Press zooms in on commitment of Nigeria, Morocco to new gas pipeline project, others

The commitment of Nigerian President and Moroccan leader, King Mohammed V1 to ensure the takeoff of the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline…

The commitment of Nigerian President and Moroccan leader, King Mohammed V1 to ensure the takeoff of the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline and the construction of a fertilizer production plant in Nigeria dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Tuesday.The Punch reports that President Muhammadu Buhari and Moroccan leader, King Mohammed V1, have expressed their determination to ensure the takeoff of the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline and construction of a fertilizer production plant in Nigeria ‘as soon as possible’.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this on Monday in a statement titled ‘President Buhari, Moroccan King discuss strategic development projects’.

Shehu said the President spoke on the telephone with the Moroccan leader on Sunday from his hometown, Daura, Katsina State, where he had been on a four-day visit since Friday.

He further quoted Buhari as thanking the Moroccan leader for his support for Nigeria in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

The newspaper says that the Nigerian Government on Monday threatened to suspend the operations of airlines from the United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands from operating into Nigeria.

It said the operations of the carriers would be suspended if their countries insist that travellers from Nigeria must carry out an additional rapid test before leaving Nigeria for the two countries.

The Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Musa Nuhu, said this at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.

Dubai Airports, operators of Dubai International Airport in the UAE, on Saturday released fresh travel conditions for Nigerian passengers, as the airport restricted Nigerian passengers from transiting through other airports.

The move came as the United Kingdom on Friday suspended direct flights between the UAE and the UK as part of measures to curb the spread of the raging coronavirus disease. Commenting on the development on Monday, Nuhu said the UAE and Netherlands brought in extra requirements for passengers going into their countries, which were specific to Nigeria.

ThisDay reports that in a bid to ensure that Nigeria is not left out in the scramble for COVID-19 vaccines, the federal government said that it has obtained vaccine samples from Russia and India for testing by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The latest move came in the wake of a disclosure by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that 75 health workers in the country have tested positive to the virus in the last one week.Speaking yesterday in Abuja at a media briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said that federal government is strictly monitoring development in the international scene, especially with regard to the procurement of vaccines for the country.

However, he expressed concern over report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the scramble for the limited quantities of vaccines by powerful nations.

“We have been keeping a strict eye on the vaccines’ scene and those who follow international news would have heard of the scramble for vaccines, which has pitched some countries against each other in Europe, as wealthy high-income countries have pre-paid to allocate vaccines to themselves.

“A spokesperson for the World Health Organisation estimated that 95 per cent of vaccines manufactured globally so far has gone to only 10 rich and powerful countries,“ he said.

Ehanire said that Nigeria is joining the WHO in urging for global equity in the allocation of vaccines, since the pandemic is a threat to mankind and not only to any country alone.

The Vanguard says that the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said yesterday that the federal government has never clamped down on the media.

President Muhammadu Buhari had severally been accused of muzzling the media, but when asked if the recently raised-alarm on alleged smear plots against Buhari was an attempt to provide justification for an imminent clamp down on the media, Adesina, who spoke on Arise Television interview, said the federal government had no intention of doing that.

He said: “This government never clamps down on the media, it has never done and will never do. I can promise you that. This government will never tamper with the freedom of the press.

“There wouldn’t have been an alarm if there was no evidence and you know that that is the second alarm in about five, six weeks.

“We have impeccable evidence that the plot was afoot. When we raised the first evidence in December, maybe it scared them a bit, they retreated, but as at last week, they came back and were about launching and when we had the unimpeachable evidence again that it was going to be done up to the point of those, they had interviews; what those ones have said, documents to unleash, we just had to warn the public else they be hoodwinked into believing falsehood.

“You know that government has the capacity to ferret out all these things so when you speak of certain things, it’s because you already have the evidence.”

He said the Presidency would not reveal its sources, stressing that the alleged detractors were not within the government. He, however, said by the time the alleged detractors start their “hatchet jobs”, Nigerians would know their identities.

“They can’t be fifth columnists because fifth columnists are inside and we didn’t say they are inside,” he said.