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Reps To Petition Buhari Over Agencies Refusal To Honour Committee Invitations

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The House of Representatives is set to petition President Muhammadu Buhari over the refusal of some agencies of government to appear before its Committee on Public Account to answer questions over financial irregularities traced to them or clarify some records provided by other agencies.

The House Committee on Public Account is particularly not happy with the refusal of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emiefele, Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Managing Director of the Nigeria Port Authority, Haha Hadiza Bala Usman and the Bureau for Public Enterprises to appear before it over sales of federal government landed property across the country.

The agencies, alongside the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund failed to appear before the Committee on Public Account over the sales of some government property.

Chairman of the House Committee on Public Account, Rep. Wole Oke told the Clerk of the Committee to forward a petition to the President through the office of the Secretary to the Federation and the Chief of Staff to the President informing him of the refusal of the heads of the agency to honour the invitation of the Parliament.

He said the President should compel the agencies to honour the invitation of the House within seven days.

However, at its hearing on Wednesday, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the Nigeria Electricity Liabilities Management Company denied selling any government property or being in possession of any proceeds from the sale.

Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria, Engr S.A. Abdulazeez said told the Committee that “TCN was not involved in the sales of federal government landed property.

When the Power Holding Company was privatized, all assets and liabilities were handed over to the Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO and so, we have no presentation to make”.

Responding to, Director General of NELMCO, Adebayo Fagbemi said not all PHCN assets were transferred to the agency, adding that some of the property handed over to him were already sold before they were handed over to them.

He said that the gazette authorising the transfer also transferred some of the assets to other agencies including the Nigeria Electricity Management Service Agency and National Power Training Institute of Nigeria and the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET).

He disclosed that their schedules were transferred to the agency by the gazette, adding that some of the property listed in the schedules were already sold by the Presidential Implementation Committee, the Federal Capital Territory Authority, and the FIRS before they were handed over to the agency merely on paper.

He said those assets already sold should have been expunged from the list of assets handed over to them, adding that the agencies that took charge and sold the property should be in a better position to explain where the money realised from the sale was kept.

He said NELMCO only recently got approval from the Bureau of Public Enterprises to begin the sale of about 52 government property, adding that the process of selling those property is currently being carried out.

Asked whether the property were sold before being handed over to them, he said: “the transfers were done officially in 2013 by the BPE and by 2013, some of them were already sold and the proceeds were never transferred to us”.

The Secretary to the Presidential Implementation Committee on the Sales of Federal Government landed property, Kola Adeyemi, however, confirmed that the property were sold and the proceeds deposited in a special account at the CBN created for that purpose.

He said the Committee never had access to the proceeds as the transaction was carried out in line with Presidential directives.

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Bandits Lay Siege To Armed Forces Command And Staff College, Jaji

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Some criminals, suspected to be bandits, are currently laying siege around the premises of Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) located in Jaji, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Their mission, according to some locals in the community who spoke to our correspondent during a telephone conversation, was to abduct some staff of the college and the communities around the area.

This is coming in less than two months after bandits stormed the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Mando, also in Kaduna and kidnapped no fewer than 39 students.

AFCSC is a training facility for the Nigerian Armed Forces, including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Navy.

A resident of the area, who simply identified himself as Adamu, told Daily Trust via telephone that the bandits have always surrounded the institution while terrorising the communities around the college.

“It is only Allah that has been saving us. They (bandits) have always rustled cows in our communities. Military operatives do engage them in gun battle anytime they come around, that is why we don’t have major casualties yet,” Adamu said.

The Commandant of the college, Air Marshal Olayinka Alade, confirmed this on Wednesday in Abuja when he visited the Army Headquarters to brief Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim, on the development and other issues in the institution.

Alade said the institution has decided to launch impromptu searching and clearance operations in some communities where the bandits are operating around the college having informed General Officer Commanding 1 Division.

“There are some communities around the school that have developed and because it is like part of the college, maybe they are hiding under that cover, so some bandits are there. Because of that, there is collaboration with other institution’s heads in the college. Constantly, we try to conduct an impromptu searching. We conduct search and patrol from time to time.

“What we discovered now is that, not too far ahead, some communities… it is like all these bandits have made all that place their aim, so I discussed with GOC 1 Div. From time to time, we need to carry out clearance operations,” the AFCSC Commandant said.

The Commandant further disclosed that the bandits rustled some cows behind the college on Tuesday, April 13 – a development that led to gun duel between them and the military operatives.

He, however, did not disclose whether there was any casualty, noting that he came to brief the COAS so as not to be surprised if he hears anything subsequently.

According to him, “In fact, yesterday (Tuesday), I was told that some bandits came to come and rustle some cows just behind us. There was an exercise that was carried out by the NACI. They actually encountered these bandits, they had to exchange fire during the exercise.

“Those are the things we’re trying to ensure that we are not surprised if they have come that close, then, we need to sit tight and ensure we clear that place.”

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Deputy Nigeria Ambassador to Jordan, Ibrahim Mohammed,(1st left) the Managing Director Ministry of Tourism and Antiquiies, Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, (middle) Executive Secretary NCPC, Yakubu Pam (right) during a courtesy visit paid to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Jordan recently

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Coalition Warns Anti-Vaxxers, Urges Nigerians To Disregard Fake News Of COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects

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The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy has urged Nigerians to treat reports of side effects from the AstraZeneca jab as fake news, noting that some elements are out to frustrate the ongoing vaccination exercise.

This follows the claim of blood vomit by a woman in Kaduna after allegedly being administered the vaccine.

While the state government has vowed to investigate the report, the National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy said the assertion is the handiwork of anti-vaxxers.

In a statement signed by its Director of Public Enlightenment, Samson Abu, on Saturday, the group, though, admitted potential side effects from the jab, added that some persons are out to sow fear in the minds of Nigerians.

Abu, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to disregard all fake news pertaining to the safety, efficacy and effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to him, the supposed victim is an isolated case yet to be proven by any expert.

The group, however, urged Nigerians to continue to take the vaccine for their good and the safety of their loved ones around them

Read the full statement below:

The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy is appalled by the deployment of fake news by anti-vaccine elements in Nigeria in their bid to scare and discourage people from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine that is meant to protect against the Corona Virus and save lives.

The fake news, published with the headline “Woman vomits blood after taking COVID-19 vaccine” is a disingenuous attempt at creating a deepfake given the effort that was made to create the impression that one Hannatu Tanko was rushed to Gwamna Awan General Hospital in Kaduna State because she started vomiting blood after receiving the vaccine.

Interestingly, the same script was published by several blogs and a few undiscerning news sites without the publishers carrying out the necessary checks and without speaking with experts on what could have led to the woman’s condition.

The fake news also created the impression that there is coercion in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine whereas people are voluntarily accepting the jab owing to their knowledge of how it protects one from catching the deadly virus. Such a desperate act could have only resulted from people that are keen on seeing the pandemic decimate humanity.

With more than half a million so far vaccinated, even if the account of the woman experiencing reactions to the vaccine were correct, the case would be an isolated one and the fact that sources claimed the woman is recovering confirms that the vaccine is safe while any unintended effect would be at worst temporary. We, therefore, find it unacceptable that the isolated and unproven instance is now being used by purveyors of fake news and anti-Vaxxers to discourage Nigerians from taking the vaccine. This is a huge disservice and unacceptable.

For the avoidance of doubts, experts’ views are required to confirm that what a person experiences after taking the jab is related to the vaccine. To do this, the experts would have ruled out that the symptoms exhibited by such are not caused by other underlying factors that coincidentally flared up at about the same time the person took their vaccine.

The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Vaccine Administration and Advocacy consequently warn detractors and anti-vaxxers in Nigeria that they have a responsibility to society to desist from sowing fear in the mind of the people especially when it is apparent that the fake news they are spreading has all the potential to hurt more people than save them.

We appeal to Nigerians to disregard all fake news about the safety, efficacy and effects of the COVID-19 vaccine and only based their decision to accept the jab or not on sound science, which would make them appreciate the benefits it offers. Nigerians, who truly value their wellbeing as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the world, should make it a personal responsibility to take the vaccine for their good and the safety of their loved ones around them.

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