, regardless of the outcome,” he said.

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‘No miracles’
New freedoms have come with expectations from many Gambians that economic circumstances should also improve, according to Yabi.

But that “miracle has not happened,” he said, noting that the Covid pandemic delivered a severe blow to the country’s tourism-reliant economy.

The Gambia is one of the poorest countries in the world. About half of its two million inhabitants live on less than $1.90 a day, the World Bank says.

Many Gambians also complain about the rising price of basic necessities such as sugar and cooking oil, and a lack of access to healthcare, among other issues.

For 56-year-old President Barrow, who is running for re-election, the vote is a test of confidence in his ability to deliver development.

Five other men are also contesting the election, although political veteran Ousainou Darboe, 73, is considered the leading opposition candidate.

A lawyer who has represented opponents of Jammeh, Darboe ran for election against the former dictator several times.

He also served as foreign minister and then vice president under Barrow, before stepping down in 2019.

Under Barrow, the death penalty has been repealed, political prisoners released and multi-party democracy inaugurated.

The Gambia also filed a case at the International Criminal Court accusing Myanmar of genocide in its campaign against the Rohingya minority under his government.

Political manoeuvres
But Barrow, a former property developer, has also attracted criticism for what some perceive as manoeuvring to secure his political future.

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He secured victory in 2016 after a coalition of parties backed him, on condition that he step down after three years.

But the president then reneged on the promise — serving the full five-year term allowed under the constitution instead — triggering sometimes violent protests.

Controversially, Barrow’s NPP party also announced a pact with Jammeh’s APRC in September — in a move viewed as an electoral ploy in some quarters, and denounced by rights activists.

Jammeh subsequently disavowed the decision — which he said was taken without his knowledge — and his supporters have formed a rival party.

Still, the move has raised doubts about Barrow’s willingness to prosecute Jammeh-era crimes.

A truth commission set up to probe abuse allegations under the ex-dictator’s rule handed its final report to Barrow last month — and recommended the government pursue criminal charges.

Such a move is highly politically sensitive in The Gambia, however, given Jammeh’s political following.

Neither the report, nor the names of the officials against whom charges were recommended, were released.

Barrow — or whichever candidate wins Saturday’s vote — has six months to decide how to respond to the report.

Polls are set to open at 0800 GMT on Saturday and close 1700 GMT. There will be one round of voting, and initial results could be expected as early as Sunday.


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For Nigerian-Canadian Singer, Tome, The Wait Is Over

By Chinonso Ihekire

02 December 2021   |   3:37 pm

With global dancefloors being ignited by the scintillating log-drums of Amapiano, Nigerian-Canadian superstar, Tome, has joined the league of singers decorating their discographies with the groovy rhythm. With her new song dubbed, Wait, set to drop tomorrow, the ember soirees are set to be enchanted with more African rhythms. For Tome, who has had quite an interesting…

With global dancefloors being ignited by the scintillating log-drums of Amapiano, Nigerian-Canadian superstar, Tome, has joined the league of singers decorating their discographies with the groovy rhythm.

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With her new song dubbed, Wait, set to drop tomorrow, the ember soirees are set to be enchanted with more African rhythms.

For Tome, who has had quite an interesting year with her significant win at the Juno Awards for the Reggae Recording of the Year, with her single dubbed, I Pray, featuring Jamaican Superstar Sean Kingston, one can hardly expect her next move. Spectators within the music scene have been eager to see what direction the queen of Afro-fusion is likely to sway next, since I Pray. And it is safe to say, the wait is over.

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The Kiza records signee tag teamed with iconic production whiz, Legendury Beatz, on this song, which is also the lead single off her upcoming album dubbed, No Long Talk.

Tome is also expected to embark on a Festive World Tour which would see her perform and make appearances in Toronto, London, Lagos, Abuja and Ghana amongst other cities.

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Everton owner backs under-fire Benitez despite struggles

Everton owner Farhad Moshiri says Rafael Benitez will be given time to turn things around after a heavy defeat against neighbours Liverpool intensified pressure on the Spanish manager.

The Goodison Park club, who started the season brightly under their new boss, are now winless in eight Premier League matches after their 4-1 drubbing on Wednesday — their worst sequence since 1999.

They are languishing in 14th place in the Premier League table, just five points above the relegation zone.

But Moshiri, who appointed the former Liverpool manager in June, shares the confidence of Benitez that things will turn around once key figures such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin and centre-back Yerry Mina are fit.

“Football is about crisis one day and glory the following day,” Moshiri told Talksport radio on Thursday. “Rafa is a good manager and underperformance is largely due to the injuries.

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“(Over the) next two weeks, we will get to a full squad and, in the meantime, results will improve.

“Rafa needs time to have his mark on the squad. He will be supported to add depth to the squad. Managers need time. I have no doubt that we will have a strong second half to the season.”

Moshiri has spent more than £500 million ($666 million) on players since arriving in 2016 with little tangible reward and supporters voiced their anger over the club’s travails at Goodison Park on Wednesday.

Benitez, 61, was an unpopular appointment among many Everton fans before he had even taken charge of a game given his history as Champions League-winning coach for Liverpool during six years at Anfield.

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“In January, hopefully the team are not depending on two or three players coming back as we are at the moment,” the Everton boss said.

“January is a difficult window and there are not too many players available but when you have money to spend, you have to do it properly.”

England international forward Calvert-Lewin has not played since late August while Mina is out with a thigh problem. Midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure has only recently returned to action.

“Any team missing three key players for a period of time — players who were scoring goals last season — and making mistakes in defence will lose,” said Benitez.

“The only way for us is to get these players coming back and recover mentally. I still have confidence we can do well.”


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Denmark’s Eriksen back in training after Euro heart-attack

Christian Eriksen took part in his first training session since an on-pitch heart-attack while playing for Denmark at the Euros, Danish media reported on Thursday.

Eriksen’s plight shook the football world in June when the 29-year-old had a brush with death after collapsing during a game televised live around the world.

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Eriksen remains under contract with Inter Milan but, because he has been fitted with a pacemaker, is not permitted to play in Serie A.

Instead he trained with his boyhood club Odense on Thursday.

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“We are happy he asked us if he could train with us here at Adalen,” Odense coach Michael Hemmingsen told Danish media, referring to Eriksen and the club’s training ground.


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India announces first two cases of Omicron variant

India announced its first two cases of the highly infectious Omicron Covid variant on Thursday, months after a devastating wave of the virus killed more than 200,000 people around the country.

Top health ministry official Luv Agarwal said two men in southern Karnataka state, aged 66 and 46, had tested positive for the variant.

“As per the protocols all their primary and secondary contacts have been traced and are being tested,” he told a press briefing.

India has yet to impose new blanket international travel bans but on Monday the health ministry ordered all inbound travellers from “countries at-risk” to undergo mandatory post-arrival Covid testing, along with the random testing of other international arrivals.

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The nation’s biggest city Mumbai on Wednesday imposed mandatory seven-day quarantines for all passengers arriving from at-risk countries.

Omicron, first discovered in southern Africa, represents a fresh challenge to global efforts to battle the pandemic with several nations already re-imposing restrictions many had hoped were a thing of the past.

It is the latest coronavirus strain to emerge since the start of the pandemic, including the currently dominant Delta variant, which was first detected in India in October 2020.

More than 200,000 people around the country died in a devastating Covid wave between April and June that overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums.

It struck after one of the world’s biggest religious gatherings, the Kumbh Mela, which attracted around 25 million Hindu pilgrims.

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That gathering, along with large state election rallies, was blamed by experts for fuelling the Delta surge.

India has the world’s second-highest number of cases, with more than 34 million confirmed infections.

Its nearly 470,000 Covid deaths are the third-highest, behind the tolls in the United States and Brazil.

But under-reporting is widespread and some studies have estimated India’s true toll could be up to ten times higher.

The country has since administered more than 1.2 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses but only around a third of the population are fully vaccinated, according to government data.


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Germany cracks down on unjabbed to tackle Covid surge

Germany will impose sweeping curbs on people not vaccinated against Covid-19 to combat the latest surge in cases, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday after meeting regional leaders.

“Culture and leisure nationwide will be open only to those who have been vaccinated or recovered,” Merkel said, adding that the same rule would also apply to non-essential shops.

The outgoing chancellor also spoke out in favour of compulsory vaccinations, which parliament is due to vote on soon.

“Given the situation, I think it is appropriate to adopt compulsory vaccination,” she said.

Merkel, her designated successor Olaf Scholz and the leaders of 16 states tightened Covid restrictions just two weeks ago, but met again on Thursday to discuss tougher measures.

The plans include a blanket ban on entering venues including bars, restaurants and cinemas for anyone who has not been vaccinated or recovered from Covid, according to a document signed off by the leaders.

The unimmunised will also be banned from Christmas markets, as well as being hit by contact restrictions limiting the number of people they can socialise with.

The agreement also includes new restrictions on large gatherings, which would affect events such as Bundesliga football matches, and the closure of nightclubs in areas with a weekly incidence rate above 350 infections per 100,000 people.

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Fireworks will be banned on New Year’s Eve to stop large crowds from gathering, according to North Rhine-Westphalia state premier Hendrik Wuest.

Health Minister Jens Spahn, in a caretaker role ahead of the planned swearing in of a new government next week, told the ZDF broadcaster that Germany needed “a lockdown, so to speak, for the unvaccinated”.

‘Never been as threatening’
“You can see from the decisions that we have understood the situation is very serious,” Merkel said, adding that the measures should be seen as “minimum standards” and different regions could also impose their own tougher curbs.

Infections have smashed German records in recent weeks and hospitals are sounding the alarm, with many over capacity and forced to dispatch patients elsewhere in the country for treatment.

Though Germany’s seven-day incidence rate has fallen slightly this week, it still stood at 439.2 on Thursday, with 73,209 new cases recorded in the past 24 hours.

“From the point of view of intensive and emergency medicine, the pandemic situation has never been as threatening and serious as it is today,” the DIVI intensive care association warned on Wednesday, calling for a drastic tightening of restrictions.

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Several hard-hit German regions have already cancelled Christmas markets and barred the unvaccinated from public spaces like gyms and leisure facilities to slow the pandemic spread.

But critics say the patchwork of rules is confusing, and Thursday’s emergency talks were aimed at coming up with nationwide rules.

Compulsory vaccinations
Some experts have blamed Germany’s fourth wave on its relatively low vaccination rate of around 68 percent, compared with fellow EU countries such as Spain at 79 percent and Portugal at 86 percent.

Merkel’s outgoing government had always ruled out mandatory vaccination, but the measure is now backed by politicians from across the spectrum.

Germany already announced plans earlier this month to require health workers and soldiers to get inoculated against Covid-19.

Expanding that to the general public would see the country follow the example of neighbouring Austria, which is planning mandatory vaccinations from February.

Greece has announced mandatory jabs for over 60s, with unvaccinated people facing fines if they don’t comply.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday it was time for the bloc to “think about mandatory vaccination” against Covid, though she also stressed it was up to individual states to make the decision.


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Edo NDLEA seizes 5.49 tonnes of suspected cannabis in 2 days

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Edo Command, says it has seized 5,492 Kilogrammes of substance suspected to be Cannabis Sativa within two days in the state.

Mr. Buba Wakawa, state Commander of the agency, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Benin on Thursday.

Wakawa said that the seizures were made from two concealed warehouses discovered by the personnel of the command in two communities across two Local Government Areas of the state.

He explained that on Nov. 23, acting on credible intelligence, personnel of the agency stormed a storage facility at Uzzeba in Owas West Local Government Area in the state and evacuated 107 bags of suspected Cannabis Sativa weighing 1,240 Kilogrammes, (1.240 tonnes)

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“Then on Nov. 24, the command discovered another concealed warehouse at Uhiere village in Ovia North East Local Government Area.

“The command’s personnel went into action immediately and a total of 315 bags of suspected cannabis sativa weighing 4,252 Kilogrammes (4.252 tonnes) were evacuated and removed from circulation from a concealed warehouse”.

He added that a 21 years old suspect was arrested during the operations.

He disclosed that the two seizures were a major seizure by the command in November, as the quantity of suspected cannabis sativa were huge.

He added that there were other seizures made in November, which when added brings the total seizure made within the month to 6,477.86 Kilogrammes.

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The commander further disclosed that within the month under review, 22 suspects comprising 18 males and four females were arrested in connection with drug trafficking.

“The command however within the period secured 10 convictions, while nine drug cases were filed at the Federal High Court, Benin.

“We also counselled 13 drug abuse clients within the period”, he said.

Wakawa reiterated the state’s command commitment to vigorously work in tune with the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer (CCEO), retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa vision in the war against drug abuse.

“The above two huge seizure are testimonies to the CCEO’s vision for the state and the country in general.”


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Nigeria recruits churches, mosques to speed up mass vaccinations

Prayers and hymns filled the Ikoyi Baptist Church at a recent Sunday sermon before the pastor delivered a message from the pulpit: Do the right thing and get the jab.

Downstairs in the carpark in the wealthy Ikoyi area of Nigeria’s economic capital Lagos, worshippers in their Sunday finest lined up to register for a first shot of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Fearing a surge in cases over the holiday season and wary of new variants, Nigeria is recruiting religious leaders, churches, mosques and government offices to mobilise its vaccination campaign.

Those worries will likely deepen after Nigeria on Wednesday reported its first cases of the Omicron variant that has prompted new travel bans.

Africa’s most populous nation has so far mostly escaped the brunt of the global pandemic that ravaged Europe and elsewhere after coronavirus emerged in December 2019.

Recorded cases are low — around 214,000 registered infections and just under 3,000 deaths since the pandemic began — although that is likely partly due to low testing rates.

But the country of some 210 million people has fully vaccinated only 3.5 million people and given 6.5 million one shot — far off a target of inoculating around 112 million, or 70 percent of the adult population, by the end of next year.

For a religious society like Nigeria, churches and mosques have in the past proven effective in mobilising sceptical communities to get vaccinated as they were with a polio campaign a decade ago.

“The mosques and churches get the largest crowds. It is also a way to reduce the risk and access more people,” said Dr. Atinuke Onayiga, a senior Lagos health official visiting the Ikoyi church.

“A lot of people don’t want to queue up, so we bring it to their doorstep.”

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Across the other side of Lagos, in the mainland district of Alausa, Friday prayers at the Lagos State Secretariat mosque followed a similar pattern.

“Now it’s happening here, I should do it,” said Lawal Abujeli, 35, sitting in a white plastic chair outside the mosque waiting to be vaccinated.

“I wasn’t interested before, but here I can trust it.”

Short expiry dates
In some wealthy nations, three-quarters or more of the adult population have had two doses and a campaign is underway for a third “booster” jab.

But as in most developing economies, the rate in Nigeria is much lower and vaccine hesitancy is common.

Nigeria was scarred by a disastrous clinical trial in 1996, when 11 children died and dozens were left disabled after being given an anti-meningitis jab made by Pfizer. The US giant reached a settlement with plaintiffs in 2011.

“A lack of vaccination in our countries will breed fertile ground for the virus to develop mutations,” warned Mukhtar Muhammed, a presidential adviser on Covid-19, urging developing nations to do more.

But vaccine availability is also an issue.

The global vaccine-sharing system Covax, led by the WHO, is providing low- and middle-income nations with doses financed by wealthier states.

But Covax and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention together warned this week that donations to Africa were often ad-hoc, at short notice and with short shelf lives, and this made planning tough.

Nigeria has received around 30 million doses so far, with another 60 million on their way early next year.

But some current AstraZeneca doses need to be used quickly while other vaccines have a longer shelf life, complicating delivery on the ground.

Around 2.5 million doses of AstraZeneca need to be used in Nigeria by year’s end, said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF’s country representative.

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“Normally a country like Nigeria would not receive any vaccine or drugs without a six-month expiry date. Some of these vaccines have six-week expiry dates,” he told AFP.

“Now with four types of vaccine you have to juggle which ones are you using and which ones you have to prioritise… It’s a very complex logistical and mathematical equation.”

Office by office
In another effort to promote mass vaccinations, Nigerian federal government employees are now required to show evidence of vaccination or a Covid test before entering offices.

Outside some federal buildings in the capital Abuja, dozens of workers were turned away on Wednesday as new rules were enforced. Some were directed to vaccine centres.

“I am not sick. I am not going to take a test,” said civil servant Ifeanyi Nwazo. “They want to force us to get an injection. Why?”

Health authorities plan office-to-office vaccinations in federal buildings.

Dr Ismail Abdus-Salam, Lagos state Covid response incident manager, said religious houses were also a effective way to spread the word back to communities.

“We also improve awareness,” he said outside the Alausa mosque. “They spread the message to people: ‘I’ve been vaccinated and there is no problem with me, and you can get vaccinated’.”

But for some worshippers like Mustapha Adetay, even the mosque campaign had yet to shake off their worries about the jab.

“I am still doubting to be sincere, some say it has negative health effects,” said Adetay, 53, an engineer, walking out of the mosque.

“If I was convinced, I would have all my family take it. But I am not really convinced. But I will think about it.”


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First Omicron case confirmed on French mainland

French authorities said Thursday they had confirmed the first case of the Covid-19 Omicron variant on the mainland, a man in his 50s who recently returned from Nigeria.

The ARS health agency for the Paris region said the man had not been vaccinated against the virus and showed no Covid symptoms when tested upon his arrival on November 25.

His wife, also unvaccinated, tested positive for Covid and sequencing is underway to determine if she too has the Omicron variant, and their family has been placed in quarantine, the agency said.

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Previously the only confirmed Omicron case on French territory was detected on its Indian Ocean island of Reunion, though government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Wednesday that 13 suspected cases were currently being studied.

The country is facing a fifth wave of surging cases since the pandemic emerged last year, and three hospitals in northeast France have implemented emergency protocols because beds are filling rapidly with Covid patients.

Health Minister Olivier Veran has warned that average daily cases are likely to surpass the peaks of the third wave that hit last spring, possibly as soon as this week.

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Starting Saturday, France will again allow in flights from southern Africa, where the Omicron variant was first reported, but permitting only French and EU residents to disembark.

They must have a Covid test upon arrival, with a negative result still requiring a seven-day quarantine, while a positive test will prompt a 10-day quarantine.


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NCC approves MTN, Airtel for 3.5G spectrum auction for deployment of 5G networks

The Nigerian Communications Commission has announced that three telecoms companies have qualified as approved bidders of the forthcoming 3.5 gigahertz spectrum auction for the deployment of Fifth-generation networks in the country.

They include MTN Nigeria Plc., Mafab Communications Limited, and Airtel Networks Limited.
In a statement signed by the Director Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde yesterday in Abuja, the commission noted that the qualified bidders have also met the Intention to Bid Deposit as outlined in the Information Memorandum.

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Consequently, the stage is now set for the three companies to participate in the Main Auction as well as in the mandatory Mock Auction process, which will come as a precursor to the Main Auction.

The Commission has also reaffirmed the dates for the conduct of both the Mock Auction and the Main Auction. The Mock Auction is scheduled to hold on Friday, December 10, 2021, at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja by 11:00 a.m., while the Main Auction will hold on Monday, December 13, 2021, at the same venue and same time.

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Africa’s Largest Gospel Music Fiesta, The Experience Holds Dec 3

By Daniel Anazia

02 December 2021   |   12:21 pm

The Experience, an all-night gospel music concert hosted by Pastor Paul Adefarasin, The Metropolitan Senior Pastor of the House on The Rock Churches, holds on Friday, December 3.

Pastors Paul and Ifeanyi Adefarasin

The Experience, an all-night gospel music concert hosted by Pastor Paul Adefarasin, The Metropolitan Senior Pastor of the House on The Rock Churches, holds on Friday, December 3.

Dubbed as Africa’s largest gospel music event, and now in its16th edition, the concert is scheduled to hold at the Rock Cathedral, Lekki. As a result of the current state of realities with COViD-19, this year’s fiesta will be a hybrid event and will be streamed live online across the world.

The premier edition of the musical concert, which held in December 2006 attracted a crowd of 40,000 people. Since then, the music festival has grown exponentially with hundreds of thousands of worshippers flocking to the Tafawa Balewa Square, the venue of the fiesta and millions more congregating online.

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Setting aside class, race, tribe, tradition, colour, religion and the weather, the people gather annually to worship and praise God from dusk till dawn, thus making the event the biggest gospel concert globally.

In compliance with COVID-19 restrictions on mass gatherings in 2020, last year’s edition was streamed exclusively online on YouTube, Facebook and other streaming platforms, attracting five million views.

This year, the festival a hybrid event will feature online and live ministrations from gospel music heavyweights such as Travis Greene, Sinach, Nathaniel Bassey, Don Moen, Dunsin Oyekan, Donnie McClurkin, Kike Mudiaga, Planetshakers, Tim Godfrey, Eben, Sidney Mohede, Ana Paula ValadaoBessa, Sheldon Bangera, Mercy Chinwo, William McDowell, Chevelle Franklyn, Chandler Moore, and Nokwe the Poet.

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Speaking on this year’s edition of The Experience, the convener, Pastor Paul Adefarasin said, “The Experience is a significant contributor to both our National and State economies through tourism and its associated businesses. This year, we want everyone to know that wherever they are is The Experience, so make it count.”

According to him, the event will continue to be a free event, however, friends who will be attending the live event at The Rock Cathedral in Lekki should be at the venue on time as they will be allowed in on a first-come, first-serve basis, stressing that there are limited spaces available.

The Experience concert is free and a ‘must attend’ event that promises to be a night of pure worship and a tremendous experience of the presence of God.


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