The hottest and most trending news articles for this week in all categories captured in one shot. Find articles ranging from News to Sports, to Politics, to Entertainment, to Economy, to Metro plus, and many other categories. See below the top news for the week:


NEWS

  • Fresh protests: Any act of hooliganism will be dealt with, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, said his regime will deal decisively with “any act of hooliganism hiding behind peaceful protests.” He said although his regime believed in the rights of citizens to embark on peaceful protests, such must be done responsibly. Buhari stated these while virtually declaring open the Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference 2020 from the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said: “I also want to state that any act of hooliganism hiding behind the peaceful protests, will be highly dealt with decisively to ensure the peace and stability of our nation. “On this note, I commend the Nigeria Army for their efforts to swiftly restore law and order in many states during the last scale of criminality that ensued in the wake of the EndSARS protests.”

  • US Adds Nigeria To Blacklist On Religious Freedom – Pompeo

The United States on Monday for the first time added Nigeria to a blacklist on religious freedom, paving the way for potential sanctions if it does not improve its record. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated the US ally as a “Country of Particular Concern” for religious freedom, alongside nations that include China, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. designates Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, the DPRK, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as countries of concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for engaging systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations.

  • NCC orders suspension of new SIM sale, registration

The Nigerian Communications Commission has directed Mobile Network Operators to immediately suspend the sale and activation of new SIM cards to allow an audit of the Subscriber Registration Database. The Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, in a statement on Wednesday, said it was absolutely necessary for operators to comply until the audit exercise had been concluded.

He, however, said an exemption might be granted following approval from the Federal Government through the commission. He warned that non-compliance with the directive would be met with strict sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license. According to him, the directive became necessary in view of the preponderance of pre-registered SIMs with the attendant security implications associated with the use of same to facilitate criminal activities.

  • Mahmood Yakubu Sworn In As INEC Chairman, Says Elections Are Getting Better

Professor Mahmood Yakubu was on Wednesday sworn in for a second term as the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and believes elections in the country are getting better. “We have clearly demonstrated in recent elections that elections are getting better and better and elections will continue to get better and better,” he said after the swearing-in ceremony by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chambers, State House in Abuja.

“It is a big responsibility. It is history. No Nigerian has been so privileged to serve as chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission twice,” the professor added. “And it is a responsibility I am going to discharge consistent with the oath of office I took.”

  • National Assembly Has No Power To Summon Buhari – Malami

Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, says the National Assembly has no constitutional power to summon President Muhammadu Buhari.
Malami disclosed this on Wednesday in a statement titled ‘Buhari’s Summon: NASS Operates Outside Constitutional bounds.’ He said, “National Assembly has no constitutional power to envisage or contemplate a situation where the president would be summoned by the national assembly on the operational use of the armed forces.” He also noted the right of the President to engage the National Assembly and appear before it is “inherently discretionary in the President and not at the behest of the National Assembly.”

Members of the House of Representatives on December 1st passed a resolution to invite President Buhari to brief the house on the true state of the security situation in the country. The decision to summon President Buhari was taken at plenary when the House considered a motion moved by members from Borno State on the recent massacre of 43 rice farmers in the state by Boko Haram insurgents.

  • Nobody in charge in Nigeria – Soyinka

Nobel Laurette, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has described the year 2020 as the most challenging year as a result of the vicissitudes of problems. He added that Nigerian situation was worse as a result of the imperial nature of its leadership at the socio-political and religious levels.

Soyinka, a professor of Literature spoke at the Booksellers, venue of the presentation of his new book, ‘Chronicles of the happiest people on earth,’ a book with over 500 pages which took him about 40years to write. Soyinka said, “With the turbulence that characterises year 2020, and as activities wind down, the mood has been repugnant and very negative.

  • Buratai, Others Self-isolate as COVID-19 Scare Hits Army

There was panic at the venue of the botched Annual Chief of Army Staff Conference in Abuja following the reported sudden death of the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Major General Johnson Olubunmi Irefin, from COVID-19.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, General Officers Commanding (GOCs), field commanders and other participants, who attended the Chief of Army Staff Conference have gone into isolation following the death of the GOC 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Maj. Gen. Olubunmi Irefin, who died of complications arising from COVID-19. Irefin’s death caused panic in military circles, especially amongst those that attended the conference most of whom have undergone tests to ascertain their status.

It was also gathered that Buratai has barred participants at the conference from attending the wedding of his son, Hamisu, scheduled for today. Reports have it that the late GOC fell sick last Monday at the beginning of the conference and was taken to a military hospital for treatment.
His health degenerated and he later died.

  • Luther King’s Daughter, US Lawmaker, Others Ask Buhari To Release Jailed Protesters, Journalists

Global activists and celebrities have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the release of all #EndSARS protesters, as well as activists and journalists jailed in various parts of the country. They made the call in an open letter dated December 10, 2020, and addressed to the President – a copy of which was seen by newsmen on Thursday.

The 60 activists and celebrities, under the auspices of Diaspora Rising, asked President Buhari to ensure the reinstatement of the international passports, bank accounts, and other items seized from the jailed persons. They demanded that the military, security, and intelligence officers found culpable in the incident at the Lekki toll plaza, either giving the order or carrying out the shooting, must be made to face the consequences of their actions.

The signatories also called on the President to support peaceful demonstrations in any part of the country to allow citizens exercise their constitutional right to protest. “As people who have supported the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States and throughout the diaspora, we cannot be silent when similar atrocities take place in African countries


POLITICS

  • Compel National Assembly to impeach Buhari, PDP Reps urge Nigerians

The Peoples Democratic Party caucus in the House of Representatives has called on Nigerians to compel their representatives in the National Assembly to immediately commence impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari for “gross incompetence and persistent and continuous breach of Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution.” The caucus also called on members of the Federal Executive Council to invoke the provisions of Section 144 (1) of the Constitution by declaring that Buhari was incapable of discharging the functions of the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Chinda, while reacting to the killing of 43 rice farmers in Zambarmari area of Borno State, said the reactions from the Presidency and the military to such killings “highlight a certain crassness and lame duck attitude that has for the past five years come to define the Buhari presidency.” He further said: “We call on Nigerians across tribes, religions and political parties to wake up their National Assembly members and compel them to commence impeachment process against President Buhari to save Nigeria.

  • I won’t accept APC chairmanship again – Oshiomhole

A former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole has dissociated himself from the fresh suit instituted by the former National Vice Chairman (South South), Hilliard Eta, challenging the dissolution of the National Working Committee, which he chaired. Oshiomhole further explained that he personally announced his decision not to contest his removal from office for personal reasons, noting that some of his colleagues in the dissolved NWC didn’t share his views with regards to his decision not to contest the dissolution in court.

The former APC chairman said it would be mischievous to insinuate that he was surreptitiously contesting the matter in court after publicly denouncing the same. Oshiomhole also said, “That chapter of my political life is closed. Even if another NEC decision or a court order reverses the dissolution, with utmost humility I will decline to return as APC chairman.”

  • APC dissolves wards, state, zonal, national structures

The National Executive Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress on Tuesday dissolved all states, zonal, and national party structures. The party’s NEC also extended the tenure of the party’s caretaker extraordinary convention planning committee led by Governor Mai Buni by six months.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the committee attended by President Muhammadu Buhari; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and other party chiefs.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, told State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that the party also approved the expulsion of former National Vice Chairman, South-south, Ntufam Hilliard Eta, for his failure to withdraw the court case instituted against the caretaker committee.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to party members at all levels to make sacrifices that will move the party forward.

  • APC leadership tussle: Expelled ex-NWC member declares self chair, NEC extends Buni’s tenure

The former National Vice-Chairman (South-South), All Progressives Congress, Hilliard Eta, has rejected his expulsion by the National Executive Committee of the party. He described the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee as an illegal contraption, which had no constitutional powers to make pronouncements on issues it had so far delved into concerning the party. He said he remained the acting chairman of the party.

The NEC had announced the extension of the tenure of the party’s Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee by six months, effective December 25, 2020. The decision was taken at a meeting of the committee attended by the President, Muhammadu Buhari; Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, and other party chieftains.

  • APC governors prevail on Buhari not to appear before National Assembly

The planned address of a joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday over the worsening security situation in Nigeria now appears uncertain. This situation followed the antics of the governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the party’s National Executive Council meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, who moved the motion for the cancellation of the President’s planned address, reportedly cited a possibility of unnecessary immitations of such invitation by state assemblies nationwide. He was quickly supported by Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi and other colleagues.


ECONOMY

  • FG announces reduction in fuel price to N162.44 per litre

The Federal Government has announced a reduction in the pump price of premium motor spirit, otherwise known as petrol, from N168 to N162.44 per litre with effect from December 14. The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, disclosed this at the end of a meeting with labour leaders which began around 9 pm on Monday and ended at 1:30 am on Tuesday. The minister said a technical committee has been set up to ensure price stability in the industry. Ngige stated that the committee, which will report back to the larger house on January 25, will appraise the market forces and other things that would ensure stability in the industry.

On the aspect of electricity tariff, both sides agreed to wait till the next meeting date on January 25 to enable the special committee dealing with complaints to conclude their deliberations. The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba, collaborated the position of the minister, saying that the agreement was reached by both sides.

  • 330,000 artisans, transporters to get N30,000 each under new scheme

The Federal Government will assist 330,000 artisans and transporters under its Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund. The government launched the scheme recently as part of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), packaged to cushion the adverse effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the citizens. A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice-President, Mr. Laolu Akande, said beneficiaries of the scheme in different parts of the country will get one-time payment of N30,000 each.

“The Artisan track is being implemented in three streams, and as of November 25, a total number of 59,000 individual Artisan beneficiaries have been paid across 24 states in Stream 1 and Stream 2 States. “For the Transport track, Nigerians are encouraged to apply through their registered associations to be enumerated, such as the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Keke Riders’ Association, Okada Riders’ Associations and unions, among others.” “All schemes are applied to beneficiaries on a first come first serve basis.

  • Airports concession, others will go ahead despite opposition –FG

Moves to concession Nigeria’s four major airports and the establishment of a national carrier are still on course despite oppositions by lawmakers on plans by the government to concession airports. In November, the House of Representatives asked the Federal Government to suspend the plan to concession airports until all issues had been addressed. Four international airports were billed for concession to private operators and they included the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt airports. “Among the concerns were the lack of transparency in the exercise, labour issues, the Chinese loans, the legal issues that may arise from the existing concessions and the lack of proper valuation of the present status of the affected airports, among others,” the lawmaker had explained.

But in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday by the spokesperson, Federal Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu, the aviation minister stated that the concession of airports was part of the aviation roadmap currently on course.
According to Sirika, the roadmap was developed to serve as a catalyst for a comprehensive overhaul of the aviation industry in Nigeria.

  • Nigeria’s population now 206 million, says NPC

The National Population Commission says Nigeria’s population is now estimated at 206 million. This comes exactly two years after the NPC estimated the country’s population at 198 million. The Chairman of the NPC, Nasir Kwarra, said this at a press conference on the commencement of the next Enumeration Area Demarcation in Abuja on Tuesday.

Kwarra said since Nigeria had not been able to hold a census in the last 14 years, it would be difficult to know the exact population of the country.
The NPC boss said President Muhammadu Buhari had the sole right to announce the next census. While announcing the commencement of the Enumeration Area Demarcation exercise, Kwarra said about 260 local government areas out of the 774 in the country had been fully demarcated.

  • N868b export-bound goods stuck in seaports

Export-Bound goods worth about N868 billion might be wasted at seaports, unless the Federal Government tackles obstacles inhibiting export trade. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had directed exporters to register with the Nigeria Export Proceeds (NXP) agency before exporting their goods. Some of them have failed to meet deadlines for registration and had their cargoes stuck at seaports.

Meanwhile, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has threatened to embark on a three-day warning strike from today, December 9, over deplorable state of access roads to seaports in Lagos State. The Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS) has appealed to the union to shelve the planned action considering the volume of export cargoes trapped in the ports.

  • Rivers filling stations ordered to reduce petrol price Monday

Owners of filling stations in Rivers State have been ordered to reduce fuel pump price by N5 from Monday, December 14, 2020. The directive was issued in Port Harcourt on Wednesday by the Rivers State Chairman, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Francis Dimkpa. Dimpka while addressing journalists, urged petroleum dealers in the state to comply with the directive in tandem with the agreement reached between the Organised Labour and the federal government.

The Federal Government following a closed-door meeting with the organised labour agreed to slash the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit also known as petrol from N168 to N162.44 per litre to take effect from Monday, December 14, 2020. Dimkpa stated, “PETROAN welcomes the reduction in price as a result of the agreement between the Federal Government and the Organised Labour and we are looking forward to its implementation from Monday,14 December, 2020.

  • CBN releases new categorisation for payment system in Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved new license categorisations for payments systems across the country. A circular signed by Mr Musa Jimoh, Director, Payments System Management Department of the apex bank, on Thursday said the new framework offers clarity for new and existing market participants.

Jimoh explained that only MMOs were permitted to hold customer funds, adding that companies with licenses within any of the other categories were not permitted to hold customer funds.

EDUCATION

  • No resumption until FG pays withheld salaries – ASUU

The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Sunday said it would not end the strike it embarked on until government paid all the salaries of its members it withheld. The President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, in a telephone interview with newsmen in Lagos, said government should not expect the lecturers to resume without paying the withheld salaries.

Ogunyemi on Sunday explained that the members were still consulting and at the same time waiting for the government to fulfil its promise of releasing members’ withheld salaries. He emphasised that once the timeline expired this week without the salaries being paid, the union would take a final decision.

  • U.S. universities offer $2.17 million scholarships to 19 Nigerian students

Nineteen high achievers, low-income students from southern Nigeria have received full scholarships totaling $2.17 million to attend American universities and colleges for the 2020/2021 academic session. This feat was made possible through the Opportunity Funds Programme of the United States Consulate General in Lagos, with support from Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited.

During a reception held in Lagos in honour of the U.S. bound students, United States Consul General Claire Pierangelo congratulated each of them on their successes. She urged the scholars to make the most of their opportunity to get a top-notch education while gaining the first-hand experience of American life and culture.

  • Govt lied, no agreement on strike suspension date – ASUU

The National President, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said on Tuesday the union did not reach any agreement with the Federal Government that it would suspend the strike on December 9, 2020. Recall that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, in a statement said ASUU promised to resume on December 9, 2020. Ngige also said promises made to ASUU could only be achieved if the union returned to the classroom.

But Ogunyemi, in a press statement signed by him, said, “ASUU leadership did not reach any understanding with government to suspend the strike on December 9, 2020, and there is nothing in the government offer of November 27, 2020 to suggest that conclusion as allegedly claimed by the Minister of Labour and Employment. “At our last meeting in the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment on November 27, 2020, the ASUU leadership promised to faithfully present the latest government offer to its members through the established tradition.

  • ASUU strike: We will shut down all private varsities, says NANS president

The new President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Sunday Asefon, has vowed to shut down all private universities in the country should the nine-month strike embarked on by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities continue.

He lamented that the ongoing strike is the longest industrial action embarked on by the university lecturers. According to him, NANS would engage the Federal Government representatives and ASUU leaders to find a lasting solution to resolve the stalemate in negotiations between the two arms. The NANS president said after consultation with the two parties, should the strike not be called off as soon as possible, NANS would move in and shut down all tertiary institutions in the country.

HEALTH

  • Zamfara NMA To Embark On One-Week Strike December 10

The Zamfara State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), says it will embark on a one-week strike from December 10. The Chairman of NMA in the state, Dr. Mannir Bature, made the announcement in a statement made available to newsmen in Gusau on Tuesday, saying that the congress of the association resorted to the strike option.

“This was as a result of a breakdown in negotiations with representatives of the government on the restoration of call-duty allowances for medical doctors working with the state government. “The NMA in Zamfara State noted with great concern the continued decline in human resources for health in the state as a result of poor remuneration for health workers, despite attempts by the state to employ more health workers.

  • 40% of health facilities damaged in Borno — WHO

The World Health Organisation has estimated that over 40 per cent of the health facilities in Borno State have been damaged and not functional. The organisation said this in an article it published on ‘How community engagement prevents and protects health care from attacks in north-east Nigeria’ on Wednesday. It said every attack has a dramatic impact on communities.

The article published on the organisation’s website quoted WHO representative to Nigeria, Dr Kazadi Mulombo, as also saying that over 50, 000 are facing the risk of losing access to all essential services. “Communities living in remote areas where no health facilities are functional may also lose access to mobile health teams, forced to interrupt services due to security concerns. These attacks not only compromise the health of thousands but also cause significant losses of government, humanitarian agencies and donors’ resources.”

  • UNICEF will ensure Nigeria, 188 others get COVID-19 vaccine – Official

The United Nations Children’s Fund says it is working to ensure that all the countries that are participating in the COVID-19 vaccine efforts have access to it. According to UNICEF spokesperson in Nigeria, Mr. Geoffrey Njoku, the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation ever is underway, and UNICEF is leading it on behalf of the Global COVAX Facility.

“In collaboration with the PAHO Revolving Fund, we are leading the procurement and delivery for 92 low- and lower middle-income countries, while also supporting procurement for more than 97 upper-middle-income and high-income nations. Njoku added that the initial two billion doses were intended to protect frontline healthcare and social workers, as well as high risk and vulnerable people. “Nigeria will benefit from this,” he said.

  • Nigeria to get COVID-19 vaccine January 2021, says Okonjo-Iweala

Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has assured Nigeria and other African countries of access to COVID-19 vaccines from the end of January through the first quarter of 2021, a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday. She disclosed that the international initiative involved the World Health Organisation, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, GAVI, and the international community, to get vaccines delivered to developing and poorer countries, in an affordable manner and quickly.

According to her, the Pfizer vaccine and the AstraZeneca were presently being negotiated so that poor countries don’t have to stand in a queue behind rich countries. “So, we hope they are starting by the end of January. We will be able to reach these countries, including most of the African countries, Nigeria included, will be able to get access to some of these vacc


WORLD

  • Supreme Court rejects Texas’ and Trump’s bid to overturn election

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a bid from Texas’ attorney general supported by President Donald Trump to block the ballots of millions of voters in battleground states that went in favor of President-elect Joe Biden. The court’s order, issued with no public dissents, to dismiss the challenge is the strongest indication yet that Trump has no chance of overturning election results in court, and that even the justices whom he placed there have no interest in allowing his desperate legal bids to continue. The Electoral College will convene Monday to affirm Biden’s win.

The lawsuit, brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a staunch Trump ally, sought to sue Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin — which all went for Biden — and invalidate their election results. In its short order, the court said that Texas had not demonstrated that it had the legal right to bring the suit because it had not demonstrated a “judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections.” First lady Melania Trump, meanwhile, has begun overseeing shipments of family furniture and art to Mar-a-Lago. And Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are in the final stages of purchasing a plot of land within a Miami enclave known for its privacy and high net worth residents.

  • Iran Executes Opposition Figure Ruhollah Zam

Iran on Saturday executed Ruhollah Zam, a former opposition figure who had lived in exile in France and was implicated in anti-government protests, days after his sentence was upheld. State television said the “counter-revolutionary” Zam was hanged in the morning after the supreme court upheld his sentence due to “the severity of the crimes” committed against the Islamic republic.

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili had on Tuesday said Zam’s sentence was upheld by the supreme court “more than a month ago”. London-based rights group Amnesty International, in a statement after his verdict was confirmed, described Zam as a “journalist and dissident”. It said the confirmation marked “a shocking escalation in the use of the death penalty as a weapon of repression.”

  • Ghana’s Opposition Rejects Election Results

Ghana’s opposition has rejected presidential and parliamentary election results, a party official said late on Wednesday and intends to take steps to appeal the electoral commission’s decision.

“Overwhelming evidence available makes it impossible for us to accept this spurious and hurried conclusion,” Haruna Iddrisu, a member of parliament for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party said, after the electoral commission announced President Akufo-Addo had won Monday’s vote with 51.59 percent, beating the NDC’s leader Mahama’s 47.36 percent. “We intend to take decisive and concrete steps, both with the presidential and parliamentary results, to overturn this brazen and shameless attack on our democracy,” said Iddrissu, speaking at a press conference in the capital Accra.

  • Indonesia Receives Over One Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses From China

Indonesia has received 1.2 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine made by China’s Sinovac, officials said, as the world’s fourth most populous nation struggles to get soaring case rates under control. The doses arrived in Jakarta late Sunday on a flight from Beijing, with another 1.8 million expected to be sent again next month.

On Monday, Indonesia’s Covid-19 response team chief Airlangga Hartarto said the first batch of doses will be examined by the food and drug agency, with plans to distribute them to medical workers and other high-risk groups. The country’s top Muslim clerical body, the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI), will also check the first consignment, officials said — to ensure it meets halal requirements in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

  • Why we can’t provide US additional vaccine doses –Pfizer

US pharma company Pfizer has informed President Donald Trump’s administration that it will not be able to provide a significant number of additional doses of its coronavirus vaccine until late June or July 2021. Sources familiar to the situation, according to The Washinton Post on Tuesday, say that Pfizer is unable to provide the additional vaccine doses because other countries have already bought most of its supply.

According to the company, after receiving the first 100 million doses, Washington will pay BioNTech and Pfizer $1.95 billion. The U.S. will be able to acquire up to an additional 500 million doses. According to the newspaper, Pfizer’s announcement means that the U.S. government may not be able to ramp up the supply of the company’s vaccine as quickly as it expected.

  • Britain Starts Virus Jabs As Biden Vows 100mn Vaccinations

Britain on Tuesday became the first Western country to start mass coronavirus vaccinations, as Joe Biden pledged his administration would inoculate 100 million people in the United States over the first 100 days of his presidency. The Pfizer-BioNTech jab is one of several vaccines bringing hope for an end to the pandemic that has killed more than 1.5 million people worldwide and ravaged economies.

Frontrunners Pfizer-BioNTech and US biotech firm Moderna have reported efficacy of 95 percent and 94 percent respectively and have given data to regulators. The United States is expected to grant emergency authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine later this week, announcing on Tuesday that no concerns had been found in trial data.

  • UK Issues Allergy Warning Over Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine

British health officials on Wednesday warned that anyone with a history of significant allergic reactions should not have the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid jab for the time being. The warning came after two members of the state-run National Health Service who were among the first to receive the vaccine on Tuesday suffered allergic reactions and needed treatment.

NHS England medical director Stephen Powis said both people, who had a history of reactions, were now recovering well. The Independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has now advised that “people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive this vaccination” as a precaution, he added. “Significant” allergic reactions include those to medicines, food or vaccines, according to the MHRA. Britain has received some 800,000 doses of the vaccine in the first batch of an order of 40 million. Up to four million doses are expected by the end of December.

  • Online Fraud: Interpol Arrest Over 20,000 Worldwide

Authorities “on every continent” have arrested a total of over 20,000 people in the past year in an Interpol-coordinated blow against online and telephone fraudsters, the international organisation said Wednesday. Since September 2019, 35 countries have participated in the operation dubbed “First Light” that led to 21,549 arrests in more than 10,000 raids, as well as the seizure of almost $154 million of “illicit funds”.

Most of the crimes laid at suspects’ feet included a “social engineering” element, where victims are manipulated into giving up personal information like passwords or bank details. Interpol said it found instances of “business e-mail compromise, romance scams and ‘smishing’,” where SMS text messages are used to try and convince targets to hand over valuable details in a variant of more typical email “phishing” attacks. Such scams have proliferated during the coronavirus pandemic, the organisation added.

  • Biden And Harris Named Time ‘Person Of The Year’

US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were named Time magazine’s 2020 “Person of the Year” on Thursday for their election victory over Donald Trump. “For changing the American story, for showing that the forces of empathy are greater than the furies of division, for sharing a vision of healing in a grieving world,” Time said, explaining its choice.

The Democratic pair were chosen ahead of three other finalists: frontline health care workers and Anthony Fauci, the racial justice movement and President Trump. Time’s magazine cover boasts portraits of Biden, 78, and Harris, 56, with the subtitle “Changing America’s story.” “Together, they offered restoration and renewal in a single ticket. And America bought what they were selling,” the publication said.

Biden beat Trump by 306 electoral college votes to Trump’s 232 to end the real estate tycoon-turned-politician’s presidency after one term. Biden received roughly seven million more votes than his Republican adversary, who is yet to concede, claiming widespread fraud of which there is no evidence.
Time praised the Democratic ticket for ousting an incumbent president for the just the 10th time in US history.

  • Norway Threatens To Shut Out EU, UK fishermen If Brexit Deal Not Signed

Norway said Friday it would close its waters to fishing boats from both the European Union and Britain if a deal cannot be signed between the three parties by January 1. Non-EU member Norway has had a fishing deal with the bloc in place since 1980, but the terms must be renegotiated following Britain’s departure.

The deal between Norway and the EU sees the two sides grant reciprocal access to their fishing waters. In September, Norway and Britain announced a bilateral deal calling for annual talks on quotas. Without a deal, Norwegian boats will also be shut out from EU waters. Norway’s own economic zone is home to important stocks of species like cod and herring, with some of the quotas until now allotted to European fishermen.

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Not Shown To Cause Female Sterilization

Social media posts claiming that a Pfizer researcher found that the company’s COVID-19 vaccine will lead to infertility in women have been shared thousands of times. But independent medical experts and Pfizer said no sterilization was documented during clinical trials, and the researcher’s LinkedIn profile says he has not worked at the American pharmaceutical company since 2011.

Yeadon claims that the Covid-19 vaccine, which was first administered to the public on December 8, would train the immune system to attack a protein involved in placenta formation, syncytin-1, leading to infertility for women.

ENTERTAINMENT

  • Beyonce’s daughter, Blue Ivy, gets first Grammy nomination

Like mother, like daughter. Beyonce’s child, Blue Ivy, has received her first Grammy nomination. However, the timing of her nomination is a little mysterious.

Her voice is featured in the beginning and end of Beyonce’s single, “Brown Skinned Girl,” which received a Grammy nomination for the best music video. When the nominations were announced November 24, Blue Ivy’s name was not mentioned, TMZ reports.

Seems like someone made a call because Blue Ivy’s name has now been added as a nominee thanks to a recent update on the Grammy’s website. Nigerian singer Wizkid was also added for the track.

Anyway, it’s not the first possible slip-up for the award show in the last few weeks. You’ll remember, fans and artists alike were outraged when The Weeknd’s “After Hours” album and single “Blinding Lights” were left off the nomination list.

  • Basketmouth,Tuface to perform at UN’s comedy show

Nigerian stand-up comedian, Bright Okpocha (a.k.a Basketmouth) is one of the big names in Africa featuring in a United Nations’ comedy show slated for Sunday. The “Africa is a Continent, African is a Country” event will be hosted by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) under its social media platform, LuQuLuQu.

Legendary Nigerian singer and UNHCR goodwill ambassador, Innocent Idibia (alias 2baba) is also billed to perform at the online show tagged “Comedy with a Purpose”. Other comedians on the line-up are Malawi’s Daliso Chaponda, Eddie Kadi of Congo and Ak Dans popularly known as ‘The Woke Refugee’, from South Sudan. Lira, South Africa’s singing sensation, is also on the list, in addition to celebrity guest appearances by Nomzamo Mbatha, Kat Graham and Hend Sabry.

  • Wizkid, Burna boy win big at Mobo awards 2020

Two Nigerian superstars, Wizkid and Burna boy won big at the Mobo Awards 2020 which was streamed live on YouTube in the early hours of Thursday. Wizkid was named the Best African Act while Burna Boy was named the Best International Act. The awards returned after a three-year hiatus on November 24, with the announcement of nominations for the 2020 Music of Black Origin Awards.

The Nigerian stars, Wizkid, Burna Boy Davido, Rema, Fireboy, Adekunle Gold, and Tiwa Savage got nods at the event for the event which honours black music from all corners of the world. Burna Boy and Rema were nominated in the Best International Act category alongside Drake, Megan Thee Stallion, the late Pop Smoke, Lil Babyand more. In the best African act category, Burna Boy and Rema were joined by Wizkid, Davido, Fireboy, Adekunle Gold and Tiwa Savage.

  • ‘Chadwick Boseman role will not be recast in Black Panther 2’

There will be only one T’Challa, Disney paid tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman Thursday by announcing that his pioneering role in “Black Panther” will not be recast in the sequel, as the company set out details of its upcoming Marvel superhero films and series. Boseman died in August after a four-year battle with colon cancer, having never publicly discussed his condition, throwing the follow-up to one of the record-breaking Marvel films’ most acclaimed movies into doubt.

“His portrayal of T’Challa the Black Panther is iconic and transcends any iteration of the character in any other medium from Marvel’s past — and it’s for that reason that we will not recast the character,” Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told Disney’s investor day. “To honour the legacy that Chad helped us build through his portrayal of the king of Wakanda, we want to continue to explore the world of Wakanda,” with returning director Ryan Coogler “hard at work on the sequel now,” added Feige. The sequel is due in theaters in July 2022.

  • American actor Tommy Lister dies at 62

Popular American actor, Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister, who was known for his bullying Deebo character in the “Friday” films, has died at 62. Lister’s manager, Cindy Cowan, said the former professional wrestler was found unconscious in his home in Marina Del Rey, California, on Thursday afternoon. He was pronounced dead at the scene, apnews.com reports.

The cause of death has not been released, and the coroner’s office is investigating. “He was a gentle giant. He had a smile as broad as you could imagine. He’s going to be missed by so many. We’re all devastated,” Cowan said.

SPORTS

  • Italy’s World Cup Hero Paolo Rossi Dies At 64

Paolo Rossi, a hero of Italian football who inspired the national side to victory in the 1982 World Cup, has died aged 64, Italian media reported on Thursday. Rossi’s wife Federica Cappelletti announced the death with a post on Instagram alongside a photo of the couple, accompanied by the comment “Forever,” followed by a heart.

The news of his passing comes two weeks after the death of Argentina football legend Diego Maradona, winner of the 1986 World Cup. Rossi was credited with inspiring Italy to their third World Cup triumph in Spain in 1982. Along with Christian Vieri and Roberto Baggio, he holds the Italian record for nine goals scored in the World Cup. After his career as a footballer, Rossi worked as a TV pundit. He is survived by his wife and three children.

  • FIFA Shortlists Lewandowski For Best Player Award

The three finalists for FIFA’s ‘The Best’ awards were named on Friday with Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo topping the men’s list. The award winners will be revealed on 17 December with England’s Lucy Bronze, Pernille Harder of Chelsea and the tall French defender Wendie Renard in the running for the women’s award.

Voting is equally weighted between on-line fan votes, some 200 journalists, national team coaches and captains.

  • Mayweather To Stage Exhibition Against YouTuber Logan Paul

Floyd Mayweather announced Sunday he is set for an exhibition boxing match against popular YouTube personality Logan Paul at an undetermined venue early next year. No details were released about the former boxing champion’s latest exhibition, other than it would be held on February 20.

The 43-year-old Mayweather has not had a serious boxing match since fighting Andre Berto in 2015, the same year he battled Filipino champion Manny Pacquiao. The 25-year-old Paul’s lone boxing match was against his YouTube rival, KSI, back in November 2019. Mayweather will be giving up six inches in height to the six-foot-two Paul. Tickets are priced between $25 and $70.

  • Pogba unhappy, wants to leave Manchester United -Agent

Paul Pogba is “unhappy” at Manchester United and should leave in the next transfer window, his agent Mino Raiola said, in comments that may signal the exit of the one-time world’s most expensive player. Raiola said the World Cup-winning France midfielder, 27, needs a “change of scene” after struggling to establish himself under United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

He added that Pogba, who returned from a spell at Juventus for a then world record fee of £89 million ($118 million) in 2016, has no plans to extend his contract. Pogba has also expressed his desire to play for Real Madrid one day, particularly if that means playing under the orders of Zinedine Zidane.

  • No Place For Racism In Football Or Life – Neymar

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar defended the decision of his team and Istanbul Basaksehir to walk off the pitch in this week’s Champions League match following alleged racist remarks by an official, as the world’s most expensive player stated racism “has no place in football or in life”. “What happened was unacceptable. In the times we live in we cannot accept differences being made like that about colour or race,” Neymar told French broadcaster RMC Sport. “It has no place in football, or in life, or in any sport, so our attitude was perfect.”

The match in Paris was halted in the 14th minute on Tuesday as a row erupted amid accusations the Romanian fourth official had used a racist term to describe Basaksehir’s Cameroonian assistant coach, Pierre Webo. With Basaksehir refusing to come back out unless the official was removed, the game was played to a finish 24 hours later with a new refereeing team.

METRO PLUS

  • Youths Protest In Rivers As Police Officer Allegedly Shoots Tricycle Operator Dead

Youths in Rukpoku and Rumuodomayah communities in Obio Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State have occupied the street in protest following the killing of a commercial tricycle operator popularly known as Keke Marwa.
Eyewitnesses said trouble started on Thursday morning when a policeman around Rukpoku asked the Keke driver for ₦100 bribe which the driver could not provide.

The police officer was said to have fired a shot directly at the driver killing him on the spot. The death of the tricycle operator provoked the youths and other members of the community who set bornfires on streets in protest. The protest in Rukpoku snowballed into a full-blown riot and spread to neighbouring Rumuodomaya community. Another person has been reported shot dead following confrontations between the protesting youths and the police.

  • Teenager fakes own kidnap with lover, demands N30m from family

The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a teenager, Ujunwa Offiah, for allegedly conspiring with her boyfriend, Blessed Ifesinachi, to fake her kidnap and demand N30m ransom from her family. The police also arrested an accomplice, Precious Chukwu, 22, whose phone was reportedly used to negotiate with Offiah’s family.

The state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, while parading the suspects at the command headquarters on Monday, said the principal suspect, Ifesinachi, was at large. Odumosu said, “This is a case of conspiracy and staged kidnapping, and the man at the centre of this case, who happens to be a Uber driver, is still at large. We are going after him because he conspired with one of these two ladies, Offiah, who faked her kidnap.

  • Man beats lover to death in Bayelsa

A 27-year-old man, Oliver Promise, has allegedly beaten his 18-year-old lover, Esther Pascal, to death. The lovers, who had a two-year-old daughter together, reportedly fought at their residence in the Amarata area of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Sunday. Newsmen gathered that the fight bordered on money for upkeep and welfare of the family. Some residents said they were awoken by the cry of the deceased for help around midnight. “By the time a few of us got to their door, it was locked from inside. But we forced it open and met the deceased on the floor.

“We quickly tried to revive her with water, thinking that she fainted. But we discovered that she was dead. We immediately apprehended the man and alerted the police.” A spokesperson for the state police command, Asinim Butswat, said the suspect, who is a car wash operator, had been arrested and investigation was ongoing.

  • Gunmen Kidnap Taraba Lawmaker Bashir Mohammed

Unknown gunmen on Wednesday kidnapped Barr. Bashir Mohammed, the member representing Nguroje Constituency in the Taraba State House of Assembly. A family source who preferred anonymity said the Chairman House Committee on Information was picked up from his residence behind Dr Jalo Eid prayer ground in Jalingo at about 1:45 am.

The source also disclosed that during the operation which lasted for about three hours, there was no interference by any security operative to stop their operation. As at the time of filing this report, the Police Public Relations Officer, David Misal is yet to confirm the abduction.

  • 16 Kano Indigenes Die Along Kaduna-Abuja Highway

No fewer than 16 indigenes of Dambatta Local Government Area of Kano State, who were traveling along the Kaduna-Abuja Highway, were feared killed by gunmen. Sources said the victims, who were all males, died when the gunmen shot the tyre of the bus conveying them from Abuja to Kano, a state in the north-west region of the country. The Toyota bus conveying the travellers was said to have lost control in the process and fell into a ditch.

The Kano State government confirmed the death of the 16 indigenes of Danbatta in a statement on Thursday by Mr Abba Anwar, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor. In the statement, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje was displeased with the attack and condoled with the families of the victims.