​Nigeria may get COVID-19 vaccines in 10 days – Minister

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said in Lagos on Saturday that Nigeria might get COVID-19 vaccines in the next 10 days.

“We are told that by the end of this month, which is about 10 days from now, we shall get the vaccines,’’ the minister said.

“We do not produce the vaccines. They are manufactured abroad in about four or five countries,’’ he told newsmen at the end of an inspection tour of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Idi-Araba.

Ehanire explained that the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Russia and China that had succeeded in producing the vaccines were now giving licences to other countries to reproduce them.

“South Africa has a licence to make the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, while Russia only recently gave India the licence to produce AstraZeneca,’’ the minister said.

He said countries that produced the vaccines had serious challenges with COVID-19 and decided to attend to their needs first, a situation that the WHO described as vaccine nationalism.

Ehanire noted that while the whole world suffered the pangs of COVID-19 about 75 per cent of vaccines already produced were being used in 10 countries.

The minister stressed that Nigeria had put all facilities in place to receive the vaccines.

Welcoming the minister earlier, LUTH’s Chief Medical Director, Prof Chris Bode, asked the minister for assistance in the recruitment of 350 nurses, 50 consultants and 150 medical officers.

Prof. Bode said that the hospital also needed an Oxygen plant and increased funding to build a four-storey isolation centre, run the hospital effectively and pay huge monthly electricity bills. (NAN)

​Onuesoke lauds Buhari’s support for Premium Steel Coy

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain and former Delta State gubernatorial aspirant, Chief Sunny Onuesoke has commended the Federal Government support and encouragement for the development of Premium Steel and Mines Limited, Warri, Delta State and other steel industries in Nigeria.

He equally hailed the Government move for the proposed Metallurgical Industrial Bill, which is at the council for approval., adding that when it is approved it will support the growth and development of the steel industry in Nigeria.

Onuesoke made the commendation on the sideline during the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite facility tour of Premium Steel and Mines Limited, Warri, Delta State, recently.

The Minister, while advising Premium Steel and Mines Limited to speed up production process, disclosed that the mandate of the Ministry is to expand the steel sector, use it to diversify the economy, create jobs and generate revenue for the government.

He explained that Government is willing to do everything to support the industry, adding that is why they have proposed a Metallurgical Industrial Bill, which is at the council for approval.

Reacting to the Minister’s statement, Onuesoke said Premium Steel and Mines Limiited would save the nation more than a million tons of steel in import and conserve about $600 million in foreign exchange when operated at full capacity.

Stressing that the steel sector is a stimulus to the overall Gross Domestic Product of the country, Onuesoke disclosed that it is exciting that the present government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, has initiated a simultaneous and wide-ranging investment plan in infrastructure, which is expected to boost the demand for steel, while also serving as the backbone of Nigeria’s industrialisation.

He emphasized that Premium Steel and Mines Limited when in full production will motivate Nigeria’s industrial growth and subsequently, raise Gross Domestic Product, GDP, by touching the lives of local communities through accessible and affordable healthcare, employment, women empowerment and education.

The PDP Chieftain explained that since the plant started production, it has been producing quality steel products, which have been delights of reputable companies like Dangote, Julius Berger, CCECC and many others, adding that, “Every day, finished products are being evacuated from the company’s yard for supply to their clients.”

He observed that when the plant is fully revamped for the full turn around and production to installed capacity, importation of long steel products into Nigeria will come down to less than 50% of the current importation profile which will subsequently save foreign exchange to boost the Nigerian economy.

He, however, appealed to the Federal Government to consider a review of the tariff on the importation of raw materials for steel production.

“The Federal Government should grant waivers as a form of incentive for the growth of the steel sector, focus on infrastructure growth and have a national steel policy open to the public domain. Government should strive for a sustainable increase in per capita steel consumption of Nigeria, which is far below the developed economies. What I am saying, in a nutshell, is that the government should give steel companies an enabling environment so that the steel companies can thrive,” he appealed.

​APC targets to register 1m members in Abia — Emenike

An APC chieftain in Abia, Chief Ikechi Emenike, says the party is targeting to register one million members in the state in the party’s on-going registration and revalidation exercise.

He said at Umuahia at a meeting/sensitisation of party chieftains from the 184 wards and 17 local government areas of the state that party leaders should aim at the target by mobilising people to register as APC members.

The APC chieftain said it would be difficult to claim that APC was strong in Abia if it could not register up to one million members.

“If you love APC, this is the time to demonstrate it; this is the time for people to work for the party and not for individuals.

“We are here to encourage members to revalidate their membership and also to encourage others, including their relations, friends and even members of other parties to come over to the APC,’’ he said.

He added that the APC had a good number of quality people, adding that those who missed the voter registration should take advantage of the current exercise to register.

Emenike expressed optimism that the APC would produce the next Abia governor in 2023.

“APC will win in 2023. God has ordained it and this will be done neatly, peacefully and overwhelmingly. The party’s victory starts now,’’ he stressed.

The former governorship candidate debunked speculations that he would contest the 2023 gubernatorial seat.

“I have not told anybody that I want to run for governorship in 2023. I am 64 years old now and will be 66 years old in 2023, but things must be done right.

“We are all working in God’s vineyard. If God says I should run for local government or be a messenger in Abuja, I will not say no. Let God’s will be done,’’ he said.

In his remarks, the leader of the APC Registration and Revalidation Committee for Abia, Amb. Bala Mairiga, said the exercise was designed to further strengthen the party ahead of 2023.

He said that APC remained the biggest and largest political party in Africa and that the exercise was to make its size more intimidating.

“This can only be achieved with your assistance. We are here to engage everybody.

“You should register everybody without discrimination, including interested members of opposition parties

“We want to flush out PDP in 2023 and bring in APC,’’ he stressed.

A factional Chairman of APC in Abia, Chief Enyinnaya Harbour, also said that “this is the time for APC to take over the state.

“This is the time for us to change the narrative and we are not joking.

“By the time you finish your assignment, you will know that APC has the numbers,’’ Harbour said.

He described the report from the exercise so far as encouraging and commended the committee for its good work. (NAN)