President Muhammadu Buhari announced earlier this evening that his administration’s palliative measures will be extended to one million Nigerian households in the coming weeks.
The social investment programme, which entails food distribution, cash transfers, and loans repayment waivers, would now see an increase from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million households.
The President made this known during his nationwide broadcast, during which he announcing the extension of the current lockdown order by 14 more days. This is aimed at tackling the spread of Coronavirus in Nigeria. The President said:
“In the past two weeks, we announced palliative measures such as food distribution, cash transfers and loans repayment waivers to ease the pains of our restrictive policies during this difficult time. These palliatives will be sustained.
“I have also directed that the current social register be expanded from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million households in the next two weeks. This means we will support an additional one million homes with our social investment programs. A technical committee is working on this and will submit a report to me by the end of this week.”
Speaking further on the lockdown, Buhari said that the previously issued guidelines on exempted services shall remain. He also noted that while the extension was a difficult decision to take, it is evident that this is the right decision to be made.
President Buhari also directed the Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment, Communication and Digital Economy, Science and Technology, Transportation, Aviation, Interior, Health, Works and Housing, Labour and Employment and Education to develop a new economy policy framework.
He said that the Ministers will be supported by the Presidential Economic Advisory Council and the Economic Sustainability Committee.
“I am also directing the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the National Security Adviser, the Vice Chairman, National Food Security Council and the Chairman, Presidential Fertiliser Initiative to work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to ensure the impact of this pandemic on our 2020 farming season is minimized”. He added.
African Union secures 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for member states
The African Union has secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for African union members.
The chairperson of the African Union, President Cyril Ramaphosa, has secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for Africa through its COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), on behalf of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
The African Union has commenced the COVID-19 vaccines pre-order programme for all African Union Member States and it is expected that Afreximbank will facilitate payments by providing advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to US$2 billion to the manufacturers on behalf of the member states.
What they are saying
According to African Union Special Envoy, Strive Masiyiwa:
- “These are historical times. For the first time in history, Africa has secured access to millions of vaccine doses in the middle of a pandemic as most of Western countries.
- “There is still a huge shortage of vaccine doses and that is why this continental collaboration has designed a fair allocation coupled with timely and equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines across the continent.”
According to Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank):
- “Afreximbank is proud to expand its support to African economies in their bid to contain the pandemic.
- “ Our vaccine financing facility builds on the success of our Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA) to open access to COVID 19 vaccines to African states based on a whole-of-Africa approach favoured by the African Union.
- “By providing advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to US$2 billion to candidate vaccine manufacturers, Afreximbank will ensure that African States are able to rapidly access COVID-19 vaccines, at competitive prices and in a timely manner thereby contributing to saving lives and livelihoods.”
According to Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC):
- “The biggest challenges to COVID-19 vaccine access in Africa have been financing of the vaccines and the logistics of vaccinating at scale, but we are glad that this gap is being filled by the Afreximbank financing facility.
- “The critical decision now is how to get started so that once we start there will be no disruptions and this is where AMSP will play a very big role”
According to Fatoumata Bâ, Founder & Executive Chair of Janngo and Managing Partner of Janngo Capital:
- “From today onwards African Union Member States will be able to start placing online pre-orders for their vaccines allocation through the Africa Medical Supplies Platform.
- “We are proud to participate in giving direct access to cutting edge COVID-19 vaccines through Africa; This is essential to protect our people and reopen our economies”
What you should know
- AVATT has secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccines doses from Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca,
- AMSP – the single-source platform enabling faster, more transparent and cost-effective access to COVID-19 supplies – has opened today pre-orders, offering equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines doses for 55 African Union member states.
- The Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) is supporting the vaccination operations by launching a new category on vaccine accessories that will help the member states to procure products such as ultra-low temperature freezers, personal protection equipment, cotton wool rolls, syringes and needles.
- The Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) is a non-profit initiative launched by the African Union as an immediate, integrated and practical response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) was established by the African Union chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa as a component in support of the Africa Vaccine Strategy and was endorsed by the AU Bureau of Heads of State and Government on 20th of August, 2020.
Governor Sanwo-Olu says 24,000 students yet to resume in public schools
24,000 students in public schools are yet to return back after the reopening of schools, according to Governor Sanwo-Olu.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has revealed that about 24,000 students in public schools are yet to come back after the reopening of schools following last year’s lockdown necessitated by the first wave of Covid-19 across the country.
This is as the governor said that resumption of school activities Monday, January 20, 2021, was a difficult decision to make in light of the second wave of Covid-19.
This disclosure was made by the governor while peaking during a press conference on Covid-19 update at the Lagos House, Ikeja on Tuesday.
Sanwo-Olu assured that it was the best decision for the children’s safety and long-term development, especially the most vulnerable ones.
What the Lagos State Governor is saying
Sanwo-Olu in his statement said, “Last year after the first lockdown and kids have to come back to school, we are still looking for about 24,000 of them that have not come back to school. So, there is a challenge if you keep them out for that long and their parents or guardians now turn them to other things instead of ensuring that they have time to come back for learning even if it is twice or thrice a week.
“At least they have been registered since the beginning of a session and they can be monitored. If not, they will just be roaming the streets and become endangered. We have seen incidents of child abuse and all unprintable things that are being done to these children. So, we believe to a large extent that schools sometimes happen to be the safe haven for them. We have done the roster in which we ensure they keep social distance and we are monitoring,” he said.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that public and private schools below the tertiary level in Lagos State, On Monday, January 18, 2021, reopened for academic activities despite opposition from some stakeholders due to the second wave of coronavirus pandemic in the state.
- Following the surge in the number of infections in the state, which is the epicentre of the disease in the country, there were complaints about the state of preparedness of the schools, especially the public ones, in adhering to the strict Covid-19 protocols and guidelines.
Only 68.8% of Nigerians believe Covid-19 is real – SBM Intel
The survey revealed that 68.8% of Nigerians believe Corona is real, 14.4% are not sure while 16.7% don’t believe it’s real.
As the country and indeed, the rest of the world continues to be ravaged by the pandemic, only 68.8% of Nigerians believe Covid-19 is real. While 39.9% of Nigerians say they will take the vaccine, 63.3% are opposed to another lockdown.
These and more details were disclosed by SBM Intel, a geopolitical research and strategic communications consulting firm in its recent Covid-19 report titled, ” Covid in Nigeria: The Second Wave”.
“The age demographics of the correspondents for the survey were chosen across a broad age category., “The majority of the respondents were between 28-40 years (36.7%) followed by those between 18-27 years (24.0%), then 41-55 years (22.2%) which represents the active (working) population. 9.5% of the respondents were older than 55 years, and a smaller percentage, 7.7% were younger than 18 years,” the report revealed.
If Corona is real…
- The survey revealed that 68.8% of Nigerians believe Corona is real, 14.4% are not sure while 16.7% don’t believe it’s real.
- Ekiti, Enugu, Kogi, Nasarawa, and Sokoto states had less than 50% of their respondents stating that the virus is real. These states have relatively low official death rates, Ekiti (7), Enugu (21), Kogi (2), Nasarawa (13) and Sokoto (20) compared to states with high death rates as Lagos (250), the FCT (106) and Edo (117).
An interviewee said: “The virus is real, but does not believe that it is present in Nigeria because people are not dying and they are not observing most of the precautions.”
- The report disclosed that most people of all age categories don’t deny the existence of a virus, however, people who are older than 55 years have the highest percentage of respondents who are unsure of the existence of coronavirus, citing reduced social interactions and smaller circles which keeps them away from contact with infected persons.
If people are taking the right steps to prevent the virus
Despite the fact that over 68% of the respondents believe that the virus is real, 59.5% of the respondents representing a majority of the respondents do not think that people are taking the right measures to prevent COVID-19.
- “More interestingly, in some public institutions like banks and eateries where private security personnel enforces compliance with mask-wearing and hand sanitizing, people tend to comply just because such enforcement serves as an entry ticket. Researchers observed that once many people got into such premises, they took off their masks and started to flout other precautionary measures.
- “Only 39.9% of the respondents said they will take the vaccine. An almost equal proportion of respondents (35.9 %) said they will not take the vaccine which the government announced is to arrive in the country at the end of January, and 24.1% are unsure of their position at the moment.
- Reasons for not wanting to receive the vaccine include mistrust with the government and religious beliefs.
- “Some respondents held that it is a religious war to contaminate the children of God with evil substances. Some believe that the vaccines are a tool to depopulate Nigeria, while others expressed concern about the effectiveness ratio and the side-effects that the vaccine might have,” SBM said.
In case of another lockdown
- 63.3% of Nigerians are opposed to another lockdown. The report cited the number is much lower than the past report which revealed 90.24% were opposed to the idea of another lockdown.
- 15.1% are on the fence on this issue and only 21.6% of the respondents would support another lockdown.
- Opposition to lockdowns was linked to economic and security impacts witnessed during the previous lockdown as the economy contracted to lead to unemployment and increased hardship for Nigerians.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported that the Federal Government said that Nigeria is not contemplating another lockdown and urged Nigerians to ignore social media posts rumouring of the possibility of another lockdown.
- President Muhammadu Buhari already disclosed in October 2020 that the Nigerian economy is too fragile to go into another lockdown.
- Professor Julius Ihonvbere, Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education & Services, said the Federal and States governments should not impose a lockdown, but rather focus on serious control measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.