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Patience Jonathan demands fresh N2 Billion as damages from EFCC

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A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has adjourned to April 24, 2017 a suit filed by wife of former President of Nigeria, Mrs Patience Jonathan seeking N2 billion as compensation from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly violating her fundamental human rights.

The former first lady, Mrs Jonathan is further asking the court to declare as a violation of her rights the freezing of her accounts and that of her relatives by the anti graft agency. Meanwhile, trial judge in the matter is Justice Saliu Saidu.

Mrs Jonathan is also asking the court to compel the anti graft agency to pay her N2bn as damages for the alleged violation of her rights, adding that the recent invasion of her family property by the EFCC while armed with a search warrant violated her rights to private and family life.

She wants the court to declare “that the incessant harassments of the former first lady on the ground of her political views and for being the wife of the former presidents who belongs to the opposition party in Nigeria is a violation of her fundamental human rights to freedom.

“The former first lady is also seeking the sum of N2bn as damages for the alleged violation of her fundamental human rights by the commission.” At the hearing in the matter, yesterday, counsel to the first lady, Mr G.Abibo, SAN, played for time to study the counter affidavit from the commission, saying that he was just served with the defendant’s preliminary objection.

The commission’s counsel, Mr Kayode Oni confirmed that he got the court processes last week’s from the applicant’s counsel, adding that he immediately filed his response. The EFCC in its preliminary objection is asking the court to dismiss the suit on grounds of lack of jurisdiction and suit for being speculative.

The commission is further contending that the Port Harcourt office of the anti graft agency did not at any time invite or investigate the applicant, adding that the suit should thus be dismissed Meanwhile, supporters of the former first lady gathered at the court premises yesterday, chanting songs in her praise, urging the anti graft agency to leave her alone.

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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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