The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has declared that the Nigerian Army has defeated Boko Haram terrorists and has also deprived them from re-grouping anywhere in Nigeria, adding that the insurgents have been rendered incapacitated.
Buratai, who was on a familiarisation tour of military units and formations under the 3 Division of the Nigerian army, disclosed this yesterday when he paid a courtesy call on the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba, in his palace at Jishe, Jos.
The army chief said: “Your royal majesty I’m here this morning to pay a courtesy call on you before embarking on my familiarisation tour to units and formations under the 3 Division and indeed Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) here in the Plateau State.
“You can see that our efforts in the North-east have really paid off as the incessant bombing of market places and places of worships and populated areas has virtually stopped now. And I can assure you and the people of the state that they will never witness Boko Haram attacks like you witnessed in the past.
“For a long time now, we have not had any case of that nature here in Plateau State and other parts of Nigeria, it is because of the efforts of the military in the North-east. The Nigerian army has not only succeeded in rooting them from their camps in the region, we have been able to blocked these criminal elements from crossing down to these areas or re-building their camp anywhere in Nigeria.
“I want to assure you that we would remain resolute in the discharge of our duties. I want to particularly commend you on your role as the Gbong Gwom Jos, including all the moral support you gave us through wise counsel. We must acknowledge your support.”
Responding, Buba said: “The success of the Nigerian army over Boko Haram did not come to me as a surprise because I know very well that the Nigerian army historically has always distinguished itself wherever they had served; the history is simply replaying itself.
He also appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for waging a successful fight against insurgency in the country.
Meanwhile, a group, Concered Professionals Congress (CPC), yesterday said the new initiative by the Defence Headquarters code-named Operation Safe Corridor aimed at rehabilitating, de-radicalising and re-integrating about 800 repentant Boko Haram members into the society will quicken the peace process and boost ongoing re-construction efforts in the North-east region.
CPC described the initiative as novel, bold and courageous at this critical moment in the history of the nation, saying the move would inspire hope, strengthen faith and restore confidence among Nigerians in the unity, stability and indivisibility of the country.
According to its Coordinator, Tukur Musa Tilde and its Chief Media Strategist, Emeka Nwapa, who addressed journalists in Lagos, the group said the move by the military high command to de-radicalise the repentant sect members can offer them another opportunity to contribute to the growth of the society while living their normal lives again, and ultimately advance the frontiers of humanity in the nation.
Expressing regrets over the “incalculable damage” which the gruesome sect had done to the destinies of several persons, families, institutions, communities and careers in the last five years, the group praised the Nigerian military leadership for galvanising the patriotic and gallant troops in alliance with other security forces in the country to downgrade Boko Haram terrorists in the country thereby setting the stage for robust global interest for rebuilding programmes.
CPC further observed that ‘Operation Safe Corridor’ offers the nation and its citizens a great opportunity to re-invent and reinforce its unity, sovereignty and indivisibility in line with the aspirations, dreams and philosophy of one nation.
The group argued that Liberia and Sierra Leone were instances of countries with worse cases of crimes committed by citizens against fellow citizens as well as felony against the state “but are today living in admirable peace and harmony because the ex-combatants willingly surrendered and were de-radicalised, rehabilitated and re-integrated by their people into the society.
“We have reviewed the unfolding situation in the North East regarding the military’s offer to de-radicalise and rehabilitate about 800 repented Boko Haram members. We believe Operation Safe Corridor being executed alongside Operation Crackdown has tipped-off the sect’s final defeat necessary to fast track the peace process towards rebuilding of the region.
“As a people and a nation capable of forgiving and forgoing wrongs, this initiative has further advertised the totality of our oneness which the entire world should recognise in line global best practices.
“We are even more pleased with the patriotic zeal, gesture and support of Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo, the Gombe Emirate and the good people of Gombe State and the environs, among other participating stakeholders for providing the space to accommodate the ex-sect members,” Tilde said.
The group praised the courage and sincerity of the sect’s 800 repentant members for denouncing their membership of the group and willingly surrendering to the military’s de-radicalization and rehabilitation programme, pointing out that it is no longer news that many of them were either drugged, deceived or coerced into the activities of the sect.
COVID-19: Indian Travellers Regains Entry Into Nigeria
The federal government of Nigeria on Monday said travellers from India will no longer be denied entry into Nigeria as the country has been removed from the list of flagged countries.
In May, in an effort to curb the spread of the global health pandemic, the federal government had banned travellers from Brazil, India and Turkey from visiting the country.
Speaking on Monday during the national briefing of the presidential steering committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), said the situation in the Asian county has improved.
“The Global cases recorded continues to decline to about 4m cases weekly, although it is less, compared to last year and the situation calls for caution because we are not out of the woods yet. Africa and Nigeria in particular, continue to record rising cases and lots of fatalities,” Mustapha said.
“This can really be curtailed and reduced minimally if we adhere strictly to the NPIs. I recognize the fact that people are fatigued and tired but let me encourage all Nigerians not to give up. We all need to come together to defeat this dreaded disease so we can return to our normal life.
“The most potent way of getting out of this situation is through vaccines, which science and research has presented to us. I call on every eligible person to come out and be vaccinated. There are various choices now. We have AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson and we expect Pfizer to be delivered very soon. There will be enough vaccines to go around soon. By the second quarter of 2022, we would have received about 52 million doses of the vaccines.
“To ease travels for fully vaccinated Nigerians, we are exploring the principles of reciprocity between Nigeria and other nations. For the time being, Nigerians are advised to always carry their vaccination card details or barcode on their electronic devices for easy access especially for those travelling outside the country.
“Compliance with protocols laid down for quarantine to ensure control remains a source of worry to the PSC. The need to review the protocol has become expedient to align with existing global protocols and realities. On this note, the PSC will adopt a sustainable model and policy that will be unveiled soon. To begin with, India has been removed from the list of flagged countries in view of improved situation in that country.”
“On this note, the PSC will adopt a sustainable model and policy that will be unveiled soon”, he said.
Osagie Ehanire, minister of health said evidence has so far shown that the Delta strain is already dominant in Nigeria.
He warned that though the third wave of the pandemic may appear to be leveling out because there have been no catastrophic increases in infections and fatalities, it is not wise to assume that the threat is gone, especially as cases are fluctuating and have to be identified by genomic sequencing.
The minister assured that even though there is a 25 percent shortfall in CICAX supply, Nigeria will not run low on vaccines.
Ehanire further noted that there were reports of new coronavirus mutations circulating in other countries, and assured that government will monitor with all tools available to respond appropriately.
Also speaking, Faisal Shuaib, executive director of, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency noted that vaccine cards were becoming a requirement across the country.
He, therefore, warned against any attempt to produce/procure and sell fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.
“Anyone who ventures into this would be apprehended and made to face the law. This is a criminal offense, in which both the buyer and seller would be prosecuted.
“We, therefore, urge all Nigerians to report any suspected attempt by any person or group of persons to buy or sell a COVID-19 vaccination card to us via our call centre line on 0700 220 1122, any of our social media handles (Facebook and Instagram), at the nearest police station or any other law enforcement agency. No one needs to cut corners on COVID-19 vaccination.
“The vaccines are free, and the vaccination cards are given free of charge at any of our designated health facilities after your vaccination,” Shuaib said.
South Africa Plans To Introduce Covid Passport
South Africa has announced plans to introduce a vaccine passport amid widespread mistrust of the Covid-19 vaccine in the continent’s most affected country.
President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement in a televised address to the nation and assured that the immunization of the adult population was a necessary prerequisite to fully reopen the economy and avoid a fourth wave of infections, while the number of cases has dropped sharply in the country.
In two weeks, we will “provide more information on a system of ‘vaccine passports’ that can be used as proof of vaccination for various purposes and events,” he said without providing further details.
He added that the “sustained decline in infections (…) over the past few weeks” would, however, allow for a relaxation of the restrictive measures starting Monday.
The nightly curfew will be extended by one hour, to 11 p.m., and the limits on gatherings will be raised.
Restrictions on the sale of alcohol will also be eased, although protective masks will still be required in places open to the public.
The peak of a third stubborn wave due to the Delta variant is now over. Over the past seven days, the average number of new daily infections has dropped 29 percent from the previous week and 48 percent from the week before, Ramaphosa said.
“Our most urgent task is to vaccinate our population,” he said, noting that vaccine supply “is no longer a constraint.”
“If many people are not vaccinated (…) the risk of new and more dangerous variants emerging is much greater,” he warned.
After delays in the supply and distribution of doses, the vaccination campaign is now struggling to take off because of skepticism about the vaccine, especially among men.
To date, just over seven million people have been fully vaccinated in South Africa, with more than a quarter of adults have received at least one dose.
The country’s goal is to vaccinate 40 million South Africans, or about two-thirds of the population, by next March.
Authorities have recorded more than 2.8 million cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, and 84,877 deaths, making it the worst affected country in Africa by the pandemic.
South African scientists are monitoring a new local variant with an unusually high mutation rate, dubbed C.1.2, although its presence is so far marginal among new cases detected in the country.
FG Launches GEEP 2.0 Plans To Lift 100M Nigerians Out Of Poverty
The Federal Government of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja inaugurated the restructured Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) now known as GEEP 2.0. to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, speaking during the inauguration said the programme was a veritable tool designed to end poverty in many ways.
She said that GEEP was one of the components of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).
According to her, the initial GEEP targets the unbanked poor and vulnerable but skilled population that has always been left out on credit delivery programmes and is directed at providing soft and affordable loans to finance their businesses.
“The GEEP is innovatively targeted and delivered under three unique products – the TraderMoni for marginalised youths, The MarketMoni targets vulnerable women, and the FarmerMoni specifically focuses on rural farmers.
“With President Muhammdu Buhari’s gracious approval of expansion to provide loans to an additional one million beneficiaries with emphasis to targeting smallholder farmers in the year 2020/2021, the GEEP has been restructured and is being flagged-off today as GEEP 2.0.
“The GEEP 2.0 is structured to effectively deliver soft loans and skills to a wide range of unemployed citizens including persons living with disability, marginalised women and unemployed youths amongst other vulnerable groups in our society.
“I wish to state here that the GEEP 2.0 is well-coordinated and has an implementation model that accommodates representation at the Federal, State and Local Government levels,” Farouq said.
Farouq said that part of the new strategies include an increase in the loan portfolio of TraderMon/ and Market Moni loans from N10, 000 to N50,000, while the FarmerMoni is now N300,000.
“There is also the provision of the value chain and creation of digital marketplace (E-platform) for beneficiaries to sell their products.
“In addition, there is a digital integration and coordination platform along with a strong and centralised monitoring and evaluation system aimed at enhancing loans recovery.’’
Speaking, the Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare who also represented the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha said he was delighted at the inauguration of the GEEP 2.0.
Dare said whenever he saw other ministries that helped in reducing the burden of youths unemployment from his ministry, he was happy, adding that youths were the biggest beneficiaries of NSIP.
Similarly, Mr Clem Agba, the State Minister of Financial, Budget and National Planning said his ministry had been at the forefront of ensuring human dignity and protecting households from poverty.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen said women and youths were always affected by humanitarian crisis and poverty.
Tallen said that the GEEP 2.0 would now help the poor and marginalised women and youths who did not have collateral to secure loans.
Also, the Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba said that the inauguration of the GEEP 2.0 was an indication to show that President Buhari meant it when he said he wanted to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
“It is evident that as we collaborate and corporate with all hands on deck, we shall achieve the ultimate objectives of the programme.”
Dr Garba Abari, the Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA) said the agency would work with state programme managers and focal persons toward the success of the NSIP.
Meanwhile, the Team Lead of the GEEP 2.0, Ms Zainab Musawa said that intended beneficiaries would be effectively supervised and monitored by desk officers in all 774 local government areas, state programme managers and the ministry in partnership with NOA.
“Essentially, GEEP 2.0 is a continuation of the Buhari administration’s laudable empowerment drive committed to the upliftment of oppressed Nigerians and we hope the programme will engender job creation.”
Ms Hadiza Hambuza, a representative of Access Bank Plc said the bank would work with the beneficiaries to achieve the objectives of the programme.
The event attracted officials from Presidency, National Assembly, NEMA, EFCC, FCTA Disability Commission among others.
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