Happy International Women’s Day.
We are leading with the banditry situation in Kaduna, renewed hopes for Nigerians seeking a US visa, and stunning revelations from Meghan Markle about the UK royal family.
Bandits in Kaduna
Bandits terrorising some parts of Kaduna State and the Northern region are still going strong but the military has said it is not giving up on taking them out.
In its latest onslaught against the bandits, the military said it conducted aerial missions over locations in Chikun and Birnin Gwari Local Government Areas of Kaduna State, killing several of the bandits.
Meanwhile, at least 12 people were kidnapped by bandits during an attack on the Junior Staff Quarters of the Kaduna International Airport on Saturday. One of the victims, who is a member of staff of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), was kidnapped along with his wife, five children, and three other persons who had visited them.
Bala Bantex: The former Deputy Governor of Kaduna State said some people are benefitting from insecurity in Nigeria and would not want it to end. He also opposed the idea of offering amnesty to bandits.
Related: Police authorities say they have arrested a 75-year-old visually-impaired man, Iskilu Wakili, who is accused of being the mastermind of series of attacks against farmers in the Ibarapa Area of Oyo State, where cases of violent attacks against farmers had been reported.
Zulum Discovers Ghost IDPs
Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has discovered fake Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and about 650 ghost households at an IDP camp in Maiduguri.
The discovery was made after Zulum showed up at the camp in the early hours of Sunday, ordered the sealing of the entrance, and immediately supervised a headcount.
Out of 1,000 households on record in the camp, at least 650 were non-existent, the Governor said.
A household normally consists of at least six persons who are either related through families or chosen to stay together for the purpose of receiving aid.
Officials who were part of the midnight headcount said Governor Zulum was open to providing support to residents in need of food but will not tolerate dubious practices.
Context: Borno State is at the epicentre of an insurgency in Nigeria’s north-east that has lasted for over a decade. It has one of the highest concentrations of IDP camps in the country.
Buhari ‘Normal’ After Covid Vaccine Shot
Hours after President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo received the Covid vaccine jab, spokesman Garba Shehu said the President “felt normal and went about doing his job.”
“If there are side effects that follow, we will be open about that but so far there is nothing of a side effect, serious or mild on the President.,” Mr. Shehu said. “He is carrying on as normal.
“We hope this will help to send a strong message among the people, especially those grappling with hesitancy about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.”
Meanwhile, State Governors are expected to follow suit this week in receiving the vaccine.
Vaccine Finance: The National Primary Health Care Development Agency has insisted that the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) will bear the cost of transporting the vaccines to states from the nation’s capital.
CACOVID is a private sector-led organisation established to assist the Federal Government in combating the novel coronavirus.
There had been reports suggesting that the Ministry of Health, through the NPHCDA, had budgeted over N10 billion for vaccine transportation.
NCDC: Nigeria reported 269 new cases of the virus and five deaths on Sunday, the disease control agency said.
What else is happening?
Obituary: A Justice of the Supreme Court, Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta has died. The senior judge, who was preparing for his retirement, would have turned 70 on March 30.
Kayode Fayemi: The Ekiti State Governor has condemned the killing of two farmers after a clash with herders in Isaba, Ikole Local Government Area of the state.
Aso Rock: The presidency has dismissed some media reports suggesting that a fire outbreak was recorded inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja. What happened, instead, was a bush fire close to the villa, spokesman Garba Shehu said.
Yemi Osinbajo: The Vice President turns 64 today. In a Sunday tribute, President Buhari described him as “a reliable and dedicated deputy.”
Immigration: The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, has said plans are underway to address the huge backlog of visa applications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. An extended interview with the ambassador, conducted by our Foreign Affairs correspondent, Amarachi Ubani, will air later today at 7:30pm (WAT).
Blackout: Ghana suffered a nationwide power cut on Sunday, the West African country’s electricity provider GRIDCo said, as it attempted to restore power.
Royal Rumble: Meghan Markle said she contemplated suicide after marrying into the UK royal family and raised allegations of racism in the monarchy during an explosive television interview with Oprah Winfrey.
And that’s it for today. See you tomorrow.
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