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Militants order Hausa, Yoruba out of Niger Delta

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Niger Delta militants have asked the Yoruba and northerners resident in the region to leave before October 1, 2017.

They have also threatened to resume attacks on oil installations and facilities in the region starting from September 10.

This was contained in a joint statement issued on Thursday by leaders of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators (NDA) and which was titled ‘Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators to resume attacks on September 10, 2017; Northerners, the Yoruba to leave Niger Delta before October 1, 2017’.

The statement was signed by John Duku, convener of the NDA, Ekpo Ekpo (Niger Delta volunteers); Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta warriors); Henry Okon Etete (Niger Delta peoples fighters); Asukwo Henshaw (Bakassi freedom fighters); and Ibinabo Horsfall (Niger Delta movement for justice).

The coalition said its demand on 100 percent control of the resources in the region still stands.

It also asked the federal government to hand over all oil blocks owned by the northerners/Yoruba to Niger Delta indigenes.

“After hours of careful deliberations, we unanimously resolved as follows: To commence operation zero oil in the Niger Delta from September 10, 2017, as a preparation for the actualisation of Niger Delta Republic,” the statement read.

“We hereby call on all agitating groups to resume attacks/bombings on all oil/gas pipelines, especially the exporting lines across the Niger Delta region from September 10, 2017. This is to ensure zero oil/gas production before October 1, 2017.

“All oil companies operating in such oil blocks/wells should vacate by October 1, 2017.

“All the multinational oil, gas, servicing and marine companies must relocate their operational base to the Niger Delta, sign a new memorandum of understanding with Niger Delta people which will include Niger Delta indigenes being paid same salaries with foreigners.

“We demand independence and sovereign Republic of Niger Delta, all the companies and businesses owned by the northerners/Yoruba in Niger Delta should be vacated before October 1, 2017.”

The group also described the recent meeting between the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo as “a plot to deceive” the Niger Delta people.

It said the PANDEF delegation has no capacity, cannot solve the current crisis in the region and as such, cannot represent the militants or speak for the people.

“We totally condemn the recent meeting between PANDEF and the Acting President; we see it as another plot to deceive the Niger Delta people. First and foremost, the meeting was marred by the inordinate greed of the PANDEF as they did not involve the representatives of the agitating groups and youth leaders,” the statement further read.

“We will work to interface with more patriotic and zealous Niger Delta people” to work out new collective approach that will ensure “total freedom and complete control of our resources by any means necessary.

“We shall fight to liberate the region from the shackles of neo-colonialism and rule ourselves under a Niger Delta Republic, with diplomatic and economic relations with the peoples of the south-east and Middle Belt.”

This is the second time this year the militants are asking northerners to leave their region.

In June, they had asked northerners to leave, in response to the quit notice given to the Igbo by some Arewa youth groups.

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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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