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Suspected kidnapper of Redeemed pastor, teacher arrested in Calabar

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The Cross River police have arrested Felix Etim, said to be among the gang that kidnapped a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Calabar, Sunday Adediran, and a teacher whose name was not mentioned.

Mr Adediran was kidnapped on November 13 at the Ikot Eneobong area in Calabar and regained his freedom on November 15.

The spokesperson for the Cross River police, Irene Ugbo, said on Tuesday that the suspect was in their custody.

“Etim belongs to a 30-man gang that has been terrorising residents of 8miles, Bacoco, Odukpani and Nasarawa areas in Calabar municipality.

“The suspect was arrested by operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping and Cultism Squad of the police in the early hours of Tuesday.

“Our men are on the trail of others involved in the kidnap of the pastor and the teacher.

“We have a big challenge, which is lack of vehicles. In spite of that, we are still making progress with the little we are given,” she said.

The spokesperson commended the efforts of the commander of the Anti-Kidnapping and Cultism Squad, Alhameed Awodi, and his team for their apt response.

Ms Ugbo, however, solicited the cooperation of members of the public in the area to share useful and timely information to help the police respond to cases of emergency on time.

(NAN)

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APC Crisis: Ex-Gov. Yerima calls for unity in Zamfara

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Ahmed Sani Yerima

Former Governor Ahmad Yerima of Zamfara has called for unity in the All Progressives Congress (APC) family in the state, urging those challenging the party’s leadership in the state to stop in the interest of peace.

Mr Yerima said this when he received newly inaugurated state executives of the party at his residence in Gusau.

Yusuf Idris, APC’s publicity secretary in Zamfara, disclosed this in a statement in Gusau on Monday.

The statement said the executives’ visit was to show appreciation to APC stakeholders in Zamfara over their emergence under the chairmanship of Tukur-Umar Danfulani.

“During the visit, Danfulani promised to show leadership by example, promising that all loyal members will be fully engaged in party activities,” said the statement.

It added that the executives also visited former Governor Mahmud Shinkafi, serving and former lawmakers at the National and State House of Assembly, among others.

(NAN)

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COVID-19: Botswana confirms 19 Omicron cases

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Botswana Health Minister, Edwin Dikoloti, has confirmed 19 cases of the newly-discovered Omicron variant of COVID-19.

“Such detection should not be confused with Botswana being the country of origin of the strain,” the Botswana health minister said.

Mr Dikoloti disclosed this at a briefing that additional assessments and analyses of other positive COVID-19 samples had revealed 15 more cases of the Omicron variant on Sunday after four foreigners were declared infected.

“We will continue to expand our conduct tracing to ensure that no potential cases go undetected,” Mr Dikoloti stressed.

He further stated that the initial cases of the Omicron variant in Botswana were detected after four foreign nationals, who had briefly visited Botswana, tested positive for COVID-19 on November 11. 

The variant was confirmed as the Omicron variant on November 24.

(NAN)

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Omicron: Philippines launches ambitious vaccination drive

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The Philippines on Monday launched an ambitious three-day vaccination drive to give COVID-19 shots to up to nine million Filipinos amid the threat of the highly mutated Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Thousands of security forces and volunteers were deployed nationwide to implement the campaign, which was being held as the country again imposed international travel restrictions.

“The national vaccination day is very timely and truly a milestone in our COVID-19 pandemic response and mitigation efforts,” Carlito Galvez, the country’s vaccination chief, said. “Inoculating nine million individuals in three days is our most ambitious target so far.”

According to the Department of Health, three million people would be vaccinated a day or nearly four times the average of 813,734 daily doses in the past week.

The department said before Monday, more than 35.78 million Filipinos had been fully vaccinated, or over 32 per cent of the country’s total population of 110 million.

The government aims to vaccinate 54 million people by the end of 2021 and 77 million by next March.

Mr Galvez said with the country’s increasing supply of vaccines, the key was now to “accelerate and expand the capacity” of local government units, especially those outside the capital region of Metro Manila.

The Philippines banned flights from 14 countries, including seven European nations, due to rising COVID-19 cases and the detection of the Omicron variant.

The government also indefinitely delayed a previous decision to start accepting some foreign tourists again from December 1. 

(dpa/NAN)

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