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Militants dismiss stakeholders’ talks with Buhari, vow more attacks

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Niger Delta militants have said Tuesday’s meeting between some Niger Delta stakeholders and the Federal Government will not stop attacks on oil facilities.

The fighters said that none of the stakeholders that attended the meeting was aware of the plight of the Niger Delta people.
Niger Delta Peoples Democratic Front and the Concerned Militant Leaders, in a statement lamented that no former militant leader was among those chosen to be part of representatives of the region in the meeting with government.
Leaders of the two groups, General Ben and General Playboy also doubted the Federal Government’s sincerity on the $10bn development fund to be earmarked for the Niger Delta.

“Pipeline bombing cannot stop because the people going for the meeting do not know why they are going there. It is not the first, second, or third time and would not be the last. So, we cannot be deceived or bamboozled by whatever tag is given to the meeting.

“We insist on implementation of the report of the National Conference and other reports on the development of Niger Delta region. Anything short of this is insincere and will not be accepted. For a genuine peace, past reports of several commissions on Niger Delta must be visited,” they said.

General Playboy said, “Our elders and leaders are not helping matters at all. They do not really know the plight of Niger Delta people because they are wealthy, quite rich and do not take issues about the region seriously.

“They do not know the common people in the region because they are not based in Niger Delta and cannot show holistic commitment to our struggle. Our elders represent themselves, and not the people in the rural areas.

“We don’t need people who will play politics with the genuine struggle of Niger Delta people. We don’t want people, who are not agitators. The real agitators are people like Alhaji Asari Dokubo, High Chief Government Tompolo, Egberipapa, General Africa, General Joshua and many others.

“These are the kind of people that can negotiate for our people. They know the plights of the Niger Delta people because they live in the same environment with them. They are not based abroad. They come down to the communities to know the feelings of the people. Such people should represent us.”

Playboy, however, noted that their position did not mean that they were disrespectful to the elders in the region, insisting that they (elders) were not needed at the meeting with the Federal Government.

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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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