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.
One year after, Buhari regime continues illegal restriction of Peoples Gazette’s website from Nigerians
One year after its clampdown on the operations of Peoples Gazette, President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime is yet to lift its restriction of access to the outlet’s website, thereby denying Nigerians access to information.
On January 26, 2021, Peoples Gazette suffered a steep cut in its readership after the Buhari regime ordered mobile telecommunications companies within Nigeria to block access to the website.
Subsequently, readers received error messages such as “ERR_CONNECTION_CLOSED, ERR_NAME_NOT_RESOLVED, and DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN.” leaving many to opt for the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to boycott the restriction.
A forensic analysis by Qurium, a Sweden-based foundation had concluded that mobile operators deliberately implemented the restriction of access to the website of the Abuja-based digital outlet.
Several rights groups, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, Global Rights, Amnesty International, Paradigm Initiatives, and the Reporters without Borders, had condemned the restriction as repressive and undemocratic.
The Nigerian Union of Journalists and former Nigerian Vice-President Atiku Abubakar had also condemned the attack and called for the restriction to be lifted.
Despite these calls and criticisms, the Buhari regime has yet to lift the restrictions, as readers still continually receive error messages while trying to access the website.
Although, presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina had denied that the government targeted The Gazette’s website, MTN, in late 2021 admitted blocking its subscribers from accessing the website based on written directives from the Buhari regime.
A Lagos-based rights attorney, Festus Ogun, who had earlier condemned the restriction, told The Gazette over the telephone that the regime’s refusal to lift the restriction was “a symptom of the president’s tyranny.”
Citing Section 22 and 39 of the Nigerian 1999 constitution that guarantees freedom of expression and obligates the media to hold the government accountable, Mr Ogun said the current administration lacked the power to “arbitrarily” or “unjustifiably” shut down the website of Peoples Gazette.
“So, the question I’ve been asking myself is if the government can shut down a media which is the fourth arm of government, then, why should we call it a democracy?” he queried.
“It’s just that we are in an era of tyranny, an era of impunity because if indeed our laws rule in this country, we should not have a situation where the government just because they are not comfortable with the secret truth that the media platform is publishing or the criticisms that ensued from the media platform go ahead to shut it down,” he added.
He submitted that the clampdown can be likened to the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, adding that “it is a naked show of power and force, a sort of dictatorship that should not happen in a democracy.”
Further criticising the Buhari regime, Mr Ogun said the government “must pay for it” because this is how they destroy Nigerian democracy. “They must also apologise to Peoples Gazette,” he added.
The restriction on the website followed an exclusive story that cast a spotlight on Bolaji Gambari as the new head of a budding cabal of administration associates inside the Presidential Villa.
The outlet, which launched in September 2020, came under severe security pressure shortly after the story was published and received financial offers to pull down the story. But the harassments were firmly rebuffed.
Nigeria Hockey Federation to focus on grassroots talents: President
Simon Nkom, the President, Nigeria Hockey Federation (NHF) says the federation will focus on the grassroots to hunt for budding talents to develop the sport in the country.
Mr Nkom stated this in an interview on Friday in Abuja, saying, “We will focus on the grassroots to hunt for budding talents and in the shortest possible time, Nigerian hockey would be lifted to the level that we all desire.”
He said that Nigeria was on the right path towards reclaiming its position in the sport on the continent and in the world at large, noting that the recent achievements by team Nigeria at the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ghana, was proof the future of the sport was bright.
Recall that the Nigeria men’s Hockey team moved from 75th to 46th position in the world but remained fourth in Africa after South Africa, Egypt and Ghana.
While their women counterparts moved from 58th position to 37th in the world, but remained fourth in Africa after South Africa, Ghana and Kenya.
The president noted that the feat was the beginning of better things to come for the sport, adding that the new board would continue to build on the achievements.
“First, we want to thank the ministry for their support. We are very proud of what we achieved in Ghana and the board and I are committed to building and improving on this successes.
“I love this sport and together with the new hockey board members and other stake holders we will take hockey to the top.
“We have mapped out programmes that we will pursue vigorously for accelerated development of the game.
“It is our fervent hope that at the end, we would have achieved more than the other federations that started before us,” he said.
Bayelsa govt pledges support for 14-year-old teen impregnated by father
The Bayelsa government has promised to provide psychological and other support to a 14-year-old girl impregnated by her father.
Dise Ogbise, Coordinator, Gender Response Initiative Team (GRIT) in the state, said on Friday in Yenagoa that some members of the public reported the case.
According to Ms Ogbise, the team swung into action when it was reported that the teenager was five months pregnant for her father, arrested the man and subsequently hauled him into police custody.
The suspect who hails from Ogani Wily Kaira, Ogoni, Rivers, was arrested following a formal complaint from GRIT.
She alleged that the 38-year-old man, residing at PDP Road, Yenagoa, had been sexually abusing his own daughter since she was seven.
She noted that the victim needed a lot of support to help her go through the rigours of pregnancy at a very tender age.
“The government will ensure that she continues her education. The victim, a Junior Secondary School student who aspires to be a musician, will be assisted to achieve her life goal,’’ she said.
The coordinator applauded the neighbour who gave GRIT the tip, adding that the man had been violating his daughter and things got worse when the victim’s mother died a few years ago.
Ogbise gave the assurance that GRIT was committed to protecting the rights of the girl child.
Asinim Butswat of the state police command confirmed the incident, saying that the suspect would be charged to court as soon as investigations were concluded.
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