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Remaining Chibok girls are not in Sambisa forest – Presidency

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The last camp of Boko Haram insurgents within Sambisa forest called camp zero may have fallen, but it remains to be known where the remaining girls abducted from Chibok in Nigeria’s Borno State are.
The remaining girls are thought to be held in Sambisa forest, but the Presidency thinks there are chances they were not held in the forest after all.

After a statement by President Muhammadu Buhari announced the fall of ‘camp zero’, a spokesman for the President, Mr Femi Adesina, told Channels Television that “there is no single place which we can say is the bulwark of the Boko Haram”.

“You know their last stand was within Sambisa forest which they had occupied for some time.

“The military entered into it fully, a while back, and they gave the target that by the end of December they wanted to be done with the issue of insurgency and on Thursday, December 22, camp zero fell and that is very significant”.

He said the news was brought to the President by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai.
muhammadu-buhari-and-chibok-girls
President Muhammadu Buhari in October received 21 of the Chibok girls released by their abductors

A statement from the presidency had said that members of Boko Haram group were on the run, a situation critics had said was of concern, as the terrorists could run to other states in Nigeria, creating more security issues.

Hidden Away In Different Parts

The president’s spokesman, however, dismissed claims that it could pose security threats, saying that a good number of the terrorists had been killed.

“Those who naturally are alive and escaped would be scattered in different places. Some would likely have gone out of the country and some would have infiltrated into camps and cities.

“That is why the President said we must not let down our guards. He has appealed to Nigerians to blow the whistle against anyone they suspect,” he stated.

Mr Adesina expressed optimism that people in the northeast could sleep with their eyes closed.

He said that what had happened in 2016 was a mop-up process, claiming that the terrorists group had been thoroughly decimated in 2015.
chibok girls, boko haram
There were speculations that the Chibok girls were held in Sambisa forest

On why more Chibok girls were not rescued as camp zero falls, he said: “Naturally, as the soldiers advanced into Sambisa, they were on the lookout for the girls, but it turned out that till that last camp fell, they did not see any of them. What it therefore means is that may be the girls were not being kept in the forest.

“It is likely they had been spirited out and hidden away in different parts either within or outside the country”.

Not less than 14 camps of the terrorists were destroyed within the forest that was a safe haven for the group that has in the past seven years terrorised communities in Nigeria’s northeast and communities of neighbouring countries along the northeast border.

In the last phase of the mop-up operations, the military said it rescued 1,180 persons.

The Presidency did not say what efforts would be made to free the remaining girls, but Boko Haram had, days after they were taken, said they have been married off.

The last batch of 21 girls among the abducted Chibok girls rescued in October will be in Chibok, their ancestral home for the first time since their abduction to join their families and friends in celebrating the 2016 Christmas.

The girls, who have now become international figures, arrived Yola International Airport secretly and under tight security were received by the Adamawa State Governor, Senator Mohammed Jibrilla.

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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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