The hottest and most trending news articles for this week in all categories captured in one shot. Find articles  ranging from News, to Sports, to Politics, to Entertainment, to Economy, to Metro plus, and many other categories. See below the top news for the week:


*Include varsity students in cash transfer programme, NANS urges FG

The National Association of Nigerian Students has urged the Federal Government to add indigent students of tertiary institutions on its Conditional Cash Transfer programme.

NANS President, Sunday Asefon, said, “Another great issue of importance to us in 2021 shall be advocacy to have indigent tertiary institution students on the Federal Government Conditional Cash Transfer programme. This, we believe, will go a long way in assisting the active demography of our population. This also must be seen as an investment in the future.

*  New Year: Oyo NSCDC Deploys More Officers To Ease Traffic, Prevent Disaster

The Oyo State Commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC) CC Iskilu Akinsanya has directed the Command Disaster Management and Medical team to position their men and State Command ambulance at all strategic areas in the State.

Medical team of the Corps are also on standby for the emergency response likewise ambulance belonging to OYSEMA was also stationed at Iwo road for the same purpose of rescue.

The State Commandant CC Iskilu Akinsanya used the medium to enjoin all road users to be vigilant and apply caution especially when approaching Caterpillar area of Oyo Ibadan Express way due to the alarming condition of the road and has become a death trap which required urgent repair to reduce road accident around the axis

* COVID-19: Wike To Impose Fresh Lockdown On Rivers

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, says he will impose a fresh lockdown in the state in January to prevent a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Wike who was addressing a congregation on Sunday in Ikwerre, said the decision was a result of the non-challant attitude of some residents to the COVID-19 protocols.

Governor Wike, lamented as worrisome the refusal of most churches and markets in the State to enforce compulsory wearing of face mask in adherence to COVID-19 protocol. The governor also threatened to shut down all churches in the state if worshippers refuse to wear face masks and comply with other COVID-19 protocols.

* COVID-19 Protocols: NCAA Issues Warnings to Airline, Passengers From UK, South Africa

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued warnings to foreign airline operators and passengers operating into Nigeria from the UK and South Africa. The NCAA Director-General, Musa Nuhu, issued the protocol and warnings in a letter on Sunday in Abuja.

According to the letter, failure of the airlines from UK and South Africa to adhere strictly to the new travel rules will attract a penalty of $3,500 for each passenger boarded. “The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 over the weekend issued new travel rules for passengers on direct flights from the UK and South Africa due to the variance of coronavirus discovered recently in these two countries. The NCAA also notes that airlines will bear the burden of returning non-Nigerian defaulting passengers to point of embarkation for non-compliance to the new rules.


* 2023: I still have a role to play in politics – Jimi Agbaje

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 and 2019 Lagos State Governorship Elections, Jimi Agbaje, says he still has a role to play in the politics of the state and the country come 2023. Agbaje, who was defeated in the last two elections by former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and incumbent Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu – both of the All Progressives Congress, however, said he is running for office “is not at all cost”.

The politician and pharmacist spoke on Tuesday, noting that time and event would tell whether or not he would be re-contesting the governorship seat of Lagos State. Agbaje also said the PDP must get its home in order to have a successful outing in future elections.


* Lagos-Ibadan train stations for inauguration next month

Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi has said the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge train will be ready for inauguration next month. He said he had informed President Muhammadu Buhari about the inauguration, noting that the project must be completed up to the Apapa terminal extension before the inauguration.

The minister said there would be no reduction in the prices of tickets for the train services. The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) currently charges passengers on the Lagos-Ibadan N2,500 for economy, N5, 000 for business class and N6, 000 on first class seats. Amaechi said next month’s inauguration of the project by President Buhari was sacrosanct and the project must be completed up to Apapa. He said the stations – 10 of them, will be inaugurated at the same time next month.


* COVID-19: NCDC Predicts January Will be Tough For Nigeria

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has predicted that January 2021 would be a tough month as the Nigerian government renews its efforts in fighting the scourge of COVID-19 in the country. NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, stated this on Tuesday during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

For Ihekweazu, Nigerians have refused to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols, causing the national response to pass through a challenging phase. “Unfortunately, January will be a tough month for all of us,” the NCDC boss said. “Event centers are full; our treatment centers are filling up. We are struggling to keep up, we are struggling to find the facilities to manage, the oxygen to manage. “Every night we are faced with phone calls of patients desperate for care.  It will be tough but we still have an opportunity to do what we need to do by liaising with the executive governors of states across the country to be more purposeful in implementing the measures that we have agreed on collectively.

* We Must Test COVID-19 Vaccines Before Giving It To Nigerians – NMA

The Nigerian Medical Association on Monday said COVID-19 vaccines being imported into the country must undergo a quick clinical trial before it is administered to citizens. According to the NMA President, Professor Innocent Ujah, reactions to vaccines differ among different races.

“If the vaccines come to Nigeria, we need to quickly do our own evaluation of that vaccine,” he said. “I cannot say with 100 percent certainty that in the process of developing this vaccine, in the clinical trials, whether any African countries were involved. I’m not too sure, but it’s possible. The NMA is also seeking additional funding from the federal government as doctors continue to suffer from the deadly pandemic.

* COVID-19: Social distancing has failed in Nigeria, says NMA president

The President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Professor Innocent Ujah, says social distancing has failed in the country, thereby, urging the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to develop new strategies to curb the spread of the virus. He said there was the need for the PTF, which has the mandate of the President to coordinate the country’s response to the pandemic, to improve on its research arm to enable it to understand why Nigerians disregard some of its protocols. We need to find out, we don’t need to speculate, we should have gone to town and gotten a quick response and analyse the data to know why people are not complying, and then we will navigate to see how they will comply.”

Ujah tasked all stakeholders on the need to work assiduously to curb the spread of the virus, especially as the country battles a second wave of the pandemic while seeking to prevent a new strain of the virus from the United Kingdom. “The reality is that Covid-19 is with us and we need to up our game. The Nigerian stakeholders, the Nigerian people and the National Orientation Agency must also improve its own sensitisation and communication channels because we really are in trouble if we do not at very quickly,” he stated.

* Virus: More Work Needed To Identify Risk From Nigeria Strain – Researcher

A researcher who identified a novel coronavirus variant in Nigeria has cautioned against automatic assumptions that it poses similar risks to strains that have emerged elsewhere. The new strain was uncovered last week by scientists at the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) in southeastern Nigeria. ACEGID director Christian Happi said the variant was found in two out of 200 samples of virus collected from patients between August 3 and October 9.

The two samples were taken from the same state in Nigeria at different times.
They show a variant “different to the one that has been circulating in Nigeria, different from the one in South Africa and different from the one in the UK,” he said in an interview with AFP. Happi stressed that scientists were racing to unlock knowledge about the Nigeria strain and urged people not to “extrapolate.” “We have no idea, no evidence to say that this variant is linked to the spike we are seeing in Nigeria or not,” said Happi, explaining that samples from the latest cases were being analysed for an answer.

* COVID-19: Reopen All Labs And Keep Isolation Centres Open, PTF Tells States

Authorities in all 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been asked to reopen all laboratories and scale up the testing for COVID-19.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, made the appeal on Tuesday at a briefing in Abuja. Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), added, “Reports received also point to the fact that laboratories recently established in the states are not working optimally.


* UK Approves Astrazeneca/Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine

A coronavirus vaccine developed by drug firm AstraZeneca and Oxford University has been approved for use in Britain, the government said Wednesday, adding the mass rollout will start on January 4. The vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions, and is therefore cheaper and easier to administer than the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna jabs that require freezing.

Britain will become the first nation to roll out the jab on January 4, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, amid mounting concerns that another dangerous spike in infections threatens to overwhelm the NHS. “Brilliant to end 2020 with such a moment of hope,” tweeted Hancock. “The #coronavirus vaccine is our way out of the pandemic — now we need to hold our nerve while we get through this together.”

* COVID-19: South Africa Becomes First African Nation To Record One Million Cases

South Africa has become the first African nation to record one million coronavirus cases, according to new data published by the country’s health ministry on Sunday.  Currently suffering a second wave of infections, of which the majority are a new variant of the coronavirus, South Africa is the hardest-hit country on the African continent, with 1,004,413 infections and 26,735 deaths, the data showed. As of 1900 GMT, a total 2,658,646 cases were recorded in Africa and 62,649 fatalities, according to an AFP tally.

* Police Officer Fired After Killing Unarmed Black Man

A white police officer who shot dead a Black man in Columbus, Ohio, last week was fired on Monday, city officials said. The death of Andre Maurice Hill triggered outrage in a country that has been racked by protests against police brutality and systemic racism since the spring. Hill, who was not armed at the time of the shooting, was the second African-American killed by police in less than three weeks in Columbus.

The 47-year-old African-American was in the garage of a house when he was shot several times by a police officer who had been called to the scene for a minor incident. The officer, Adam Coy, was initially suspended after the shooting. “The evidence provided solid rationale for termination,” said Columbus police chief Thomas Quinlan. “Mr Coy will now have to answer to the state investigators for the death of Andre Hill.”

* Argentine Senate Approves Bill To Legalize Abortion

Argentina Wednesday became one of only a handful of South American nations to legalize abortion, after hours of debate in the Senate. Hundreds of thousands of illegal abortions are carried out every year in the nation of 44 million, and pro-choice campaigners have long-urged authorities to put an end to dangerous backstreet terminations by legalizing the process.

“It becomes law,” said Senate president Cristina Kirchner, after more than twelve hours of debate. Thousands of pro-choice activists cheered in the streets of the capital after the bill was approved 38 to 29, with one abstention. It legalizes voluntary abortions at any stage up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. The bill was proposed by President Alberto Fernandez and passed the Chamber of Deputies on December 11, despite fierce opposition from the Catholic Church and evangelical Christians.


* US Actress Loughlin Released From Prison

American actress Lori Loughlin was released from prison on Monday after serving a two-month sentence for her part in a scam to secure spots for privileged children at prestigious universities, authorities said. Actress Felicity Huffman of “Desperate Housewives” fame was released in October 2019 from the same prison after serving 11 days of a two-week sentence for her role in the scam. Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, were among some 50 people indicted over the elaborate scam.

She and her husband were sentenced by a federal judge in August after having pleaded guilty. The pair admitted to paying $500,000 to gain admission for their two daughters to the University of Southern California as recruits to the rowing crew team — a sport neither had ever trained in. Loughlin was also sentenced to two years of supervised release, a $150,000 fine, and 100 hours of community service.


* Ronaldo Beats Messi, Wins Globe Soccer Player Of The Century

Juventus forward, Cristiano Ronaldo on Sunday beat rival Lionel Messi and Liverpool star, Mohamed Salah to win the Globe Soccer Player of the Century, capping off a year in which he equally claimed the Golden Foot Award.

“Couldn’t be happier with tonight’s award!” Ronaldo tweeted after receiving the prize in the ceremony held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates that also saw Bayern’s Roberto Lewandowski voted as the 2020 Globe Soccer Player of the Year. “As I’m about to celebrate my 20th year as a professional footballer, Globe Soccer Player Of The Century is a recognition that I receive with so much joy and pride!”

*Napoli fine Osimhen for breaching COVID-19 rules

Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen has been fined two weeks’ wages by Napoli for flouting the club’s COVID-19 regulations.

Napoli announced on Friday that Osimhen contracted coronavirus.

A video of the Nigerian posted on Instagram by @equipoarrow where he was seen partying without a face mask and his not observing social distancing has reportedly angered his club coach Gennaro Gattuso.


* Oyo police confirm release of kidnapped lawmaker’s sister

The police in Oyo State on Saturday, said Mrs Jumoke Babalola-Oludele, the kidnapped sister of Sunkammi Babalola, a member in the Oyo State House of Assembly, has regained freedom from her abductors.

The lady, whose brother represents Egbeda constituency, was abducted on Monday, December 21, 2020.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Olugbenga Fadeyi, wrote in a message to our correspondent, “Two suspects were arrested in connection with the abduction of the sister of the Oyo lawmaker who has regained her freedom and they are currently being investigated, please.”

The victim’s brother in Ibadan on Saturday said no ransom was paid for the release of her sister.

* Police Arrest 35-Year-Old Woman Over Abduction, Trafficking Of Teenage Girls

Police authorities in Ogun State have apprehended a 35-year-old suspected human trafficking kingpin, Comfort Innocent over the abduction and trafficking of two under-aged girls. The police public relations officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi told newsmen that the arrest of the suspect followed a report by one Oluwaseun Aduratola and one Sakirat Fasasi both residents of Siun town in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of the state who reported that the suspect abducted their daughters namely Blessing Aduratola 15 and Hasisat Fasasi 16.

On interrogation, the suspect confessed been a human trafficker and that she has been into the business for a long time. “She confessed further that her husband is based in Italy while she stays in Nigeria recruiting young girls and sending them to her husband in Italy en route Libya where they will be used as prostitutes. “Concerning the two girls she recently abducted, she confessed that the two of them had been taken to Kaduna State from where they will be transported to Libya. The two victims according to him have been rescued from Kaduna State by the police.

* Molestation: We Will Not Cover Up Any Immoral Act – Deeper Life High School

The management of the Deeper Life High School has reacted to the controversy trailing the molestation of a JSS 1 student of the school in Akwa Ibom State.
In a video released on Tuesday, the school’s Education Secretary, Mrs Thelma Malaka, stated that the school would not cover up the issue but ensure justice was served. The student’s mother, Mrs Deborah Okezie, had posted a video on Facebook where she alleged that her 11-year-old son was sexually abused by his seniors when he was moved from his hostel to another hostel originally meant for senior students.

Recounting his ordeal, the victim said he was subjected to abuses such that he was forced to starve for days, beaten for bedwetting, and also sent to a hostel for senior students where he was also maltreated. The video resulted in the suspension of the principal of the school by the authorities while the Akwa Ibom state government has launched an investigation into the incident.