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Be ruthless against insurgents on Abuja-Kaduna road, Buhari orders security agents

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President Muhammadu Buhari has directed security agencies to be ruthless against kidnappers and other criminal elements attacking travellers on the Abuja-Kaduna road and on other highways across the country.

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said Buhari gave the fresh order while presiding over the meeting of the National Security Council, held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.

Aregbesola, who addressed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, said the police and other security agencies had been mobilised to intensify surveillance and patrols in pursuing of the criminals.

“Abuja-Kaduna belt was discussed specifically, but we appreciated the fact that we are in the season of festivity.

“All agencies committed to providing security for Nigeria and the maintenance of law and order have been ordered to improve on their activities.

“They have also been ordered to intensify surveillance and minimise, if not eliminate any threat to law and order anywhere in Nigeria,’’ the minister said.

He said President Buhari particularly ordered the armed forces and other security agencies and intelligence organisations, not to rest on their oars.

This, the president noted, was in spite of the progress and efforts being made to eliminate insurgency, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, and all the other criminalities.

 

Aregbesola quoted the president as saying that: “we are not yet where we should be. Nigerians deserve to live in peace. And until we achieve that, we will not rest.’’

 

The minister assured that Nigerians would soon witness serious security improvement as specific orders had been given to all security agencies to tackle security challenges across the country.

 

He said: “specific orders have been given to all security agencies. We’ll see an improved response to all those challenging the sovereignty of Nigeria in whatever form and creating insecurity anywhere.

 

“The Council today took a firm decision on what to be done.

 

“I am convinced that with the renewed charge to our security agencies from the military to the police, to intelligence organisations and all other security forces, certainly Nigerians will feel and live better going forward.’’

 

The minister said the president was particularly pleased with the way the Nov. 6 Anambra gubernatorial election was conducted.

 

Former CBN Governor and candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Charles Soludo, emerged winner in the election after polling 112,229 votes.

 

Aregbesola said: “the president was particularly happy with the fact that a free and fair election was made possible by the INEC and by the security agencies.

 

“And that that is a good assurance to all Nigerians that we are committed to promoting democracy; that is in respect of Anambra election.

 

The minister said the president expressed delight at the election of Nigeria’s AIG Garba Umar, Head of INTERPOL National Central Bureau, as Vice-President (Africa) and Executive Committee Member of INTERPOL.

“The council was briefed about the election today of a Nigerian, AIG Umaru, who emerged out of four other candidates as the vice-president of Interpol for Africa.

“This means that a Nigerian today represents the 54 African nations at the INTERPOL.

“The election took place on Thursday, a couple of hours ago. And he emerged as the vice-president of NTERPOL in Africa, representing the 54 African nations. That too was discussed, appreciated and applauded,’’ Aregbesola said.

In attendance at Thursday’s National Security Council meeting were Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, and the National Security Adviser, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno.

 

Others were the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Leo Irabor, and Service Chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force as well as the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba.

 

Before the commencement of the meeting, President Buhari with the assistance of Vice-President Osinbajo decorated Buhari’s Aide de Camp, Col. Yusuf Dodo, with his new rank.

 

COVID-19

FG: We have enough COVID vaccines to cover 70% Nigerians

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Nigeria has enough vaccines that can cover over 70 per cent of the country’s population before the end of 2022, Secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has said.

The SGF said this at the national COVID-19 summit held at Muhammadu Buhari Conference Centre in Abuja, tagged ‘Pushing Through the Last Mile to End the Pandemic and Build Back Better’.

He said, “Nigeria has invested in enough vaccines that can cover over 70 per cent of our population before the end of 2022. These vaccines are safe and efficacious; hence, it is better and safer to be vaccinated against this virus, now.”

He said the summit was to create the opportunity to identify successes, gaps and lessons learnt so far in Nigeria’s national response to the pandemic since March 2020 to date.

He added that the summit is also aimed at developing strategies to actualise the international commitments towards ending COVID-19 before the end of 2022.

“Today, we are here to assess the level of impact of our national response and develop strategies as we push through the last mile to end the pandemic while we build back better,” he said.

The SGF said, “There is no gainsaying that the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, which was triggered when the index case was confirmed on the 27th of February 2020, precipitated significant disruptions to the healthcare system and socio-economic lives of Nigerians.

​”Due to the evolving dynamics of COVID-19 pandemic with progressive mutations of the virus to more transmissible and deadly variants, the international community has corroborated the insinuation that the pandemic will persist for few more years.

“This understanding has impelled world leaders recently to come to a conclusion that if efforts are not renewed and aggressive measures are not taken, COVID-19 pandemic will continue to ravage humanity well longer than earlier envisaged. Hence, the need to adopt an ambitious (but cautious) agenda to end the COVID-19 pandemic by the year 2022.”

He said the summit is a follow-up towards Nigeria’s commitment to the ambitious global agenda/movement to end the COVID-19 pandemic by 2022 and build back better.

“​Global efforts at ending COVID-19 pandemic are intrinsically linked to the call for nations of the world to take steps towards strengthening their health system and bio-security- which will make for better pandemic preparedness and the ability to respond more robustly and swiftly to future pandemics,” Mustapha said.

 

He asked stakeholders to encourage all eligible persons to get vaccinated and keep observing the necessary preventive COVID-19 measures.

 

 

 

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UK suspends indefinitely visitor visa applications from Nigeria

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The British High Commission said on Sunday that would suspend the processing of visitor visa applications from all red list countries, including Nigeria.

This was announced in a statement issued by the commission, a development comeing hours after the UK added Nigeria to its travel red list as a result of concerns over the Omicron COVID variant.

The UK said the decision on the suspension of processing visitor visa applications in Nigeria would be in effect until the travel ban was lifted.

The statement read in part, “To support the UK Government’s aim to protect public health from COVID-19 and associated variants of concern (VOC), UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) will pause making decisions on visitor visa applications in all red list countries, including Nigeria, until travel restrictions are lifted.

“Visit visas cover travel to the UK for tourism, visiting family and friends, undertaking short-term business activities (for example, attending meetings), undertaking short-term studies (under 6 months), taking part in research or exchange programmes as an academic, medical reasons (for example, receiving private medical treatment).

“If you apply for a visit visa in a red list country and you meet the UK Immigration Rules, your application will be paused. You will not receive a decision on your visit visa application whilst red list travel restrictions remain in place.

“You will not be able to request a refund of your visa fee once you have given your biometrics at a Visa Application Centre (VAC). If you already hold a valid visit visa and are intending to travel to England as a visitor from a red list country, you will not be allowed to enter.

“Separate guidance is available for travellers entering Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Use https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-list-of-countries-and-territories.”

The commission also said visas or entry permits from red list countries would only be issued where there were compelling and compassionate circumstances.

It said, “There are only very limited exemptions to travel and entry requirements for critical workers and medical and compassionate cases. If you have submitted a visit visa application and you do not wish to withdraw, we will continue to hold your application. If you choose to continue with your visa application, you will not receive a decision on your visit visa whilst red list travel restrictions remain in place.”

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JUST IN: Former Army Chief, Gen. Wushishi, dies at 81

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Former Chief of Army Staff, General Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi

The Former Chief of Army Staff, General Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi, is dead.

According to a family source, General Wushishi died at a London Hospital.

General Wushishi was born in 1940 in Wushishi, Headquarters of Wushishi Local Government Area of Niger State.

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He served as the Chief of Army Staff between October 1981 and October 1983, during the Second Republic.

He served in the Nigerian Army in various capacities, including General Officer Commanding, 4 Infantry Division, Nigerian Army, 1976; Commandant, Staff College, Jaji, Dec. 1979.

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