President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday received some governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie Oyegun at Abuja House in London.
Apart from the meeting Buhari had with his deputy, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo when he visited him in London penultimate Tuesday, this is the first time the president will be making a public appearance since he left the shores of the country on May 7.
The visit by the APC chairman and the governors to the president has made rubbish of the claim by Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, that Buhari had been on life support.
A statement issued yesterday by the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, noted that following the meeting of the APC governors and the party’s leaders with President Buhari in London yesterday, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, said in a telephone conversation that the president was very cheerful and has not lost any bit of his sense of humour.
According to the governor, Nigerians don’t have to worry at all, adding that President Buhari will be back as soon as the doctors give him the green light.
Okorocha said, while the party delegation spent more than an hour with President Buhari over lunch, it was very clear from the discussions that the president followed developments at home very closely.
He said the president was delighted to receive the delegation and asked each governor about affairs in his state. He also asked the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, about the state of the railways.
“When asked to react to all the negative things being said about him, the president just laughed, describing such negative reports as lies”, Adesina quoted Okorocha as saying.
Governor Okorocha further said President Buhari was completely unperturbed by the cocktail of lies, adding that instead, Buhari sent his best wishes to Nigerians.
“By our visit to London today, the merchants of lies have been put out of business and Nigerians will not buy the garbage they have been selling. All those who look up to fake news can find better use for their time”, the governor noted.
The statement made available to NewsDay on Sunday also stated that Governors Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa and Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna were in the delegation.
Army withholds salaries of 45 soldiers in Borno
Authorities of the 7 Division Nigerian Army, Maiduguri, have withheld the salaries of 45 soldiers, according to sources.
The soldiers, who were among the 149 troops of the 153 Task Force Battalion withdrawn from Marte, Borno State, after spending three years in counterinsurgency operations, were accused of for abandoning their duty posts.
The battalion came under attack on three occasions during which several soldiers were killed while a range of weapons, equipment and vehicles were either carted away or destroyed.
The battalion was overhauled after the last attack in February.
A source said necessary changes were made and troops who served with the battalion were moved to different formations in Maiduguri before a new deployment was made.
“Some of the soldiers who were not seen at their new units were believed to have gone on AWOL (Absence Without Leave). Their salaries accounts were not credited in April,” he said.
But one of the affected soldiers said the allegation of desertion against them was untrue.
“We were not given our salaries and when we asked our supervisors in the 7 Division, we were shocked to hear that we had forfeited all our entitlements over desertion.”
Attempts to get the response of army authorities were not successful.
EFCC goes after top officials of PDP over N10bn scandal
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has invited officials of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for questioning over alleged criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of funds and fraud.
This is coming barely a month after a chieftain in the PDP, Kazeem Afegbua, petitioned the anti-graft agency to scrutinise the Secondus-led National Working Committee on financial misappropriation.
In the letter of invitation dated May 17, 2021, and addressed to the Prince Uche Secondus, the EFCC said the need to obtain certain clarification from the party has become imperative.
The agency, however, requested the party’s National chairman to release the National Auditor, National Organising Secretary and Director of Finance to report at the EFCC headquarters from May 19th to 21st 2021.
The agency also requested the national officers to honor the invitation with relevant documents relating to sole of forms into the party’s elective positions from January 2017 to date.
Kazeem had in his petition alleged that much of the financial transactions of the PDP under Prince Uche Secondus has been shrouded in mystery, accusing the leadership of deliberate attempt to shortchange the party in the build up to the 2023 general elections.
However, Secondus had since denied the allegation and filed a N1 billion suit against the petitioner, Kazeem Afegbua.
Nigeria’s drug control agency approves new COVID-19 vaccine
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has granted approval for the conditional emergency use of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria.
Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is the third vaccine recommended for administration in the country.
The director-general of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojiola Adeyeye, in a statement on Tuesday, said information on the vaccine shows it met the criteria for efficacy, safety and quality.
She said, “The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is administered as a single dose. Results from a clinical trial involving people in the United States, South Africa and Latin American countries found that Janssen COVID-19 vaccine was effective at preventing COVID-19 in people from 18 years of age.
“The Phase III clinical trial involved over 44,000 people. Half received a single dose of the vaccine and half were given placebo (a dummy injection). People did not know if they had been given Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine or placebo.
According to her, the trial showed a 67 per cent reduction in the number of symptomatic COVID-19 cases after two weeks in people who received Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.
The most commonly reported side effects were pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle aches and nausea. Most of these side effects were mild to moderate in severity and lasted 1-2 days.
On the vaccine safety, Adeyeye said NAFDAC, in line with its pharmacovigilance and safety monitoring plan for COVID-19 vaccines, will closely monitor and subject the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine to several activities that apply specifically to COVID-19 vaccines.
The AstraZeneca vaccine which Nigeria has been giving out has garnered many sceptics internationally after some recipients of the vaccine died.
At least 16 countries including Germany, France and Sweden have suspended the use of AstraZeneca, which put on the Nigerian government to suspend it.
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