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Fake COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria, UK, others, Interpol warns

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Nigeria, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, and 190 other countries are at the risk of buying fake COVID-19 vaccines, the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) has alerted.

It said these countries have come under the threat of organised criminal groups working to supply fake COVID-19 vaccines and steal genuine supplies.

Interpol raised the alarm as the UK Wednesday became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for widespread use.

Already, Interpol said there had been a rise in the activities of the criminals who had started advertising and selling the fake COVID-19 vaccines, especially online.

The need for a vaccine has become more urgent with Nigeria recording over 67,000 COVID-19 infections and over 1,000 associated fatalities, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has so far identified 49 “candidate vaccines” at the stage of clinical trials in humans.

Hopes are high that shots could be ready for use before the end of the year as two frontrunner vaccines – by Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer – already reported that phase 3 trials for their mRNA vaccine showed 95 per cent efficacy in preventing Covid-19 symptoms and did not produce adverse side effects among thousands of volunteers.

In a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘Interpol warns of organised crime threat to COVID-19 vaccines’, Interpol Secretary General, Jürgen Stock stated, “As governments are preparing to roll out vaccines, criminal organisations are planning to infiltrate or disrupt supply chains.”

Stock said there was a need for coordination between law enforcement and health regulatory bodies to ensure the safety of individuals and wellbeing of communities are protected.

He also said, “Criminal networks will also be targeting unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false cures, which could pose a significant risk to their health, even their lives.

“It is essential that law enforcement is as prepared as possible for what will be an onslaught of all types of criminal activity linked to the COVID-19 vaccine, which is why Interpol has issued this global warning.”

According to him, 3,000 websites associated with online pharmacies are suspected of selling fake medicines and medical devices.

He advised residents of Interpol 194 member countries to take special care when going online to search for medical equipment or medicine.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the “fantastic” news of the vaccine approval, while urging the public to remain cautious on the day that England exited a four-week lockdown and re-imposed regional curbs.

“It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again,” he said.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said that starting with care home residents and health and care staff, Britain’s state-run National Health Service will begin with 800,000 doses “early next week”.

That will be ramped up to “millions” of inoculations by the end of the year. Help is on its way,” he told BBC radio.

The breakthrough will encourage hopes the world can finally get back on course in 2021 after a year of traumatic losses, both human and economic.

The novel coronavirus has killed nearly 1.5 million people since the outbreak emerged in China 12 months ago. At least 63 million cases have been registered.

Pfizer Chief Executive, Albert Bourla, said the UK certification was a “historic moment in the fight against COVID-19”.

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Kanu not in court, case adjourned till Oct 21

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Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, will remain in detention till October 21, 2021.
He was due to be in court on Monday but the Federal Government did not arraign him.
Kanu, who was reportedly arrested in Kenya last month, has been in custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday adjourned the case till October 21, 2021, over the failure of the Federal Government to arraign him.

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Insecurity made FG to retain DIGs, AIGs, says minister

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The Federal Government on Monday explained why it retained some Deputy Inspectors-General of Police and Assistant Inspectors-General of Police after the appointment of Usman Baba Alkali as Inspector-General of Police.
Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, said the high level of insecurity made the government to retain the senior police officers.
He stated this during the decoration of 24 newly promoted Commissioners of Police to AIGs.
No senior police officer with the rank of AIG or DIG went on compulsory leave when Baba was appointed IGP.
Dingyadi stressed that was the first time of such development in recent history of the Nigerian Police Force.
He said, “The government deliberately took this position to have many hands in the force. With this action, the Police Force has retained experienced professionals that would contribute towards sustaining the relative peace of the country.”
The minister added that the criteria for the appointment of the new AIGs were purely on merit, professional conduct, and individual performance, urging the newly appointed AIGs to redouble their efforts to curb insecurity.
He reiterated that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed Salaries and Wages Commission to come out with new salary structure.
He said, “To whom much is given, much is expected. Officers should re-double their effort in the fight against insecurity which had bedeviled the country today. A lot is expected of you in contributing your quota towards the sustainability of peace and unity in the country.”

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Four more Kaduna school students escape from bandits captivity

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Three students of Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna, have escaped from their captors.
They escaped from the camp on Monday where they were kept since July 19, 2021.
An aunt to one of the students, who craved anonymity confirmed this on Monday.
According to her, the teenagers had spent five days roaming inside the forest before they finally met another herder who directed them out of the forest.
It was also gathered that one of the escaped students who could recall his father’s phone number borrowed a phone to call home before his father went to pick them up.
“The children were found around Kasuwar Magani on Sunday evening hours after 28 students of the school were released by the bandits. It was the school management that called my in-law to inform us,” she said.
Two other students had escaped from the camps before they were recovered by the police.

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