Press zooms in on “life-saving” drug Crizanlizumab for sickle cell disease, others

The announcement by England's National Health Service (NHS) of a new “life-saving” drug Crizanlizumab to help people suffering from sickle…

The announcement by England’s National Health Service (NHS) of a new “life-saving” drug Crizanlizumab to help people suffering from sickle cell disease (SCD) and the defeat of Nigeria by Central African Republic in World Cup qualifier are some of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Friday.The Guardian reports that England’s National Health Service (NHS) has announced a new “life-saving” drug Crizanlizumab to help people suffering from sickle cell disease (SCD).

Crizanlizumab is expected to be delivered through transfusion drip and “works by binding to a protein in the blood cells to prevent the restriction of blood and oxygen supply that lead to a sickle cell crisis,” NHS said in a statement.

About 5,000 people living in England will be treated with the drug in the next three years.

SCD is common in Africa, where up to 40 percent of a country’s population can carry the mutated gene, though most never get sick, AFP said in a report.

The disease causes episodes of debilitating pain known as vaso-occlusive crises. It could also cause infection, organ damage, acute chest syndrome and stroke.

Nigeria is considered the epicentre of the disease in the world.

Professor Olu Akinyanju, the chairman of the Sickle Cell Foundation, said in a paper published on the foundation’s website that “in sheer numbers, Nigeria has the largest burden of sickle cell disorder (SCD) in the whole world.”

“Although countries around Nigeria also have an S gene carrier frequency of about 1 in 4 of their populations, Nigeria’s large population has ensured that over 40 million Nigerians are healthy carriers of the S gene,” Professor Akinyanju said.

The newspaper says that against all expectations, minnows, Central African Republic, yesterday, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, beat Nigeria 1-0.

It was a game pundit easily gave to the Super Eagles, who were rated far higher than the Wild Beasts in all aspects of the game. It wasn’t supposed to end in defeat for Nigeria.

Before yesterday, the Super Eagles had won their first two-game, home to Liberia and away at Cape Verde.

Central African Republic, on the other hand, were no-hopers as they had only one point from a home draw with Cape Verde to show in their two matches. Nigeria went into the game 90 spots above CAR in FIFA rankings.

Nigeria, three-time African champions, had lost none of their last 25 home matches in World Cup qualifiers going into the game. But all that came to a shattering end at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.

The visitors had a game plan of absorbing the Eagles attacks and hitting back on the counter. And it worked absolutely well for them as they found a clueless team on the home side.

Super Eagles’ inability to break their defence emboldened the Wild Beasts, who began to try their luck, pilling pressure on the jittery Leon Balogun-led rear.

Then the unexpected happened in the stoppage time when Karl Namnganda beat the Eagles’ defence to shock the football world.

Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Victor Osimhen and Chidera Ejuke, and later on Taiwo Awoniyi, Ahmed Musa and Samuel Kalu, threw everything at the Les Fauves, but the visitors defended in numbers and goalkeeper Prince Samolah had an inspired game.

The Punch reports that the Federal Government will on Friday (today) publish the estimates in the 2022 Appropriation Bill laid before a joint session of the National Assembly by the President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, will do the unveiling of the details, which were conspicuously missing in the N16.39tn budget presentation speech delivered by the President.

The Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, who made this known on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television, monitored by our correspondent on Thursday night, also disclosed some details in the budget.

Akabueze, who confirmed that it is the biggest budget to ever be presented by the Federal Government, also said it was ‘way lower than it should be’.

He added, “The problem of Nigeria – I am talking about the government now – is not that we are spending too much money, it is that we are actually spending too little.”

The Sun says that the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc has said it intends to list its shares on the Main Board of Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).

The proposed listing follows the successful completion of the demutualisation and restructuring of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and its related operations within the NGX Group.

The group in a statement on Thursday, noted that its shares are expected to commence trading on NGX following their Listing by introduction and added that regulatory requirements have been fulfilled and the listing has received the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Nigeria.

A total of 1,964,115,918 shares are expected to be admitted to trading and the shares will trade under the ticker NGXGROUP.

Speaking on the development, the Group Managing Director, NGX Group, Oscar Onyema, said, the group intends to move ahead with its Listing by Introduction on the Main Board of NGX Exchange and added that together with many other listed companies, the NGX Group will take advantage of the strategic opportunities open to quoted companies in Nigeria.

The newspaper reports that the Debt Management Office (DMO) has said the Federal Government spent a $1.302 billion on debt servicing in the first half of 2021 (January and June 2021).

This is coming after the Muhammadu Buhari administration spent a total N3.34 trillion of its estimated N3.42 trillion earnings in 2020 on debt servicing obligations.

In the first five months of 2021, the FG had spent 97 per cent of its revenue on debt servicing. Data from the DMO further shows that, in the first quarter of the year (Q1), the country spent $1.003 billion to service debt and an additional $298.96 million in the second quarter of the year (Q2), which amounts to $1.302 billion in the last six months.

Payments on commercial debts accounted for 53 percent, while multilateral and bilateral obligations accounted for 35 and 13 percent of the payments, respectively, in the second quarter of 2021.

A total of $157.012 million was used to service Eurobond debts, while $38.22 million was paid on bilateral loans, and another $103.73 million was paid on multilateral obligations.

ThisDay says that in the wake of the implementation of the African continental free trade area (AfCFTA), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has stated that another component and incentive of the E-naira, which is slated to launch soon, would be its ability to enhance tax efficiency as well as improve cross-border trade.

The Director Monetary Policy Department, Dr Hassan Mahmud said this yesterday at the 31st seminar for finance correspondents and business editors in Enugu where stakeholders converge to discuss, “Trends in the Nigerian System: Regulating the Fintech Digital Playing field.”

Presenting his paper titled Implications of trends in the digital financial ecosystem for monetary policy implementation virtually, Mahmud said that part of the motivation to launch the digital currency is the ability to aide Cross-border trade and boost tax efficiency amongst others.

He said: “The Central Bank of Nigeria in partnership with Bitt Inc., an international fintech firm, is set to launch its digital currency, e-Naira and this would increase cross-border trade, accelerated financial inclusion, bring about cheaper and faster remittance inflows.