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Seven governors behind plot to stop Senate confirmation of Magu as EFCC chairman

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About seven state governors are believed to have been part of the plot to stop the Senate confirmation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Three of them are from the South-South, two from the South-West, two from the North and one from the South-East.

One of the governors was said to have vowed to do everything to stop Magu’s confirmation, including emptying the vault of his state.

It was learnt that the governors have also been joined by a few former ministers and ex-governors who are under investigation by the anti-graft commission.

The Red Chamber on December 15 refused to confirm Magu’s nomination for the job, citing security report.

Fresh information on the Senate action yesterday cited the seven governors as part of the Stop Magu Plot.

But in a twist, a northern state governor has launched a lobby to get Magu confirmed.

The governor is at the head of a team of lobbyists trying to prevail on some forces in the presidency to have a rethink on Magu’s choice.

Some Senators initially opposed to Magu are also said to have now backtracked from the plot and may support Magu’s re-nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Although the constitution empowers the President to re-present the name of a rejected nominee, some forces are against Magu’s re-nomination.

Investigation revealed that intrigues have heightened over whether Magu should be re-nominated by the President.

A well placed source familiar with the development said: “Magu’s travail stemmed from a deep plot within and outside the government. The rejection of his candidature on December 15 without subjecting it to plenary consideration was part of the plot fuelled by some powerful forces.

“At least about seven serving governors and their godfathers were involved in lobbying which led to the rejection of Magu.

“These governors are three from the South-South, two from the South-West, two from the North and one from the South-East. In fact, one of them has been threatening to open the vault of the state to stop Magu.

“Some of these governors are unhappy that the EFCC was closing in on them. Some are fighting a proxy war because their godfathers have been touched by the EFCC. And a few others felt disappointed that their assets have been seized by the commission.

“These governors decided to prevail on Senators from their states to block Magu’s consideration. What happened on December 15 was purely an ambush. Decision at the Executive Session was announced to the public without tabling Magu’s fate at the plenary.”

It was gathered that the northern governor leading a team of lobbyists for Magu decided to step in based on his conviction that the anti-graft war must be fought to a logical conclusion.

Another source said: “This governor has been doing a yeoman’s job to save Magu. He believes the removal of Magu might significantly slow down the anti-corruption war.

“This governor does not mind if Magu goes after him tomorrow. He has been telling officials in the presidency and APC leaders that Magu’s achievements represent the true anti-corruption agenda with which the party came to power.”

Meanwhile, some Senators might backtrack from the anti-Magu plot when the Senate resumes from Christmas break.

A Senator, who spoke in confidence, said: “Some of us have got more insights into the inter-play of factors which made the Senate to turn down Magu’s nomination. The issue is complex and it is more of a personality matter which the Senate ordinarily ought not to be dragged into.

“If the candidate is re-presented, we will certainly support him. Technically, Senator Ali Ndume was right that that the necessary parliamentary procedure was not followed in rejecting Magu.

“We had a consensus that we cannot proceed with the confirmation of Magu but we did not table it at the plenary as expected. There was a procedural error because of the larger agenda.”

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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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