Wike is right, you lack integrity – Tinubu slams Atiku; Nigeria records 35 new COVID-19 cases | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Wike is right, you lack integrity – Tinubu slams Atiku
  • Nigeria records 35 new COVID-19 cases
  • Court declares assets by INEC Chairman, Yakubu, legitimate
  • NAFDAC to position Nigeria for vaccine production – DG
  • DSS arrests ISWAP commander behind Kogi bomb blast, Kuje prison attack

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss:

Wike is right, you lack integrity – Tinubu slams Atiku

The All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu has said Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was right about his comment that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, flagbearer, Atiku Abubakar lacks integrity.

Tinubu said Atiku has nothing to offer because he was part of the PDP’s administration that plundered Nigeria’s wealth.

Speaking in Kano during the APC campaign rally, Tinubu accused Atiku of deceiving Nigerians.

The APC flagbearer urged the people of the State not to be deceived by allowing the PDP to return to power under any guise.

According to Tinubu: “Neither Atiku nor his party can keep their promise. Tell me how they will keep their promise to the nation. No wonder their party is in tatters! Governor Wike was right when he talked about a lack of integrity, saying ‘look at the man and his history.’

“We can make Nigeria better, safer, and more prosperous. We can educate our youth, feed our people and put an end to fear. We can do these things. We can move you forward.

“But the others cannot. They want to hold you back so that only they can move forward. They offer nothing but fake promises and easy answers that hold no water. All they can show you is how to hate your fellow Nigerian and reject your neighbour.”

Wike has been against Atiku after he lost the PDP ticket to Atiku during the party’s presidential primaries in 2022.

The governor accused Atiku of lacking integrity following his refusal to prevail on the PDP’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu to resign.

He and his group, G-5 accused Atiku of refusing to honour the rotational policy of the PDP.

Wike claimed that a particular region should not be allowed to produce PDP’s National Chairman and the presidential candidate.

Nigeria records 35 new COVID-19 cases

In the final week of December 2022, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) identified 35 new COVID-19 infections.

On Wednesday, it announced on its website that 22 cases had been reported; 10 had been reported in Lagos State; two had been reported in Delta; and one had been reported in Plateau.

The cases were documented between December 24, 2022, and December 30, it continued.

Since the pandemic’s breakout in 2019, there have been 3,155 fatalities and 266,450 infections in Nigeria.

According to the NCDC, 259,841 people have been treated and released across the country, while 3,451 people remain ill with the virus.

Nigerians were urged to periodically sanitize commonly touched areas to stop the spread of the virus and other infectious diseases

Court declares assets by INEC Chairman, Yakubu, legitimate

The allegations of fabricating a fraudulent assets statement against Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, have been dismissed by a Federal Capital Territory High Court.

The Court then decided to prevent security agencies from looking into him because of his legitimate asset declaration.

Somadina Uzoabaka sought, among other things, an order of mandatory injunction compelling the INEC Chairman to recuse, excuse, and exclude himself and/or resign as the Chairman of INEC pending the investigation and consideration of the various allegations against him by the various law enforcement agencies in an Originating Summons marked FCT/HC/GAR/CV/47/2022 filed against the Attorney General of the Federation and Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

In addition, the claimant asked the court to issue a 10-year injunction on the INEC Chairman holding or entering any public office.

Prof. Yakubu, who filed a counterclaim against the claimant, provided the court with a number of exhibits to demonstrate the funding sources for the acquisition of the properties that the claimant claimed were obtained unlawfully. Prof. Yakubu also insisted that his asset declarations were properly completed.

However, Professor Yakubu’s statement of assets was legal, genuine, and in line with the law, according to Justice M. A. Hassan, who also concluded that “none of the security agencies identified by the Claimant that should all probe him” could look into Prof. Yakubu.

The trial judge denied all 14 of the claimant’s pleas and ruled that the INEC Chairman cannot be fired due to unfounded claims of fake wealth declarations.

As a result, Justice Hassan rejected the claimant’s arguments and upheld the INEC Chairman’s counterargument.

While fielding questions from journalists, counsel to the INEC Chairman, Emeka Obegolu, SAN, said “by this judicial victory yet again, it is expected that there will be respite for the INEC Chairman to focus his attention on the conduct of the 2023 general elections and for those reportedly insisting on his leaving office because of the decision to use the BVAS machine for the election, to use the remainder of the days to campaign. As the court has just declared, Prof. Mahmood goes nowhere.”

You may recall that the Federal High Court in Umuahia rendered a ruling in March 2021 and determined that the INEC Chairman had not broken any laws by declaring his assets. In July 2021, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal against the High Court’s decision in that case and upheld the finding that Prof. Yakubu had not broken the law in declaring his assets.

NAFDAC to position Nigeria for vaccine production – DG

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the director general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, has stated that the organization will strategically position Nigeria for the production of vaccines.

This was revealed by Adeyeye during a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja, where she also discussed the agency’s strategic objectives for 2023–2028.

On December 30, 2022, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired), the president, gave his approval for Adeyeye to continue serving as NAFDAC DG.

Adeyeye claimed that by maintaining strong manufacturing practices at the Nigeria Vaccine Company, the agency will attain its positioning.

She said, “Part of the new initiatives of the agency is to attain Vaccine Lot Release ML4 to position Nigeria strategically for vaccine manufacturing by ensuring good manufacturing practices of Nigeria Vaccine company. It will also assure the quality, safety, and efficacy of vaccines manufactured in Nigeria or imported. This will equally establish Vaccine Clinical Trial Research and Service Pipeline for the local manufacturer.”

Adeyeye further stated that the agency would continue to sanitise the supply chain unit through monitoring in order to mitigate counterfeits

She said, “Our Supply Chain Monitoring will aid continual sanitisation of the supply chain units to mitigate counterfeits and SFs. It will also scale up imported and locally manufactured pharmaceuticals, and establish structured and active tracking and tracing through solution providers. This includes initiating track and trace of foods.”

She added that the organization would cooperate with NDLEA in reducing substance or drug misuse and that the agency would continue to increase regulatory actions through investigation and enforcement.

In order to improve management and openness, Adeyeye said the agency would increase the digitalization of more regulatory processes and employ new media avenues to publicize important NAFDAC actions.

The Director-General remembered that during her first tenure, she encountered a massive debt of N3.2 billion, a pitifully low IGR of N700 million, and a collection of N7 billion in user fees.

Although she added that the IGR had tripled to N2.5 billion and user fees had increased to N15 billion, she claimed that the debt had been paid off during her first year in office.

DSS arrests ISWAP commander behind Kogi bomb blast, Kuje prison attack

The Department of State Services (DSS) has arrested an Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) member over the blast near the Palace of Ohinoyi of Ebiraland in Okene, Kogi State.

The Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) attack occurred on 29th December during the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to commission some projects.

A statement on Wednesday by the Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya named Abdulmumin Ibrahim Otaru (a.k.a. Abu Mikdad) as the mastermind.

Otaru, described as “a high commander” of the terrorist organisation, either coordinated or was involved in several other attacks.

The DSS mentioned the 24th June 2022, attack on the Police Area Command in Eika-Ohizenyi, Okehi LGA of Kogi. Inspector Idris Musa was killed and two AK-47 rifles were carted away.

Otaru participated in the 5th July 2022 breach of the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre in Kuje Area Council, Abuja.

On 5th August 2022, he took part in the attack on West African Ceramics Ltd (WACL) in Ajaokuta LGA, Kogi. Three Indians were kidnapped.

Five persons, including one Indian, two policemen, and two drivers of the company were murdered. The captives were released on 31st August.

The security agency also announced the arrest of one of the ISWAP topshot’s associates, Saidu Suleiman on 3rd January.

Afunanya disclosed that Otaru sustained a gunshot injury on his left foot while attempting to escape and is receiving treatment at a health facility.

“Otaru operated terrorist cells in and around Kogi State. Similarly, he and his gang had staged several kidnap operations in Kogi and Ondo States”, the PRO added.

The DSS stated that the suspects would be prosecuted and urged citizens to support members of law enforcement with timely and relevant information.

The Kogi government had accused disgruntled politicians of culpability in the explosion that claimed at least three lives.

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