The announcement by Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, that COVID-19 vaccines may arrive in the country on January 19, 2021 and the protest by leaders of Coalition of Northern Group to force the government to rescue hundreds of students kidnapped from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State are some of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Thursday.The Guardian reports that Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said that COVID-19 vaccines may arrive in Nigeria on January 19, 2021 and that a technical working group had begun work on modalities for the project.
Addressing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over yesterday by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja, the minister stated: “We have signed up with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Gavi for access to vaccines immediately they are available. But you know that these vaccines are new and are in packets, and the producers are not giving any indemnity.
“The countries where these vaccines are manufactured, have of course, given themselves the priority to serve themselves, serve their own citizens first and we hope that the pressure from WHO and Gavi will be able to get reserves for other countries that are not manufacturing so that they can sign up.
“We signed up for advanced market participation in Cobax. So, if we will be able to get our own, I think it will be in January.”
The newspaper says that the leaders of Coalition of Northern Group (CNG) have resolved to protest today in Katsina State, to force the government to rescue hundreds of students kidnapped from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State.
The CNG spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said the national leadership of the body has arrived Katsina to join members from Jigawa, Kano and Katsina for an indefinite protest to compel action to rescue the boys
Suleiman said, “the exercise, tagged #Bringbackourboys, would commence today in Katsina and proceed to Daura to register its concerns with Mr. President.”
According to him, the protest would be led by the coalition’s Board of Trustees Chairman, Nastura Ashir Shariff, who has been in touch with parents of affected schoolchildren.
He argued it would be unreasonable to expect any northerner and other Nigerians to fold their arms and watch the North, a significant component of the country, abandoned “to the mercy of bandits, murderers and kidnappers.”
The Sun reports that the Senate, yesterday, passed a Bill in which the implementation of the capital component of the 2020 Appropriation Act was extended to March 2021.
The Appropriation Act 2020 amendment Bill which was sponsored by Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, was based on an earlier request by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The passage of the Bill effectively altered the restoration of budgets’ life cycle from January to December, a development which the current National Assembly had always counted as its major achievement.
The Senate had to suspend Order 44 of its Standing Rule to pass the First, Second and Third readings of the Bill. President Buhari had on Tuesday written to the National Assembly to demand a fresh review of the 2020 Appropriation Act.
The Punch reports that over 164 million phone lines may be disconnected by December 31, if their owners fail to integrate their National Identity Numbers to Subscriber Identification Modules registration records.
One of our correspondents gathered from the National Identity Management Commission on Wednesday that the number of Nigerians with NINs was about 43 million.
In a response to an enquiry on how many Nigerians currently had NINs, the spokesperson, NIMC, Kayode Adegoke, replied, “43 million.”
The Director-General of the agency, Mr Aliyu Aziz, had recently that said that as of September 42 million Nigerians had been captured for NIN by NIMC.
With the total number of mobile network connections reaching 207.58 million as of October 2020, this means that by the end of the two weeks’ ultimatum given by the Minister of Communications and Digital,
The newspaper says that the Federal Government on Wednesday signed an Output Based Fund grant Memorandum of Understanding with seven private companies for the deployment of solar home systems to power rural communities.
It was learnt that parties in the agreement would also provide electricity to micro, small and medium enterprises located in areas categorised as unserved or under-served in terms of power supply.
The Federal Government through the Rural Electrification Agency said the deployment of the solar home systems would further increase the number of citizens being supplied with electricity through solar systems.
Speaking to journalists on the side-lines of the MoU signing ceremony in Abuja, the Managing Director, REA, Ahmad Salihijo, said: “The objective of the stand-alone solar home system component is to help millions of under-served households and MSMEs access better energy services at lower costs.”
ThisDay reports that many business players expressed relief and excitement yesterday as the federal government announced the immediate reopening of four of the land borders, shut about 15 months ago, with a promise to reopen others before December 31.
There has been pressure on the federal government to reopen the land borders, with many analysts holding the policy as one of the dominant factors affecting the persistent rise in inflation.
But briefing reporters after the 28th weekly virtual FEC meeting, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, listed those opened as Seme in the South-west, Mfun in the South-south, Ilela and Maigatari borders in the North-west Ahmed said restrictions on importation of some commodities such as rice, poultry products and other products, would, however, continue.
Asked to comment on any accruable benefits from the closure of land borders since August last year, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, said the benefits were many.