Fake COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria, UK, others, Interpol warns – Newstrends
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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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Nigerian pilgrim returns €1,750 found in Makkah

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Nigerian pilgrim returns €1,750 found in Makkah

A Nigerian pilgrim, Muhammad Na’Allah from Gumi Local Government Area of Zamfara State, has returned the sum of €1,750 (one thousand seven hundred and fifty euros) which he found at the Haram in Makkah.

The returned money was handed over to the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) for onward delivery to its rightful owner.

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Na’Allah was accompanied to the NAHCON office in Ummuljud, Makkah by officials of the Zamfara State Pilgrims Welfare Board. The Chairman/CEO of NAHCON, Malam Jalal Ahmad Arabi, praised the pilgrim for his honesty and integrity.

He highlighted that Na’Allah’s gesture symbolizes the meaning of his name, which reflects closeness to Allah.

“This shows his pilgrimage has positively impacted his personal character, behavior, and attitude,” Arabi remarked, commending the pilgrim’s honorable action.

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BREAKING: NELFUND postpones student loan application for state varsities

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BREAKING: NELFUND postpones student loan application for state varsities

The Management of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) announced on Tuesday a 14-day postponement of the student loan application process for state institutions due to “low data submissions.”

The delay is caused by several state-owned institutions not uploading the required student data and fee information to the NELFUND Student Verification System.

According to a statement by NELFUND in Abuja, only a limited number of state-owned institutions have completed the data submission process: 20 out of 48 state universities, 12 out of 54 state colleges, and 2 out of 49 state polytechnics.

This insufficient data submission poses significant challenges to ensuring a seamless and accurate verification process for student loan applicants.

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The application window, originally set to open on June 25, 2024, will now commence on July 10, 2024. The extension is intended to provide additional time for state institutions to comply with the data submission requirements, ensuring that their students can benefit from the Federal Government’s student loan scheme.

To facilitate an efficient and error-free application process, it is crucial that all state institutions provide complete and accurate information. This includes JAMB numbers, matriculation numbers, admission numbers, full names, level, faculties, departments, program duration, fees, and the gender of all eligible students.

Incomplete or incorrect data submissions will result in application delays and potential disqualification for affected students.

The fund urged all state institutions to expedite their data submission processes and ensure the accuracy of the information provided. Institutions that fail to meet the revised deadline risk disadvantaging their students, who depend on these loans to support their education.

BREAKING: NELFUND postpones student loan application for state varsities

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Sultan: Check your facts well, Sokoto govt replies Shettima

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President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III

Sultan: Check your facts well, Sokoto govt replies Shettima

The Sokoto state government has asked Vice President Kashim Shettima to always cross check facts before commenting on sensitive national matters.

Responding to the warning publicly made by the Vice President at the Northwest Security summit in Katsina on Monday, the state government said the Vice President should have contacted Governor Ahmed Aliyu to verify the news which made rounds on the purported plan to depose Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar before going public.

In a statement signed by the spokesman of Governor Aliyu, Abubakar Bawa, the government urged the Vice President to always have full knowledge of issues of national concern before commenting on them.

“We sincerely expected the Vice President to have consulted the Governor before going public.

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“As an elder statesman and a father to all he should have facts and figures before judging on issues raised by mischief makers and the mushroom social media handlers known for negative propaganda.

“The fact of the matter is that there was never any attempt to sack the Sultan nor have we sent him any threat regarding that.

“Sultan enjoys all the powers he is entitled to. We never denied him any of his freedom or rights .

“We therefore do not need to be told to guard, protect, and promote the Sultan. It is our sole responsibility.

“The government and People of Sokoto cherish and adore the sultanate council and would do everything possible to protect the dignity of the revered institution. The Government to this end reassures all Nigerians that, it will continue to protect the sultanate council and its dignity at all times,” the statement read.

Sultan: Check your facts well, Sokoto govt replies Shettima

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