​Kogi Bread Levy: Permanent secretary faces dismissal

Kogi State Government has come hard on the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Usman Ibrahim, who issued the directive for levy on every bread and bakery in the state.

The state governor, Yahaya Bello, had in a reaction described the report on the bread levy as an “embarrassment to my government’, promising to launch an investigation and sanction those behind the case.

Head of Service of the state, Mrs Ogunmola Deborah on Tuesday, issued a query to the Perm Secretary, a copy of which was obtained by Vanguard.

The query read apart, “You may wish to recall the attached letter, dated 9 November. 2020, signed by you and addressed to the Chairman, Asociation of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN). Kogi Stale Branch, Lokoja, on the above subject matter.

“You may also recall that I called you to my office in the morning of 16 November 2020 after my attention was drawn by an official of government, the aim of which was to confirm the truth from you.

“You vehemently denied having anything to do with the viral letter which has brought so much embarrassment to the Government of Kogi State.

“Investigation has revealed that you acted without obtaining the approval of the Honourable Commissioner in your Ministry as you could not provide any file where it was approved for you to disseminate such information.

“Your action is clearly ultra vires of the Public Service Rules, Section 4-030402 (1h.(N), and (O) which may lead to your dismissal from the service.

“This act of serious misconduct is unbecoming of an Officer of your calibre who is expected to be above board in conduct and in the performance of your duties.

“In view of the above, you are hereby directed to give your response, within 24 hours of the receipt of this query, with a view to exculpating yourself, why disciplinary action should not be taken against you for this act of gross misconduct.”

​Vaccine alone won’t end coronavirus pandemic – WHO

The Director General of World Health Organization, WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said yesterday that a vaccine would not by itself stop the coronavirus pandemic.

Ghebreyesus stated this on a day US biotech firm, Moderna, announced that its experimental vaccine against COVID-19 was 94.5 percent effective, marking a second major breakthrough in the vaccine hunt.

Pfizer had also last week said it had developed a vaccine that was 90% effective asgainst the virus.

The pandemic is raging months after it broke out, with infections soaring past 54 million and claiming more than 1.3 million lives.

“A vaccine will complement the other tools we have, not replace them. A vaccine on its own will not end the pandemic,” Ghebreyesus said.

The WHO’s figures for last Saturday showed that 660,905 coronavirus cases were reported to the UN health agency, setting a new high water mark.

That number, and the 645,410 registered on Friday, surpassed the previous daily record high of 614,013 recorded on November 7.

The WHO boss said supplies of the vaccine would initially be restricted, with “health workers, older people and other at-risk populations (to) be prioritised. That will hopefully reduce the number of deaths and enable the health systems to cope.”

He, however, warned: “That will still leave the virus with a lot of room to move. Surveillance will need to continue, people will still need to be tested, isolated and cared for, contacts will still need to be traced… and individuals will still need to be cared for.”

Meanwhile, US biotech firm, Moderna, according to Reuters, said yesterday that its experimental vaccine against COVID-19 was 94.5 per cent effective, marking a second major breakthrough in the vaccine hunt.

Moderna released early results from a clinical trial with more than 30,000 participants, after US pharmaceutical company, Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, last week said their vaccine was 90 percent effective.

Both vaccine frontrunners are based on a new platform called messenger RNA, which is faster to produce than traditional vaccines and effectively turn human cells into vaccine factories.

“This positive interim analysis from our Phase 3 study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent COVID-19 disease, including severe disease,” said Stephane Bancel, Moderna’s CEO.

The company plans to submit applications for emergency approval in the US and around the world within weeks and says it expects to have approximately 20 million doses ready to ship in the US by the end of the year.

Global infections from COVID-19 have soared past 54 million with more than 1.3 million deaths since the virus emerged in China late last year.

The Moderna vaccine, which was co-developed by the US National Institutes of Health, is given in two doses 28 days apart, and the preliminary results are based on 95 volunteers of the 30,000 who fell ill with COVID-19.

Of the 95, 90 had been in the trial’s placebo group, and five in the group that received the drug called mRNA-1273.

‘Tremendously exciting’

There were 11 people who fell severely ill, all of whom were in the placebo group.

The vaccine was well tolerated, with the majority of side-effects classed as mild or moderate.

After the first dose, about three percent of people had injection site pain classed as severe.

Among side-effects classed as severe after the second dose, about 10 per cent had fatigue, nine per cent had muscle pain, five per cent had joint pain or headaches, four per cent had other pain and two per cent had redness at the injection site.

These adverse events were “short-lived,” according to a statement.

“This news from Moderna is tremendously exciting and considerably boosts optimism that we will have a choice of good vaccines in the next few months,” said Peter Openshaw, a professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London.

Crucially, Moderna also announced that its vaccine can remain stable at standard refrigerator temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius to 8 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit to 46 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 days.

The company added it could be kept in long-term storage at standard freezer temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) for up to six months.

Pfizer’s vaccine, on the other hand, needs to be stored in deep-freezer conditions which could complicate supply chain logistics, particularly in less developed countries.

It is not yet clear how long-lasting the protection will be from either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, nor how well they work for the elderly, the age-group at highest risk from COVID-19.

Lagos warns religious leaders against second COVID-19 wave

The Lagos State Government has warned religious leaders in the state against a second wave of the COVID – 19 pandemic , urging them to intensify safety protocols to avert the spread of the virus.

The state Commissioner for Home Affairs , Anofiu Elegushi , spoke on Monday in Lagos at the 2020 International Day for Tolerance .

While appealing to operators of worship centres to comply with the guidelines of the Nigeria Centre of Disease Control , Elegushi said the state government might be forced to sanction any religious house that failed to comply with regulations .

The commissioner stressed that this was no time to play with the safety of worshipers and residents .

“At this juncture , let me admonish our beloved people not to relent in supporting and understanding the efforts of the Lagos State Government . We should not let down our guards ; it is not yet Uhuru . The battle against this dreaded virus is not over. All guidelines and safety protocols of mitigating COVlD -19 should still be stringently adhered to .

“We are all aware that some countries, including the United States of America , the United Kingdom and France , are currently experiencing the second wave of the virus. We cannot afford to allow this to happen. I beseech us to continue to use our face masks , wash our hands frequently and maintain social distance in public places , while also using alcohol -based hand sanitisers from time to time to combat the transmission , ” he added .

12 killed in Kaduna LGs, eight ABU students among highway abductees

Some bandits have attacked Albasi village in Sabon Brinin in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State and killed eleven persons.

The bandits were said to have stormed the village on Monday afternoon and shot indiscriminately at the villagers as they escaped into the forest.

Also , on Sunday, bandits invaded another village , Maraban Kajuru, killing one person while abducting two.

This was as the Kaduna State Government said on Monday that eight students of the Ahmadu Bello University , Zaria , were among those kidnapped along Kaduna-Abuja Expressway on Sunday.

The Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs , Mr . Samuel Aruwan , who said this in a statement , added that the Vice Chancellor of ABU informed the state of the incident .

“The Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University , Zaria , Prof . Kabir Bala , has informed the government that eight students of the institution were among those kidnapped on Sunday on the Kaduna- Abuja road ,” the commissioner said .

A source said the 300 students from the Department of French Language were travelling to Lagos for a programme at the Nigerian French Language Village when the incident happened .

The source said , “The names of the students are Okafor Chris , Ayuba Lois, John Elizabeth, Musa Precious , Asoji Faith , Badmus Jemimah , Emmanuel Simon and Aliyu Adamu. ”

The commissioner in his statement confirmed bandit attack on Igabi and Kajuru LGAs on Sunday and on Monday respectively .

The commissioner added that security agents were after bandits in some locations in Igabi and Kajuru LGAs .

He said , “Security agencies have notified the government that they are pursuing bandits in the area.

“On Monday armed bandits attacked Albasu village located south wards of Malum forest in Sabon Birni general area and subsequently killed some locals , while on Sunday night at Maraban Kajuru, bandits kidnapped two persons and killed one person.

“Governor Nasir El – Rufai has sent condolences to the families and prayed for the repose of their souls.

“Similarly , troops on patrol around Chikun and Kajuru LGAs boundaries found a corpse of a bandit who died of gun injury .

“An AK- 47 rifle and other valuables were found beside the decayed corpse . ”