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Nobody can remove Magu – Osinbajo

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Acting President Yemi Osinbajo says nobody can remove Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

He said this in Kaduna on Thursday while commissioning a zonal office of the EFCC.

Represented by Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, the acting president described Magu as a “nightmare for corrupt people”.

El-Rufai also revealed the outcome of a conversation on Magu which he had with President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Mr chairman, two weeks ago, I discussed the EFCC and your appointment with President Muhammadu Buhari and he told me he has confidence in you and in the commission and the work that you have been doing, and as long as he is president you remain the chairman of the EFCC,” he said.

“Last night, I spoke with the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, who reconfirmed the position of the president and told me that as long as he remained the acting president or vice-president, Ibrahim Magu would remain the chairman of the EFCC.

“That is the only message from the president, so those thinking that corruption is winning this war, Magu would remain their nightmare for the next two years or six years as the case may be.”

Making personal remarks, el-Rufai said over N500 million had been recovered from corrupt officials of the past government and some contractors in Kaduna.

He added that those officials would be handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.

El-Rufai said because of the zero tolerance his administration has for corruption, the anti-graft agency EFCC encouraged him to establish a zonal office in Kaduna.

The governor promised to allocate a piece of land to the commission for construction of its training school and staff quarters.

There is a brewing crisis between the legislature and executive over Magu’s position.

On Tuesday, the upper legislative chamber resolved to suspend the confirmation of nominees sent by the executive over Osinbajo’s support for Magu.

Ahmad Yerima, senator representing Zamfara west, had moved a motion to stop the confirmation of Lanre Gbajabiamila as the director-general of Nigeria Lottery Commission.

He wondered why Osinbajo would send a nominee to the senate after he said the upper legislative chamber did not have the power of confirmation.

Yerima was making reference to a statement made by Osinbajo when he spoke with select media organisations, including TheCable, in April.

Osinbajo had expressed support for the view of Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, that the executive did not need to send the name of Magu to the senate for confirmation.

“There is an argument, whether or not we need to present him (Magu) for confirmation and that’s a compelling argument from Femi Falana,” Osinbajo had said.

“His (Falana) argument is that under the constitution, section 171, and if you look at that section, it talks about the appointments that the president can make. They include appointments of ministers, ambassadors and heads of agencies such as the EFCC. In that same section 171, the constitution rightly said that certain appointments must go to the senate such as ministerial and ambassadorial appointments. Those of heads of agencies like the EFCC do not have to go to the senate. That’s what the constitution says. But the EFCC act, which of course as you know is inferior, says that EFCC chairman should go to the senate for confirmation.

“I am sure that even a pocket book lawyer knows that when a legislation conflicts with constitution, it’s the constitution that prevails. I agree with Mr Falana that there was no need in the first place to have sent Magu’s name to the senate.”

The senate rejected Magu on two different occasions.

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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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