The World Health Organisation has issued a stern warning to countries to stop dismissing the Omicron variant of COVID-19 as mild, stating that it was just as powerful as the other variants.
According to WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Omicron kills people across the globe.
He said the record numbers of people contracting the new variant — which is rapid out-competing the previously-dominant Delta variant in many countries — meant hospitals were being overwhelmed.
“While Omicron does appear to be less severe compared to Delta, especially in those vaccinated, it does not mean it should be categorised as mild,” Tedros told a press conference, according to the AFP.
“Just like previous variants, Omicron is hospitalising people and it is killing people,” he explained.
“In fact, the tsunami of cases is so huge and quick, that it is overwhelming health systems around the world.”
Just under 9.5 million new COVID-19 cases were reported to the WHO last week — a record, up 71 per cent on the week before.
But even this was an underestimate, Tedros said, as it did not reflect the backlog of testing around the Christmas/New Year holidays, positive self-tests not registered and overburdened surveillance systems missing cases.
Tedros used his first speech of 2022 to slam the way rich nations horded available vaccine doses last year, saying it had created the perfect breeding ground for the emergence of virus variants.
He, therefore, urged the world to share vaccine doses more fairly in 2022 to end the “death and destruction” of COVID-19.
Tedros said the WHO wanted every country to have 10 per cent of their population vaccinated by the end of September 2021 and 40 per cent by the end of December.
Ninety-two of the WHO’s 194 member states missed the target set for the end of 2021 — indeed 36 of them had not even jabbed the first 10 per cent, largely due to being unable to access doses.
Setting a new target, he said at least 70 per cent of citizens in member states should be jabbed by mid 2022.
On the current pace of vaccine roll-out, 109 countries will miss that target.
“Vaccine inequity is a killer of people and jobs and it undermines a global economic recovery.
“Booster after booster in a small number of countries will not end a pandemic while billions remain completely unprotected,” said Tedros.
The WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove said it was “very unlikely” that Omicron would be the last variant of concern before the pandemic is over.
In facing the more transmissible Omicron variant, Van Kerkhove urged people to step up the measures they were already taking to protect themselves against the virus.
“Do everything that we have been advising better, more comprehensively, more purposefully,” she said.
“We need people to hang in there and really fight.”
Van Kerkhove added that she was stunned by how sloppily some people were wearing facemasks.
“It needs to cover your nose and mouth… wearing a mask below your chin is useless,” she said.
Looking ahead to this year, Bruce Aylward, the WHO’s frontman on accessing Coronavirus tools, added that there was “no need to finish 2022 in a pandemic”.
But WHO Emergencies Director, Michael Ryan, said that without vaccine equity, “we will be sitting here at the end of 2022 having somewhat the same conversation, which, in itself, would be a great tragedy”.
3,113 total views, 3 views today
Suspended Accountant General Idris, Three Others Seek Plea Bargain – EFCC
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) heard on Wednesday that suspended Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris and three others have reached out to the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) with a plea-bargain proposal in relation to their trial for alleged N109billion fraud.
Idris, his Technical Assistant, Godfrey Olusegun Akindele; a director in the office of the AG-F, Mohammed Kudu Usman and a firm linked with Idris – Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited – were arraigned on July 22 on a 14-count charge bordering on money laundering, stealing and criminal breach of trust.
Lead prosecuting lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) said Idris reached out to him through a third party for a meeting to work on ways to achieve a plea bargain arrangement as a way out.
Jacobs added that since Section 270 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) provides for plea bargain, he agreed to meet with the defendants at an office of the EFCC, but on the condition that their lawyers and EFCC’s investigators (who handled the case) must be in attendance.
He said the meeting planned for the previous day (Tuesday) failed to hold because the defendants came without their lawyers.
Jacobs added that a lawyer from the first defendant’s (Idris’) legal team, who he identified as Kanayo, later came to where they were to meet to complain that they (the defendants’ lawyers) were not carried along.
“The first defendant sent a third party to me that he wanted a plea bargaining meeting and he wanted to meet me. That was (Tuesday) in the morning. And I replied that I can not meet the defendants in the absence of their counsel.
“I added that by the nature of our calling, we must be opened and transparent. Section 270 of ACJA allows plea bargain. I told them to come with their lawyer and let us meet at the EFCC office and that I will also invite the investigators to be at the meeting.
“Kanayo, one of the counsel in the legal team of the first defendant, came to meet me at the EFCC office in Wuse 2 and protested that they were not carried along and that his clients would not come for the meeting.
Read Also: Alleged N109b fraud: Suspended AG-F Idris gets N5b bail
“I spoke with Chief Chris Uche, SAN (who heads the first defendan’s legal team) for about 30 minutes to let him know that we (the EFCC) did not invite them and that the planned meeting was at their instance.
“None of the defendant entered EFCC’s office. So, they did not attend any meeting at the EFCC office,” Jacobs said.
The prosecuting lawyer spoke in response to complaints by lawyers to the defendants, who claimed that the EFCC invited their clients the previous day and prevented them from meeting with the defendants, who they further claimed were at the office of the EFCC for the better part of the day.
Lawyer to Idris and Gezawa (1st and 4th defendants), Gordy Uche (SAN), at the commencement of proceedings, objected to an application by Jacobs to tender some statements made by the first defendant.
Uche argued that Jacobs should not be allowed to tender the statements because he (Uche) was yet to interview his client in relation to the documents.
He said: “I was to interview the first defendant on Tuesday, but I learnt he was in the office of the EFCC. We were, as counsel, not carried along.”
Uche argued that it was disrespectful of the court for the EFCC to invite the defendants without their lawyers’ knowledge when the case had already been charged to court.
He contended that the EFCC was expected to have concluded it’s investigation before charging the defendants to court.
Uche denied that his clients proposed plea bargain to the prosecution as claimed by Jacobs.
He said the standard practice was for the lawyer toa defendant to initiate such arrangement, not for such move to be made behind the lawyer to the defendant.
Uche prayed the court for adjournment to enable h confer with the first defendant .
Lawyers to Akindele and Usman (2nd and 3rd defendants) – Peter Abalaka and Ibrahim Isiyaku (SAN), who said there shared Uche’s position, also prayed for an adjournment to enable them confer with their clients.
Although Jacobs objected to the defence’s prayer for adjournment, Justice Jadesola Adeyemi-Ajayi acceded to the defendants’ request and adjourn further hearing till October 4 this year.
Earlier, the judge ordered the revocation of the bail granted to Usman when, at the mention of the case, he was not in court, forcing the judge to suspend proceedings.
Later, before the day’s proceeding Ender’s, his lawyer applied orally that the bail be restored, stating that his client, thought arrived the court late, was held back by traffic.
Isiyaku claimed that a truck fell on along the Airport Raod, which occasioned heavy traffic and prevented his client from arriving c
Ruling, Justice Adeyemi-Ajayi granted Isiyaku’s application and restored Usman’s bail.
43 total views, 43 views today
You’re Absolutely Wrong, Akeredolu Disagrees With CDS Over Kuje Prison Escapee, Idris Ojo
Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, the Governor of Ondo State has clarified the situation surrounding the arrest of Idris Ojo, who was one of those allegedly responsible for the attack on the Saint Francis Catholic Church in Owo on June 5.
Akeredolu on Wednesday claimed that there was an error in the statement made by General Lucky Irabor, the Chief of Defence Staff, when he was revealed on Tuesday that the attackers had been apprehended.
According to a statement issued by Richard Olatunde, the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Idris Ojo, who was listed as the 14th wanted escapee from Kuje Prison, was apprehended at his brother’s home in Akure, the state’s capital.
Idris Ojo, a prominent member of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) who escaped from Kuje Prison, was arrested at Aiyetoro in Ondo State, according to Irabor, who made the disclosure of the arrest on Tuesday.
Given that the tragic incident at Kuje Prison on July 6 came after the horrific event of the June 5 attack in Owo, Akeredolu acknowledged in the statement the uncertainty the development had caused the public.
“Idris Ojo, who is number 14 on the wanted list of the Kuje Prison Escapees was arrested in his brother’s house in Akure. His brother, Jimoh Rasheed Ibrahim, received and accommodated him after his escape from Kuje prison.
“He was thereafter moved and kept in the custody of the security operatives at the same time the attackers of Owo Catholic Church were arrested and brought into custody. Hence, the mix-up.”
58 total views, 58 views today
Don’t Return Rivers To Dark Days Of Fear, Intimidation, Abe Tells Wike
The 2023 governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in Rivers State, Senator Magnus Abe, has urged the state governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike not to return the state to the dark era of fear and intimidation in the forthcoming general elections.
He also asked other politicians in the state to eschew politics of bitterness and antagonism that would portray the state in a bad light.
Abe made these declarations when members of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Forum and Middle Belt Forum who are residents in the state paid him a solidarity visit in PortHarcourt, Rivers State capital.
But the former lawmaker’s reaction followed Wike’s state broadcast last weekend where he expressed fears and reservations about politicians allegedly meeting cultists in Hotels, bars, resorts and other entertainment centres to wreak havoc in the state.
In his words, “I was particularly disturbed when I saw the name of my party the Social Democratic Party- (SDP) mentioned in that broadcast.
“My own concern and prayer is that this election cannot return Rivers State to the old place of fear, to the old place of challenges and crisis that we used to have in previous elections.
“I want to appeal to His Excellency, that he is our Governor, whether we are members of SDP, APC, PDP or whatever political parties we belong to; we are all Rivers men and women and our objective is to choose a leader for our people that will carry us forward, not to bring cultists and fight one another.”
However, Abe suggested a security summit, where all political leaders would be invited to share their ideas on how to have peaceful elections before, during and after the 2023 elections in the state.
“If there are genuine concerns about security in the state, I will expect the governor as a friend and father of the State, to call all of us to sit down together and share ideas on how to go forward into this election in a peaceful, convivial atmosphere in which everybody will be free to participate.
“Whether the governor likes it or not, it is the responsibility of the governor to provide a peaceful and conducive atmosphere for all for all of us and I will plead that we come together and talk to one another”.
“I will appeal to my fellow politicians, the governor has expressed his security concerns, let us not begin to attack one another on the basis of that, instead let us sit down and look for solutions that will enable us cross these challenges without hitches.
“Our state will be peaceful. I believed that Rivers people know that without peace there can be no progress, without peace, there can be no prosperity, without peace, there is no future”.
But Leader of the group, Samuel Adamu said they came to pledge their support to Senator Abe and to assure him that they would galvanize the support of all their members for him in the 2023 general elections.
81 total views, 81 views today
- Suspended Accountant General Idris, Three Others Seek Plea Bargain – EFCC
- You’re Absolutely Wrong, Akeredolu Disagrees With CDS Over Kuje Prison Escapee, Idris Ojo
- Don’t Abort Any Pregnancy, Actress Yvonne Nelson Warns Ladies
- Actor Jide Awobona Recounts Wife’s Robbery Encounter On 3rd Mainland Bridge
- Don’t Return Rivers To Dark Days Of Fear, Intimidation, Abe Tells Wike
JOIN US ON FACEBOOK
Entertainment11 months ago
BBNaija: Nigerians Drag Angel For Showing Off Her Private Part To Housemates (Watch Video)
Headline1 year ago
Female Italian Fan Go Topless, Gives Free Show After Euro 2020 Win (Watch Video)
Headline5 months ago
BREAKING: Lagos CP Orders Security Beef Up Following MC Oluomo’s Suspension
Entertainment11 months ago
BBNaija: “Shameful For A Married Woman” – Boma, Tega Doing ‘Stuff’ Under Duvet Sparks Outrage (See Video)
Entertainment6 months ago
Singer, Oxlade In Big Mess After His Sex Tape With A Strange Lady Surfaces Online (Watch Video)
Headline3 months ago
Just In: 2023: We Won’t Support Tinubu’s Ambition -Ambode Campaign Organisation
Entertainment2 years ago
BBNaija: Kiddwaya Sucks Erica’s Boobs, Licks Dorathy’s Neck In Truth Or Dare Game (Video)
World news4 years ago
Why I Quit Nun To Become A Porn Star After 8 Years At Convent – Yudi Pineda