Monday Update: Zamfara Schoolgirls, COVID-19 Vaccines and Dangote Refinery

Solomon Elusoji  
Updated March 1, 2021

Good morning.

It’s a new day, a new week, and a new month.

We are leading with the continued search for schoolgirls abducted in Zamfara State, the imminent arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, and the importance of the soon-to-be-launched Dangote Refinery to the Nigerian economy.

More than 300 students were kidnapped from Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara State on February 26, 2021.
More than 300 students were kidnapped from Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara State on February 26, 2021.

Search for Jangebe Girls Continues

On Saturday, the students and staff abducted from Government Science Secondary School, Kagara in Niger State regained their freedom. A heartwarming development. But over 300 schoolgirls taken in a Junior Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara State are still missing,

Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle on Sunday said his administration is still working on the release of the girls.

Zamfara is one of the states negotiating peace treaties with bandits and despite the kidnapping, which took place on Friday, Governor Matawalle has vowed such diplomatic efforts will continue.

Ali Ndume: The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army said blanket amnesty is not the solution to ending insecurity as it could lead to new forms of criminality.

Dig deeper: From Chibok to Dapchi to Jangebe, school kidnappings have become a major feature of terrorism in Nigeria.

A carton box of a Covishield vaccine developed by Pune based Serum Institute of India (SII) is unloaded at Mumbai airport on February 24, 2021, as part of the Covax scheme, which aims to procure and distribute inoculations fairly among all nations. INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP

Nigeria Set for COVID-19 Vaccines

About 3.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to leave India today and arrive in Nigeria by Tuesday, more than a year after the country recorded its first coronavirus infection.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, announced this on Saturday.

The vaccines are courtesy COVAX, a global scheme backed by the World Health Organisation to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines across the world.

But there might still be delays. This isn’t the first time government officials have declared a date on which the vaccines might arrive.

“I can assure you that the vaccines are coming and they are coming very quickly barring any change in the delivery plan that has been released to us by UNICEF,” Mustapha said.

NCDC: On Sunday, Nigeria reported 240 new cases of the virus and two deaths, according to the disease control agency.

A file photo of Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote. His refinery is expected to be one of the largest in the world.
A file photo of Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote. His refinery is expected to be one of the largest in the world.

Dangote’s Refinery nears Completion

Despite being one of the world’s largest producers of crude, Nigeria has lacked adequate refining capacity for decades. Most of the country’s refined petroleum products are imported, drawing on scarce foreign exchange resources.

But this is about to change with the near-completion of the Dangote Oil Refinery, a 650,000 barrels per day integrated refinery project on the outskirts of Lagos.

Chaperoned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, the refinery is expected to be Africa’s biggest oil refinery and the world’s biggest single-train facility. Its pipeline infrastructure is the largest in the world and it is sustained by a 400MW power plant.

But the main allure for Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, who joined other high-powered executives to inspect the facility recently, is how the facility will help to conserve foreign exchange and strengthen the local economy

What else is happening?

Femi Falana: The senior lawyer has criticized the arrest of a former aide to Kano State Governor, Salisu Tanko Yakassai.

Wole Soyinka: The Nobel laureate suggested that States should consider shutting down their activities in protest when the next school abduction takes place.

Kaduna State: At least seven people were killed in separate bandit attacks across two local governments of the state.

Femi Fani-Kayode: The former aviation minister has warned that the current state of insecurity could lead to a civil war if not properly addressed.

Niger State: The government said it not sure when the boarding schools that were shut down over insecurity will reopen.

Chadwick Boseman: Six months after his death at the age of 43, the Black Panther actor won the Golden Globe for best actor in a drama for his poignant role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

Donald Trump: The ousted President said he is considering running for another term in 2024.

And that’s it for this morning. See you tomorrow for more updates.