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The Independent National Electoral Commission reveals that a total of 72,775,502 million Nigerians have collected their Permanent Voter Cards(PVC) for the General Elections.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the announcement of the total figure of PVC's collected in Abuja on Thursday.


The number of PVCs collected represents 86.36 percent of the 84,004,084 Nigerians that registered to vote.


According to INEC, 11,228,582 PVCs were not collected for the polls.

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AFP

The rapid scale-up of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine could virtually eliminate cervical cancer in a handful of rich countries within three decades, and in most other nations by century’s end, researchers said Wednesday.

Without screening and HPV vaccination, more than 44 million women will likely be diagnosed with the disease over the next 50 years, they reported in The Lancet Oncology, a medical journal.

Two-thirds of these cases — and an estimated 15 million deaths — would occur in low- and medium-income countries.

By contrast, the rapid deployment starting in 2020 of screening and vaccination could prevent more than 13 million cervical cancers by mid-century worldwide, and lower the number of cases to below four-per-100,000 women, the study found.

“This is a potential threshold for considering cervical cancer to be eliminated as a major public health problem,” the authors said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 570,000 new cases worldwide in 2018, making it the fourth most common cancer for women after breast, colon and lung cancer.

The disease claims the lives of more than 300,000 women every year, mostly in lower-income nations.

“Despite the enormity of the problem, our findings suggest that global elimination is within reach,” said lead author Karen Canfell, a professor at the Cancer Council New South Wales, in Sydney.

Achieving that goal, however, depends on “both high coverage of HPV vaccination and cervical screening,” she added.

Transmitted sexually, HPV is extremely common and includes more than 100 types of virus, at least 14 of them cancer-causing.

The viruses have also been linked to cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina and penis.

It takes 15 to 20 years for cervical cancer to develop in women with normal immune systems. If the immune system is weak or compromised — by HIV infection, for example — cancer can develop far more quickly.

Clinical trials have shown that HPV vaccines are safe and effective against the two HPV strains — types 16 and 18 — responsible for 70 per cent of cervical cancer cases.

The study’s projections presume the vaccination of 80 per cent of girls 12 to 15 years old starting in 2020, and that at least 70 per cent of women undergo screening twice in their lifetime.

This would push the prevalence of the disease below the bar of 4/100,000 women in countries such as the United States, Canada, Britain and France by 2059, and in mid-income countries such as Brazil and China by 2069, the authors calculate.

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The Presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Alh. Atiku Abubakar reconfirmed his plans to sell NNPC once he wins the presidential election. Atiku who was in Kaduna state, Thursday, for a town hall meeting with wards, local government, and state party leaders ahead of the 2019 Presidential election, made this known.

In his statement, he reconfirmed the plans he earlier made to Nigerians during his campaign to sell the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission NNPC if elected as the President.

The former Vice Pres. disclosed that the NNPC had failed in its duties and should be sold, he added he would sell it the same way former Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo sold the Nigerian Telecommunication Limited NITEL during his tenure.

According to him, selling the NNPC is the best way to get Nigeria working again.

Atiku while speaking on how the sale of NITEL was done under former Pres. Obasanjo said

“Under Obasanjo, NITEL went through several botched sales and management turnaround contracts. First, 51 per cent of the shares was sold to a group of investors under the trading name of Investors International London limited.

He added that the sale was cancelled after the investors failed to pay but in 2003, the government approved a management change contract with a firm called Pentascope.

“The contract was again cancelled in 2005 after it became clear Pentascope did not have the adequate resources to run NITEL,” he said.

“In 2005, government again offered NITEL to Orascom. This failed again, leading the government to sell it to a subsidiary of Transcorp in 2007.

“The sale was revoked in 2009. In 2014, the firm was sold to NATCOM, a group of investors led by Tunde Ayeni. Ayeni since then has been running it as NTEL.”

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Rivers State has led observers and party agents to confirm the arrival of sensitive materials for the Presidential and National Assembly Elections scheduled for this Saturday at the premises of the Central Bank Of Nigeria in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

According to Channels Television, The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Obo Effanga, had earlier explained that all sensitive materials for the elections were still in the custody of the CBN before the postponement of the elections was announced by INEC on Saturday, February 16, 2019.

He had given the assurance that none of the items was compromised.

Earlier, the INEC boss had offered his regrets over the postponement of the elections and assurance to Nigerians that the electoral body under his leadership was working towards conducting credible elections.

As part of measures to ensure that the polls were conducted on the rescheduled dates, the INEC boss revealed on Tuesday during a press briefing in Abuja, that all materials including ballot papers and result sheets, were already at the expected locations across the country.

He also said Registration Area Centres (RACs) for the elections would be activated by 9:00 am on Friday across the nation and warned that personnel and materials should be at the RATs by mid-day on Friday. “Personnel and materials must arrive at the polling units latest 7:00 am Saturday 23 February 2019, and the opening of polls nationwide will take place at 8:00 in the morning on Saturday 23 February 2019,” he stated.

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- The Federal Government has begun the payment of the Civil servants February salaries.

- Speaking to journalists was the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, right after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.


According to him, the early payment of salaries to the civil servants is meant to ease the burden on those who want to travel for the Presidential elections on Saturday.


“On the part of the Federal Government we decided that to make it easy for those who will want to go back to vote, salary payment started on Tuesday as opposed to the normal 25th of every month.

“This is just to ease the burden of people who want to go back and cast their vote”.

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Ghanaians living in Nigeria illegally have since been living in peace but Nigerians living in Ghana are being treated poorly and gathered about like refugees and thieves.  

The Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Michael Abikoye, has sternly protested the inhuman treatment of Nigerians by the Ghana Immigration Service with the deportation of 723 Nigerians between 2018 and 2019.


Abikoye said this at a meeting held between himself and the Comptroller-General of the GIS, Kwame Takyi, in Ghana, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

The high commissioner said 723 Nigerians were deported on alleged illegal stay, cybercrime, and prostitution between January 2018 and January 2019.

According to him,  81 Nigerians were deported on alleged cybercrime and illegal stay in January, while 115 have so far been deported on the allegation of overstay and prostitution.

He, however, warned that any ill-treatment of Nigerians would not be acceptable to the Nigerian government.

 “Although, the GIS had linked prostitution and cybercrimes as some of the reasons for the deportation, it is improper to deport Nigerians for alleged illegal stay in Ghana.

“There are several Ghanaians living in Nigeria and the Nigeria Immigration Service has never deported any of them on the grounds of illegal stay because of the brotherliness between our countries,” he said.

The ambassador presented to the CG a copy of the mission’s records on deportations of Nigerians from January 2018 till date.

The ambassador also showed photos of some of them who sustained injuries on their legs, arms, and eyes during torture.

In his response, the ambassador, Takyi, said the GIS was compelled to act because of the conduct of some Nigerians in Ghana.

He alleged that “some Nigerians had become laws in themselves; they block major Ghanaian streets where they drink, fight and stab one another.”

He said, “This unruly behavior which contravenes the local laws in Ghana has led to directives from higher authorities for the arrests and eventual deportation of those who do not have the requisite immigration papers.”

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Crux- Catholic Relief Services is working to help Kenyans get enough water. Kenya is a water scarce country, and the annual renewable fresh water supply per capita is just 65 percent of the recommended global standards.

“Approximately 80 percent of Kenya’s land is classified as arid or semi-arid lands which are home to roughly 30 percent of the population,” Lane Bunkers, CRS Country Representative for Kenya, told Crux.

It is estimated that 41 percent of the country’s more than 46 million people still rely on unimproved water sources, such as ponds, shallow wells and rivers, with just 9 of the country’s 55 public water service providers providing continuous water supply.

“The recurrence of and intensity of droughts has increased over the years - exacerbated by climate change - which has greatly impacted the livelihoods of the local population which is largely dependent on rain-fed agriculture and livestock for their livelihood. In fact, 2016 and 2017 were very dry years in Kenya with drought conditions persisting for a two-year period and affecting nearly the entire country. Although 2018 saw a normalization of the rains for most of the country. And with climate change, the situation can only worsen,” Bunkers said.

According to TheWaterProject.org, Kenya’s water scarcity means women and children who are the primary water harvesters spend up to one third of their day fetching water, and this opens them up to several dangers, including attacks by predators. Ironically, they also become at risk of contracting water-borne diseases, given that the water “is not only contaminated at the basins and pumps where water is collected but the containers are almost always ‘found,’ second-hand objects, often previously used for oil, fertilizer or wastes.”

The CRS and its partners are now helping out through the Kenya Resilient Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development Program, or Kenya-RAPID. It is a project being implemented in five northern counties in Kenya which are classified as arid or semi-arid lands.

As a founding member of the Millennium Water Alliance which implements Kenya-RAPID, Bunkers told Crux, CRS participated actively in the development of the Kenya-RAPID project, and are the lead implementer for two of the five counties: Turkana County and Isiolo County.

“Kenya-RAPID attempts to do more than simply provide water and sanitation services for those in need. The project promotes a responsive and accountable governance framework at county levels that ensures sustainable provision of water and pasture. By working hand-in-hand with country government officials, we have been able to influence policy development that is comprehensive and serves all parties. We have also worked to promote a transparent budgeting process of county funds dedicated to water, hygiene and sanitation activities,” Bunkers said.

“The project also promotes replicable and scalable private sector business models for water, hygiene and sanitation activities, as well as livestock service delivery, which has sparked innovations such as solar-powered water flow meters. We have also facilitated relationships with private sector service providers who are interested in expanding their market to the Kenya-RAPID project counties,” he continued.

The impact has been significant. Testimonies contained on the CRS website illustrate the level of success.

“We used to fetch water quite a distance away - 4 miles one way. Our children did not go to school because they were dirty since we had no clean water. Now they are able to go to school,” said Monica, a farmer, in whose community a borehole, a water tank and a group of solar panels had been installed, thereby creating a solar pumping system to provide potable water for the community to “drink, cook, wash, irrigate land and sustain livestock.”

“Before, we had water that was dirty and had waterborne diseases. Now we are able to drink clean water. Because of the water, people can grow their vegetables, and our livestock are able to access water,” Monica explained.

Monica, like other community members, now has a thriving farmland where she cultivates crops and vegetables not only for home consumption but can now afford to sell some excess to make extra cash.

“I’m expecting to harvest my tomatoes and make $1,000 from the sales. I will save the cash and use it to buy onion seeds, pesticides and herbicides, and [more land] to extend my farm,” said Philip, who uses proceeds from his tomatoe farm to supply for his wife and four kids.

Yet, the work of the charity isn’t without risks and challenges. Bunkers noted that CRS works in very large counties with low population densities and with pastoralism as the predominant livelihood.

“Providing services for this population in such a large geographic area is challenging. Additionally, tribal conflicts over scarce and over-burdened pasture and water sources produce insecure situations at times which will limit our accessibility to some of the communities we would like to reach,” he told Crux.

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The 2019 general election has seen more violence and property loss in the past few months than it probably bargained for.

The latest act of misconduct and crisis come from Osun state as the supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) meet in an unfavorable way.


The violence gets a minor shot and properties destroyed. This occurred in Atakumosa East Local government area of the state which lasted three days and affected the residents of Iwara, Olowu, Atorin, Lapaide, and neighboring communities, coming less than one week to the reschedule general elections.


The 11-year-old girl who sustained gunshot wound had already been taken to the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital for medical attention.

Some adults who also sustained various degrees of injury were being treated while at least five houses and cars were burnt during the violent clash.


Instead of taking responsibility for the act and taking possible actions to remedy the situation, the APC leader in the local government, Israel Famurewa, and his PDP counterpart, Francis Fadahunsi, found it convenient to trade accusations over who should be held responsible for the violence.


The police authorities have confirmed the clash and warned politicians against engaging in acts of violence in the state.

Shortly after meeting with other security personnel, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Abiodun Ige, told reporters on Monday that investigation was ongoing to ascertain the cause of the mayhem.

She assured the residents that the perpetrators of the act would be apprehended and made to face the wrath of the law.

The police commissioner asked all politicians in the state to put an end to the violent clashes and attacks on members as anyone found culpable would be decisively dealt with.


She added that the command would put all apparatus in place to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections devoid of crisis.

Despite the assurance, the residents of affected communities have called on the government and relevant agencies to help restore peace to their localities.


See pictures below;




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A tragic incident visited Cairo in Egypt on Monday as an explosion claimed the lives of two policemen who were chasing a man believed to have targeted security staff near a mosque last week, Egypt’s interior ministry said.


“As security surrounded the man and was set to arrest and control him, an explosive device in his possession went off,” the ministry said.


The blast in the crowded Darb al-Ahmar district in downtown Cairo also killed the bomber and injured three other policemen.

The man was being pursued as part of “efforts to search for the perpetrator” responsible for planting an explosive device near security staff close to a mosque in Giza on Friday, the ministry said.


Security had been able to defuse that device, the ministry said.

Monday’s explosion took place near Al Azhar mosque at the heart of ancient Islamic Cairo, damaging several shops.

The site was cordoned off and reporters were not immediately allowed access to the area.


“My shop’s front and windows were destroyed,” said Kareem Sayed Awad, a barbershop owner. “Not only that, but people have died. This is a tourist area and such incidents affect it.”

Egypt’s tourism industry has been struggling to recover from attacks and domestic instability that has hit the country in the years following a 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.


In December three Vietnamese tourists and their Egyptian guide died when a homemade bomb exploded on their bus on the outskirts of Cairo, near the famed pyramids in Giza.

Authorities have been seeking to lure tourists back by touting new archaeological discoveries and bolstering security around archaeological sites and in airports.

Tourism has slowly started picking up. The official statistics agency says tourist arrivals in Egypt in 2017 reached 8.3 million, up from 5.3 million the year before.


But that figure was still far short of the record influx in 2010 when over 14 million visitors flocked to the country.


Egypt has also for years been battling an Islamist insurgency, which deepened following the military’s ousting of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.


The attacks have been mainly concentrated in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula but have also spread to the mainland.


In February 2018, security forces launched a major anti-militant operation focused on the Sinai Peninsula, aimed at wiping out a local affiliate of the Islamic State group.


On Saturday, an attack on an Egyptian army checkpoint in north Sinai left 15 soldiers dead or wounded and seven of the suspected jihadist assailants killed, according to the military.


AFP

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A court in Mozambique on Monday, remanded the son of a former president on charges of government debt.

According to his lawyer, he's being charged with a crackdown on a $2-billion government debt scandal.

He was arrested in connection with government borrowing which plunged the country into its worst ever financial crisis.

Ndambi Guebuza, the oldest of Armando Guebuza’s four children, was picked up from his home in the capital Maputo during the weekend.

Analysts say the scandal could hurt Guebuza’s party, the ruling Frelimo, at elections later this year.

“The objective is to sacrifice the Guebuza family because of the elections,” said Ndambi Guebuza, according to his lawyer Alexandre Chivale.

The lawyer added that his client was remanded in custody after the closed-door hearing in Maputo.

Authorities last week arrested seven other suspects, including businessmen and intelligence officials, in connection with the debt scandal.

The scandal came to light in 2016, a year after ex-leader Guebuza left office following 10 years in power.

It is alleged that while he was still in office, the government in Maputo took out loans amounting to $2 billion to buy a tuna-fishing fleet and surveillance ships, but hid the transaction from parliament and international donors.

An independent audit found that a quarter of the loan amount was diverted, and unaccounted for.

When the debt was revealed, Mozambique — one of the world’s poorest countries which relies on donor aid — was plunged into crisis as donors froze contributions.

The United States alleges at least $200 million was spent on bribes and kickbacks, including $12 million for former finance minister Manuel Chang, who allegedly signed off the debt.

Chang, 63, was arrested at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport on December 29 on a US extradition request over his alleged involvement in the fraudulent loans to state firms. He was denied bail on Thursday.

Businessman Ndambi Guebuza is alleged to have received $9.7 million in bribes, according to a US indictment.

Domingos de Rosario, professor of political science at Eduardo Mondlane University, said the arrests could create divisions in the ruling Frelimo party as it heads into elections later this year.

“Frelimo is already in a bad way,” he said, warning of possible “serious electoral consequences”.

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