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We are ready for war, militants tell Buhari

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Niger Delta militants on Saturday threatened ‘war’ while dissociating themselves from the meeting elders from the oil-rich region had with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, last Tuesday.

The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate, which is the only militant group that has refused to key into the ceasefire with the government, also claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s bombing of the Trans-Forcados Crude Export pipelines near Batan community in the Warri South-West Council Area of Delta State.

In a statement issued on Saturday by its spokesperson, Aldo Agbalaja, the militant group accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s government of plotting to wage war against the people of the Niger Delta region.

“As a matter of fact, what the Avengers did to the oil industry will be nothing compared to the grand plan already set by our central command. We shall bring Nigeria’s daily output quota to below 500,000 barrels. Just be ready for the approaching tsunami.

“The multinational oil companies, we know you are recalcitrant and will always come to test wills, we hope you will continue in this tradition so there will always be reason to let the world know that ‘you don’t contest the corners of a house with the owner of the house.’

“The destruction of the Trans-Forcados Pipeline is just a warning. We warned against the restarting of the facility, but the daring companies won’t listen. That shadow operation that brought the TFP down was only meant to let these companies know that we aren’t kidding with them; when we say stay down, you stay down, and it’s in your best interest.”

The militant group described last Tuesday’s meeting between Buhari and stakeholders, including traditional rulers from the region as a humiliation of the people of the Niger Delta.

“The humiliation that came with the meeting of the elders with President Muhammadu Buhari did not come to the NDGJM as a surprise. We expected it because we know even the government knows the character and intent of the man and most of those he led to the meeting.

“The only painful part is the fact that the humiliation is stamped on the collective image of our people. However, we want to dare President Buhari and his administration to attempt or fully carry out his military action against our people and see the response that will follow.

“We want to say here, without mincing words, that we are aware of his intentions. We heard loud and clear his hostile message, we understand his message and the NDGJM is saying we are ready for him. We know he has reportedly threatened war on our people; we had been calm enough not to respond to the threats, but at this point, we believe it is time for us to come out to say to him ‘enough is enough.’

“If it is war, bring it on, we are no cowards, just be sure you can sustain the consequences because this is not going to be another vanquished ‘Biafran Uprising’. Niger Deltans are nobody’s slaves; we shall fight until there’s nothing left to defend.”

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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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