The Late 5: Tambuwal compensates former PDP guber candidate; Senate adjourns plenary in honour of 44 slain soldiers | Other top stories

These are the stories that drove the conversation today:

The Sokoto House of Assembly on Thursday confirmed the appointment of Manir Muhammad Dan-Iya as the new deputy governor of the state, following the unanimous adoption of a motion by the Deputy Majority Leader, Ibrahim Sarki by a voice vote during plenary.

Dan-Iya until last week was the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) but was substituted for Governor Aminu Tambuwal who had earlier ran in the party’s presidential primaries in October, but lost to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.

The immediate past Deputy Governor, Ahmed Aliyu, had resigned on November 13 after securing the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship ticket for the 2019 poll in the state.

The Senate on Thursday adjourned plenary earlier than expected in honour of the 44 soldiers, who lost their lives while fighting Boko Haram insurgents.

Part of the resolutions mandated the Committees on Defence and Army to investigate the cause of the killings of the 44 soldiers and to ensure that adequate measures are being taken to curb such killings in the military.

The Senate also directed the Committee on Police to investigate the circumstances surrounding the sealing of the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly by security operatives on Wednesday.

In a related development, a bill for an Act to amend the Public Holidays Act to declare June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria has passed the second reading at the House of Representatives.

The bill if passed into law means that subsequent June 12 will become public holidays to commemorate Democracy Day, while May 29 would be celebrated every fourth year when there is an inauguration of a new president.

The bill jointly sponsored by Hon. Edward Pwajok and Hon. Kayode Oladele, seeks to bring the Act in tandem with the current realities and exigencies of the modern times.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has closed down some properties allegedly owned by the immediate past Governor of Ekiti, Ayodele Fayose in Ado-Ekiti, including three houses and a building housing Peoples Voice 104.1 FM.

The closure of the properties is believed to be in relation to a running battle between the former governor and the EFCC over the claim that he benefited from a sum of N2.99 billion from the arms fund allotted to the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col Bello Dasuki (rtd).

Reacting to the development, Fayose in a statement signed by his media aide, accused the EFCC of sealing houses belonging to innocent people in the state, under the guise that the houses are linked to him, stressing that the actions of the anti-graft agency was “another wild goose chase and the usual media campaign against his person.”

The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu has written to the Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Onnoghen, requesting that all EFCC court cases being handled by Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court Abuja, be reassigned to another judge in a bid to obtain fair judgements.

EFCC Prosecuting Counsel, Onjefu Obe, disclosed this in court on November 21, 2018, as he told the court that the concern of the Commission to reassign all EFCC cases before Justice Nyako, borders on likely bias on the part of the trial judge, considering the fact that the EFCC was also prosecuting her husband, Murtala Nyako, a former Adamawa State governor for alleged fraud.

And stories from around the world:

U.S. President Donald Trump hinted on Thursday he may visit Afghanistan, scene of one of America’s longest wars but a country he has yet to visit almost two years into his presidency. (Reuters)

Theresa May has hailed the draft agreement on post-Brexit relations as “right for the whole of the UK” and insisted a deal “is within our grasp.”

The political declaration – outlining how UK-EU trade, security and other issues will work – has been “agreed in principle”, the European Council says. (BBC)

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Argentina next week amid tensions between Ankara and Riyadh, the Turkish presidential spokesman said Thursday. (AFP)

Similarly, a Turkish newspaper reported on Thursday CIA director Gina Haspel signaled to Turkish officials last month that the agency had a recording of a call in which Saudi Arabia’s crown prince gave instructions to “silence” Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Ethiopia has chosen an opposition leader, who recently returned from exile, to head its election body – part of the African country’s efforts to bring former rebels into the political mainstream. (Al Jazeera)

The head of the U.N.’s atomic watchdog has called on North Korea to allow inspectors back in to monitor its nuclear program. (Associated Press)

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