Niger Governor, Cabinet Members Take Second Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine

In this file photo, a vial containing the COVID-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca and a syringe are seen on a table. AFP
In this file photo, a vial containing the COVID-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca and a syringe are seen on a table. AFP

 

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has received the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as the state government flags off the second phase of the exercise.

He took the jab on Thursday along with his deputy and members of the State Executive Council who attended the weekly council meeting at the Government House in Minna, the state capital.

Speaking after receiving the second jab, Governor Bello noted that turnout for the first phase of the vaccination exercise was impressive.

He encouraged those who took the first dose to ensure they receive the second jab and called on those who have yet to take the first dose to endeavour they do so as soon as they can.

“I want to assure everyone that the vaccine is safe, I encourage you to take it. It will keep you and your loved ones at least safe; the older ones, especially should take it,” the governor said.

He had received the first dose of the vaccine on March 9 and directed all the State Executive Council members to take the vaccine or not be allowed into the weekly meetings of the council.

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Health and Hospital Services in Niger, Dr Muhammad Makusidi, said the state has received a total of 89,600 doses as of May 20.

He explained that 44,860 doses were used in the first phase, stressing that enough doses were available for the second phase of the vaccination exercise.

The commissioner gave an assurance that all eligible persons for the second dose would be administered the vaccine.

Giving a brief on the current status of the state on COVID-19, he noted that Niger has confirmed 930 positive cases, including 66 health workers and 20 deaths.

Makusidi, however, stated that there has not been any positive case in the state in the last two months, saying the government has continued to carry out measures to combat the further spread of the disease.

Governor Bello, Others Hold Special Prayer For Security In Niger

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, attends a special prayer session at the Central Mosque in Minna on May 9, 2021.

 

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, and some stakeholders in the state have held a special prayer for peace across the eight emirates in the state.

The prayer organised to seek God’s intervention to end insecurity in Niger held on Sunday at the Central Mosque in Minna, the state capital.

Shortly after the prayer, Governor Bello reiterated the need for the people not to relent in fervent prayers to God.

He, however, gave an assurance that the government at the federal and state levels would not leave any stone unturned towards ending the security challenges in the state.

The governor noted that significant progress has been made towards restoring normalcy to the troubled areas, stating that the prayer session would continue even after the Ramadan fast.

“We encourage everyone, every stakeholder, every person to support the effort of the state and Federal Government with prayers and with God, I believe anything is possible,” he said.

On his part, the Director-General of Religious Affairs in Niger, Umar Farouq, believes the insecurity in the state requires divine intervention.

He said it was time for people of the state to come together to ask God for mercy and be of good conduct.

Farouq, who is also the Secretary of Niger State Imam Forum, called on the criminals to repent from their act, surrender their weapons, and return to God.

He stressed that engaging in criminal activities was against the teachings of Islam, especially in a situation where innocent people were the ones being targeted.

The special prayer led by the Chief Imam of Minna Central Mosque, Ibrahim Fari, also featured recitation of some verses from the Holy Qur’an.

Some of the other dignitaries in attendance included top government officials, traditional leaders, Islamic clerics, and other Muslim faithful in the state.

Gov Bello Meets Freed Kagara Abductees In Minna

 

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, on Saturday met with the freed abductees from Government Science Secondary School, Kagara.

The abductees – comprising of students, staff and staff relatives – regained their freedom earlier at 4 am on Saturday, the Governor said.

According to Bello, one of the victims is in hospital “suffering from excessive exhaustion.”

Bello did not comment on whether a ransom was paid for the victims’ release but he said it was a joint effort by security agencies, traditional rulers and other “major stakeholders.”

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He added that the victims have been medically checked and will continue to be monitored for the next few days.

“They have been through tremendous torture,” he said. “We are carefully watching their health and condition and hopefully they should be reunited soon with their families.”

Niger State Governor Abubakar Bello met with freed Kagara abduction victims on February 27, 2021.
Niger State Governor Abubakar Bello met with freed Kagara abduction victims on February 27, 2021.

 

The Governor said his administration is working on a way to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

“Yes, we have rescued them but we still have a lot of work ahead of us,” he said. “Going forward, we are putting a system in place to look at the causes of these events.

“In the next few days, in the course of my conversation with major stakeholders, I hope we will find a solution to this dastardly act.”

Presidency Reacts

Meanwhile, the Presidency has reacted to the news of the Kagara victims’ release.

President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement issued on Saturday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, welcomed the students’ release, commending the nation’s security and intelligence agencies and the government of Niger State for their responses in securing the release.

“We are happy they have been released,” Buhari said while sympathising with the staff and the students, their parents, and friends on this ordeal.

READ ALSOKagara Schoolboys, Others Arrive Minna

He noted that the country will not continue to suffer these attacks that threaten the growth of education, security, and the life of the future leaders at the same time putting the nation in a negative light.

Buhari also reiterated his earlier advice to school owners, particularly the state and local governments, as well as religious organizations to scale up security around their schools in line with the standards laid down by the UN-backed Safe School Programme of the administration.

He once again condemned the school abductions, with the latest one at the Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State.

The President directed all security and intelligence agencies in the country to hunt down the culprits and bring them to justice.

Fayemi, Other Governors Visit Bello Over Kagara Abduction, NSTA Passengers

 

Six Governors of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum have arrived Niger State to meet with Governor Abubakar Bello.

Chairman of the Forum and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi is among those visiting the state.

Other members of the forum that have arrived are Governors Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto).

The reason for the visit is still sketchy, but it is not unconnected with the security challenges in Niger State, particularly the abduction of 41 persons from Government Science Secondary School Kagara and the release on Sunday of 53 passengers abducted from the Niger State Transport Authority (NSTA) bus.

READ ALSO: Buhari Receives Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, In Abuja

Governor Fayemi explained that their mission to Niger State was to commiserate with Governor Abubakar Bello over the abduction of the Kagara students and to commend him for the release of the 53 passengers.

Noting that the governors were not in the state to lament over the current national security, he said there is a need to come together as a people and leaders.

Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi leads other governors to Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello on February 23, 2021 over the security situation.

 

He also called for synergy among security agencies to find lasting solutions to the problem, stressing that if it requires dialogue and negotiations, it can be explored.

The NGF Chairman insisted there is no regionalization of the security issues or ethnic inclination, explaining that Nigeria can no longer play the ostrich and pretend about the issues.

He reassured his Niger counterpart that this difficult period will be over, saying all the governors in the country must put their heads together to solve the problem, which according to him cannot be fought in isolation.

According to him, the bandits terrorising the north are remnants of Boko Haram who have infiltrated into other parts of the country.

While attributing the security challenges in the country to factors such as poverty, illiteracy among others, Fayemi called for an adequate solution to the crisis in the North East.

On his part, Governor Bello lamented the break down in law and order in the country, stating that it portends a great threat to the future of the country as the future generation may be deprived of quality education due to insecurity

The governor also criticised the centralisation of security agencies at the federal level, which according to him needed to be addressed going forward.

He expressed hope that the lamentations of the residents of Niger and indeed other states will be attended to immediately.

The Niger leader noted that there are two phases of dialogue his administration is currently exploring.

First, he said, is to secure the release of the students of Government Science College Kagara abductees, while the second phase is to dialogue with the gunmen on their challenges and reasons for the attacks.

See Photos Below:

 

Kagara Abduction: We Are Interfacing With Locals To Ensure Safe Release Of Victims – Niger Gov

Governor Abubakar Bello addressing journalists at the government office in Minna, Niger State capital on Friday, February 19, 2021.

 

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has assured that the state government is meeting with local authorities to ensure the safe release of the abducted students and members of the staff of Government Science College, Kagara.

He also described as ‘rumour’, the purported release of the abductees.

Bello spoke on Friday at the Government House in Minna, the state capital, shortly after meeting renowned Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi.

“As at this moment, we do not have any additional information to give apart from the one given earlier on, yesterday. But I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can, we are interfacing with the local communities, with federal authorities and our own state authorities to ensure that we recover the victims safely.

“Our utmost priority right now is to make sure we bring them back home safe and that is exactly what we are going to do. So, there hasn’t been any information I can give you at this moment but once we have anything for you, we will let you know,” the governor said.

READ ALSO: Sheikh Gumi Asks FG To Give Bandits ‘Blanket Amnesty’

Responding to a question on the purported release of the abductees, the governor said, “Everything that is being said out there is rumour and in situations like this, we cannot work with rumour, it has to be confirmed. Yes, we’ve been receiving different rumours from different people within villages but we are still treating those as rumour until processed and confirmed.”

Speaking on the dilapidated condition of the school and other schools in the state, Governor Bello blamed the past administration for abandoning schools infrastructures.

The governor urged the parents and families of the abducted persons not to despair, adding that the government hopes to secure their release in hours or days.

He added that adequate security personnel have also been deployed to Kagara town and environs to boost security in the area, which according to him has also boosted the morale of the people.

He, however, expressed concern over the lack of manpower and efficiency by security agencies in the state.

According to him, this has made the state government collaborate with local vigilantes.

I’m Worried Banditry Will Lead To Low Food Productivity, Says Governor Bello

File photo of Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello

 

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, says he is worried that the activities of bandits in the north-central region will affect food production.

Bello, who also chairs the North-Central Governors’ Forum, stated this on Tuesday in Abuja during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

The governor called on the Federal Government to adequately tackle the security challenges in the country.

“My main concern about this issue is about food security. When they kidnap for ransom, yes you will say they do that for money,” he said.

“But why burn farms? Why kill animals? I really want the Federal Government to really look at it from the several factors that contribute to this.”

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Speaking further, Governor Bello revealed plans by his administration to track bandits who attack communities, kill people and destroy farmlands and animals.

To the Niger leader, it is easier tracking the miscreants who appear in large numbers using the Intelligence, surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR).

“To get the right intelligence from the various communities that are far away from the cities, you must have some form of technology.

“In the meantime is that we try to track the movements of these bandits. For those ones that move on 20, 30, 40, 50 motorcycles, it is easy to pick using an ISR.

“For those ones that move in smaller units, I have to deploy, for example, things like drones and all that. We have to have intelligence,” he added.

The governor also asked his colleagues in the north-central region to work to increase the Internally Generated Revenues in their respective states.

Niger Governor, Abubakar Bello Recovers From COVID-19

Easter: Governor Bello Challenges Residents On Nation Building
A file photo of Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello

 

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has recovered from the coronavirus disease after testing negative to the infection.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Monday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel-Berje.

According to Noel-Berje, the governor has been pronounced free of the virus and confirmed fit to resume his official duties.

“I am happy to announce to you that I have been confirmed negative and declared fully recovered. I can now resume my official work. I thank you all for your prayers and good wishes,” the governor was quoted as saying.

This comes a week after Governor Bello contracted COVID-19 following series of rumour of being hit by the infection.

On November 9, he announced contracting the virus, adding that he had gone into isolation after being asymptomatic.

State has seen an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the one month.

At least 278 confirmed positive cases have been recorded in the state since its outbreak in the country in March.

12 deaths have also been recorded in the state from COVID-19.

The Chairman of the Niger State COVID-19 Committee and Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Matane had told Channels Television in an interview last week that the committee was considering putting in place stricter measure in enforcing the safety protocols in place.

According to him, “We are beginning to witness a spike.”

Niger has been a gateway state to travellers from North to South and vice-versa, forcing the state government to force the ban on inter-state travels due to constant influx of transporters.

Primary and secondary schools reopened in September. But, with the spike, it is not clear if the government might call for another lockdown.

Niger Governor, Bello Tests Positive For COVID-19

File photo of Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State.

 

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello has tested positive for the coronavirus disease.

Governor Bello disclosed this on Monday via his Twitter handle.

The Niger State leader explained that he is asymptomatic and has gone into isolation.

 

His tweet comes a week after rumours that he contracted the virus.

Niger State has seen an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the one month.

At least 278 confirmed positive cases have been recorded in the state since its outbreak in the country in March.

12 deaths have also been recorded in the state from COVID-19.

The Chairman of the Niger State COVID-19 Committee and Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Matane had told Channels Television in an interview last week that the committee was considering putting in place stricter measure in enforcing the safety protocols in place.

According to him, “We are beginning to witness a spike.”

Niger has been a gateway state to travellers from North to South and vice-versa, forcing the state government to force the ban on inter-state travels due to constant influx of transporters.

Primary and secondary schools reopened in September. But, with the spike, it is not clear if the government might call for another lockdown.

 

Gunmen Attack: Niger Governor Condoles Lebanese Government, Nigerian Army

File photo of Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State.

 

The Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani-Bello has commiserated with the Lebanese Government, Nigerian Army, and FERMA, over the loss of their national, staff, and personnel to the activities of criminal elements in the state on Monday.

The abducted and killed workers were engaged in the repair work on the Minna-Zungeru-Tegina road when the incident occurred on Monday.

In a statement signed by his spokesperson, Mary Noel-Berje, the Governor said he is saddened over the continuous loss of lives to society’s undesirable elements at a time the government is doing everything to address the problem of infrastructural decay in most parts of the state.

“It is more grieving, when workers, who are dutifully carrying out their legitimate duty of maintaining roads have to suffer this fatality,” Bello said.

“We are at work presently and fast-tracking other measures, which we cannot disclose for now, to check the dubious activities of these criminals portraying the state in bad light both at home and internationally.

“Our condolences are with the Lebanese Embassy in Nigeria, the Nigerian Army and FERMA over the loss, especially to the families of the deceased who have lost their bread winners. Our resolve is that these heroes will not die in vain.

“It is more worrisome that most of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are young people, who are supposed to be leaders of tomorrow.

The Governor called for a holistic approach to dealing with the high rate of crimes through a strong family system and revealed that his government will intensify its collaboration with the relevant security agencies and President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the issue of insecurity is permanently laid to rest.

Four Children, Nine Others Test Positive For COVID-19 

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello

 

Niger State has recorded 13 new cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Among them is a five-year-old boy.

In the official report released by the State Task Force on COVID-19 on Wednesday, three other children aged eight, twelve and fifteen are also confirmed positive.

All the 13 new cases are said to be from Chanchanga Local Government Area of the state.

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The new figure is the highest daily confirmed cases from the state since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The chairman of the State COVID-19 Task Force, Ibrahim Matane has however affirmed the determination of the government to curtail the spread of the virus.

Niger Governor Bello Pardons 46 Inmates

File photo of Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State.

 

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello has granted pardon to 46 inmates across the various Correctional Centres in the State.

This was confirmed in a statement issued by the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Niger State, Barrister Nasara Dan-Mallam who is also the Chairman of the State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy.

According to him, the release of the inmates was as a result of Presidential recommendation that governors should consider grant of pardon to deserving inmates with a view to decongesting the prisons.

READ ALSO: 16 Health Workers Infected With COVID-19 In Borno

Dan-Mallam disclosed that the pardoned inmates were considered for release based on the recommendation of the State Advisory Council on the prerogative of mercy with due consideration to old age, ill-health, convicts serving three years and above with less than six months to serve among several others.

He appealed to the released inmates to make use of their freedom by engaging in useful ventures and shun any act that could lead them to crime.

“Government wants you to be good citizens for the socio-economic and political development of Niger State in particular and Nigeria as a whole,” he stated.

Party Conflicts: APC To Inaugurate 12-Member Reconciliation Committee

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said it will inaugurate a 12-member reconciliation committee to address grievances of party members across the country and resolve existing conflicts.

The party in a statement on Tuesday revealed that Chief Bisi Akande will chair the committee made up of Governors of Niger, Osun States; Abubakar Bello and Gboyega Oyetola.

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It added that Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, Senators Tanko Al-Makura, and Kashim Shettima will be a part of the team that is saddled with the responsibility of fostering oneness strengthen the party for better governance.

Other members include Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, Alhaji Nasiru Koki, Senators Khairat Gwadabe-Abdulrazak, Binta Garba, and John Enoh who will serve as Secretary.

The statement read in part that “the committee will be inaugurated on Tuesday 11th February 2020 at the APC National Secretariat by 3pm.”