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Dogara fails to reconcile Buhari, Saraki

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Attempts by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, to settle the feud between the President Muhammadu Buhari and the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has failed to yield a positive result.

It was gathered that at the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and Dogara on Monday in Abuja, the Presidency insisted that Saraki must sever his relationship with the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

The development meant the removal of the Peoples Democratic Party legislator from Enugu State from the number five political office in the country.

It was gathered that removing Ekweremadu was reportedly viewed by The Presidency as one of the possible political solutions to the heat generated by the trial of Saraki by Code of Conduct Tribunal for a an alleged false declaration of assets.

However, Saraki is said not to be disposed to the idea, arguing that he would not betray his deputy.

“The view of the Presidency is that the arrangement in the Senate whereby a PDP senator is the deputy president in an All Progressives Congress Party-led government is a misnomer, which should not be allowed.

“If there is a political option, this is one; the arrangement is not right,” a senior National Assembly said.

Investigations showed that President Muhammadu Buhari and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, had met at the Aso Rock Villa on Monday.

Doagra reportedly conveyed the decision of the House to Buhari, informing him of the House resolution calling for a political solution to Saraki’s travails.

“The President did not like the arrangement in the Senate,” the source added.

It was gathered that on the part of the Senate President and Dogara, they considered altering the “balance of power” in the National Assembly, as presently constituted, as another signal for a major political crisis.

Another official explained further, “Both the PDP and the APC and other political parties participated in the election of the principal officers of the National Assembly.

“There are forces in place and there is no way this suggestion will fly. Removing Ekweremadu can only be by impeachment proceedings. It is not by a directive.

“For the House, there are concerns over whether such a suggestion will not rub off on its leadership as well,” the source stated.

The House, had in a resolution passed on Wednesday last week, asked Dogara to intervene in Saraki’s case by meeting with Buhari and the Senate President with a view to finding a political solution to the matter.

The move by the House came soon after the Code of Conduct Tribunal arraigned the Senate President over alleged false asset declaration.

The House had argued that a political solution could save the country the heat generated in the polity by Saraki’s trial at the CCT.

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Army withholds salaries of 45 soldiers in Borno

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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.

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EFCC goes after top officials of PDP over N10bn scandal

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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.

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Nigeria’s drug control agency approves new COVID-19 vaccine

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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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