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Nigerians react as Buhari finally addresses Coronavirus on Live Broadcast, calls it ‘COVID One Nine’

The president of Nigeria earlier today finally succumbed to the requests of Nigerians to address the populace on the Coronavirus epidermic, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently named a pandemic owing to the level global fatality it has caused.

Recall that since the first index case which was recorded in Nigeria through the anonymous Italian who came into Nigeria, and the recent records that seem to gradually spread across different States in the country; Nigerians have been beckoning on President Buhari to address the nation on live TV so as to calm the fears and panic that was beginning to arise among Nigerians. This request unfortunately, had seemed to fall on deaf ears as the President had restricted his comments about the virus just on Twitter.

However, earlier today, the special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on news media, Bashir Ahmad, tweeted and posted an excerpt from a 23 seconds video of the President finally addressing the nation on the topic of the Coronavirus:

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“We are working with [Federal] Ministry of Health (@FMoHNigeria) on protecting our citizens from #COVIDー19, as a government, this is now a key priority for us”. – President @MBuhari on #coronavirus pandemic. #COVID19Nigeria

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EFCC: Ibrahim Magu opens up on ‘N550b missing interest’

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Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has denied the claim that he failed to account for the interest in the N550 billion recovered fund kept in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, custody.

Recall that the Final Report of Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets, PCARA, surfaced at the weekend showing how interest rates accruing from N550 billion recovered by the anti-graft agency in the period from May, 2015, to May 2020.

The report said the EFCC, “Failure to report on the interest on actual lodgments clearly establishes that interest element of over N550 billion has been re-looted relating to the period under review.”

But in a statement by his lawyer Wahab Shittu on Sunday, Magu said such recovered fund kept with the CBN do not generate interest.

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The statement added, “It is falsehood that Magu placed N550 billion recovered loot into a deposit account.

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“The alleged transaction never featured in the proceedings before the Salami panel. Magu was never confronted with any such allegation by the panel and the news is blatant falsehood.

“To the best of Magu’s knowledge, no such amount is in any such account and he remains aghast at such outrageous figures. No one has confronted Magu with such allegations.

“All recovered funds are lodged in the Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Such recovered funds do not generate interest. This is elementary and can be verified from the CBN and the federal ministry of finance.

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“This can also be confirmed from other government revenue generating agencies. Funds kept in TSA account do not generate interest.”

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Friday suspended Magu as the acting chairman of the EFCC.

The agency’s Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, has taken charge and now oversees the activities of the Commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation into Magu’s case.

Magu, on Friday wrote the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, asking to be released on bail.

In a letter dated July 10, 2020, Magu’s legal representative, Oluwatosin Ojaomo, asked Adamu to grant bail to his client on “self recognizance.”

The acting EFCC Chairman was arrested on Monday and taken to the presidential Villa in Abuja, where he is being interrogated by a panel headed by Ayo Salami, a retired president of the Appeal Court.

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World risks another virus like COVID-19 – UN

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The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) says that the world risks another virus of the magnitude of COVID-19.

The UN warned that this could happen if the trafficking, sales and consumption of wildlife are not stopped.

UNODC, in a statement, said the World Wildlife Crime Report 2020 revealed that zoonotic diseases represented 75 percent of all emerging infections globally.

Diseases like SARS-CoV-2 that caused COVID-19 pandemic have already been linked to wildlife with pangolins top on the suspected list.

UNODC noted that the coronavirus pandemic “has shown that wildlife crime is a threat not only to the environment and biodiversity, but also to human health”.

It said when wild animals are poached from their natural habitat, butchered and sold illegally, the potential for transmission of zoonotic diseases is increased.

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UNODC added that pangolins, which were identified as a potential source of coronavirus, were the most trafficked wild mammals in the world.

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The body decried that Nigeria played a significant role in the trafficking and sales of pangolins with at least 51 tonnes of pangolin scales seized in 2019, from just two tonnes in 2015.

UNODC disclosed that in the last 20 years, it made 180,000 seizures from 149 countries and territories.

Executive Director, Ghada Waly, stressed that if wildlife crimes were not stopped, they would heighten the risk of a future public health emergency.

He said stopping the trafficking in wildlife species was a critical step not just to protect biodiversity and the rule of law, but to help prevent future public health emergencies.

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“To protect people and the planet in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, and to build back better from the COVID-19 crisis, we cannot afford to ignore wildlife crime”, the official appealed.

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