Saturday, 18 November 2017
Business and Economy

Business and Economy (725)

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: Mrs Taiwo Obasanjo, one of the wives of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday filed a suit at a Lagos High Court, Ikeja, seeking an order to stop the wedding of her, son Olujonwo.

The suit, filed through her lawyer, Toyin Olowoyo,  has been fixed for hearing on April 10 before Justice Lateefa Okunnu.

The respondents are Obasanjo and father of the bride, Sir Kessington Adebutu, aka Baba Ijebu.

Mrs. Obasanjo, who is the twin sister of Chief Kenny Martins, the former coordinator of the Police Equipment Fund is seeking for a postponement of the wedding of her son to Tope Adebutu till after June 30.

The wedding is scheduled for May 11 and 12.

Mrs. Obasanjo is seeking a declaration that as the mother of the groom, she has parental rights to take part in the deliberations, decisions and activities leading to the forthcoming ceremony.

She claimed that wedding invitations have been issued without her knowledge.

The groom’s mother averred that she has been excluded from all the preparations for the upcoming ceremony.

According to her, she had a contrary premonition about her son, Olujonwo, who turns 34 on June 1 , prior to the fixing of wedding dates.

She claimed to have received prophesies and spiritual warnings that Olujonwo should not engage in any elaborate celebration before his birthday, which is two weeks after the wedding to avoid any impending calamity.

Mrs. Obasanjo stated that she filed the suit to compel Adebutu and Obasanjo to shift the wedding to a date beyond June 30.

She also claims that she appealed to Adebutu, the mother of the bride, Mrs Rosemary Dacosta, the bride as well as her twin brother.

Mrs Obasanjo said her pleas fell on deaf ears but was instead, insulted by members of the family.

Obasanjo and Kensington are yet to file a reply.

Posted On Tuesday, 28 March 2017 01:26 Written by

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: The Federal Government Coordinating Committee overseeing the management of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja airport repairs on Sunday, said over 43,000 passengers have passed through the Kaduna Airport.

The committee which also oversees the closure and relocation of passengers to Kaduna airport, the alternative to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA),said that the figure was in respect of the first 11 days of operations in the exercise.

The committee disclosed this in its latest data submitted to the Presidency by the Federal Government Coordinating Committee overseeing the management of the Airport repair, closure and relocation.

However, a Presidential aide, who preferred not to be named, said the figure was more than the 41,000 passengers it recorded in the entire first quarter of 2015, and the 21,000 in the first quarter of 2016.

The source also disclosed that, during this period, about 10,000 passengers took advantage of the free bus shuttle, organised by the federal government to transport passengers between the Abuja and Kaduna Airports.

‘’The free bus shuttle conveyed passengers between Abuja and Kaduna airports, starting at the Abuja airport at 6 o’clock in the morning, and at the Kaduna Airport from 8 a.m.

‘’The shuttle takes 3 hours from airport to airport, and runs every 30 minutes, until the arrival of the last daily flight in Kaduna. ‘’The Shuttle is in addition to the federal government’s free Train Service between Abuja and Kaduna.

‘’The two-and-half-hour Train Service departs Abuja’s Idu Station for Kaduna at 6 a.m., 11.55 a.m. and 5.45 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; and departs Kaduna’s Rigasa Station for Abuja at 9 a.m., 2.50 p.m. and 8.40 p.m.,’’ the source said.

According to the source, the reconstruction at the Abuja airport is going according to schedule, and expressed optimism that the airport will reopen after six weeks as planned.

The official is also involved in the presidential supervision of the airport closure and oversight. The source also said the Aviation Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, had been working diligently to minimise the inconvenience caused by the closure.

He further disclosed that, “after the Abuja airport reopens for operations on April 19, upgrade works on the runway would continue for another 18 weeks. “This second phase of upgrade works on the runway will be carried out at night, with no disruption to flight schedules, the Presidency official further disclosed.’’

The source added that a media tour to allow reporters observe and assess the progress of work on the Abuja airport runway repairs would hold this week. He added that ‘’the repair is about its mid-point on Wednesday’’.

The committee had launched series of customer engagement initiatives to enable passengers and travellers affected by the closure (of NAIA) get up-to-date information and updates.

These include a Call Centre (open 7a.m to 10p.m Mondays to Fridays and 10a.m to 4p.m Saturdays and Sundays), a website (AbujaAirportClosure.info), and a Twitter handle (@ABVClosure).

Posted On Monday, 27 March 2017 02:15 Written by

•Police, fishermen rescue textile merchant duped N18.7m, another woman •It’s now an offence to walk or park cars on bridges-Lagos CP

Less than one week after a medical doctor, Allwell Orji, jumped into the lagoon in Lagos, operatives of the Lagos State Police Command and some fishermen yesterday averted two fresh lagoon suicide cases.

A woman, Abigael Ogunyinka, was rescued by fishermen in the early hours of yesterday in Lagos Lagoon, while another woman, Taiwo Titilayo Momoh, who also attempted to jump into the lagoon from the Third Mainland Bridge at about 11:25 am, was prevented from doing so by operatives of the Rapid Response Squad of the Lagos State Police Command.

According to the spokesman of Lagos State Police Command,  Olarinde Famous-Cole, Ogunyinka had attempted to jump into the lagoon at Ebute Ero before she was intercepted by vigilant fishermen.

‘’She explained that she was unable to repay a loan of N150,000 which she took from a microfinance bank and that the bank had been mounting serious pressure on her to defray the money, hence, she decided to take her own life by jumping into the lagoon.

‘’However, given the sensitive nature of the case, we shall investigate her statement and the alleged microfinance bank in order to establish the veracity of her comment.

On her part, Momoh, a 58-year-old textiles dealer on Lagos Island, had put off her shoes and was wrapping her dress around her body when men of RRS 226 intervened in the nick of time and prevented her from jumping into the water.

The woman, who lives in the Lekki area of Lagos, explained that she was pushed to committing suicide in order to put an end to her sleeplessness and shame caused by her indebtedness to three Swiss textile dealers.

She said that her problem started in 2015 when a forex dealer carted away the N18.7 million she wanted to change to pay her foreign creditors.

Her condition, she said, became compounded when robbers invaded her shop on Lagos Island and carted away her goods.

She disclosed that she was haunted at nights by the ‘ghosts’ of  her creditors whenever she was alone.

Momoh, a member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, expressed her frustration after she had made fruitless effort to share her plight with the pastor of her parish.

She noted that she was only allowed to see the pastor’s assistant.

She said: “Added to all this, my first son, who I thought would stand by me and console me, abandoned me. By the time I’m gone, maybe he would come around and inherit what is left.

‘’I don’t want to use my debt and death to disturb anybody. I was in the shop this morning. I have looked everywhere and estimated what is there.

‘’I think with my house, a bungalow, those I am leaving behind can still live comfortably. I want to go and meet God. This world is empty. I won’t because I want to get rich join a cult. I go my way and I don’t socialise unnecessarily.”

She added: “I was a Muslim. I have because of this problem been jumping from one faith to the other. The problem is too much for me to bear. I want to go back to God.

‘’That is why I have dressed very simply. I am ready to meet Him. If He cannot address my problem on earth, let me go back to Him.”

Speaking with newsmen at the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) headquarters in Alausa, Ikeja, Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni, explained that Momoh was in a taxi heading towards Oworonshoki on Third Mainland Bridge when she told the taxi driver to stop on the bridge.

The woman, according to Owoseni, was about to jump into the water when a police team on a routine patrol on the Third Mainland Bridge sighted her and promptly saved her before she jumped into the lagoon.

“She attempted suicide by attempting to jump into the lagoon around Oworonshoki inward Mainland on Third Mainland Bridge. Unfortunately for her, she was rescued.

“The woman was in a taxi and alighted on the bridge and wanted to commit suicide by jumping into the lagoon.

“The police patrol team sighted her and rushed to rescue her before she jumped into the Lagoon,” he said.

Owoseni said his interactions with the woman revealed that she had depression as a result of unpaid loans, adding that “she is still insisting that she wants to end her life.”

He explained that committing suicide is an offence under the law but that the police would try to talk the woman out of committing suicide.

He said the police would do a medical evaluation on the woman to ascertain her condition.

He explained that the woman would be taken through post-trauma programme to restore her hope and prevent her from committing suicide.

Owoseni lamented the rate at which people commit suicide in the country, describing it as worrisome.

He disclosed that the police had begun patrol of bridges across the state to forestall other cases of suicide.

He also said it has become an offence for individuals to walk on bridges in the state and that no vehicle would be allowed to stop on any bridge in the state henceforth in order to prevent suicide incidents.

“Right now, the woman is still in trauma and she still insists that she wants to end her life,” he said.

The distraught woman, however, warned journalists from taking her photograph as she was being escorted from the RRS office into a waiting police vehicle, saying “I am not a criminal.”

Orji, a medical doctor attached to Papa Ajao branch of Mount Sinai Hospital, Lagos, jumped into the Lagos lagoon on the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos on Sunday in circumstances that remain puzzling.

He reportedly ordered his driver to stop at a point on the bridge after receiving a call on his cell phone and proceeded to take the bizarre action.

His body was found after three days of frantic search by a combined team of the Marine Police and officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).

Posted On Saturday, 25 March 2017 02:17 Written by

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: A man, Taofik Adara, arrested in Badagry on Sunday with female body parts, yesterday said he was paid N4000 by a herbalist to kill the woman.

Adara, alias Kie-Kie, was paraded at the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja.

He said he chopped off the woman’s head with a cutlass, while two alfas (Islamic clerics) and a herbalist held her hands.

The victim, he added, had been hypnotised by a native doctor before he killed her.

Adara, 61, said the cutlass used was given to him by the herbalist who hired him.

He said the woman, whose identity was still unknown, was brought to him from Sango Ota, Ogun State by the two alfas who needed fresh human parts to prepare a concoction for their client.

Adara said: “I live at Itoga-Zeba area of Badagry. I am a woodcutter by profession and at times I assist owners of coconut plantation to help pluck coconut.

“The whole drama started on Saturday evening when one of my herbalist friends known as Manase came to me to say that he was expecting two alfas from Sango Ota. He said they would be coming with a lady and that he would pay me N4000 to help butcher the woman. He told me that the two alfas needed some fresh human parts to prepare a concoction for one of their clients.

“True to his words, the two alfas arrived at Itoga on Sunday evening. I noticed that before their arrival the two alfas had used some charms on the lady. She was just obeying their directives without asking any question. I asked her where she came from and she explained that she resided at Ota and that she had gone to seek spiritual help from one of the alfas.

“Around 9am on Sunday we took the lady deep into the forest, close to a river. Manase asked her to kneel and she did. It was while she was still kneeling that I chopped off her head with a sharp cutlass given to me by Manase.”

He likened killing the woman to butchering a ram.

He said after severing the victim’s head from her body, Manase instructed him to hold on to the head, while he (herbalist) removed her heart and two hands.

“Manase told me that the two alfas needed the lady’s head, heart and two hands from the wrist. He then took away the remains of the victim to use on a later day. It was while he was cutting off other essential human parts that a policeman who resides in our area arrived. The police would have arrested four of us if he had not shouted. The three of them took to their heels when they heard the noise.”

Adara said last Sunday’s incident was his second involvement in such act. He said he killed another person about a year ago, adding that the victim was also brought to him by his herbalist friend.

According to him, Manase paid him N8000 for the first job.

“The first victim was also a woman. Manase had agreed to pay me N3000 but those who came for the human parts gave me an additional N5000 making it N8000,” he added.

The suspect, who has two wives and 15 children, begged for forgiveness, stressing that he would feel bad if any member of his family was so treated.

Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni said Adara was being detained at the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID) at Panti, Yaba, Lagos Mainland.

He said all those involved in the Oct would be brought to book.

Posted On Thursday, 23 March 2017 00:21 Written by

The regulatory bodies in the Nigerian Financial Services Industry have done very well by calling the attention of the public to high-risk investment schemes/proposals and warning that such investments should not be patronised. A very recent example is the scheme with the scary name: Mavrodi Mundial Movement or MMM for short, which hit the Nigerian market a while ago. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) separately warned that the ‘Movement’ was a fraudulent scheme that should not be patronised. MMM was collecting deposits from the public without CBN’s licence; it was an illegal scheme meant to defraud unsuspecting members of the public. The scheme had no known regulators, supervisors and/or monitors. Despite the warnings from recognised financial regulatory/supervisory institutions, many Nigerians, of course, still defied the alarm and invested in the scheme. Today, many are licking their self-inflicted wounds.

According to recent reports, from the NDIC, as many as three million Nigerians lost N18 billion in the MMM scheme. The affected Nigerians now know better and may henceforth find the need to heed official warnings from regulatory and supervisory bodies that, as it were, have vast information, knowledge and experience about goings-on in the economy.

Some years ago, there were similar fraudulent investment schemes in this country. The regulators then warned the public to have nothing to do with the schemes and those who defied the warning still have their unpalatable experiences with them till date. Today, victims know better; if only they had listened to the regulators? But will tomorrow be different? The answer depends on what happens from now onwards; and that brings up the question of why people patronise such schemes as MMM and their diverse variants.

Reasons have been adduced for this: get-rich-quick mentality and making money without work syndromes, poverty, laziness, greed, ignorance, illiteracy, gullibility and ‘investor arrogance.’ In fact, against good counsel, some people would say: “I have the right to invest my money as I deem fit.” Such statements, however, question people’s understanding of the roles and responsibilities of government regulatory bodies in the banking and financial services industry. Apart from regulations, they also have, as primary responsibility, the protection of interests of citizens.

In the final analysis, fraudulent investment schemes have been proven to be against the people that patronise them and the nations they operate in. For sure, Nigerians (three million of them) and Nigeria lost the reported N18 billion to MMM. Those who lost their money are likely to become liabilities to their families, communities and the nation.

Meanwhile, the fraudsters have taken the money elsewhere, denying Nigeria huge investible funds that would have impacted positively on the economy. This means, in our poverty, they have made us poorer. This situation must not be allowed to continue. Therefore, efforts should be made at ensuring that Nigerian citizens do not fall prey again. All government organs charged with protecting the interests of citizens must have their hands on the plough all the time and not some times; the case for consistent and constant awareness creation using multiple channels of communication in the various languages of the Nigerian people, is a sine qua non. Ad-hoc communication to the people of happenings in the economy must end and information dissemination throughout the country should be re-assessed to guarantee it gets to all. Building and developing financial knowledge and literacy of the people should not only commence at the primary school level but efforts in that direction should be fast-tracked and sustained.

Telecommunications and media companies must desist from circulating unauthorised and harmful investment advertorials through their networks. The regulatory bodies in the financial system (CBN, SEC, NDIC, PENCOM, NAICOM, etc) must have adequate market intelligence to know when a ponzi scheme enters the market and nip same in the bud. The regulators should also be proactive in issuing warnings to the populace for effective sensitisation.

Past experiences in ponzi schemes in the country should be thoroughly investigated and recommendations made should be circulated and implemented. The government should find ways to strengthen the weak-links in the economy being used by ponzi schemers to enter the country without being detected until they had inflicted maximum damage. Whistle blowing should be encouraged and promoted to detect early, the entry of financial investment fraudsters. Those who have successfully swindled the Nigerian people via investment schemes should be made to face the laws even as Nigerians are brought back to the consciousness of hard work, dignity of labour and earned income.

The country’s legal and regulatory frameworks should quickly be reviewed to block gaps that make possible the creation, development and importation of ponzi schemes; and finally, citizens must be enlightened to moderate their extra-ordinary profit expectations from investments. They should know that investments that promise extra-ordinary returns are usually encased in extra-ordinary risks.

Posted On Tuesday, 21 March 2017 02:25 Written by

SPONSORED BY HIRING234.COM: For attempting to extricate himself from the web of $1.09 billion Malabu oil deal, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has come under scathing attacks from Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose.

Fayose, in his second tirade against Obasanjo in two weeks, described the former President as “the father of corruption in Nigeria who sits on stolen wealth and lacks moral rights to accuse anyone of corruption.”

While challenging Obasanjo to explain to Nigerians his source of “stupendous wealth”, Fayose in a statement yesterday by his Special Assistant on Public Communication and New Media, Lere Olayinka, attacked Obasanjo for his alleged “holier-than-thou posture”, grandstanding and pontification on issues of corruption.

The chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum claimed that Obasanjo presided over one of the most corrupt administrations in the nation’s history.

He restated his call that the ex-leader should refund the N10 million he (Obasanjo) forced him (Fayose) to donate alongside other 29 governors to his presidential library project in 2005 with interest.

He said: “It smacked of the highest level of hypocrisy for someone like Obasanjo to be sermonizing about corruption, having superintended over a corrupt government himself.

“The former President must come out clean on his roles in the controversial $1.09 billion Malabu Oil deal, instead of warning former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Mohammed Adoke to stop mentioning his name in the deal.

“It is on record that the out-of-court settlement on the controversial Malabu Oil Block was initiated in 2006 during Obasanjo’s administration. Obasanjo’s accusing anyone of corruption was like “Oyenusi accusing Shina Rambo of armed robbery.

“I challenge the former President to explain to Nigerians the source of his stupendous wealth. We saw how Obasanjo was when he became president and the magnitude of both direct and indirect investments that he has now. Can he in all honesty tell Nigerians that he acquired his wealth through legitimate means?

“Other Nigerians who left offices as President are still relevant to their people, but can the same be said about Obasanjo? Was he useful to the Yoruba race as President and now as former President?

“The bad state that he left major roads linking the Southwest to other zones in Nigeria, especially the Lagos-Ibadan expressway remains a pointer to this. Yet, he goes about postulating as if he is the only honest Nigerians who can make things right in the country.”

Posted On Friday, 17 March 2017 00:40 Written by

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: Ibrahim Magu’s confirmation for Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman was rejected again yesterday – no thanks to some governors, senators and high-profile suspects.

Magu’s confirmation was first rejected on December 15, 2016.

The governors were said to have been angry with Magu over the ongoing probe of the alleged diversion of N19 billion from the London-Paris Club loan refund.

Seven governors have been implicated in the scandal.

Besides, some senators resolved to save their colleagues following Magu’s refusal to make a commitment that he will “find solutions” to the ongoing investigation and trial of 10 members of the Upper Chamber.

Some of the 10 senators, led by a former governor from the Northeast, specifically demanded the termination of their trial during a meeting with Magu.

The Acting EFCC chairman however insisted that the law must take its course, a source, who pleaded not to be named because of the “sensitivity” of the matter, told The Nation.

Some high profile suspects were said to have wielded influence to frustrate Magu’s confirmation “to pay him back in his own coin”.

According to the source, Magu’s rejection was the product of “conspiracy of aggrieved forces”.

It was learnt that the N19billion  was deducted from the N388.304billion, which was part of the N522.74 billion released to 35 states as refund of over-deductions on the London-Paris Club loans.

Following protests by states against over deductions for external debt service between 1995 and 2002, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the release of the first tranche to states as refund pending a reconciliation of records.

 

Each state was entitled to a cap of N14.5 billion being 25% of the amounts claimed.

But EFCC through intelligence intercepted how N19billion was diverted to Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) accounts and some private accounts.

A source said: “All attempts to prevail on Magu to halt the investigation failed and the governors have no choice than to engage in lobbying to truncate the confirmation.

“Although a governor from the Northeast did his best to persuade his colleagues to spare Magu, some of the governors vowed not to take the risk.

“At a point, the governors sent emissaries to the Acting EFCC chairman, including some government officials, but he did not shift ground.

“The position of the governors was that the Presidency was in the picture of the deductions from the loan refunds but the EFCC’s probe was seen as an embarrassment to them.

“Before Magu goes after them, they decided to cut him to size. These governors found willing partners in some National Assembly leaders who were implicated in the loan refund.”

One of the emissaries sent by the governors to Magu was quoted as saying: “This chap almost secured confirmation but he bungled it by probing the loan refund.

“Each time a commitment was secured from him, the more he has been intensifying investigation of the N19billion. We told him it was a sensitive case.”

“A businessman reportedly interceded for Magu, urging the Senate leadership to confirm him. But the businessman later discovered that EFCC was investigating him in connection with the loan refund, The Nation learnt.

“So, the governors refused to spare any efforts to lobby their senators to reject Magu. And don’t forget that most of these governors are godfathers of many senators. Again, 2019 is around the corner, no senator wants to take a bet on Magu and lose the opportunity of returning to the Red Chamber in the next general election,” the source said.

Most of the senators were displeased that the EFCC was either investigating or putting more than 10 of their colleagues on trial.

A highly-placed source said: “The Senate has had its grudges against Magu since the invitation of the wife of the President of the Senate for interrogation. The senators saw it as a desecration of the chamber.

“Despite the fact that the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has purportedly forgiven Saraki, the questioning of his wife has been a lingering memory. There are always fears that Magu could be more drastic in his action if confirmed.

”And the fears came to fore during the lobbying for confirmation when the Acting EFCC chairman refused to yield ground.  Magu and a few others met with some of the Senators, led by a former governor from the Northeast, who demanded to know what EFCC will do on their cases.”

Magu was said to have told the lawmakers that the law will take its course.

He was quoted as saying: “I cannot find solutions to these cases.”

Since that day, the hurdles against his confirmation became higher.

“The list of those who met Magu where the request was tabled is an open secret,” the source said.

He went on: “The PDP senators did not mince words that the Acting EFCC chairman will not be confirmed because of alleged tilting of investigation towards opposition leaders. The ongoing subtle probe of the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio and his wife by the EFCC was considered as an affront after Magu had lobbied the PDP Caucus.

“Although two of the PDP senators met with Magu on Tuesday to assure him of likely clearance but the game plan changed overnight when the caucus took a position against Magu.”

Another source fingered some high profile suspects of the EFCC, including some bank chiefs, as those behind Magu’s travails.

The source added: “The Acting EFCC chairman stepped on toes of these high-profile suspects, who in cahoots with their associates and sympathisers, lobbied senators to halt what one of them described as ‘Magu’s hurricane’. These suspects have the wherewithal to fight Magu to a standstill.

“The problem with Magu is that he has no godfather to fight his cause. And Senate politics is about influence wielding, building contacts and high-wire relationship.

“There were rumours that some suspects budgeted about N2.2billion to stop Magu’s confirmation. The EFCC stumbled on this information but it was yet to trace any transaction linked to the slush budget. The agency was suspecting under-the-table vote.”

Also yesterday, it was learnt that “the crisis of confidence within the kitchen cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari” affected Magu’s confirmation.

A source in government said: “Magu has limited contacts in government. His sympathisers are President Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the President’s wife, Hajiya Aisha Buhari,  the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Babagana Monguno and the Chairman of PACAC, Prof. Itse Sagay, among others.

“Unfortunately, the NSA who recommended him for the job is facing challenges with some members of the kitchen cabinet who see Magu as doing the bidding of his benefactor.

Asked of the role of the Department of State Services (DSS), the source said: “I think the service was uncomfortable with lack of inter-agency cooperation between it and the EFCC.

“There was a time the DSS advised Magu to stay action on an operation in the Southsouth, but the EFCC went ahead. It led to mutual suspicion.

“The closeness of Magu to the NSA, who had issues with DSS,  aggravated the proxy war, which resulted in two damning reports against Magu. The Acting EFCC chairman is a victim of power play  in the kitchen cabinet.”

Posted On Thursday, 16 March 2017 00:39 Written by

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed March 23 to rule on the admissibility of a list of beneficiaries of funds in the ongoing trial of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dele Belgore charged with money laundering. Belgore is charged alongside a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman and a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, who is said to be at large.

They were first arraigned in February but were subsequently re-arraigned on March 13, following the amendment of the charges to include the name of Allison-Madueke. They had pleaded not guilty to the charges and were allowed to continue on their earlier bail terms. At the last adjourned date, March 13, a first prosecution witness, Mr Timothy Olaobaju, was led in evidence by the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.

He had told the court that Belgore and Sulaiman were among the beneficiaries of the sum of 115 million dollars deposited in the account of Allison-Madueke. The witness told the court that Belgore and Sulaiman jointly received N450million on March 27, 2015. When trial resumed on Tuesday, the prosecution sought to tender in evidence, a document containing a comprehensive list of beneficiaries of Diezani’s funds in the 36 states of the federation. This move by prosecution was however opposed by Sulaiman’s counsel, Mr Olatunji Ayanlaja (SAN), who argued that the document did not comply with the provisions of Section 84 of the Evidence Act. He urged the court to reject same. In response, the prosecution maintained that the document had substantially satisfied the conditions spelt out in Section 84 of the Evidence Act, and urged the court to admit it. After entertaining arguments from both parties, Justice Aikawa deferred his ruling till March 23.

Meanwhile, the defence counsel commenced cross-examination of the first prosecution witness. Under cross-examination by Belgore’s lawyer, Chief Ebun Shofunde (SAN), the witness said that the N450million received by Belgore and Sulaiman was brought in a bullion van from the CBN. On the denomination of the currencies, the witness replied, “I can’t remember vividly but I remember there were N1, 000 and N500 bills.’’ He said that the money was offloaded from the bullion van into the bank’s loading bay where it was manually counted.

When Shofunde suggested to him that it took two days to count the money, the witness disagreed, saying as a professional banker “I can count N1 billion in 20 minutes.” The witness said that although the bank was ready to deliver the money to Belgore and Sulaiman on March 26, 2015 when it arrived from the CBN, the process was delayed by failure of Sulaiman to release his Identification Card. He added that the transaction was captured on the CCTV camera mounted in the bank.

Shofunde said, “I suggest to you that none of the defendants collected one kobo out of the N450 million,” the witness answered, “that is not true”. Shofunde suggested to him that it was different individuals that came to the bank on March 27, 2015 to sign and collect portions of the N450million, the witness also retorted: “That is not true”. In the charge, Sulaiman, a professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Abuja, and Belgore, a former governorship aspirant in Kwara, were accused of conspiracy to commit the offence on March 27, 2015. They were accused of making cash transaction of N450 million on March 27, 2015 without going through any financial institution.

The EFCC claimed that the accused paid N50million to one Sheriff Shagaya. The EFCC said the cash sum was above the lawful threshold permitted by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act. The court will again resume proceedings on March 23.


Posted On Wednesday, 15 March 2017 02:38 Written by

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: A personnel of the Nigerian Air Force has killed his girlfriend, who is also an Air Force personnel, in a fit of rage.

The Air Force man was identified as Kalu B.A. while the woman was identified as Oladipupo Solape.

The incident, which occurred at the Air Force Base in Makurdi, Benue State, is under investigation.

The PUNCH reports that the Public Relations Officer at the base, Wing Commander Emmanuel Iheoma, confirmed the incident, saying that it was under investigation and that more details would be provided in due course.

It was gathered that the killer airman has been arrested and his blood sample taken. He is in the custody of the Air Police in Makurdi.

Friends of the female Air Force woman, Oladipupo Solape, who is known as Shomzy Shomzy to her colleagues, have taken to the social media to express their shock over the incident and mourn her.

“R.I.P Shomzy Shomzy your death is some thing I can’t forget so easily because your military plans is still in your mind. Well I can’t continue crying my dear, all I have to do is to let go of what I can’t change,” one of her friends wrote on Facebook.

Sources said the incident occurred on Sunday morning after the jealous lover accused her of double dating.

The slain personnel reportedly hailed from Badagry and was murdered two weeks after celebrating her birthday.

Posted On Sunday, 12 March 2017 20:53 Written by

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: FORMER Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has stated that the late former governor of Mid-West Region, Dr Samuel Ogbemudia, placed himself in the nation’s history long before his death with his deeds, pointing out that “Dr Ogbemudia immortalised himself.”

Governor Oshiomhole said beyond any honour anyone can do the late Dr Ogbemudia, the late Bendel State governor laid a solid foundation for tea development of the present Edo and Delta states and that generations to come will hear and read about him.

Comrade Oshiomhole stated this when he paid a condolence visit on the amply of the Ogbemudia at their Benin residence on Saturday.

Oshiomhole, who was joined by his former deputy, Hon Pius Odubu, and others, said he could not resist fraternising with Dr Ogbemudia despite their political differences because of his achievements and passion for development.

In his condolence, Oshiomhole says, “our great leader and father, we are sad that you have gone at this time. The truth is that your name lives in our hearts forever.

“You immortalised yourself through the solid foundation you laid for our great state. May your gentle soul rest in peace.”

He was received by eldest son of Dr Ogbemudia, Samuel Ogbemudia Jnr, and wife of the deceased, Mrs Clara Ogbemudia.

He said, “I have drawn heavily and shamelessly from his fountain of knowledge. It is not flattering to say that God sent Ogbemudia to lay a foundation for us.

“One will appreciate this by the time one realises that as are the time he laid this solid foundation, some of his counterparts felt they had no obligation to the people of their states as a military administrator.

“What Ogbemudia did flew from a genuine conviction that this part of the world deserved the very best.

“I’m sure therefore at this hour of grief that we must find sufficient consolation from the fact that our leader immortalised himself.

“Cross tribunal length and breadth of Edo and Delta states, you will find people pointing at roads done by Ogbemudia. Those yet unborn will hear and read about his story in the years ahead.

“I’m happy because he left without being a partisan politician. If what men do defines their places after departure, I have joined doubt that our father is resting in heaven.

“I pray to God for the children and family to find favour from the men and women theoretical father impacted in.”

 

Posted On Sunday, 12 March 2017 19:42 Written by
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