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Senate gives condition for Magu’s reconsideration

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The Senate has said it may reconsider its refusal to confirm the appointment of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, if President Muhammadu Buhari provides the necessary explanation for it to do so.

It said the explanations to be made by President Muhammadu Buhari, who had nominated Magu, would determine whether the nominee would be considered or not.

The lawmakers had on Thursday rejected Magu’s nomination by the President as the substantive chairman of the anti-graft agency based on a “security report” on him.

A security report by the Department of State Services, in which Magu was accused of various corruption-related offences, had caused the Senate to reject his nomination.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, on Friday told one of our correspondents that the lawmakers had taken their decision on the matter and it was left for Buhari to take the next step.

He said, “This is not an issue that is ambiguous and I will not take issue with anybody. What we have said is very straightforward and unambiguous. It is not our responsibility or in our power to tell Mr. President what to do.

“It is his prerogative and for every action taken, there must be a basis. Let him take any action but, of course, he will base his action on explanations. If that happens, we will take his explanations based on their face value and see. Until then, our decision is very simple. It is unambiguous; that is what we said from the beginning and that is what we stand by.”

Meanwhile, the Senate on Friday said the rejection of Magu would be communicated to the Presidency by next week.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, said the communication would undergo legislative process before getting to the President.

He said, “Allow us to do our job. This thing (rejection) just happened yesterday (Thursday). There is a procedure for the communication. We took the decision yesterday. Is the letter not going to be written? Is that the only issue that they (Presidency) have to deal with?

“This thing happened yesterday and who should do the communication? Is it not the clerk? Between yesterday and today, are there not so many things to be done? Is that the only thing we have ahead of us?

“We have taken our decision and the procedure for communicating it is there. Allow it to happen. Wait till next week and see whether it will be communicated (to the Presidency) or not.”

Buhari waiting for Senate’s communication

The Presidency on Friday said Buhari would wait for the Senate to formally communicate its position on Magu’s case before taking a decision on the matter.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said this in an interview with one of our correspondents.

Adesina said until the President receives the formal notification, no decision would be taken on the matter.

The presidential spokesman said, “You will recall that what the Senate said was that it will communicate the lawmakers’ position on Magu’s nomination to the President.

“President Buhari is still waiting for that communication. When he receives it, he will decide on the next line of action.”

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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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