At least 135 local militants have been killed and others wounded by Nigerian troops in Zamfara and Katsina states, northwest of Nigeria, a defense spokesperson said Saturday.
John Enenche, the Nigerian defense spokesperson, who disclosed this in a statement sent to Xinhua, said armed bandits were killed in massive air raids by the the air component of Operation Hadarin Daji at several locations in the two states between Wednesday and Friday.
The air raid was part of the renewed offensive to rid the northwest of armed bandits and other criminal elements, according to the military spokesperson.
Enenche said the air strikes were undertaken sequel to credible intelligence reports as well as series of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions that led to the identification of the camps.
He said the air interdiction missions were undertaken by the attack aircraft to the locations in multiple bombing runs, adding that some were executed simultaneously.
Nigeria has been grappling with security challenges, with the over-a-decade insurgency of Boko Haram in the northeast, and frequent armed attacks by militants in the northwest.
Nigerian troops have recently intensified efforts to calm the situation with a series of operations against the armed groups in the northwest.
Nigerian Army Medical Corps gets new Acting Corps Commander
The Nigerian Army Medical Corps gets a new Acting Corps Commander, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The handing and taking over ceremony was held on Monday at the Headquarters, Nigerian Army Medical Corps, Bonny Camp cantonment, Lagos.
The new Acting Corps Commander said that his vision was to have a highly regimented, professional and accountable Corps in the delivery of its services.
“The Corps is unparalleled in the recent history of the Nigerian Army. As such, there is no gainsaying that to whom, much is given much is expected.
“By extension, performance, excellence and efficiency in the delivery of prompt and enviable healthcare to our officers, soldiers and their families is therefore not an exception, but the norm henceforth,” he said.
He said that regimentation was the bedrock of military indoctrination and panacea for victory at warfare and success in peacetime administration.
Solebo implored all personnel to reflect on the ethics, customs and tradition of the military and abide strictly by the rules therein, if we are to foster an enviable Corps for the future.
He urged all corps commanders to ensure that all military personnel in their various units engaged in physical activities as stipulated by the Nigerian Army to improve the performance at work.
According to him, to improve the performance at work, a physically fit body and mentally alert mind are essential.
“As such, all commanders are to ensure all military personnel of the Corps in their respective units actively participate in physical activities by way of morning physical training.
“Participation in this activities are to be reflected in the PER’s of all personnel by their respective directors and commanders.
“All officers and soldiers of the Corps will also work to maintain their body mass index prescribed by the ASA.
“With the goal of reinforcing and bringing clinical, and surgical expertise closer to the location of injured amongst troops.
“Such that intervention is faster with the expected effect of further reduction in morbidity and mortality,” he said.
Solebo also said that all medical units would benefit from declaring their average drug usage on a monthly or quarterly basis.
According to him, drug availability on the NHIS in our hospitals and the scourge of fake drugs had become a topical issue.
“All medical units would benefit from declaring their average drug usage on a monthly or quarterly basis. This would aid budgeting and efficient use of primary funds including capitation and fee for service.
“A drive towards centralisation of drug procurement from a few validated sources would be urgently explored, whilst our drug manufacturing unit continue to explore capacity building and expansion to meet the drug consumption need of the NA,” he said.
He also thanked the outgoing Acting Corps Commander on the effort made to reposition the Corps thus far.
Insecurity: Nigerian Army inaugurates ‘Operation Accord’
The Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), maintaining peace in Plateau and part of Kaduna and Bauchi States, on Monday inaugurated a special operation code name ‘Operation Accord.’
Inaugurating the operation in Gwantu, Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna state, Maj. Gen. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, Commander of the Task Force, said the special operation aimed at address the spate of insecurity within its area of operation
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Operation Accord is an ongoing Defence Headquarters operation designed to neutralise and stem down banditry and other forms of insecurity in the North West and North Central zones of the country.
Okonkwo added that the operation was replicated by OPSH to block infiltration of fleeing bandits and militia groups into its area of operation.
He explained that the special operation aimed at identifying bandits and criminal hideouts, would last from till June 30.
The commander added that operation accord would facilitate the return of lasting peace within its area of operation, noting that it would also address all emerging security threats.
“Operation Accord is today being replicated for synergy of efforts in order to simultaneously conduct same operation within our area of operation from June 1 to 30.
“It will also identify bandits and criminal hideouts and neutralise them. The operation will be conducted concurrently with operation WHRL STROKE against banditry within North Central zone.
“It is aimed at facilitating the restoration of peace and security across our area of joint operation,” he said
Okonkwo assured members of the public that his men would be professional in carrying out the operation, adding that safety of lives and property would be prioritised.
“Let me assure members of the public that the military will professionally discharge it’s duties during the operation.
“Troops will observe rules of engagement and other best practices for the safety and security of civil populace,” he assured.
The Commander called on the general public to avail useful information to the military to enable it achieve the objectives of the operation
Okonkwo also cautioned his men against unprofessional practices, noting that one caught would be punished accordingly
COVID-19: Nigerian scientists working on preventive vaccines , call for assistance
A group of scientists from different institutions in Nigeria coordinated by the Vice Chancellor, Precious Cornerstone University (PCU), Ibadan, Prof. Kola Oloke, has developed two potential vaccines that could prevent the Coronavirus disease currently ravaging the world.
This is contained in a statement jointly signed on Monday by Oloke, the VC PCU and leaders of the team, Dr Oladipo Kolawole, a Microbiologist, who specialises in Medical Virology (Immunology and Bioinformatics) from Adeleke University, Ede.
Dr Ajayi Folorunsho, a Medical Physiologist with specialization in Pathophysiology from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, also signed the statement.
The statement said that they were spurred into action by the need to rise to the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to them, the research work has reached an advanced stage of animal trial experiment, which would help to establish the veracity and efficacy of the vaccines for the prevention of the dreaded disease.
“We have worked extensively by exploring the SARS-CoV-2 genome from African countries to select the best possible potential vaccine candidates.
“After trying out some selected processes of vaccine development, we have been able to choose the best potential vaccine candidates for the SARS-CoV -2 and they have made the possible latent vaccine constructs,” the scientists revealed.
The team pointed out that the research was a collaborative effort of a number of scientists from different institutions/disciplines.
“It was however carried out at the Genomics Research Hub of Helix Biogen Consult in Ogbomoso and jointly funded by Trinity Immunoefficient Laboratory and Helix Biogen Consult owned by Dr Kolawole Oladipo,” the statement read.
It stated that consequently, they have urged other researchers in Africa to rise up to the challenge offered by the period by coming up with more solutions.
It stressed that “The understanding of genetic diversity/variability of the SARS-CoV-2 in Africa, is a very urgent assignment.
“There is a need for African scientists to wake up and provide more solutions to the pandemic specific for Africans.
“Therefore, this study was initiated to make significant scientific contributions to the development of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines”.
It further said as the team prepared for the animal trial experiment of the vaccine billed to commence any moment from now, the researchers expressed joy for the feat achieved.
“The findings from this research have shown the importance of multidisciplinary research efforts in healthcare. We are at the verge of something truly transformational in Nigeria and Africa and by extension, the world at large”
“We are calling for financial assistance from the government and relevant stakeholders, so as to see the efforts through.
“In summary, the team has been able to construct two potential vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 , which should work in a much pretty way to protect the general populace against the novel COVID-19 , if it becomes successful in the animal trial experiments.
“The animal experiment will help us to validate the constructed vaccine, evaluate its effectiveness and safety.
“Therefore, we hereby call for support in various ways from non-governmental and governmental institutions to assist in the next steps of these novel vaccines development,” it stated.
Meanwhile, other key members of the team include Dr Onile Olugbenga, who specialises in Molecular Epidemiology and Immunology from Elizade University, Ondo State, Dr Ariyo Olumuyiwa Elijah, who specialises in Infectious and Tropical Diseases from Federal Medical Centre, Ido, Ekiti State.
Dr Folusho Ajayi, who specialises in Microbial and Molecular Biotechnology from the Massasoit Community College, Brockton, United States, is also part of the research team as well as others not mentioned.
Nigerian military says scores of Boko Haram militants surrender
Scores of Boko Haram militants, including senior commanders, have surrendered to government troops in northeast Nigeria, a military spokesman said on Monday.
The militants’ surrender came after the government’s sustained Operation Lafiya Dole offensive, John Enenche, the military spokesperson, confirmed to Xinhua in a statement.
Enenche did not give the exact number of Boko Harm militants who have surrendered.
Boko Haram has been trying to establish an Islamist state in northeastern Nigeria since 2009, extending its attacks to countries in the Lake Chad Basin, posing enormous security, humanitarian and governance challenges to countries including Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Benin and Niger.
Nigerian troops kill 4 in airstrikes on gunmen camp
Four gunmen were killed when the Nigerian military launched airstrikes to destroy a logistics warehouse of a “criminal gang” in the country’s northwest region, the military said on Monday.
In a statement reaching Xinhua in Abuja, the military said the weekend bombardment of the gunmen’s camp in the Birnin Kogo area of the northwestern state of Zamfara followed credible intelligence.
An attack aircraft that scrambled to engage the target had scored accurate hits on a large structure within the camp, used by the gunmen group to store their ammunition and other logistics items, the statement said.
The military said the warehouse went up in flames, as a result of its volatile contents, leading to its complete destruction.
According to the statement, the airstrikes were in continuation of the renewed onslaught against “criminal gangs” in parts of the Nigerian northwest and north-central regions where kidnapping and armed banditry, among other crimes, had become rampant.
Chinese Doctors: ADC demands health minister’s apology for “misinforming” Nigerians
The African Democratic Congress (ADC) has asked the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, to apologize for “misinforming” Nigerians on the mission of the 15 Chinese doctors who arrived in the country on April 8.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Yemi Kolapo, said this in a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday.
She said: “Ehanire has failed to address the real issues raised by concerned Nigerians on the whereabouts of a ’15-member Chinese medical team.’
“In a matter that had been followed by the entire world, a simple apology will reassure Nigerians that we are not being taken for fools.
“Not apologising for this needless messy situation would send a wrong signal to the world on the manner of governance in Nigeria.”
Kolapo said that the ADC was at the forefront of calls for support for the Federal Government because of the party’s conviction that politicising the COVID-19 pandemic would neither benefit citizens nor the economy.
She said the Chinese medical team saga was, however, a dent that cannot be straightened with a passing remark.
The spokesperson said this was not with the kind of world attention the federal government attracted to the country a few hours before the arrival of the doctors turned technicians.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
NCPC reassures Nigerians of integrity, transparency in procurement process
The Director in Charge of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Mrs Esther Kwaghe, has assured service providers that the commission would always ensure integrity and transparency especially in its procurement process.
This was made known in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, by Celestine Toruka, Assistant Director, Media and Public Relations, NCPC.
Kwaghe reassured Nigerians of integrity and transparency during the final Financials and Technical bid opening for Ground Handlers and Air carriers for the 2020 Christian Pilgrimage to Israel, Greece and Rome.
“I want to encourage our partners that this Commission will try to stand on integrity.”
She affirmed that the bid opening was the second procurement process for the 2020 Christian Pilgrimage Exercise.
Kwaghe commended the Federal Government on the way and manner it had handled the menace of COVID-19.
She enjoined all Nigerians to embrace and come nearer to God more than ever before, saying that this was the time to pray fervently so that the Lord will see our country through.
She congratulated the two Ground Handlers and Air Carrier that scaled through the selection process for the 2020 Pilgrimage Exercise.
The director said that in selecting the service providers for the pilgrimage exercise, the commission was guided by the principles of the Public Procurement Act of 2007.
The high point of the bid process was the opening of the procurement box and the unveiling of the envelops submitted by the service providers.
The Financials and Technical bid for the 2020 Christian Pilgrimage was attended by Mr Nura Mohammed, a representative of the Director of Procurement, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
There were other observers from the Civil Society Organisations.
They all adjudged the NCPC’s procurement process as being very transparent.
In his assessment, Mohammed affirmed that the NCPC bid opening for 2020 Christian Pilgrimage to Israel, Greece and Rome was in line with the Public Procurement Act of 2007.
Similarly, Mrs Chioma Nwosu of Faith Man Foundation, described the NCPC’s bid opening process as transparent as always.
Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Research outfit releases findings on Nigerians’ response to COVID-19 pandemic
The research which was released on Sunday in Abuja, aimed at understanding public behaviour and the effect of the pandemic on the lives of people.
In a statement, Ms Farida Adamu, Lead Consultant on the research, said the findings were from the survey conducted between April 6, and April 30.
She said the ResearcherNG sampled the opinion of 1,122 Nigerians to arrive at the conclusions.
Stating the five major findings, she said that 43 per cent of the population sampled said they knew someone who took pay cuts, lost their jobs, with some of them affected in either.
” ResearcherNG in seeking to validate experiences of people, shared mostly via online channels, asked respondents what their current views weasre.
“Forty three per cent said they had either lost their jobs/businesses, taken pay cuts or knew someone who had similar experiences.
“Thirty two per cent said they still had their jobs and full pay, two per cent of our respondents said they got financial support from their employers, while one per cent were uncertain about their next pay.
“Fourteen per cent of our respondents said they considered taking a loan to ease financial stress,” she said.
The firm also found out that 55.5 per cent of the survey respondents said they now attended religious events online only, while 18.6 per cent said nothing had changed about the way they practiced religion.
Furthermore, the firm’s findings revealed that one of the most important issues that had trailed public space since the outbreak of the Coronavirus was about its origins.
It noted that lots of conspiracies and theories had emerged about where the virus must have emerged from.
On where the Coronavirus came from, most of the respondents, 43.8 per cent actually, thought it was developed intentionally by someone in a lab.
They bowed to the theory that surfaced on the internet that the disease originated from a lab in Wuhan, China.
The research finding also revealed that Nigerians had higher levels of confidence in the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), than they did with the rest of Government in their response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Nigeria confronted the Coronavirus at a time where trust in many public institutions was abysmally low.
“ResearcherNG measured perception toward the NCDC and the rest of government by asking respondents how confident they were in the response of the NCDC versus that of other government agencies,” she added.
According to the findings, Nigerians also think the media are covering the outbreak of the Coronavirus well.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Pentecost Sunday: Catholic priest urges Nigerians to pray against COVID-19
Ahanaonu, an Associate priest, made the call in a virtual Mass celebration in Lagos to mark the 2020 Feast of the Pentecost,
He said that there was no better time to request for God’s healing of the land than this period.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Pentecost which was celebrated by Catholics with fanfare is the 49th day from Easter Sunday and the seventh Sunday after Easter.
It also commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1.one of the books of the Holy Bible.
Pentecost signifies a transformation of the lives of the Apostles ahead of their gospel mission.
The theme of the message was “Replenish The Land O God”.
The priest urged Nigerians to use the period to pray to God to heal the land.
“The feast of the descended Holy Spirit as being marked today, we should pray for God’s total cleansing and purification of the land for a better human habitat.
“Examples of nations that were at a time traumatised by diseases but went to God in prayers for healing and got results, were legion in the Bible.
“He is the same God today and will be the same forever. Therefore, as His children, it is our duty to call him to heal our nation and indeed the world of the virus,” he said.
Ahanaonu charged Nigerians, especially Christians not to jettison their faith in God because of difficulties and rather should be resolute in the practice of Christianity living life worthy of emulation by others.
He added that as Jesus Christ followers, people should exhibit the tenets of love to one another, especially these difficult times.
“A lot of people can barely fend for their families but by reaching out to the have-nots with basic necessities, will encourage them to persevere,” he said.
Ahanaonu noted that as a people, the nation should ask God for forgiveness of all wrong doings and for Him to send the comforter to drive away all sicknesses in Nigeria.
NAN reports that the Christian faithful, since the inception of the lockdown to flatten the curve of the spread of the virus, have been observing Mass from their homes through virtual sessions.
Edited By: Angela Okisor/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
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