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Gunmen shoot EFCC official investigating judges

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Unknown gunmen have shot an official of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Austin Okwor last Saturday (June 24) while leaving his office in Port Harcourt.

Okwor is presently receiving treatments after sustaining injuries from the gunshot.

According to a statement by the spokesperson of the antigraft agency, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, Okwor was one of the operatives investigating some sensitive cases including a case pertaining to alleged corrupt judicial officials.

The commission said Okwor, who is attached to the Property Fraud Section of the EFCC zonal office in Port Harcourt, was shot on June 24 while leaving his office.

The statement partly read, “Mr. Austin Okwor, an operative in the Property Fraud Section of the EFCC zonal office in Port Harcourt, had closed late for the day and as he left office, he was suddenly accosted by a gang of daredevil hoodlums who opened fire on him.

“Luckily for him, he was able to shake off his assailants but not without sustaining some bullet wounds as they kept firing at him. He was rushed to a private hospital in Port Harcourt where he is receiving treatment.

“According to Ishaq Salihu, Head of the zonal office, the incident has already been reported to the police in Port Harcourt. Okwor is one of the operatives investigating some sensitive cases including that pertaining to corrupt judicial officials.”

The anti-graft agency said the victim had been receiving threat messages before the incident. One of such messages which he received last month was reported to the police.

The commission said the incident underlined the hazards which operatives were daily exposed to in the discharge of their duties.

It noted that on September 14, 2010, the head of the commission’s Forensic Unit, Abdullahi Muazu, was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in Kaduna.

Six months earlier, a team of prosecutors returning to Enugu after a court appearance in Owerri, Imo State, was attacked by gunmen who opened fire on them. Sergeant Eze Edoga, the police escort, was killed while a senior counsel with the commission, Joseph Uzor, was wounded but survived.

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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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