Wednesday, 20 September 2017

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Headliners

Headliners (1730)

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have visited two mansions in Dubai allegedly belonging to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The properties, located at E146 Emirates Hill and J5 Emirates Hill, are said to be worth 74,000,000 dirham (N7.1bn).

Emirates Hill, which has been described as the Beverly Hills of the United Arab Emirates, is home to some of the richest men in the world including billionaire Chairman of the Stallion Group, Sunil Vaswani.

Others, who are Diezani’s neighbours, include the immediate past Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif; a former President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari; and Robert Mugabe junior, the son of the President of Zimbabwe and one of Africa’s longest serving leaders, President, Robert Mugabe.

A source within the EFCC told our correspondent that the anti-graft agency was already applying for the forfeiture of the properties through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation.

If the commission is able to clear all legal hurdles and ensure the final forfeiture of the property, it would bring the total amount of cash and assets finally recovered from Diezani to $200m (N70bn).

A detective, who did not want his name in print, said the anti-graft agency would exploit the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty the Federal Government had recently signed with the government of the UAE.

The agreements, signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, are Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters, Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and an Extradition Treaty.

The source stated, “We have informed the UAE authorities that from our investigation, we believe Diezani bought the properties with the proceeds of crime. The whole process is still ongoing but with the MLAT, signed by President Buhari, it has made work a lot easier for us.”

The detective explained that before the Federal Government signed the treaty, the UAE law prevented foreign officials from having access to properties in the country without the express permission of its owner.

He added that with the new treaty, the UAE authorities were more cooperative and would readily give information of properties from their Land Registry System.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay(SAN), who hailed Buhari for signing the treaty, told The PUNCH that some corrupt senators, who also owned properties in Dubai, would be made to forfeit them.

Sagay also disagreed with some legal experts who said the Dubai treaty would need to be ratified by the National Assembly before it could be activated.

He said, “The UAE MLAT is not a treaty as such but an agreement; so, it will be operated without their (senators) approval.

“So, let that start worrying them (senators). He (President) will implement it directly. So, those of them that have acquired properties in Dubai and other Middle-East countries should kiss their properties good bye.”

Posted On Monday, 18 September 2017 02:57 Written by


• As Citizens Battle To Dethrone Eyadema Family’s Stronghold
• Abuja, France Should Step In

The Togolese seem to be protesting the hegemonic rule by the Gnassingbe Eyademas. Did you see this coming?
It did not come as a surprise, because succession crisis in Togo is as old as the country itself. Remember that the first President of Togo, late Sylvanus Epiphanio Olympio, was assassinated in a military coup that brought late Gnassingbe Eyadema to power, who was then a sergeant. Late Eyadema got to power after serving in Indo-china and during the war of independence in Algeria, as well as Vietnamese independence war against French colonial rule. So he came home after working under French military rule and later when Togo became independent, he continued to work with Togolese armed forces. But he carried out a coup with others that resulted in Olympio’s death. However, in that coup, just like what happened in France under Napoleon, the leaders could not settle for who should head the country’s leadership. So, he organised his own coup and became Togo’s head of state. Since then, the late Eyadema ruled Togo under a one party regime (PRT), even when there was a multiparty system in 1990 he continued to win elections.

He got into power during the cold war, when military take-over was the norm in Africa, though supported by the Western world. At the end of the cold war, multi-party democracy became the order of the day and France, the former colonial power and at the same time provider of military, economic and commercial activities for francophone countries under the Canal France International (CFI) policy, said all colonies must undergo multi-party democracy. Togo had a one party system before the multi-party policy, but after the policy was implemented, election was organised and the late Eyadema won. And he consistently won the elections thereafter, because he had so managed the electoral process that he could not see himself losing elections and this continued until he died suddenly.

Upon his demise, West African leaders said election must be held, after protests against the son taking over automatically. So, election was held with all the electoral processes in the hands of Eyadema’ family. Though there was internal fighting in the family, but Faure Eyadema won. He came into power, when many West African countries had keyed into the culture of two terms for elected officers. He has been there for two terms and he has not made any one pronouncement as to the political future of the country. A constitution review was done in 2016, which recommended two terms and multi-party system for the country, but that constitution is yet to be approved by Togolese Assembly. So, the people felt the only thing they have to do is to go on the streets, and that is where we are now in Togo. Of course, repression and trying to neutralise the opposition is the order of the day.

The French government wanted multi-party system across its colonies in Africa. Why did Togo miss that mark and the attendant reforms that came with this policy?
Togo missed it because the late Eyadema was considered a very faithful partner of France in Africa. So, he had been able to entrench and endear himself to leaders of all political parties in France, to the point that he was able to win all elections. So, you have multi-party democracy, but he constantly won the elections, though they were not transparent, free and fair. There is this contradiction in France foreign policy to its colonies. On one hand, French leadership supports multi-party system and rule of law, but on the ground in the colonies, those principles are not implemented. And because the late Eyadema had friends across different political formations in France, he was able to get away with it, which is why they are in this crisis now.
Is the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) not a contributor to the crisis, as one would have expected that they would step in to ensure compliance with the 2016 constitution review and getting the Assembly’s backing?

Of all ECOWAS countries, Nigeria is the most influential. It has the biggest economy; biggest military force and you see what Nigeria did in The Gambia. But Nigeria has never done that for Togo. Ghana wanted to, but it does not have the political and military clout to deal with Togolese succession crisis. Nigeria has always been silent. The little Nigeria did was to say that election must hold, when Obasanjo was in office. It did not go far to say that a constitution must be in place for a two-term maximum. If that had been done, the issue would not have happened.

In the geo-political configuration of ECOWAS, members will only go the way Nigeria goes and this has been demonstrated. Nigeria is the highest financial contributor and ECOWAS headquarters is in Nigeria. It is only when Nigeria moves that others follow and that is what happened with The Gambia. Senegal could not do anything.

Are you saying some forces within Nigeria are contributing to the crisis in Togo?
Yes, I will say so. This is because unlike in The Gambia’s case, when we said no, we didn’t want this, no action is being taken on Togo. We intervened in Liberia and Sierra Leone, when their internal crises was about to spill over, but when it comes to Togo, there are some internal forces in Nigeria that are friendly and in support of Eyadema’s regime.

And what do you think is the interest?
There is a very powerful Togolese political lobby in the Nigerian political landscape. And do not forget that the late Eyadema was one of the founders of ECOWAS. He had been friends with Gowon and successive governments after Gowon. Maybe, his son does not have that influence, but the father had.
What is the future of Togolese political landscape? There was a time the father had issues just like the son is having now, but the former got away with it.

Are we going to have a repeat?
When a crisis starts and it is not resolved fundamentally, it disappears temporarily, but reappears again. That is what is happening in Togo, and if care is not taken, that country will go into a civil war. It is time for ECOWAS to step in, to say look, let us do this: Faure Eyadema is at the end of his second term, so let us have a new constitution that says any president can stay in power for a period of five years and not renewable after a second term. If this is done now, they can now negotiate a settlement for Faure to contest again, but will not re-contest again after this last outing. This could be done as a middle of the road agreement and then the place will calm down. And it will be made clear that, if he contests and wins, he will not return again and this will break the Eyadema’s family stronghold on the country. If not, the crisis may become so bad that the country may implode. There is need to have a middle of the road agreement.

The sit-tight syndrome is the norm in Africa. Looking at Faure’s reformation posture, when he assumed power, don’t you think seeing previous leaders before retained power at all cost encouraged him to also want to stay put?
He deceived the international communities and Africa. He gave the impression that one of the things he wouldn’t do is behave like his father. But you only know people when they get to power, and not before. A man or woman becomes a liberator or an oppressor, when he gets to power, and that is when you know the nature of his regime. Also, in many African countries, incumbent presidents don’t have the intention of leaving. The only opposition to a life president is death.

What geo-political setting gave the Eyadema family the upper hand to have remained in government for over 50 years?
If you look at Africa’s post independence history, the late Eyadema was one of the few leaders that captured power and stayed in power. In the 50s and 60s, the notion of spending two terms in power and leaving was not there. You stayed in power as long as you wanted. And if you look at Nigeria, it is the internal dynamics and contradictions that forced some people out of power. Gowon did not want to leave, Shagari was removed by a coup, Babangida did not also want to leave, when election was conducted, he scuttled it. That culture of you must spend two terms was not yet ingrained into Africa’s political culture. I do not see why the likes of Paul Kagame and Museveni are still in power. It retards progress and promotes under-development, because the resources meant for education and vocational training is spent on promoting dictatorship.

The biggest problem Africa is facing since 1492, when it had contact with Europe, is that we have simply remained a continent that supplies raw materials and nothing else. The transformation of these raw materials in Africa has not been realised simply because, even after independence, African leaders have not invested heavily in education and vocational training, like it is done outside. If you invest three or four percent of the budget on education and vocational training, what are you going to achieve?

This is what is happening in Nigeria, with almost ten million out-of-school children, which is one of the highest in the world. This is aside the fact that half of our population cannot read and write. These are potentials for economic development. You can only reverse it, if you invest heavily in education and vocational training, just like in South Korea. We are not doing that; we are only perpetuating leaders, spending money to perpetuate rulers. That is the tragedy of Africa.

And Togo is an example; it spends about three percent on education and vocational training, but look at the money it spends on armed forces, which is about 50 percent of the budget. So, there cannot be development.

Do you see external forces’ conspiracy in this? What sense is in it, if you spend less on education and much on military and security, which is sourced externally?
Yes, a bit of foreign conspiracy, but mainly because African leaders have decided to under-develop Africa. We need to be saying that, because this is 50 years after independence. And they are under-developing Africa to promote their longevity in power.

Ironically, in spite of the huge budget on security, Africa states are not able to fight terrorism because they are under-equipped and the armies are like that of the 60s, while the terrorists are very sophisticated, in terms of intelligence and arms. And we are now being haunted by the neglect and under-funding of education and vocational training. This is what is playing out.

If you look at the education and vocational budget of those countries that are helping us, it is very high. They have well-equipped personnel, as well as well-funded armed and ammunition institutions that are up to date.

Are Togolese not also guilty, especially for being so tolerant of tyrants and sit-tight leaders’ excesses?
I would not agree, because from time to time, there have been protests and revolts over corrupt and indolent leadership. Citizens have not considered these leaders as people that cannot be changed. There have been crises, showing displeasure for leadership styles on the continent.

Unfortunately, however, when you switch on the television, you see hundreds of African youths wanting to leave the continent to go to Europe. This is a product of leadership failure, because they cannot see hope in their countries. This is a continent that is one of the richest in the world. There is no type of raw material that is not in abundance in the continent, but what are our leaders doing about them?

Yes, there might be followership conspiracy, but fundamentally, the buck stops at the doors of our rulers. Look at how our revenues are being stolen and taken abroad.

You talked of revenue, which is about the economy. If you look at countries with sit-tight leaders, they rely on external assistance for sustenance of their economies. Is the unhealthy state of the economy not playing a role in all of these crises?
We need to move away from those classical theories. In the 1960s, South Korea and Nigeria were at the same level of development, but South Korean leadership, without any political revolution, decided that they must spend a huge sum of their budget on education and vocational training and it has moved from four per cent to about 56 per cent. And the result? We have Kia, Daewoo and industrial gadgets, among others. Since 1960, Nigeria is still a country of raw materials with mono economy.

In that kind of situation, you cannot industrialise and become independent of external forces. If you have money and don’t spend it on education and vocational training, definitely you will not reap where you didn’t sow. If you spend three per cent of the budget on education and 60 per cent on the political class, what do you expect to get? You only get under-development.

But I want us to move away from the thinking that it is external forces. Yes, they exist, but the internal forces must be the engines for development. If a leader says, as recommended by UNESCO, I will spend 26 per cent of the budget on education and vocational training; 10 years after, you will see the result.

We are just stagnating. And because we fail to do the right thing, our future generation is doing anything possible to go to Europe that is in crises. This is because we have refused to do the needful. It is pathetic for a continent that is so rich. I won’t even accept all these claims that Niger and Chad are very poor, because there are human beings living there, just like there are material resources in the countries. It is because of the way the resources are being managed that is responsible for their being qualified as poor countries.

African leaders meet at different occasions, whether on regional basis or centrally, yet its structure, including the Africa Peer Review mechanism, has not been able to check their excesses…
To really evaluate the political system in Africa, we need to look into the percentage spent on education and vocational training. It is a very important index. If you spend 15 per cent on education and vocational training and increase it every year, it means you are moving into production of the much-needed manpower to transform raw materials into industrial finished products. Right now, we are not adding wealth to what is on ground. What is the whole basis of exporting gas and petrol to South Korea, when we were at the same level in 1960? It is simply that we have not got it right and not invested in education and vocational training.

This, for me, is a big indication. As long as we do not invest in education and vocational training, we cannot maximally exploit the benefits of our raw materials. We only wait for transfer of technology, which is propaganda. Send your people to school, invest heavily in education and vocational training and you will see people performing wonders. This century is driven by knowledge of economy and digital revolution.

The whole idea of education has dramatically changed. You go to school to acquire knowledge, as well as for skills. You are studying physics, but you must also learn how to be either a carpenter or hairdresser or mechanic, so that you realise your full potentialities as a human being. You have a skill and your brain is functioning, that is the modern concept of education. Korea and Japan are doing that. China and Germany are also doing it. It is not just mono way of acquiring education. Let me give you an example. There are two sectors booming in Nigeria today: Nollywood and hip-pop. These two sectors are populated by graduates, who did not read theatre arts or music. What they have done is that, because they have trained their mind, anything they put their hands on, they could learn. If you do that in the university before leaving, there would have been a better transformation of Nigeria’s economy. 

Don’t you think ECOWAS and AU need to take a stand to say Faure Eyadema must leave, not minding possible humiliation to the Eyadema dynasty? Wouldn’t this send signal to other sit-tight leaders?
You need France and Nigeria to do that. AU will only follow Nigeria and France’s position. If today, Paris mounts pressure on Eyadema to promulgate into law the new constitution, that is the end of the game. If Nigeria says, promulgate the new law so that it becomes an act of parliament, Nigeria will have to seek Paris’ cooperation and understanding to make that a reality. So, it is a question of Paris and Abuja making the move.

The tragedy about Africa is that we have rulers who still behave, even with elections, like kings. You know a king is never replaced until he dies. That is what we are facing in Africa. And until there is a struggle to entrench the new position, it will not come like that. No human being will give up his/her privileges without a fight. Democracy and human rights did not come without a struggle. Change in Africa would only come through a struggle. And where there is struggle, there is no liberation.

The attitude of sit-tight African leaders can be checked, but it is a question of the will of the civil societies, to say we have gone through this path before and enough is enough.

Posted On Sunday, 17 September 2017 12:59 Written by
TROOPS yesterday launched a manhunt for Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader Nnamdi Kanu , barely 24 hours after the group’s proscription.

Nothing has been heard about Kanu since the proscription.

Some sources yesterday said he had gone underground.

Kanu is on bail for the alleged treason charges preferred against him.

The Nation learnt  yesterday that  his bail sureties might be asked by the security agencies to account for him.

Besides,  security agencies are  probing  IPOB leader’s alleged foreign links.

Investigators are said to be analysing a  video clip of Kanu and a Turkish citizen  as part of the probe.

A source, while confirming the search for Kanu, said: “Troops have been given a firm order to fish out and arrest the IPOB leader. As a prelude to it, the Defence Headquarters on Friday  declared IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

“Intelligence has, however, revealed that Kanu might have gone underground. As I speak with you, troops have actually searched his house and he was not found there.Troops have a mandate to arrest him wherever he might be.”

Asked what if he is not found the source said: “ We might follow legal process by holding his sureties responsible. These sureties will have to produce him.”

On the probe of Kanu’s alleged foreign links , another source said:”We are looking into the allegations of foreign support for Kanu. We are doing a profiling of his foreign contacts. We have some clues but we need to dig deeper.”

The Nation can also confirm that  government insisted on non-withdrawal of soldiers from Abia State to avoid a situation whereby the  IPOB will “take advantage and unleash mayhem” on innocent citizens.

Sources said the   presidency overruled Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on the withdrawal of troops because the police alone could not  cope with the “grave security” situation.

“The governor wanted a political solution to a military matter. But the federal government cannot watch and allow the situation to degenerate,” one of the sources said.

“Before Kanu was released on bail, these same governors in the Southeast, political leaders from the zone and others prevailed on the federal government to allow him home.

“Some of these governors and Igbo leaders made a commitment that they would  ensure that Kanu did  not abuse his bail conditions.

“The government bent backwards and ensured that Kanu was released on bail. But you can see what has happened. All those who gave the guarantee that Kanu would  respect his bail bond have been made to look foolish.

“Intelligence on IPOB revealed that without troops on the streets, the situation would have been worse.”

The  Embassy of the United States has asked Americans in Abia and Plateau states to review their security and maintain a high level of vigilance.

The Embassy’s cautionary note was contained in its travel alert.

It said: “Curfews have been declared in Abia and Plateau states because of violent attacks accompanied by threats of reprisals.

“Exercise caution in these areas; review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.

“Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.”

The  National Leader (Southsouth) of Action Democratic Party (ADP), Senator Roland Owie,  yesterday  faulted the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

In a statement in Abuja, Owie said the declaration smacked of double standards.

He said: “Now that IPOB has been declared ‘Terrorist group, the government should immediately declare Fulani herdsmen, Terrorist group.”

Owie added: “I urge President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to walk the way of justice and equity in handling the affairs of Nigeria and stop pretending that all is well.

“The gravest mistake of non-equitable administrations all over the world is the denial of wrongdoings on their part.  Unfortunately for such administrations, they forget that God cannot be mocked.”

“Gravitation will help a person if he builds the side of his house straight and plumb; but gravitation will oppose him and make his house fall down if he builds it out of plumb.”

 
Posted On Sunday, 17 September 2017 00:38 Written by

The South East Governors’ Forum has announced the proscription of activities of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).

Arising from its emergency meeting on Friday in Enugu, Chairman of the forum, Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi requested the group and other of such groups to articulate their grievances and send to the forum.

Umahi appealed to all governors in the zone to ensure compliance with the directive in their various states and for the Federal Government to withdraw the troops in the zone.

Umahi said: “All activities of IPOB are, hereby, proscribed. IPOB and all other aggrieved groups are advised to articulate their position on all national issues.

“Such should be submitted to the committee of governors, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo and National Assembly members from the South East zone through the chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum,” he said.

The Ebonyi governor said that the forum believed in the unity and indivisibility of the country and reinforced their desire for the restructuring of the country.

“We reinforce our desire for the restructuring of Nigeria where all national issues will be discussed and amicably settled to achieve justice and fairness to every Nigerian.

“Accordingly, we appeal to President Muhammad Buhari to, please, withdraw the military in the South East zone, while police perform their traditional role of maintaining law and order,” he said.

Umahi said that the forum was in touch with their northern counterparts “who have assured us of the safety of our people living in the north and we have also planned for exchange of visits to reinforce confidence.

“We wish to assure Nigerians that full investigation is ongoing on all allegations of killings, maiming and other unlawful conduct in the zone within this period,” he said.

He said that appropriate actions would be taken against those found culpable.

Umahi said that governors in the zone had taken adequate measures to protect the lives and property of indigenes and non-indigenes and urged northern governors to do same in their respective states.

“We advise all residents of the zone to go about their normal businesses as governments of each state is committed to protecting everybody,“ he said.

The governor said that all those invited for the meeting were present except the leadership of IPOB that sent in their apologies.

At the meeting were governors of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu while Imo was represented by the deputy governor.

Other notable personalities that attended the meeting were the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, the General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Maj.-Gen. Adamu Abubakar and the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo.

Posted On Saturday, 16 September 2017 00:46 Written by

Up to 150,000 people took to the streets of the Togolese capital, Lome, calling for political reforms, for a second day, journalist Blame Ekoue told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

He said people were carrying banners saying: "[President] Faure must go now", "Togo is not a monarchy" and "we want reform now".

President Faure Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005. He succeeded his father Gnassingbe Eyadema, who seized power in 1967.

One protester told Blame:

Fifty years is enough. The Gnassingbes must go. The reforms must be done. They must release political detainees now." 

In the coming days, the national assembly is expected to meet in a special session to discuss changes to the constitution limiting presidential terms, but it is not clear if this will placate the protesters.

Posted On Thursday, 07 September 2017 23:12 Written by
Barely two weeks after the signing of six agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Federal Government has initiated moves to seize assets of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and four others in Dubai.

The others are: a former Managing Director of the defunct  Oceanic Bank, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Sen. Bala Mohammed and his son, Shamsudeen.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has traced eight choice assets to Mrs. Ibru and two to Mrs. Diezani.

Although the ex-FCT Minister and his son are on the Federal Government’s list, their Dubai houses are yet to be listed. The investigation is on.

The profiling of the suspected assets of more than 25 Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) is ongoing.

The EFCC has done “considerable intelligence work on the assets of Diezani and some of her business associates”, a source told The Nation on Sunday.

The source said: “Following due diligence by the EFCC, the Federal Government has already compiled a list of first batch of suspects with houses in Dubai, whose assets ought to be attached.

“They are a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke; a former Managing Director of the defunct  Oceanic Bank, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru and a former Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Sen. Bala Mohammed and his son, Shamsudeen.

“The government will soon formally apply to the UAE for the seizure of the assets traced to these Nigerians.

“Despite the fact that many assets were said to be allegedly owned by Mrs. Ibru, only eight choice mansions has been identified by the EFCC.

“Mrs. Diezani has two apartments, including  the one marked as J5 Emirates Hills (30 million Dirham) and another tagged E146 Emirates Hills, valued at 44million Dirham.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “The EFCC is profiling more than 25 PEPs based on the huge database from the UAE.

Some of these assets are in Emirates Hills, Marina, Jumeira, Bur Dubai in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE. “We are yet to focus on looted funds stashed in the Emirates,” the source said.

On the inclusion of the ex-FCT minister and his son, the source added: “This is based on intelligence report. We will keep you posted on the outcome of their suspected assets in Dubai. Ours is to make their names available for investigation by the UAE.

“Even those  who bought houses through proxies can be detected.”

Following a state visit to the UAE by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 19, 2016 , the Federal Government entered into  six agreements with the Emirates.

The agreements, which were signed by President Buhari last week, are:

  • Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement;
  • Agreement on Trade Promotion and Protection;
  • Judicial Agreements on Extradition;
  • Transfer of Sentenced Persons;
  • Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters; and
  • Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters(recovery and repatriation of stolen wealth).

Sections 7 of 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004 mandate the agency to seize suspicious assets.

Section 7 says: “The commission has power to (a) cause any investigations to be conducted as to whether any person, corporate body or organization has committed any offence under this Act or other law relating to economic and financial crimes.

“(b) Cause investigations to be conducted into the properties of any person if it appears to the commission that the person’s lifestyle and extent of the properties are not justified by his source of income.”

Sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004 empower the anti-graft agency to invoke Interim Assets Forfeiture Clause.

“Section 28 of the EFCC Act reads: ‘Where a person is arrested for an offence under this Act, the Commission shall immediately trace and attach all the assets and properties of the person acquired as a result of such economic or financial crime and shall thereafter cause to be obtained an interim attachment order from the Court.’

Section 13 of the Federal High Court Act reads in part: “The Court may grant an injunction or appoint a receiver by an interlocutory order in all cases in which it appears to the Court to be just or convenient so to do.

Posted On Monday, 04 September 2017 11:26 Written by

Losing both eyes to the deadly paws of cataract just five years ago, Master Holy Ogene, a talented musician is appealing to well-meaning Nigerians to save his sight and dreams

At the first encounter, his visual handicap is not obvious, considering  the way he carries himself with little or no assistance at all. It is astonishing to find him deriving strength and courage from his inability to see. It is true that even in his physically challenged state, Master Holy Ogene has managed to craft a worthy name for himself, struggling to make ends meet and  living without his parents help.

Christened Master Holy Ogene by his parents, he lost his sight in highly unfortunate circumstances just five years ago when he was still a student at Babs Fafunwa Millennia Senior Secondary School, Ojota, a Government school where both eyes were infected by cataract.

In an interview with  our correspondent, he recalled the genesis of his present situation.

“When I was born, I had short sighted. I was asked to use glasses but my father refused to let me use them as he believed I was too young to use recommended lens.”

Tragedy  actually struck when he was admitted to Babs Fafunwa Senior Secondary School at Ojodu Berger where the inability to cope due to large groups of students finally coerced his father to let him use recommended lenses. However, the damage had already been done at the ripe age of 14.

“It was after I started using glasses upon admission that I got cataract on my left eye and it got serious. My Dad had to take me to Eye foundation and they advocated surgery as the only solution. I was about 14 at the time and the implications of an eye surgery was much which included an operation via my brain and the risk being my Dad signing a form if anything happened to me.”

The delayed decision in undergoing a surgery led to the complete closure of the right eye after cataract covered the second eye.

The 22 year old who is an upcoming musician and politician witnessed the loss of both eyes after the unfortunate incident. Not willing to concede to defeat, he picked up a singing career due to his current condition.

“Singing comes from emotions, how I feel and the society around me. How I feel being depressed and just hearing people around me. At times, when I eat I don’t see what I eat,” Holy said.

He described his foray into politics by the nature of his unique singing talent. He was able to attract the attention of politicians and majorly the political presence of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“Due to my knowledge, and my brain, I operate phones and create technology. I created caller tunes and the current one for my phone was created by me. I created caller tunes and ways to advertise politicians which instantly peaked their interest in me, especially the PDP, though I would not want to say much over that.” He however attested to creating his own caller tune himself.

The event which happened in his heydays in secondary school hampered him from acquiring higher education but did not stop him from developing his mind.

“I wasn’t able to go to university but I went for some lessons to take my knowledge to another level.”

When asked if he used braille as means to communicate or express himself; he stated that he did not believe in the use of braille phones, he attested to the capability of using any phone no matter the complexity in functionality in less than three days.

“I use a normal phone and there is no phone I can’t use. Right now, I can send you a text message as fast as possible,” he demonstrated using his Nokia phone. Even the caller tune I created, you can hear it yourself; I did it in less than 3 minutes.” He reaffirmed: “I create caller tunes for myself and can operate any phone in 3 days.”

“I require #340 000 for the operation which is the specific operation price but the total is #360 000 drugs inclusive. Eye foundation gave me a bigger bill of #750 000 which is much. The Federal Medical Centre Asaba is cheaper and I have the doctors report with me here offering me #360 000.”

Ogene appealed  to well-meaning individuals, Churches, NGOs, and most importantly government officials and political parties. “I think this is a medium where parties can use my knowledge instead of making me a nuisance in the society to create an avenue where I can get my sight back.”

Ogene isn’t new to donations, he claimed that he had been given donations in the past but they had been very meagre to pay the bills for the drugs prescribed. “I got only #10 000 to #15 000 with little assistance from people but you know drugs and it has been almost two years and nothing else came. I don’t stay with my parents in Delta State, I have been feeding alone and life has been a little bit terrible and horrific.”

Holy who was accompanied by his distraught mother solicited the help of well-meaning Nigerians to save his sight by not letting the light of his dreams die a premature death, at the very tender age of 22.

His phone numbers are 08104974780 and 08142556716 while his account details is Ecobank, Ogene Holy 3823067769.

Courtesy: thenationonlineng.net/sight-and-dreams/

Posted On Sunday, 03 September 2017 14:19 Written by

The Super Eagles of Nigeria on Friday beat Cameroon 4-0 to consolidate its position at the top of Group B in the 2018 World Cup African qualifiers.

A goal apiece from Odion Ighalo, Chelsea FC  winger, Victor Moses; skipper Mikel Obi and substitute Kelechi Iheanacho ensured  Nigeria grabbed the maximum three points at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.

After a sluggish start, Ighalo puts Nigeria ahead after receiving a fine pass from  Mikel in the 28th minute. The China-based forward, however, got yellow-carded for taking off his jersey while celebrating. 

Mikel made it 2-0 in the 42nd when he latched onto a Victor Moses corner.

Eleven minutes into the second half, Victor Moses combined with gangling winger Moses Simon before slotting home from inside the box.

Iheanacho, who came in for injured Ighalo, made it 4-0 when he nodded past goalkeeper Fabrice Ondo from Ogenyi Onasi assist in 77th minute.

With the victory, Nigeria top Group B with nine points, while Cameroon have just two points from three matches.

Posted On Saturday, 02 September 2017 01:07 Written by

The Olori has also reverted to her maiden name Zaynab Otiti Obanor. She disclosed this via an official statement on her official Instagram page @hhzynab on Wednesday.

Her post partly reads: “What I can confirm is that the Ooni and I are no more. I inhale love and exhale gratitude.

“No matter how much time you’ve invested, no matter the use of media to silence and manipulate, no matter the circumstance, slander, embarrassment, threats and lies: get out and seek immediate help!

“My journey continues as a humanitarian aiding women and victims of domestic violence and abuse with the United Nations.

The revelation has confirmed media reports in recent times that the Oni marriage’s to the Benin-born queen was having crisis.

Ooni got married to his ex-Edo bride at an elaborate society traditional marriage held in Benin, the Edo State capital on March 16, 2016.

Although the monarch was not physically present, he was represented by his father, Oluropo Ogunwusi.

 

OFFICIAL STATEMENT:

We have got to stop this culture of shaming and vilifying women with false stories of infidelity & nefarious behavior. The spreading of false information (through "sources" afraid to be identified) is the mark of cowards and a cover up for guilty parties to justify their horrific actions.

There is absolutely no truth to the media circulated lies of infidelity and infertility- on my end. What I can confirm, is that the Ooni and I are no more. I inhale love & exhale gratitude. My journey continues as a Humanitarian aiding women and victims of domestic violence & abuse with the United Nations.

No matter how much time you've invested, no matter the use of media to silence & manipulate, no matter the circumstance, slander, embarrassment, threats and lies: Get out and seek immediate help! We've seen this movie before. Women being dragged in the press & blamed for everything under the sun.

This behavior is unacceptable. I urge those involved to be mindful of their actions for the eyes of our Almighty God are always watching. The seeds of slander is a cancer that harvests to eat away the souls of the planter. The throne is sacred and the attempts to tarnish the name of a Queen, in defense or on behalf of a silent King makes all involved look terrible. Remain dignified in all you do. It's not the end of the world, but the start of a new chapter and you must turn the page with grace.

The world is watching. As I bid adieu to this chapter, my wish to you all is to step into your lives - boldly & fearlessly, the way God intended and live not just by words, but through example.

The best chapter in our lives is the one we are writing now.

Thank you for your love and support.

With peace, love &  light,

Her Highness, Zaynab Otiti Obanor.

 

Posted On Thursday, 31 August 2017 00:22 Written by

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday announced a major management shake-up that culminates in the appointments and redeployment across the value chain.

The Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, told NNPC officials shortly before the announcement was made public that the new appointments would not only help to position the Corporation for the challenges ahead but would help fill the gaps created due to statutory retirements. A total of 55 top management officers were affected in the exercise.

According to a statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu,  under the new arrangement, Roland Ewubare, formerly MD of the Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), moves to the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, (NAPIMS) as the new Group General Manager while Diepriye Tariah, former GGM and Senior Technical Assistant to the NNPC GMD takes over from Ewubare as MD of IDSL.

The statement reads in part: “Malami Shehu, Executive Director, Operations, of the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), was appointed Managing Director of the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) while Adewale Ladenegan, former MD of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) was moved to KRPC to assume duty as MD.

“In the same vein, Muhammed Abah, until recently, the Executive Director Operations of WRPC succeeds Ladenegan as MD of Warri Refinery.

“With the retirement of  Farouk Ahmed as the MD of the Nigerian Products Marketing Company, (NPMC), Umar

Ajiya, former GGM in charge of Corporate Planning and Strategy, (CP&S) now assumes duty as MD of NPMC.

“Bala Wunti, former, General Manager, Downstream, GMD’s Office, takes charge as GGM CP&S.

Other changes include: Usman Yusuf who takes over as GGM/STA to the GMD, Adeyemi Adetunji confirmed as MD, NNPC Retail, alongside Dr. Bola Afolabi, who now functions as GGM in charge of Research and Development Division of the Corporation.

“Also on the list is Mrs. Ahmadu-Katagum appointed GGM (Shipping) in the Downstream Autonomous Business Unit and Kallamu Abdullahi takes over as the GGM in charge of the Renewable Energy Division in the Downstream ABU. 

Dr. Shaibu Musa was promoted MD of the NNPC Medical Services Limited, while Ibrahim Birma is the new GGM in charge of the Corporation’s Audit Division now renamed Governance, Risk and Compliance Division.”

 
Posted On Wednesday, 30 August 2017 01:34 Written by
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