How Security Operatives Use Threats, Delays to Extort Money from Passengers at Lagos Airport - THISDAY
BY Chinedu Eze
After a reduction in extortion by security agencies at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos (MMIA), following measures introduced by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo that reduced passengers’ interface with security officials, extortion of travellers at MMIA has returned with full vigour, THISDAY investigation has revealed
In 2018, the federal government introduced seamless check in process whereby passengers luggage were not physically searched at the departure hall but done by x-ray machines at the designated security screening centre.
When THISDAY visited the international terminal of the Lagos airport, it noticed that beside the x-ray machine which screens all passengers luggage at the entrance of the terminal, officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Department of State Service (DSS), Quarantine and Aviation Security (AVSEC) of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) located themselves in a booth where they direct passengers to bring their luggage for physical search immediately it comes out of the x-ray machine.
The development forced the passengers to queue in disorderly manner and form a crowd at the entrance of the terminal while the security operatives took coniderable time to search every bag. It was learnt that the security operatives were carrying out the same old routine of forcing passengers to pay money or have their luggage seized.
The passengers who were obviously in a hurry were paying so as to be allowed to go to the airlines processing counter to check in. THISDAY investigation also revealed that most of the things they threaten to seize are materials and articles that are allowed to be checked in but when the officials are given money passengers are allowed to go with their bags and travel with them. THISDAY cornered an official of NDLEA (name withheld) who introduced himself as member of the task force official team deployed by the agency to the airport.
He justified the search at the entrance gate, saying that the x-ray machine at that entrance was deficient and does not expose many of the prohibited goods, adding that security officials had discovered guns and cutlasses in passengers’ bags at that entrance.
When THISDAY reminded him that those bags would still be thoroughly screened before they were checked into the aircraft, he said not all of them would be screened again, but THISDAY confirmed from AVSEC official that all the bags would be screened before they were taken to the aircraft and passengers prohibited goods were found in their bags are called out by the airline security team and those prohibited goods are dropped and in some cases the passengers are stopped from travelling. However, he acknowledged that the US in 2017 donated Smith Detection Body Scan and other security equipment to NDLEA and would in the next few weeks donate more to the agency.
THISDAY also saw a group of quarantine officials on the floor of the departure hall randomly stopping passengers and searching their luggage and some of them were asked to “settle” them or remove certain consumables from their bags. A FAAN official who craved anonymity told THISDAY that quarantine officials and other security officials were not supposed to be searching passengers luggage in the hall because there is a place designated for such while hand luggage are searched at the x-ray machines along with the passengers as they pass through central search to the airside to board their flights.
Aviation security experts and the CEO of Centurion Securities Limited, Group Captain John Ojikutu who was former Commandant at the airport, told THISDAY that the problem of extortion has been there in the last 30 years and security is compromised when security officials receive inducement from travellers.
“Until we comply with the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) requirements in Annex 17 to establish a national aviation security committee and also establish an autonomous security agency for the airports that would have all the multiple government security agencies under its control, the situation will remain same. How would the NCASP (the National Civil Aviation Security Programme) give security coordination of all government security agencies to FAAN that was established primarily for airports development and management not for security?
“During my time, I brought all the agencies together and drew roaster that put the head of each agencies including FAAN airport manager in control of the rest for one week. We started this before the US found out they had similar problems and the Al Gore commission recommended the establishment of the TSA (Transport Security Administration) that put all the government security agencies in the US airports under the TSA. That is what for many years I have been asking every minister of aviation to do; I have also advised against the arming of the FAAN security until a unified airport security agency is established.
“We don’t need more than two checkpoints: one for immigration and the other for carryon with a screening machine, which all the agencies can monitor remotely. A machine was bought for the Customs and the NDLEA joint usage in 1991, for whatever reasons it was never used and they prefer to work separately. Government must develop a policy for the establishment of unified control agency for the aviation security, “he said.
In her reaction, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu said that FAAN made two numbers available for passengers to call whenever airport officials demand for gratification, adding, “There’s provision for Quarantine officials to use, I wonder why they have chosen to use the floor of the departure.”
U.K.’s Fuel Crisis Has at Least a Week to Run as Army Steps In - BLOOMBERG
The U.K.’s fuel crisis will still take at least a week to rectify, the main retailers’ group said, as the army set to work on delivering gasoline and diesel to filling stations.
It will take 7 to 10 days for inventories held by members of the Petrol Retailers Association to get back to normal levels, Gordon Balmer, the organization’s executive director, told Sky News. There has been an improvement across the country although London’s greater population density means supplies around the city remain a pinch point, he said.
The PRA represents independent filing stations across the U.K., equating to 65% of the 8,380 total. The fuel crisis is now in its 12th day and has gone on for longer than some in the industry had anticipated.
Travel rebounds in third quarter operations - THE NATION
The ride out of the ongoing pandemic got smoother for operators in the aviation sector in the third quarter of 2021. This manifested in a significant surge in passenger traffic for carriers opening new routes, acquiring new airplanes, inking codeshare and interline agreements and a few fledgling carriers which joined the industry to deepen competition. KELVIN OSA OKUNBOR reports
Activities in the aviation sector in the last three months have attained headwinds as the sector takes full grip over measures/interventions designed by the government to pull the air transport sector out of the wounds inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is seeing more people returning to the skies.
Enhanced airport screening procedures, increasing vaccination among the populace and other interventions designed to curb the spread of the new variant of COVID-19 has spiked the demand for air travel in the last three months.
Experts say travel has witnessed rebound in the period under review as a few carriers, which include Green Africa Airways, Cally Air, Kanem Air, and United Nigeria Airlines made audacious entrance into the industry raising the stakes in the logistic value chain.
The new carriers have not only deepened competition in the sector in the period under review, but has brought about competitive fares on the routes where carriers were charging arbitrary fares.
With a low entry fare otherwise known in aviation parlance as promotional fares, Green African Airways for instance has pushed other carriers to rethink their strategy on operations on the Lagos- Abuja, Ilorin, Akure, Ilorin, Enugu, Owerri, and Port Harcourt routes.
Besides, Green Africa Airways, which offers the lowest fares, Cally Air, Ibom Air, and United Nigeria Airlines, have also upped the ante with competitive fares on major routes, which many passengers and industry watchers describe as the best thing to happen to the sector.
In an interview, Director-General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu described the last quarter as eventful for the industry, citing statistics confirming increase in passenger traffic.
He said the regulator has engaged operators to step up the safety regime by ensuring that they are briefed regularly on what is expected of them to keep their operations safe and convenient.
Nuhu said the issuance of documents to airlines, ground handling firms and other service providers in the last three months had improved.
In the last three months on-time departure for indigenous carriers has improved as complaints over delays and cancellation of flights is dipping.
Dana Air and Ibom Air posted data indicating improvement in their on-time performance on major routes even as they inked a deal on codeshare/interline agreement.
The deal, according to the Chief Operating Officer of Ibom Air, Mr George Uriesi, is historic in the industry and would be a game changer for passengers desiring to connect to their destinations using a single ticket booking.
Lead domestic carrier – Air Peace – took delivery of its fourth regional Brazilian Embraer jet to consolidate its operations and deepen penetration on the logistic value chain. The new generation aircraft the carrier said is part of the 13 airplanes it paid for a few years ago.
Air Peace expanded its flight services into Gombe in the Northeast; Ibadan in the Southwest and Duola, the coastal/commercial hub of Cameroon in Central Africa. Besides Air Peace, Aero Contractors, Nigeria’s oldest carrier, also expanded flights into Bauchi State in the Northeast.
The state Governor, Bala Mohammed described the venture by the carrier as one of the audacious initiative needed to jumpstart the economy of the region. He said air transport with an airline such as Aero Contractors, with its safety and operational pedigree, will create a platform to trigger economic development of the region. More investors are showing interest to venture into aviation as NCAA is processing over 23 applications for prospective operators.
Among the new carriers hoping to secure licence from the NCAA are Cardinal Airlines, NG Eagle Airlines, Value Jets Airlines, and Jet Airlines.
An analyst, Dr Alex Nwuba, said more people expressed interest to set up airlines in various categories of carriage.
Aside scheduled passenger operations, Nwuba said more players are seeking approvals to ply their trade in the cargo/logistic value chain.
Aligning his views, another expert, Mr Tayo Ojuri, said the optics looked better in the third quarter as investors were latching on cheaper access to aircraft leasing to kick off cargo/courier-based airlines.
A few states – Anambra, Ebonyi , Yobe and Ogun – have consolidated on airport projects in their domains expected to open up their economy.
Significantly, more state governments engaged airlines to open up their corridor for flights.
Bayelsa, for instance, witnessed the commencement of scheduled flights into its airport in Ammassoma, a few minutes’drive from its capital,Yenogua.
Enugu Airport recommenced international flights with Ethiopian Airlines reconnecting the Southeast with other parts of the world through Addis Ababa.
The move, watchers said, is part of the headwinds achieved in the last three months.
On infrastructure, the industry took a leap to address complaints as the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) procured a mobile tower for some of its airports.
The move, the Managing Director, NAMA, Captain Fola Akinkuoto, said would address the gaps at the airspace agency.
The period under review was not devoid of controversies as the NCAA evolved amicable ways of resolving disputes between it and airlines.
The new curve in navigating landmines, experts say, will starve off frequents altercations.
Vice Chairman, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) Allen Onyema said unfounded claims by operators could create negative safety rating and perception for aviation and its regulator in the global community.
He said it was modest for airlines to approach the NCAA and other agencies on how to scale hurdles instead of throwing up claims that would portray the sector in bad light.
Onyema’s take came on the heels of the problem between NCAA and a logistic and helicopter company, Tropical Arctic Limited, which called out the regulator over infractions on delay in the renewal of their air operator’s certificate.
The Chief Operating Office of TAL, Femi Adeniji had alleged infractions on the part of the NCAA ‘s airworthiness and licensing department in renewing its AOC.
The helicopter company said the NCAA connived with a Danish firm to erect road block on its way to get its operational certificate renewed.
Many analyst describe the TAL/ NCAA imbroglio, as the lowest point in the sector in the last three months saying such development was avoidable if the sector needed quick wings in its riding out of the pandemic wrought pangs from a regulatory perspective.
Driving home the position, an investor who pleaded not to be named, said: “The altercation between NCAA and TAL is unnecessary. Both parties have to seek a common ground and resolve the issues so as not to blight the reputation of Nigeria in the global aviation arena.”
Vexed over the issue, the umbrella body of indigenous carriers said: “No operator can bully the civil aviation regulator for failure to do its bidding. As a body we dissociate ourselves from airlines which have found it fashionable to tar the NCAA with a dirty brush which misrepresents the entire industry. In the last few months the sector has been awash with all manner of labelling which is exposing the sector unduly. It is unthinkable for anybody to suggest that the regulatory authority could be harassed for failure to accede to any operator’s request.”
Lagos: FRSC begins ‘operation show driver’s license, vehicle papers’ - DAILY POST
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Lagos State will on Monday commence ‘Operation Show Your Driver’s License and Vehicle License’.
In a statement on Sunday, the Commander, Olusegun Ogungbemide condemned how owners of vehicles, tricycle and bike riders ply the road without permit.
Ogungbemide lamented that a high number of permanent driver’s licenses were yet to be picked from FRSC stations.
The first phase of the operation showed that a number of motorists drive without valid documentation while some don’t have.
“With the recent increase in vehicular movements as a result of the ember months, there is the need for all drivers to be handy with their driver’s licenses.
“The exercise will ensure all drivers have valid vehicle papers”, Ogungbemide added. The operation starts Monday, October 4 and will end October 10, 2021.
The FRSC hinted that defaulters will have their vehicles impounded until they provide genuine documents.
The commander said the National Road Traffic Regulations (NRTR) 2021, Regulation 67(1) states that any person driving a vehicle on any public road must be in possession of an original driver’s license.
UK eases travel rules but upsets nations not on list - ASSOCIATED PRESS
LONDON (AP) — Simplified international travel rules took effect Monday in the U.K., easing quarantine and testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers from more than 50 countries, and the Conservative government vowed it will seek to regularly expand the rules to more nations.
Still, the rules have sparked anger from many nations in the developing world, particularly India, which have been excluded from the list of countries whose vaccination programs are accepted by U.K. authorities. The New Delhi government on Friday said British citizens traveling in India would have to undergo COVID-19 tests and 10 days of quarantine, similar to the measures imposed on Indian residents visiting the U.K.
As part of the new regime, Britain eased entry requirements for fully vaccinated travelers from 18 countries, including Canada, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. It builds on a pilot phase with U.S. and most European countries that began over the summer.
The Department for Transport said it would take a “phased approach’’ to recognizing vaccines administered by additional countries and territories.
“The U.K. government is continuing to work with international partners as we seek to more regularly expand the policy to further countries and territories,’’ the department said.
Under the new rules, Britain scrapped its traffic light system for international travel, which applied different rules to travelers from countries in three different categories of COVID-19 risk. Now there are just two categories: a “red list,” which bars most non-essential travel, and the rest of the world.
But travelers from non-red list countries aren’t all treated equally.
Those who have been fully vaccinated with one of four authorized vaccines and have a certificate from a recognized public health agency are now allowed to enter the U.K. without a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test and without being required to quarantine on arrival.
But travelers coming from countries whose vaccination programs aren't recognized by U.K. authorities will still be required to show a pre-departure test and quarantine for 10 days.
Most countries in Africa and South America, as well as major Asian nations such as China, India and Vietnam, don’t have vaccination programs that are authorized by the U.K.
U.K. Has Only Seen 127 Applications for Fuel Driver Visas - BLOOMBERG
BY Bloomberg News,
The U.K. has so far only received 127 applications from fuel-tanker drivers wanting to come to Britain, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said illustrated the global shortage of drivers.
“What we said to the road haulage industry was fine, give us the names of the drivers that you want to bring in and we’ll sort out the visas,” Johnson said on BBC TV Tuesday, after the U.K. announced a program to bring in migrant drivers to address a fuel and supply-chain crisis. “They only produced 127 names so far.”
Britain has said it is open to issuing a total of 5,000 short-term visas to plug critical gaps in its labor market, particularly for the transportation of fuel following significant outages at gas stations.
COVID-19: UK relaxes travel restrictions for Nigerians, others - PREMIUM TIMES
“The new rules, which take effect from Monday, October 4, 2021, indicate that countries around the world have been categorised as either red or the rest of the world list,” UK wrote on its website.
Eligible fully vaccinated passengers travelling to the United Kingdom (UK) from countries not on the red list will no longer need to complete a Pre-Departure Test (PDT), a day 8 test, or enter a 10-day self-isolation period.
This is according to the new simplified travel rules published on the UK’s official website on Monday.
The new rules, which took effect from Monday, 4 October , indicate that countries around the world have been categorised as either red or the rest of the world list, replacing the green and amber lists.
“From 4am today (Monday 4 October 2021), the UK’s new travel system comes into force with countries and territories categorised as either red or the rest of the world.
“The new simplified travel system also means that eligible fully vaccinated passengers and eligible under-18s returning from over 50 countries and territories not on the red list, can do so without needing to complete a pre-departure test (PDT), a day 8 test or enter a 10-day self-isolation period, making it easier for those travelling – whether that’s to see friends and family, or on business trips.
“All under-11s, regardless of where they are travelling from, are already exempt from pre-departure testing for arrival in the UK. If children aged 11 and over are not travelling from one of the 50-plus countries and territories where vaccines are recognised, they will be required to follow the same rules as for unvaccinated passengers,” It said.
However, fully vaccinated residents in other countries not yet part of the inbound policy, as well as those partially vaccinated, will still have to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests for day 2 and day 8 after arrival, and self-isolate for 10 days, with the option to test to release after 5 days.
The UK government said later in October, eligible fully vaccinated passengers with an approved vaccine and recognised certificate from a country not on the red list will be able to replace their day 2 test with a cheaper lateral flow test, reducing the cost of tests on arrival in England.
It said this will be in place for when people return from half-term breaks.
“Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost, which would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants,” It said.
The government said it is expanding the country’s vaccinated policy to a further 18 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Japan, and Canada.
It noted that the recognised COVID-19 vaccines are Pfizer BioNTech, Oxford AstraZeneca (including Covidshield), Moderna and Janssen (J&J).
The government maintained that it would take a phased approach to recognising vaccines administered by other countries and territories, building on the success of the pilot with the US and Europe.
The UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said the country is accelerating towards a future where travel continues to reopen safely and remains open for good.
Mr Shapps said the new simplified rules are good news for families, businesses, and the travel sector.
“Our priority remains to protect public health but, with more than 8 in 10 people now fully vaccinated, we are able to take these steps to lower the cost of testing and help the sector to continue in its recovery.
Red list of countries and territories
Countries flagged as red list are those with the highest risk of the virus.
They include Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Congo (Democratic Republic), Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Georgia, Guyana,Haiti, Indonesia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mayotte, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone,Somalia,South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago,Tunisia,Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Following complaints by travellers to the UK, the UK authorities had said they would soon simplify existing travel rules for Nigerians and other international visitors to the country.
Before now, travellers from Nigeria and other countries were made to undergo two COVID-19 tests on day 2 and day 8 of their arrival.
“You can imagine the frustrations of Nigerians visiting the UK. After taking two doses of vaccines in Nigeria, you are still made to pay for accommodation for isolation while you also pay for tests.
“A friend of mine paid about 160 pounds sterling, an amount equivalent to about N120,000, just for testing,” a source had told PREMIUM TIMES.
COVID-19 Vaccination: Nigeria will be on UK Govt rating – NPHCDA - TV360
All fully vaccinated Nigerians will not be mandated to quarantine for 14 days in a supervised UK facility.
This is because Nigeria’s status on COVID-19 vaccine assessment by the UK government still remains unchanged.
But the Primary Health Care Development Agency is confident that Nigeria will be on the list once the UK government carries out it’s review and assessment of the COVID-19 vaccination.
This formed part of discussion at the weekly update meeting on vaccine roll out by the national primary health care development agency.
As a follow up to this, the presidential steering committee is in the process of reviewing this status as the UK government continues to assess the covid 19 vaccination status of countries in a phase by phase approach.
This comes on the heels of Nigerians missing on the list of more than 50 countries the UK government relaxed on it’s covid 19 vaccine policy
The world health organization has also applauded Nigeria for providing guidance and leading the example to other African countries on the vaccination roll out.
14,000 Nigerians studying in US — Official - VANGUARD
The United States Consulate in Nigeria says no fewer than 14,000 Nigerians are currently studying in American universities.
The U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer, Lagos, Stephen Ibelli, disclosed this on Tuesday at the inauguration of ”Window on America” centre located at Osun University Teaching Hospital, Oshogbo.
The “Window on America” is an initiative of the Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy, Lagos, which provides the public free access to connect and learn about the United States through programmes and lectures, as well as through books, movies, and magazines.
Ibelli said the number of Nigerians studying in America was an indication of how Nigerians value strong education.
“Indeed, we have almost 14,000 Nigerians studying in America and this is not by accident.
“This is because Nigerians and Nigerian families believe in strong education.
“They push their kids to strong education. American universities offer world class education,” he said.
On the Window on America platform, Ibelli said it would serve as a community resource center for accurate and current information about the political, economic, cultural, educational and social life in the United States.
He said that the new space would offer a calendar of programmes on topics of interest designed to bring Americans and Nigerians closer together.
Ibelli also said the centre would enable the public to connect to universities in America to do research for their masters and doctorates for free.
“We are so excited today to launch the Window on America here in Osogbo.
“This is delivery process because it is difficult to travel here and from one place to another.
“And that is why we want to bring a little bit of consulate, a little bit of America mission, a little bit of mission in Nigeria to the public.
“With its modern design, computer workstations, books, and perhaps most importantly, an open space for members of the community to host conversations of mutual interest, the new centre exemplifies the U.S. government’s commitment to a core tenet of democracy, a citizen’s right to free access to information,” Ibelli said.
He explained that the Window on America in Osogbo would be a reference point for free information.
“Through the Osogbo Window on America, we will provide employability and leadership training for young people, offer information on study opportunities in the U.S., showcase American culture and values, as well as foster closer people-to-people ties between the people of Nigeria and the United States,” Ibelli added.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director, Osun State University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Peter Olaitan, said that Window on America is an initiative of the Public Affairs Section-US Embassy, Lagos, to foster mutual understanding and respect between the Nigeria and the United States.
He said the window provides welcoming environments where visitors could connect and learn about the United States through programmes and lectures, as well as through books, movies, and magazines.
“It provides educational advice for those who want to study at the United States and also information on how to handle visa related questions.
“It also organises workshops on a range of topics such as health career and skills to English Language learning,” he said.
Olaitan also appreciated the U.S. Consulate on the location of facility at the hospital premises.
“I appreciate the American Embassy in Nigeria for giving the opportunity to have such a system in place not just for our staff and students but for numerous citizens of our state.
“I want to urge our students and staff to make the best use of this American information center that has been domiciled in our hospital,” he said
Nigerians Travelling To Britain Will Still Be Isolated For Seven Days - NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said that Nigerians travelling to Britain will still be isolated for seven days, as UK Government is yet to comprehensively review Nigeria’s vaccination certification programme.
The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib disclosed this on Tuesday at a press conference on Progress of COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria.
Shuaib said communication with the UK Government officials, the vaccines administered in Nigeria are approved by the UK Government.
Shuaib further said UK officials are also involved with the vaccination program in Nigeria through the Foreign, Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) and they are optimistic that by the time Nigeria’s COVID-19 vaccination program certification is assessed, it will be approved.
He said: “Nigeria’s status has not changed. Nigeria is not among the listed countries that need mandatory quarantine for 14 days in a supervised UK facility.
“The statement released by the UK Government is in line with the Press statement released last week that Nigerians will continue to isolate upon arrival to the UK.
“This is similar to our requirement to have travellers from the UK, isolate for seven days upon arrival in Nigeria.
“The Presidential Steering Committee is in the process of reviewing these requirements. We have been in touch with the UK Government.
“Just like they stated clearly in their communication, the current listing of Countries with approved vaccination certification has just started in the UK.
“They are reviewing the Country’s programs in phases. If you go through the list of 50 closely, no African country made the list.
“Once it gets to our turn, we are more likely than not to get approved in the coming weeks. Like the UK Government have clearly stated, the process of assessment would occur in phases.”
Shuaib also pointed out that in recent weeks, the agency have intensified campaigns for the uptake of second dose using multiple media strategies, stakeholders, and community engagement, and these have yielded appreciable results.
He, however, reiterated that more work needs to be collectively done to improve vaccine uptake.
“We will continue to engage with citizens to promote a more rapid uptake of the vaccines much as we will continue to count on your professional support to see that people are adequately protected against COVID-19.
“I would like to inform you that yesterday evening, we received 501,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility as donation from the Government of France.
“We have also gotten confirmation that we will be receiving 3,577,860 doses of Pfizer vaccines within the next two weeks.
“As part of our transparency process to Nigerians and the Media, we would be providing you with figures of the adverse event following immunization reported.
“In this phase of the vaccination process, 191 serious and 6,555 non-serious AEFI cases were reported. All cases reported were managed in the health facility and individuals have fully recovered and back to their normal daily living.
“In the coming months, Nigeria will be receiving more doses of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX facility. We anticipate that the vaccines will be quite large in amount, and therefore will require more efficient and faster ways of utilizing them including expanding access to the vaccines.
“We have therefore started implementing the decentralisation of vaccine utilisation by involving the private sector in the vaccine administration.
“Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are available at Government health facilities only. As we decentralize, private health facilities who meet the set criteria will be allocated COVID-19 vaccines, after due training of their immunization service providers.
“Vaccinations in a private health facility will continue with the help of Government health officials. Subsequently, clients will be able to access COVID-19 vaccines at both government and private health care facilities in the country.
“This will be done at different levels which would include the States and Local Governments. We are taking every caution to ensure that when implemented, the decentralization policy is not corrupted.
“Private health care facilities will be carefully selected based on transparent eligibility criteria, and supervision will be maximized to ensure discipline and compliance with safety measures.
“The goal, as I said is to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines and to ensure rapid and safe vaccine utilization,” Shuaib added.