Wednesday, 20 September 2017
News & Stories

News & Stories (1578)

SPONSORED BY X365TV.COM: WARRI—LAWYERS, surveyors and other professionals under the aegis of Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, APBN, have asked Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State to reverse his administration’s policy nullifying all Certificates of Occupancy, C of Os, in the state, describing it as “brazen violation of the law.”

The group, in a statement by Gracious Omatseye, Chairman, Victor Ezie, Secretary, and Nyerhovwo Ohre (Legal Adviser), said they took exception to the policy following media affirmation of the policy through the state Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro.

The statement read in part: “The C of O is a legal title to the piece or parcel of land described therein i.e. a leasehold agreement between the holder and the governor, with interest which can be transferred for value and or used as  collateral  for a bank loan and or other such benefits. Neither the Land Use Act nor the C of O contains any provision, clause or condition which gives powers to the governor to nullify a C of O duly executed and registered as a legal document in the Registry of Deeds. In the very unusual event of breach of any of the conditions or clauses by the holder, the governor must follow due process by serving a quit notice through the courts to take possession. It is  brazen violation of the law for the governor to nullify and or cancel, in a wholesale manner, all C of Os.

“The governor has powers to revoke individual C of O for good reason shown or for overriding public purpose only through due process as provided in the Land Use Act. In the event of revocation, fair and adequate compensation must be paid to the holder and the specific public interest for which the certificate is being revoked must be published.” Among the implications of unilateral nullification of all C of Os in the state, APBN argued it would jeopardize the state’s economy by scaring investors and discouraging banks acceptance of C of Os issues by the state as collateral for loans and violates rule of law and democracy.


Posted On Thursday, 17 November 2016 02:34 Written by

SPONSORED BY X365RADIO.COM; Another army officer has been killed in the battle against Boko Haram insurgents.

Lt. Col B U Umar, the commanding officer of 114 TF battalion, was killed barely two weeks after Lt. Col. Muhammed. Abu-Ali died in an ambush.

A senior Officer said Umar was ambushed alongside his troops on Monday on the way to Bita, in Borno state.

According to him, the late officer and his troops were returning from Mubi, Adamawa state, a town reclaimed from? Boko Haram, when his vehicle stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

The military source said details of the incident would be released as soon as the military concluded the necessary arrangement.

He however denied that there was heavy casualty saying only Col. Umar was fatally wounded in the incident.

The late Col. Umar was a member of the 48 Regular Course in the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA).

In response to fresh attacks from the sect, the Air Force has launched a new offensive aimed at further degrading the ranks of the insurgents.

Planes carried out attacks on the insurgents’ location at Malkonori in northern Borno State.

Director, Public Relations and Information, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, said the attack was a follow-up to the close air support operation that repelled the insurgents who attacked Air Force ground soldiers at Kangarwa.

Famuyiwa said survivors among the insurgents fled to Dogochuku where they were also attacked by NAF fighter aircraft and forced to relocate to Malkonori.

Ground forces confirmed a number of the insurgents were killed and their vehicle destroyed from the latest air strike at Malkonori

Posted On Wednesday, 16 November 2016 03:12 Written by

SPONSORED BY HIRING234.COM: The remains of the late Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki, the 18th Sultan of Sokoto, who died on Monday at the Nigeria-Turkish hospital, Abuja, after a protracted illness, have been buried. 

Dasuki, whose death was confirmed in a statement issued by the Secretary, Sultanate Council of Sokoto, Alhaji Umar Faruk, was buried at the Hubbaren Shehu, Sokoto, after the funeral prayer was conducted at the Sultan Bello Juma’at Mosque in Sokoto.

While commiserating with Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and the late Sultan Dasuki’s family over the loss, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, in a message of condolence issued by his spokesman, Mallam Imam Imam, stated that the deceased gave his all to ensure communal harmony and educational development of the citizenry.

“The history of local government reform in Nigeria will not be complete without the mention of the important role Sultan Dasuki and his colleagues played in giving the country the present structure we are enjoying at the third tier of government.

“For the eight years Dasuki spent on the throne as Sultan of Sokoto, he gave priority attention to the educational development of our people by promoting adult and women literacy in all parts of Sokoto. He equally paid attention to the revitalisation of religious education especially among Imams of various mosques in the caliphate.

“He dedicated time, energy and resources in promoting religious harmony especially between Muslims in the North and South-West of the country. So also was his efforts at promoting peaceful coexistence between and among various religious groups within the country and beyond,’’ Tambuwal said.

While praying to Almighty Allah to grant Sultan Dasuki jannatul-firdaus, Tambuwal said the people and government of Sokoto would continue to cherish the deceased’s contributions to the development of the caliphate and the state at large.

Also, President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday extended his condolences to the Dasuki family, the government and people of Sokoto State on the death of Dasuki.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President also commiserated with the Jama’atul Nasril Islam and the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs over the death of the traditional ruler.

He noted that Dasuki devoted his life and tenure of office to the promotion of peaceful coexistence and tolerance among diverse ethnic groups in Nigeria.

He described the deceased as one of Nigeria’s most powerful voices for peace and unity in diversity, who diligently kept faith with the virtues of the Sardauna whom he had served as a public servant.

The statement read partly, “Apart from modernising the traditional institution to bring it in tune with changing times, President Buhari believes that the late Ibrahim Dasuki, who died on Monday at the age of 93, will be long remembered for his role in the creation of the present local government system in the country.

“The President pays tribute to his contribution to national peace and development, particularly his significant role in producing the report that gave birth to the current local government councils.”

Late Dasuki, 92, was the first Sultan of Sokoto between November 6, 1988 and April 20, 1996, from the Buhari line of the house of Dan Fodio.

A close associate of Ahmadu Bello, who was influential in the founding of Jama’atu Nasril Islam, was deposed in 1996 during the military government of late Gen. Sani Abacha.

Posted On Wednesday, 16 November 2016 02:38 Written by

SPONSORED BY X365TRADIO.COM: The Federal Government on Monday filed gratification charges against Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja, and his wife, Olabowale, who is the Head of Service of Lagos State.

The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation filed 15 counts in the suit with number, FCT/CR/21/2016, against the couple before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on Monday.

The prosecution accused Ademola and his wife of “corruptly” receiving a total sum of N248,101,300 and $520,000  as gratifications from law firms and others between 2013 an 2016.

Justice Ademola was among the judges, including two Justices of the Supreme Court, Justices Sylvester and Inyang Okoro, arrested by the operatives of the Department of State Services between October 7 and 8 on  allegations of corruption.

The Federal Government had already on November 8, 2016 charged Justice Ngwuta before the Federal High Court, Abuja on charges of money laundering and passport infraction relating to age falsification and obtaining of multiplicity of passports.

Justice Okoro has however not been charged.

In the charges filed on Monday, Justice Ademola and his wife were accused in counts one and two, of “criminal conspiracy to receive and/or obtain gratification contrary to sections 8(1) and 26(1) (c) of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission Act, 2011 land punishable under Sections 8(1) (iii) of the same law”.

The wife was accused in counts four to seven of “receiving gratification for other person, contrary to Section 8 of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission Act 2011 and punishable under the same law.”

In counts eight to 15, Justice Ademola was accused of receiving a total of N248,101,300 and $520,000   as gratifications other than his “lawful remuneration, a motive or reward for doing an official act and/or in the exercise of your official functions as judge of the Federal High Court.”

The offences were said to be contrary to section 115 of Penal Code Law (Laws of Northern Nigeria 1963) and punishable under section 115(iii) of the same law.

The charges indicated that various sums of money were paid into the Guaranty Trust Bank account of Justice Ademola’s wife by law firms and others as gratifications for onward payment to the judge.

The judge and his wife were accused of conspiracy to receive/obtain N30m gratification from Joe Odey Agi Associates between March 11 and 26, 2015.

They were also accused of conspiracy to receive N40m gratification from Joe Agi Associates between February 20 and 21, 2014.

Olabowale, allegedly, on March 11, 2015 received from Joe Agi Associates N10m on behalf of her husband.

On March 16, 2015, she allegedly received another N10m from Joe Agi Associates on behalf of her husband.

She also, on March 26, 2015, allegedly received the sum of N10m from Joe Odey Agi Associates.

On February 20, 2014, the prosecution alleged that she received N40m from a source not named on behalf of her husband.

In one of the counts, the judge himself was accused of receiving N30m from Joe Agi Odey Associates through the GTB account of his spouse between March 11 and 26, 2015.

The judge was also accused in counts eight to 15 of receiving gratifications from various sources including Joe Odey Agi Associates.

He allegedly received $520,000 from Johnson & Johnson Solicitors on May 6, 2013.

The judge was also accused of receiving the sum of N6m from Oshodi, Oshodi & Co. between February 25, 2015 and. April 16, 2015

The prosecution also accused him of receiving N55,650,000 from G.T.J Ademola & Co between January 5 and June 23, 2016.

He was also accused of receiving N40m from Vertice Solutions Ltd. on February 20, 2014.

The prosecution also accused him of receiving N47.6m from Acardian Energy Services Limited on February 20, 2014.

He will also be facing a count in which he was accused of receiving N34.08m from Omotayo Babafemi Aliyu between February 20 and 21, 2014.

He was also accused of receiving N4.7713m from Lawan Sulaiman between February 21 and November 7, 2014.

In the last count, he was accused of N30m from Joe Odey Agi Associates between February 20 and 21, 2014.

Posted On Tuesday, 15 November 2016 01:19 Written by

SPONSORED BY X365TV.COM: A former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal, Alex Badeh (retd.), has permanently forfeited $1m to the Federal Government, The PUNCH can authoritatively confirm.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, while investigating the arms scam in ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, had searched Badeh’s mansion located at 6 Ogun River Crescent, Maitama, on March 6, 2016 and found $1m cash.

The house, which is worth about N1.1bn, was subsequently seized by the EFCC while the cash was taken seized as evidence.

Badeh was later arraigned before Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court for an alleged N3.7bn fraud.

The mansion and the cash were listed as evidence against Badeh in court.

However, Badeh denied ownership of the mansion and its contents.

A presidency source said, “In March, the EFCC searched the house in the presence of neighbours and other witnesses and found $1m in cash.

“Other personal items linked to Badeh were found in the mansion and everything was listed as evidence.

“However, when the matter was taken to court, Badeh denied that the property belonged to him. As you know, the mansion has been converted to Federal Government’s use. In fact, the mansion is now being used by the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative headed by Gen. Theophilus Danjuma.

“As for the money, it has been deposited into the Consolidated Revenue Account of the Federal Government. Since Badeh has denied ownership of everything, the money has permanently been forfeited to the Federal Government.

“Even if Badeh is found not guilty in court, he cannot turn around to demand the $1m or the property as this will amount to perjury which is a criminal offence and carries a jail term.”

When contacted on the telephone, Badeh’s lawyer, Mr. Samuel Zibri (SAN), in a terse text message, insisted that the property did not belong to his client.

He said, “I have checked through my records. The property is not Badeh’s property. I am not aware of any interim order of forfeiture, neither am I aware of it being converted to a Federal Government office.”

Badeh also allegedly bought a commercial plot of land at Plot 1386, Oda Crescent, Cadastral Zone A07, Wuse II, Abuja, for N650m.

He was said to have paid N878m for the construction of a shopping mall at Plot 1386, Oda Crescent, Cadastral Zone A07, Wuse II, Abuja, and another sum of N304m to complete the construction.

Posted On Tuesday, 15 November 2016 01:12 Written by

“Democracy is tricky; it sometimes ends up as a parody of itself. When the people clamour for change, they can vote with their hearts, and prove impervious to plain sight reason, and overlook likely pitfalls. We can only hope that Donald Trump does not become the symbol of the change that Americans are seeking. That would be sad indeed for the free world.” – Reuben Abati, “Anything Can Happen in America”, The Guardian, March 6, 2016. 

Earlier this year, I had written a piece titled “Anything Can Happen In America”, from which the quote above is excerpted, but I had virtually no idea that the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election could be so shocking, unthinkable and unbelievable. I was like the pollsters, the cultural activists, the Nobel Laureates, the American media establishment and the global community, minus Russia and Vladimir Putin, a Clintonite. I stood with her. When the unthinkable happened on Tuesday, and Americans chose as their 45th President, Donald John Trump, the real estate developer, reality television celebrity, a complete outsider who stumbled on politics and turned it into a celebrity show, I could only ask: how did it happen? The triumph of Trumpism, a byword for incorrect conduct, misogyny, hate, racism, nativism, isolationism, anger, and defiance is sad news for the world. It is an assault on the ideals of American democracy. Trump’s triumph has left America more divided than it was a week ago, and the prospects of that nation rescuing itself from the tragic mistake it seems to have made may take long in coming. 

The same country that champions it the most has exposed the underbelly of democracy, that beloved option for global leadership, ironically. Democracy is said to be driven by the values of good rather than evil, of humanity as opposed to inhumanity, individual freedom and rights rather than oppression, inclusion as different from exclusion but the same model of governance hands over power to the majority. As we have seen, the majority may not necessarily represent the will of all the people, or even the real majority, it is the choice that is made by the voting majority or as determined by the guiding rules as in the case of the United States: and no matter how stupid, illogical or unreasonable that choice may be, it is taken as the voice of the people and it is binding. This dictatorship of the determined majority has nothing to do with popular opinion or goodwill, but the actual choice that is made according to the guiding rules of the game. Democracy, relying on the strength of numbers and local rules has fed many countries with statistically right but logically wrong outcomes.

The outcome in the United States this week is completely confusing. And that explains why there have been protests across America by those chanting “notmypresident” to express their dismay over Trump’s surprise win. This is the first time in a long while that the outcome of an American Presidential election will leave the entire country so tragically divided the morning after. Even the international community is in shock. Trump’s triumph is a threat to the liberal standards on which the global order is anchored. Hillary Clinton in her concession speech said her defeat is “painful and it will be for a long time.” Not necessarily for her but for America and the rest of the world. The deepest cut is in America’s heart; the wound that has been inflicted therein by Americans themselves will be felt for a long time to come. This year’s American general election should inspire a deeper interrogation into the nature of democracy and its many pitfalls. The people of the United States had a plain choice between good and bad alternatives. More than any other American Presidential candidate in this election, Hillary Clinton got the most impactful endorsements, yet she did not win. If the rest of the world had been asked to vote, she would have won by a landslide, but it was up to the Americans themselves to choose their own President, and they have just told us to mind our own businesses in our countries.

Hillary Clinton is urbane, experienced, charming and gifted. She has proved her mettle as First Lady, Senator and as Secretary of State. She won the Presidential debates, ran a dignified and organized campaign and won the confidence of every critical constituency. Bernie Sanders who ran against her for the Democratic party’s ticket and Donald Trump, as well as their agents in many places threw mud in her direction, but the polls favoured her to the last minute. The pollsters have been proven wrong by the choice that America has made. Hillary Clinton gave hope to generations of women across the world. Her emergence as America’s President would have broken the glass ceiling at the most powerful spot in the world, and energized young men and women across the world. America has decided to spit in the face of history and opt for misogyny birthed by ultra-conservatism. Confronted with the obvious choice of a decent, tested and experienced woman who could have given them the prize of two Presidents for the price of one, they chose a foul-mouthed, egoistic, bombastic, free-wheeling outsider with a wife whose body shape and naked assets would be part of a yet uncertain legacy. America’s future post-Trump’s triumph is uncertain because what Trump stands for, the little that we know about that, raises nothing but anxiety, definitely not confidence. America has as President in waiting a man elected on the wings of sheer populism and racist, nativist propaganda. 

His campaign was anchored on the hate-propelled belief that the only way to make America great again is to shut out Muslims, blacks, immigrants, intruding neighbours from Mexico and Latin America, keep Americans for Americans only so they can have jobs and prosper, and the spin that America is not safe in the hands of women whom he considers fit only as objects and pieces of decoration. By voting Trump, America with its intriguing electoral college system, which robs a popular candidate on technical grounds, has deleted the triumph of American-led neo-liberal progressivism in the global order. The sad news in part is that this is also a growing trend in Europe, the equivalent of Brexit. Trump’s triumph is however worse than Brexit. It is not likely “to make America great again.” It is more likely to reduce, if not jeopardize America’s influence as a stabilizing force in the global system. Donald Trump as Presidential candidate repudiated America’s commitments within the global system. He says he will pull out US troops and command stations in Europe and Asia. If he keeps to his words, he could create such instability across the globe that would result in countries which otherwise depended on the United States looking out for themselves security-wise. 

Trump is perhaps America’s nemesis: too much rationalization and over-simplification of everything was bound to get the United States into trouble. The chasm between the American establishment and its ordinary people has been blown open. Washington is a living symbol of correctness on every stage, but now the people have rejected Washington and its politics. There have been about 44 female Presidents across the world, and now, the most powerful country in the world has proven itself to be less progressive than India, Bangladesh, Brazil, South Korea, Liberia, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Argentina, Croatia, Nepal, Taiwan, Chile, Costa Rica, Philippines, Indonesia, Iceland, Malta, and even Kosovo! America preaches inclusion and unity in diversity, but the white, blue-collar and middle-class Americans who voted majorly for Donald Trump have shown that the average American is not interested in diversity; they want America to themselves alone. America is not a country of nationalities, it is a country of immigrants, and yet the settled immigrants want to shut the door of the land of dreams to others. Donald Trump exploited their fears. He has proven that it is possible to become President by appealing to the people’s basest instincts. Shameful. Trump, Machiavelli’s “great-great-grandson” has through dirty tricks created a revolution from which even the same party that saw him as an outsider and treated his emergence as flag-bearer as an accident has benefitted. 

The Republican Party owes its ascendancy in the White House and Capitol Hill to this outsider who brought the tactics of Machiavelli, soap opera and television shows to push a failing party back to reckoning. Trump is neither Republican nor Democrat; he belongs to the party of the streets, of a racist American street motivated by a determination to reverse the misfortune of disappearing jobs in inner America, inability of make ends meet, pay children’s school fees or live decently. Americans chose Trump because he spoke the language of the streets and projected himself as their messiah. He projected himself, in his own words, as the champion of “the forgotten men and women of our country…People who work hard but no longer have a voice. I am their voice”. And so the people think, and so they voted for him so enthusiastically they even handed him the battleground states of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and North Carolina, which secured his victory and ended the emerging Clinton dynasty. He is the candidate of America’s children of anger. 

Trump’s organized blackmail and dirty job may have given him the biggest job in the world but it will not sustain him there or make him a great President. The easiest thing to do is to promise the people change by pulling down the sitting government and the entire political Establishment. In Trump’s reckoning, he did not just defeat Hillary Clinton; he has defeated Barrack Obama, the entire Washington Establishment and its allies. Inexperienced, badly prepared and ignorant, as is the common consensus, Trump has to run the most complex governance system in the world. He can repudiate his campaign promises and turn 360 degrees. This is not beyond him. In the last year, his position on anything and everything has changed from one stop to another. Or he may choose to fulfill his bizarre promises and imperil the American Presidency and the global order. One option will expose and ridicule him. The other may fetch him the aggrieved assassin’s bullet or a one-term Presidency that could end up either as a tragi-comedy or a nauseating farce. The fulfillment of the Simpsons’ and Michael Moore’s prophecy is the highest point of America’s disillusionment. Soon enough, America will learn, at substantial cost, new lessons about its new reality. Take it easy, Hillary. Destiny is what waits for every person behind the dream. 


Posted On Friday, 11 November 2016 13:17 Written by

SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: Super Eagles Captain, Mikel Obi, has assured Nigerians that the team would deliver win in the World Cup qualifier against Algeria at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium on Saturday.

The Eagles’ Skiper’s assurance is contained in a statement by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) spokesperson, Ademola Olajire in Lagos.
The statement quoted the 29-year-old midfielder as saying that the team was determined to earn the match’s three points.

It restated that all the players appreciated the importance of the game and its ramifications for Nigeria’s march to a sixth FIFA World Cup finals.
“We all know what this match means, why we have to give everything. Yes, we started the race well by winning in Zambia, but we have to approach this match even more seriously.

“The Algerians will come with determination and they will play hard, but we will play harder.

“The World Cup is the biggest stage; every player wants to be there. I am happy we have such a young and energetic team.
“I played at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 but there are many of these players who have never been to the World Cup. They want to be there,’’ it quoted Obi as saying.

The statement added that the dogged playmaker insisted that the team was looking forward to nothing less than victory against the invading Fennecs of Algeria.

“Three points; that is what we will be playing for. We are committed and the visit of the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to our training in Abuja has motivated us the more.’’

Nigeria represented Africa at the 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup finals, reaching the Round of 16 in 1994, 1998 and 2014.
Nigeria and Algeria are Africa’s best teams at the last World Cup finals in Brazil, each eliminated in the Round of 16 on the same day.
While Nigeria fell to France, Algeria were pipped by Germany.

The rivalry between Nigeria and Algeria at the senior level is one of the fiercest in African football.
Nigeria beat Algeria to win her first Africa Cup of Nations in 1980; 10 years later, Algeria beat Nigeria to win her first Cup of Nations.

Algeria beat Nigeria to qualify for her first FIFA World Cup — Spain 1982; Nigeria beat Algeria to qualify for her first FIFA World Cup — USA 1994.
The first meeting between both teams at the All-Africa Games that Nigeria hosted in 1973 ended 2-2.
Algeria enjoyed a three-match winning streak against Nigeria between October 1981 and March 1982. Nigeria has won the last four confrontations between both nations.

The Super Eagles have never lost a World Cup qualifying home match outside of Lagos.
They have lost only one out of six World Cup qualifiers played in November, winning the remaining five.
The Algerians hit Uyo on Thursday evening with a delegation of 61 persons, aboard a chartered flight, and will have their official training on the pitch of Godswill Akpabio International Stadium on Friday evening.

They were received at the Ibom International Airport by NFF Deputy General Secretary, Dr Emmanuel Ikpeme and Protocol Officer, Emmanuel Ayanbunmi.
The match officials, led by Hassan Osama Atta Ibrahim El Manan (match commissioner from Sudan), slept in Lagos on Thursday to hit Uyo on Friday.
The referee is Gambian Bakary Papa Gassama, with Jean-Claude Birumushahu (Burundi) as assistant referee 1; Marwa Range (Kenya) as assistant referee 2 and Maudo Jallow (Gambia) as fourth official.

Jean-Olivier Mbera from Gabon will serve as referee assessor and Kenyan Nicholas Chumba Musonye will be security officer. The match kicks off at 5 p.m. on Saturday. (NAN)

Posted On Friday, 11 November 2016 12:58 Written by

The Chief Operating Officer, Sheteef Carshop, Mr. Abdul-Lateef Shitta, tells TOBI AWORINDE about his love for automobiles

How did you end up in the automobile industry?

I studied Accounting and Finance at the Yaba College of Technology. I trained with a firm of chartered accountants, Adetona Isichei and Co., as a management trainee for a couple of years. Then between 1997 and 1998, I resigned and set up my company, Sheteef Intertraders Limited, which engaged in general trading, manufacturing, and transportation from inception. The name was derived from a hybrid of my first name and surname. When I resigned, I started with sewing local attire and exporting in the ’90s. Then I started running an ice factory called Solid Ice, catering to parties with renting chests, cooling trucks — addressing a specific need in party planning. The aim was to relieve our customers of the headache of general icing. We realised that they spent so many millions organising parties, but they would forget that they had to ice the drinks, until the day when all the drinks are on the ground. So, we came in and provided that.

I was doing that alongside my management training when one day I went to work with everything at my factory working perfectly, and I returned to find that we had a power failure. That power failure lasted six months. That culminated into ruining the machines. They broke down one after the other because we kept running on diesel to make ice blocks. We were buying N5,000 worth of diesel to make N5,000 worth of blocks. We would then keep the same ice till the weekend before we would sell. We began to run at a loss because we couldn’t survive on generators. The generators as well as the machines broke down. That was the end of the business.

We decided we wouldn’t give up easily, so we moved to Ijora, where there was a priority (power) line by the (now defunct) National Electric Power Authority headquarters. But it was the same scenario. I then started my next business, a cyber café and Internet telephone service provider. Again, power failure. The computers would trip off, the base station kept blowing up, all the equipment kept burning, etc. One day, I sat down and asked myself: What can I do in Nigeria that, power or no power, my business would not suffer? That was when I decided to go into the car business.

Did you ever attempt the auto business before then?

Yes, I had always been buying and selling cars when I had spare cash. I had always loved cars; I would drive lifestyle cars, keep them well. Lifestyle cars are the likes of convertible and two-door cars; cars that are not conventional for, everyday use. They are luxury products, more like collector’s items. One thing I realised about cars was that if you kept them very well, you could get back even more than what you bought them for because of inflation. You can then add some money and get another one. If you insure it, even in accidents, you will get your money back.

If you get a luxury car and you maintain it well, the longer it stays with you, the more valuable it becomes because somebody who has been looking for it that probably couldn’t afford it when the car was first designed will one day see it with you and you can make a killing out of it. I’ve bought a house from selling a car. In 1997, I sold my 1995/96 convertible BMW 3-series and used the same money to buy a house on Akerele Road (Surulere, Lagos State). You don’t lose money from buying exotic cars or taking good care of your car.

What lessons from your experience in the fashion industry are you applying in your auto business?

For whatever reason, in Nigeria, as soon as you set up a business and it’s flourishing, everybody begins to have ideas of how they want to compete with you, regardless of whether or not they have what it takes. ‘Ah! Oga is making money.’ You go out to source for contracts and finally get the job, then delivering becomes an issue. It is when you have a deadline to meet that the tailors disappoint you. They would just disappear. And how many (tasks) can you do yourself. After trying that and the icing business, I told myself: ‘You know what? With the car business, I can work all day without anybody. I can drive my car, take it to the car wash, take it to the mechanic, put it on display, and sell it. I started with one car which I bought in 2005.

What did you do differently that enabled you to succeed?

I initially tried moving to England to do my master’s. It didn’t work out, so I came back and I started the car business. I then realised that a lot of people had so many cars abandoned with all sorts of car dealers which were unattended to. Some of them just needed the engine to be serviced, some just to spray the bumper, fixing side mirrors, fixing radio and other little things. But everything would be left in tatters, the cars would be left for months on end and nobody would buy them. So, I reached out to people that had cars which were not well attended to and had taken longer than necessary to sell. I used my money to refurbish them, documented the costs and sold the cars. As soon as I sold the cars, I would deduct my cost, get my commission, remit the client’s money and everybody would go home smiling. It worked like magic.

People began to refer one another: ‘There is one guy at Western Avenue. Just give him your car and, whatever it is, he will fix it with his money and help you make much more.’ By the second year of being in business, I headed for the island. I had the opportunity of having another property in Victoria Island, so I moved. Upon getting here (VI), it was the same case. A lot of people in Lekki had so many cars in their compounds and in front of their houses and they wouldn’t know who to give the cars to, to sell. People would go abroad, use their estacode to buy cars, bring them to Nigeria and wouldn’t be able to find anybody to buy them. Some were abandoned for six months to a year. It was all about doing things right, proper packaging and presenting in the most appropriate way. That is what we have been doing to date.

What challenges have you encountered?

Along the line, we were able to gather some capital with equity from family members and we began to import brand new cars from Dubai (United Arab Emirates) — Toyota Prados, Hiluxes, and Camrys, until the government decided to jack up the duty rates. Since it wasn’t sustainable to import, we decided to keep recycling the local ones. Abroad, nobody imports; they recycle. The same way there is a ‘brand new’ section, they have the ‘used cars’ section. So, someone can bring an old car and trade it in for a new one. Someone else who cannot afford the new one then comes in to buy the used one. The used one would have gone to the workshop for refurbishing. It is a cycle. Everything still remains within the system. Everything pertaining to your automobile need, you get in one spot. We have cars for rent, for lease, and for sale. That’s why we call it the Car Shop.

Are there improvements you wish to see in the public sector?

Movement is one of the necessities of life. We must move, just as we must eat, breathe and sleep. Movement from one place to another is dependent on mechanised locomotion. You cannot walk from here (VI) to Surulere. You have to go by either train, bus or car. If everybody must have a car, because we don’t have the right social infrastructure, how is the government providing affordable transportation? Can’t we get some rebate tickets? For instance, if you are a civil servant, you go to your ministry, buy discounted tickets and you can travel everywhere. Then there would be lower demand for cars. Is there a dedicated route on the road, like the red line they have abroad, for buses and bikes? Let people ride on bikes.

Today, before I employ anybody, the first question I ask is, ‘Where do you live?’ The reason is that I have realised that most of my staff, over time, spend about 40 per cent of their salaries on transportation. So, how do they survive? (That would mean) they will be corrupt one way or the other because they are under pressure: They have to pay their children’s school fees, feed, look good, fend for themselves, and transportation is number one because they must get to work to get that salary. So, whether they like it or not, they will pay for the transport. And somebody has to collect that money from them and that is where the car dealer comes in. In essence, government needs concerted efforts to ensure that cars are produced locally, transportation from one place to the other is provided at the most reasonable price, and subsidised one way or the other.

Posted On Sunday, 06 November 2016 13:18 Written by

A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, has signed an undertaking to return N480m to the Federal Government, The PUNCH has learnt.

Obanikoro has also submitted his United States of America and Nigerian passports to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

In addition, the ex-minister has provided two sureties who are directors in the Federal Civil Service.

Impeccable sources told our correspondent that these were part of the conditions given to the ex-minister for his release.

A source said, “The EFCC asked Obanikoro to submit his passports. He was only willing to drop his Nigerian passport but he has finally submitted the American one. He was asked to produce two directors, who must also present a three-month salary pay slip.

“He has returned N100m and has pledged to return N480m. The actual balance is meant to be N685m, but he was able to provide receipts for some transactions. He paid N85m to someone and that person has been traced.

“He also bought some bulletproof vehicles when he was minister and they will be handed over to the EFCC. The cost of the vehicles will be deducted from the amount that should be returned. Having met the conditions, he should be released any time from now.”

Obanikoro, who left the country around June 2015, was detained by the EFCC on October 17, 2016, after returning and surrendering himself to the commission in Abuja.

He was detained for his alleged role in the diversion of N4.7bn from the imprest account of the Office of the National Security Adviser.

The money was said to have been paid into the bank account of Sylvan McNamara, a company in which his two sons, Babajide and Gbolahan, were directors at the time.

Obanikoro reportedly told detectives that out of the N4.7bn, he paid N3.880bn to Ayodele Fayose and Senator Iyiola Omisore in July 2014, when they were the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidates of Ekiti and Osun states respectively.

However, detectives challenged Obanikoro with evidence that he also received N785m from the money and asked him to return it.

A source at the EFCC said, “Obanikoro claimed that he used part of his own share to do an anti-Boko Haram campaign in Lagos in 2014. However, we found out that he wasn’t telling the whole truth because some of the money was spent on his governorship campaign when he was contesting against Jimi Agbaje during the PDP primary.

“So, we asked him to return his own share of the money and he has promised to do so.”

Part of the money allegedly given to Fayose was converted to $5.377m and handed to him at Spotless Hotel, Ado Ekiti, in the presence of the then Ekiti State PDP Secretary, Tope Aluko, and other party stalwarts.

Abuja bizman loses filling station, complex to commission

Meanwhile, the EFCC has seized a filling station and a shopping complex from a man who described himself as a building engineer, Abdullahi Rilwan, for failing to explain where he got the money to buy the properties.

The EFCC Act Section 71 (b) gives the commission the power to commence investigations into the property of any person if it appears to the EFCC that the person’s lifestyle and extent of properties are not justified by law.

The EFCC said in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, on Thursday, that Rilwan was also arrested for offences bordering on operating a land racketeering syndicate, criminal conspiracy, unlawful possession of classified documents, obtaining by false pretences and money laundering.

According to the commission, the suspect was first accosted in the Kuje Area Council of Abuja during a separate investigation into the $2.1bn arms procurement fraud.

Detectives were said to have visited the area to verify the ownership of several properties suspected to be proceeds of money laundering.

In the course of investigating the ownership of a filling station and a shopping complex both still under construction, located along Pegi Road in the Kuje Area Council, operatives gathered that Rilwan was in charge of the construction work.

The statement added, “Rilwan, who was subsequently engaged, denied ownership of the station but confirmed he was the engineer in charge of the construction work. He admitted to being the owner of the shopping complex. He also told operatives that he was the owner of two companies, Kaibo Oil and Gas and Kaibo Properties, but could not account for his source of wealth.

“A visit to his office, however, revealed that he was involved in several shady and suspicious business deals.”

It was learnt that the revelation made EFCC operatives to beam its searchlight on Rilwan’s business activities.

Subsequently, on October 31, a search and arrest warrant was executed at his Kuje residence.

The statement added, “The search unearthed several implicating documents in his custody, many of which he uses to sell plots of land. Properties recovered from his residence in Kuje included letter-heads in the name of Kuje Area Council, allocating plots of land, an ‘Irrevocable Power of Attorney’ in favour of Air Commodore Bassey Inyang, a ‘Right of Occupancy’ document granted to Henryville Farms, Abuja, among other implicating documents.

“The filling station and the complex are currently under investigation and he would be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.”

Posted On Friday, 04 November 2016 00:58 Written by Northern socio-cultural and political groups have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to avoid unnecessary feud with a National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, which they described as capable of destroying the ruling party.

This, they said, had become imperative because of the insinuation that Buhari and Tinubu are not in very good terms even though none of them has publicly admitted it.

Political analysts have also linked the recent disagreement between Tinubu and the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, to the purported crisis between the former Governor of Lagos State and the President.
Speaking to Saturday PUNCH, the groups noted that the speculated crisis between the two titans of the ruling party should be resolved.

The Chairman, Coalition of Political Parties in Kaduna State, Muhammadu Sani-Ahmed, blamed those he described as the “kitchen cabinet” of the President for the seeming feud between Buhari and Tinubu.

He said there was no hiding the fact that there is no love lost between the two leaders.

“On the pages of newspapers, the two leaders have consistently denied any feud; but somebody close to them has told me there is a crisis between them,” he said.

Sani-Ahmed noted that with the pivotal role played by Tinubu during the 2015 presidential election, there was a need for the two leaders to come together and settle their differences.

He said, “Nigerians are not stupid. Even the blind knows that the relationship between the President and the National Leader of APC is not cordial.

“This feud is being fuelled by those close to the President. They are telling the President the wrong things. The President and Tinubu must come together regardless of their differences to settle their rift before the 2019 elections because if it continues like this till that time, it will certainly affect the chances of the APC.”

Second Republic Member of the House of Representatives and also the Convener, Coalition of Northern Intellectuals, Politicians and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, called on Buhari to apply caution in his handling of the alleged feud with Tinubu and the internal crisis in the APC.

He said, “Given the tenuous nature of this administration, the party (APC) and of course, the powerful enemies undoubtedly which Tinubu has, he (Buhari) should do well to please take it easy. Some of us believe that he (Tinubu) certainly has done some good for the party, (Muhammadu) Buhari as a person, and for the country; we would not want him to fall by the wayside as a result of lack of tact.

“I also believe that he (Tinubu), Buhari and leading members of the party must all rush back to the drawing board because rightly or wrongly, their making Buhari as the presidential candidate and his arrogance and megalomania may in fact, sooner than later, destroy the party.

“And to make matters worse, Buhari does not have a clue about forming a party or running one. If care is not taken, he will throw the party into complete disarray and by the time most of them in the party realise it, it would have been too late.

Also, an elder statesman and National Chairman, Northern Elders Council, Tanko Yakasai, who spoke in his personal capacity, noted that Buhari would not have won the last presidential election without Tinubu’s support.

Yakasai said Buhari was elected by a two and half million majority, which he described as the “lowest majority in Nigeria’s presidential elections.”

“A large chunk of these votes came from the South-West and Tinubu was instrumental to this, but right now, he can’t claim to be in the picture of what is happening in government,” he added.

“Yes, the Vice President (Yemi Osinbajo) came from his (Tinubu’s) camp but Buhari’s biographer gave a different picture of how Osinbajo came about to be the VP. If you remember quite recently, it took Tunji Bello to correct the impression created by the President’s biographer. It was he who revealed that he was there when the decision was taken.

“I think they (Buhari and Tinubu) should ensure peace for the good of the party and the country.

Chairman, Adamawa United Forum, the umbrella body for all the ethnic minorities in the state, Musa Jekeko, said Buhari could not afford to treat Tinubu with disdain as it would amount to biting the fingers that fed him.

According to him, Buhari should not allow his relationship with Tinubu to degenerate because the latter remains a “vital” asset to the APC because of his political influence and financial clout.

“By virtue of the President’s position as leader of the party, there should be no dissenting voice, and if there’s any, Buhari should be held responsible because as the leader of the party, he should be able to bring everyone together,” he said.

Chairman, Adamawa Awareness Foundation, Abdulrazak Buba, described the crisis In the APC as political.

“This is just politics; we want to call on everyone within the APC, including Tinubu to rally round the President so that we can get out of this current economic hardship, which is the major concern of Nigerians who voted for the APC,” he said.

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Posted On Sunday, 30 October 2016 16:11 Written by
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