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Buhari: I Stand With Pantami Regardless Of His Link To Al-Qaeda

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Buhari: I Stand With Pantami Regardless Of His Link To Al-Qaeda

President Muhammadu Buhari has broken his silence on the controversy surrounding the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, saying he stands behind him regardless of his link to Boko Haram, and other terror groups.

As reported on Newsrand, Pantami had been linked with global extremist groups –the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, after declaring support for them in his past preachings.

Pantami’s sympathetic utterances for the jihadists, dated to the early 2000s before becoming a minister, has since been attracting criticism from political stakeholders and members of the public at large. And they have since been calling for his removal from office.

Reacting to Pantami’s extremist comments, Buhari through his Senior Special Assistant, Garba Shehu, in a statement, said he aligned himself with the submission of the embattled minister that he was young when he made those statements and that his position had since changed.

Buhari, however, said the minister would never repeat such statements since he had condemned them and apologised.

The statement read: “Today, there is an unfortunate fashion in public discourse that makes leaders in politics, religion, and civil society liable in the present for every statement they have ever made in the past – no matter how long ago, and even after they have later rejected them.

“This insidious phenomenon seeks to cancel the careers of others on the basis of a thing they have said, regardless of when they said it.

“The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami is, currently, subject to a ‘cancel campaign’ instigated by those who seek his removal.

“They do not really care what he may or may not have said some 20 years ago: that is merely the instrument they are using to attempt to ‘cancel’ him. But they will profit should he be stopped from making decisions that improve the lives of everyday Nigerians.

“The Minister has, rightly, apologised for what he said in the early 2000s. The views were absolutely unacceptable then and would be equally unacceptable today, were he to repeat them. But he will not repeat them – for he has publicly and permanently condemned his earlier utterances as wrong.

“In the 2000s, the Minister was a man in his twenties; next year he will be 50. Time has passed, and people and their opinions – often rightly – change.

“But all discerning Nigerians know this manufactured dispute is nothing to do with the Minister’s prior words, but solely concern his actions in the present.

“The administration stands behind Minister Pantami and all Nigerian citizens to ensure they receive fair treatment, fair prices, and fair protection in ICT services.”

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Daily Headline News (Wednesday, 12-5-2021)

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EFCC Says It Recovered $153m, 80 Buildings From Alison-Madueke

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EFCC Says It Recovered $153m, 80 Buildings From Alison-Madueke

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has disclosed that it recovered $153 million and 80 buildings from former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who has since been under probe for the looting of public funds and money laundering.

Making this disclosure, the new EFCC boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa said the buildings are valued at $80 million, adding that all the recoveries have been handed over to the Federal Government.

Bawa, however, noted that bringing the former minister to justice was still far from reality, given the fact that she is out of Nigeria’s jurisdiction and the challenges associated with bringing her home to face justice.

The EFCC chief’s words: “There are several cases surrounding Diezani’s case. I was part of that investigation, and we have done quite a lot. In one of the cases, we recovered $153 million; we have secured the final forfeiture of over 80 property in Nigeria valued at about $80 million. We have done quite a bit on that.

“The other cases as it relates to the $115 million INEC bribery, is also ongoing across the federation. We are looking forward to the time we will, maybe, have her in the country, and, of course, review things and see what will happen going forward.
The case has certainly not been abandoned.’’

Speaking further, Bawa maintained that he’s ready to leave the job if anyone tried to make him do what was illegal.

“I am not going to pay allegiance to individuals in the government,” he said. Bawa pointed out that though he was young in age; he had paid the price on the job, having been among the pioneer staff of EFCC and passed through the crucible to reach the top.

“I rose through the ranks. The only job I know after graduation is the EFCC, which I joined in 2004. I rose through the ranks from an ordinary team member, to the first EFCC team leader from the regular staff of the EFCC.

“I became a sectional head, became the zonal head in Ibadan, zonal head in Port Harcourt, and zonal head in Lagos. Lagos is the biggest operational hub of the EFCC with over 600 personnel. Port Harcourt is next to it in terms of complexity and staff strength. I happen to be the first EFCC regular staff to head three different zones before my appointment as the chairman.

“The records are there. And it is a challenge I have taken upon myself to do without fear or favour. That is the truth. If anybody is coming to ask me to do something that is contrary to my conscience or what the EFCC is set out to achieve, I’m going to resign,” Bawa vowed.

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ALERT: Dreaded India’s COVID-19 Variant Discovered In Nigeria

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ALERT: Dreaded India's COVID-19 Variant Discovered In Nigeria

The African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) in the Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State, has detected the COVID-19 strain, currently ravaging India, in Nigeria.

The variant, according to a report, was detected nearly three weeks ago and has been communicated to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

It would be recalled that the Federal Government had again restricted gatherings at worship centres and banned nightclubs following reports that the devastating COVID-19 strain in South Africa had spread to 23 other countries.

The detection of the Indian strain in Nigeria contributed to the fresh regulations issued by the Federal Government.

The detection had been listed on GISAID, a global science initiative that provided open access to genomic data of influenza viruses.

A notification dated Sunday, April 25, 2021, sent by Professor Christian Hapi of the ACEGID to the NCDC, read in part, “We have found five sequences of the India B.1.617 in the country, specifically in Edo and Osun states.”

Hapi, however, clarified that the strain in India has two more mutations than the one identified in Nigeria which makes the one in India more aggressive.

“What we have is the B1.617 from India. That is the variant they had but that variant has now evolved beyond the mutation that we identified.

“The one India evolved by two mutations. It is the same strain with India but their own now has a couple of mutations. So, it is the same as what we detected but also different in characteristics,” he added.

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