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PDP Lawmakers Won’t Chair Committees, Oshiomhole Insists

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The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has said that lawmakers of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives will not be appointed as chairmen of committees in the next parliament.

Speaking at a dinner hosted by President Muhammadu Buhari for elected APC lawmakers on Tuesday, Mr Oshiomhole said the decision is because the APC has learnt from the ”mistake” of 2015 when members not loyal to the party were allowed to assume leadership positions in the National Assembly.

The dinner held inside the Banquet Hall of the State House Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara emerged against the wish of the APC in 2015. Both men, elected on the APC platform in 2015, had the support of PDP lawmakers and appointed some of them as committee chairpersons. Both men defected to the PDP in 2018.

Mr Oshiomhole on Tuesday said even as APC members, Messrs Saraki and Dogara were hostile to the APC administration led by Mr Buhari.

He accused the duo of creating tension in the system, delaying budget needlessly and creating all sorts of obstacles to frustrate the government.

“In life, mistakes are permitted. But it becomes a problem if the mistake is repeated twice. We are determined not to repeat the mistakes of 2015 in 2019, we have learnt our lesson.

”Out of 223 APC elected members, 67 were re-elected, the rest are new members.

”In other climes, you don’t go into coalition when you are in the majority, you do so when you don’t have the numbers. We have the numbers, out of 360, Nigerians elected 223 APC members because they don’t want Mr President to face the trauma of 2015, ” he said.

The APC chairman said the House of Representatives has 96 committees and that all re-elected members will chair strategic committees, adding ”even new members will chair committees this time around.”

He said the decision is sequel to the fact that most of those who decamped from the APC were rejected by Nigerians during the election and “even those who led it were uprooted by the Otoge movement in Kwara State.”

“We cannot as a party which has a comfortable majority, entrust critical committees in the hands of the PDP or opposition.

“If Nigerians wanted them, they could have voted them. In the days of PDP, every committee were chaired by PDP members,” he said.

Mr Oshiomhole also said Mr. Buhari and the leadership of the party do not expect the National Assembly to be a rubber stamp.

He said, however, that they will operate like a typical African family where issues are discussed in closed door.

“The good news,” he said, “is that there is a role for everyone.”

“Both the re-elected and new members are entitled to heading committees

“We have asked our people not to share what belongs to us with other party members.

“I don’t have apologies against forces of retrogression,” Mr Oshiomhole said.

The party chairman’s stance comes a day after the APC said its elected lawmakers consulting with the PDP were right to do so.

Femi Gbajabiamila, the Lagos lawmaker favoured to be the next House speaker by APC leaders, is one of those consulting with PDP members.

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Buhari Approves Suspension of Ex-EFCC Acting Chairman, Magu

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the suspension of the boss of the country’s anti-graft agency, Ibrahim Magu days after he appeared at an investigative panel.

The Nigerian Government said Magu’s suspension is to “allow for unhindered inquiry” by the panel investigating allegations of corruption against the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, should take charge and oversee the activities of the Commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation and further directives in that regards,” Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations in the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, said in a statement on Friday.

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COVID-19: Fresh Lockdown Likely After Two Weeks – PTF

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday lamented the increasing rate of COVID-19 cases among people in government, saying it was directly impacting on governance and security in the country.

The PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who stated this at the task force press briefing in Abuja, also said the possibility of ordering a fresh total lockdown to curtail further spread of the virus could not be ruled out.

The SGF, who advised prominent Nigerians to take COVID-19 protocols seriously, said the virus does not respect status.

Mustapha’s warning came amid rising cases of COVID-19 among state governors and other prominent Nigerians.  Recently state governors, including David Umahi of Ebonyi, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta and their Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi  Akeredolu, contracted the virus.

Warning people in authority, the SGF said,  “Of recent, we have witnessed a high rate of positive cases especially among people in authority. This has a direct impact on governance and security of our nation. We urge that vigilance and care should be exhibited by all Nigerians, irrespective of status. This virus does not discriminate and the PTF shall keep sustaining its sensitisation messaging.”

When asked if the task force would be considering a fresh lockdown in the face of what it observed as disregard for guidelines, Mustapha said events of coming weeks would determine the next line of action.

He said, “We will not speculate on what will happen in future but we will protect the lives of Nigerians.

“To achieve that, if it means to lock down again, we will not shy away from that responsibility. We will recommend to the President who will look at the report and take a decision on our recommendation. What happens in the next two three weeks will determine what we will do.”

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Cross River Finally Joins the Fray As Nigeria Records 575 New COVID-19 Cases

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced 575 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 29,286.

Nine deaths were recorded from the virus on Monday bringing the total number of confirmed deaths from the virus to 654.

There was an increase in the number of confirmed cases reported Monday compared to what was reported on Sunday (544).

The health agency in a tweet Monday night said the 575 new cases were reported in 20 states including Lagos, Federal Capital Territory ( FCT), Delta, Edo, Ogun, Katsina, Bayelsa, Rivers, Borno, Plateau, Ondo, Oyo, Kwara, Osun, Enugu, Nasarawa, Abia, Cross River, Kaduna and Ekiti.

All the reporting states already had at least a case of the virus.

As of the time of reporting, all 36 states and the FCT have recorded at least a case of the disease.

NCDC has officially recorded the confirmed cases reported in Cross River, after days of controversies on the cases.

Lagos remains the epicentre for the disease in the country while Zamfara has not reported any new confirmed case in the past 48 days.

“Till date, 29, 286 cases have been confirmed, 11, 828 cases have been discharged and 654 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” the NCDC stated.

The 575 new cases were reported from 20 states: Lagos – 123, FCT – 100, Delta – 58, Edo – 52, Ogun – 42, Katsina – 24, Bayelsa – 23, Rivers – 22, Borno – 19, Plateau – 18, Ondo – 18, Oyo – 17, Kwara – 15, Osun – 13, Enugu – 9, Nasarawa – 7, Abia – 6, Cross River – 5, Kaduna – 3 and Ekiti – 1.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in Nigeria in February, NCDC said, 152,952 samples have been tested.

As of the time of reporting, there are 16,804 active cases of COVID-19 in the country, while 11,828 have recovered and have been discharged.

A breakdown of the 29,286 confirmed cases shows that Lagos State has so far reported 11, 367 cases, followed by FCT – 2,281, Oyo – 1,530, Edo – 1,435, Delta – 1,285, Kano – 1,268, Rivers – 1,205, Ogun – 1,047, Kaduna – 868, Katsina – 628, Borno – 574, Gombe – 520, Bauchi – 518, Ebonyi – 503, Ondo – 474, Plateau – 454, Abia – 391, Enugu – 381, Imo – 352, Jigawa – 318, Kwara – 284, Bayelsa – 268, Nasarawa – 232, Osun – 178, Sokoto – 153, Niger – 122, Akwa Ibom – 112, Adamawa – 99, Benue – 97, Kebbi – 84, Zamfara – 76, Anambra – 73, Yobe – 61, Ekiti – 45, Taraba- 22, Kogi – 5, and Cross River – 5.

While confirmed cases of the virus have continued to increase in the country, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the government is trying to boost overall COVID-19 sample collection, by preparing all public and private hospitals nationwide to become collection hospitals sites.

This, he said will require working with state governments to identify the facilities and the space within them, to conduct training for the personnel selected and supply both PPEs and sample collection kits, as well as the logistics to go around to recover test samples.

“If logistics around sample collection and delivery to test sites are better organised, a lot more will be achieved.

“However, the more we test, the more confirmed cases we shall find, of which the vulnerable will have to be prioritised for admission to treatment centres, even if they are not yet showing symptoms,” he added.

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