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MTN directs mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for employees



MTN Group has announced plans to implement a mandatory vaccination policy for all its staff from January 2022.

MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ralph Mupita, said this in a statement on Monday in Lagos.

Mupita said that the move was part of MTN’s commitment to protect the health and safety of staff and workplaces.

“The science is clear. Vaccination against COVID-19 reduces the rate of serious infections, hospitalisation, and death.

“As an employer, we have a responsibility to ensure that our workplaces are guided by the highest standards of health and safety, and that has informed our decision to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for our staff.

“Our new COVID-19 policy recognises that some of our markets don’t have adequate access to vaccines.

“It also recognises some low-risk roles that will be accommodated with full-time work-from-home or alternate arrangements, but this will be a small population within our workforce,” he said.

Mupita said that both the World Health Organisation and the Africa Centres for Disease Control advocate vaccines as an important measure to protect people.

“Vaccine equity continues to be a major issue for African countries.

“As MTN, we add our voice to the calls for more vaccines to be made available to African countries, as herd immunity will only happen when the whole globe has reached a sufficient level of COVID-19 vaccination,” Mupita said.

He said that the latest travel bans on African countries by developed nations were not based on science, unjust and add to the lack of support for Africa that was much needed for an effective global response to the pandemic.

Mupita said that African countries were being punished for the transparency that was actually needed to successfully combat the impact of COVID-19 virus on the lives and livelihoods of the people.

“The latest data shows that across the continent, only seven per cent of Africans have been fully vaccinated.

“This compares with a global population vaccination rate of 55 per cent. The fight against COVID-19 needs a global, comprehensive and equitable allocation of vaccines,” he added.

Mupita said MTN Group’s new vaccine policy was a measure to meet MTN’s legal obligations in regard to providing a safe workplace.

He added that the policy would be subject to risk assessment and local laws that apply to the MTN Group, operating companies and subsidiaries.

MTN said that it also recognised the right of employees to apply to be exempted from the policy and/or refuse vaccination on certain clearly defined grounds.

Mupita said that MTN would not be obliged to continue the employment or contract of staff members who are not exempted from vaccinations either through risk assessment or agreed exclusions but still refuse vaccination.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the new mandatory vaccination policy follows the Group’s 25 million dollars donation to the African Union’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.

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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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Plateau monarch abducted



Barely three weeks after the kidnap of a paramount ruler in Plateau State, the military task force responsible for the maintenance of peace in the state, code-named Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), has confirmed that gunmen have abducted HRH. Da Gyang Balak Gut, the Da Gwom Rwei of Vwang District of Jos South Local Government Area of the state.

The traditional ruler was kidnapped on Sunday night on his way home to Vom, a few metres from the gate of the National Institute For Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru in Jos South LGA.

Recalls that following the abduction of the Sum Pyem, Da Charles Mato Dakat, on the 26th December, 2021, before he was released five days later, the United Mwaghavul Lawyers Association (UMLA) had described the incident as not an attack on an individual, but on the entire traditional institution in Plateau State.

The lawyers equally had said it views the kidnapping of the royal father as not an isolated incident, “but the beginning of a well-orchestrated plan to intimidate and decapitate our treasured leaders in the state and the Middle Belt at large”.

While condemning the dastardly act, on behalf of UMLA, Barr. Philemon Daffi reminded the federal, state and local governments of their shared responsibility under the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Spokesman of OPSH, Major Ishaku Takwa, who confirmed the incident, said, “Troops of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) in conjunction with other security agencies are on trail of the kidnappers.

“God’s willing, the security agencies will soon close-up on the criminals”, he maintained.

Vwang District is where the famous National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom is situated in Plateau State.

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