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Nigeria confirms three Omicron cases in passengers from South Africa



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on Wednesday morning confirmed the first case of the Omicron variant in the country.

This is contained in a press release issued by the centre and signed by the Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa in Abuja.

FELLOW PRESS reports that the new variant has sparked global concerns due to fears it may spread faster and be resistant to vaccines.

Following its discovery in South Africa, Omicron was first detected in Europe in Belgium on Nov. 27, 2021.

Other European countries, including Germany, Italy and the U.K., have confirmed cases. Australia also reported cases on Nov 28, 2021.

The European Union on Nov. 27, 2021, moved to ban travel from seven Southern African countries.

Other nations, including the U.S. and U.K., are adopting similar moves. Israel late Saturday went further, imposing a two week travel band for all non-residents.

Similarly, the government of Canada had also stated that it discovered two cases of the variant from two passengers from Nigeria.

The Federal Government through the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, however, said that it was investigating the issue to get more details.

Adetifa , however, on Wednesday morning said two cases of the variant were discovered through genomic sequencing.

It albeit linked the cases to two passengers from South Africa.

“In line with the routine travel tests required of all international travellers, genomic sequencing at the NCDC through its National Reference Laboratory, Abuja, confirms Nigeria’s first case of the Omicron variant.

“Genomic sequencing of positive cases from routine day-two testing for travellers to Nigeria identified two cases of Omicron variant among travellers from South Africa who arrived in Nigeria past weeks.

“Retrospective sequencing of previously confirmed cases among travellers to Nigeria also identified the Omicron variant among samples collected in the past weeks 2021,” he explained.

He added that the three patients were asymptomatic and contact tracing had began.

NAN recalls that Genomic sequencing analyses the virus sample taken from a diagnosed patient and compares it with other cases.

By the time the virus arrived in Nigeria, the different changes, or mutations, of COVID-19 “define branches on a tree”.

Each branch of COVID-19 that exists in Nigeria could be linked back to the South Africa, China, UK in the original instance, as well as via an outbreak in a foreign country.

The new variant is coming at a time Nigerians have let down non-pharmaceutical measures like face and nose masking, hand washing and social distancing.

It is also coming at a time when aside border surveillance, Nigeria seems to have developed cold feet in her in-country responses like surveillance and community testing.

With the lull in these activities, the new variant may have had its way into Nigerian communities already and so the need to spring back to action has just been reiterated especially now that the festive season is here.

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Photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger involved in car crash



Hollywood actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been involved in a car accident, his spokesman has confirmed.

The four-vehicle crash, which occurred on Friday afternoon, January 21 in Los Angeles left one person with injuries, Los Angeles Police said.

Photos from the scene published by TMZ show a large SUV on top of at least two vehicles at an intersection in Brentwood while the ‘Terminator’ actor can be seen standing nearby.

Police said that no arrest has been made and ruled out the involvement of drugs and alcohol.

Officers did not identify those involved but the actor and former California governor’s spokesman confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that he was driving the SUV when the incident occurred.

A report by police, seen by CBS Los Angeles, said that the SUV driver was “near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Allenford Avenue, when a collision occurred with a red Prius making a u-turn as he continued through a ‘red arrow’ signal to turn left.”

It added that the SUV rolled on top of the Prius and ended up hitting two other vehicles.

One person was taken to hospital by ambulance, but the injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

Schwarzenegger’s spokesman said that the actor was uninjured and had spoken with emergency services and the injured person.

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Minna district head suspended over forceful marriage



District Head of Allawa in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, Mallam Bello Haruna has been suspended by Minna Emirate Council for engaging in forceful marriage.

The district head who was accused of forcefully marrying out a girl (name withheld), humiliating her father and also ordering that she be beaten by vigilantes, was also accused of insubordination by not answering the calls from the Emirate council leaders to explain some of the complaints against him.

In a letter signed by the Emirate’s assistant secretary, Usman Umaru Guni, the district head was accused of not having the leadership qualities necessary for peace and progress of the community he was appointed to lead.

Galadima Allawa, Ahmadu Magaji has now been appointed as the acting district head.

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Nnamdi Kanu: Imo residents observe sit-at-home for IPOB leader’s trial



Residents of Imo State, especially Orlu town and Owerri municipal, on Tuesday, stayed indoors to observe the sit-at-home order issued by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in solidarity with its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who appeared in court today.

It was gathered that the state secretariat, motor parks, schools, banks, shops and markets across the major cities were all shut down.

Even the Imo State University junction, Government House Roundabout, Control Post Roundabout, Warehouse junction Roundabout, Ikenegbu, Mbari, Douglas, Okigwe Road, and Wethedral Roads, were scanty.

In Orlu, the ever-busy Banana junction and Okwudo junction were more like ghost towns.

A journalist, Mr Martin Nwoke, in Owerri North Local Government Area of the state, made a passionate appeal to the Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu.

He said Imolites and the people of southeast states were the ones suffering the heat of the order.

Nwoke said, “In this part of the world, everything we do here involves money. I am begging President Buhari to pity us and free Nnamdi Kanu.”

A lawyer, Barr. Emeka Obi, told our correspondent that he could not go to file a court process due to non-availability of transport, while children, who could not go to school, resorted to playing football on the streets at Akwakuma.

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