Friday, 19 January 2018
News & Stories

News & Stories (1619)

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is investigating the Ayodele Fayose government  in Ekiti  for alleged diversion of  over N680million meant for salaries  and pension of civil servants .

The amount has been traced to  a fixed account which the EFCC claims yields N6million monthly.

The discoveries informed the arrest of the state’s commissioner of finance and the accountant general by the commission.

Both officials, who were released on Wednesday, have made commitment to “assist the commission with relevant documents before they were granted administrative bail and ordered to report back in two weeks.”

According to a top source in the commission, many facts came to light in the course of investigating alleged misapplication of the bailout funds by the  Fayose administration.

One of such disclosures is  the N1.7billion contract awarded to a Lebanese Company.  The company moved part of the money to allegedly purchase properties for the governor.

The source added: “Investigators stumbled on evidence of diversion of funds meant for payment of state and local government employees in Ekiti State including pensioners.

“Specifically, over N600million was diverted on 25 January 2016. The funds comprising N200million from the Ekiti State Local Government Salary Account, N300million from the Ekiti State Pension Account and N180million from the Ekiti State FAAC Account were first credited into the Consolidated Revenue Account in Zenith Bank on 25 January 2016 and later transferred the same day into an account called 2015 MDG-CGS state project account domiciled in Zenith Bank.

“The analysis of the bank statement revealed that the money was later placed in a fixed deposit where it was yielding monthly interest of about N6million, at a time pensioners and workers in Ekiti State are owed months of unpaid entitlements.”

The source said that EFCC investigators are poring over documents to uncover the beneficiaries of the monthly interest on the fixed deposit.

Apart from the bailout funds, the EFCC had recently also uncovered  alleged diversion of over N59.6million meant for projects under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Ekiti State by one Abiodun Agbele, who is an associate of the state governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.

According to EFCC investigators, the MDGs’ funds were transferred from an account in the  First Bank of Nigeria(titled MDGs-CGS Local Govt)  to BYKD Consult Limited which is purportedly owned by Agbele.

Documents indicated that the funds were transferred in four tranches as follows: February 18, 2015(N18, 159, 050; N15, 319,850; N11, 218, 500; and March 30, 2015—N15, 704, 325.

Upon the receipt of the funds through his account 0059177132 in Diamond Bank, Bodija, Agbele allegedly diverted these for the payment of choice vehicles from Affordable Motors.

Agbele, who is presently on trial was said to have been used as a front to launder N1.299billion for Fayose through his company called De-Privateer.

But as the EFCC operatives were probing more clues on slush funds and payment of kickback by contractors  in the state, they uncovered alleged diversion of MDGs’ funds.

The Presidency had released N713.7billion  as Special  intervention funds to states.

The  bailout was part of a three-pronged relief package to end the workers plight in most of the 36 states.

While N413.7billion represented special intervention funds, the balance of about N250billion to N300billion was  a soft loan to states.

Also, following protest by states against over deductions for external debt service between 1995 and 2002, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the release of N522.74 billion (first tranche) to states as refunds pending reconciliation of records.

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

The second tranche of N243, 795,465,195.20 was also disbursed to states in July.

But most of the state governors were alleged to have either diverted or converted the relief funds to personal use.

Posted On Saturday, 14 October 2017 14:06 Written by

The Senate has indicated its readiness to continue with the investigation of the allegations levelled against the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, by Senator Isa Misau.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Sam Anyanwu, told our correspondent that the panel would continue with the probe since it was not joined in the suit filed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation against Misau on behalf of the police boss.

When Anyanwu was asked through a text message if his committee would go ahead with the investigation, as the AGF had filed a suit against Misau on behalf of the IGP, his reply was, “The committee or the Senate is not a party to the suit.”

The Senate had on October 4, 2017 resolved to probe into Misau’s allegations bordering on corruption and misconduct against Idris.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had mandated the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the circumstances surrounding Misau’s disengagement from the Nigeria Police.

Idris had alleged that Misau was a deserter.

Saraki also set up an ad hoc committee to probe into the allegations against

the Nigeria Police and Idris, including alleged collection of N120bn annually from high-profile persons and corporate organisations for security services.

The Senate President named the Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena as Chairman of the panel; and senators Joshua Lidani, Binta Masi Garba,

Duro Faseyi, Nelson Effiong, Obinna Ogba, Abdul-Azeez Murtala-Nyako and Suleiman Hunkuyi as members.

The two committees were mandated to report back to the Senate in two weeks.

Misau, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, had on August 25 accused Idris of extorting money, ranging from N10m to N15m, from Commissioners of Police, State Mobile Commanders and Special Protection Units Commanders, for favourable postings.

The senator also alleged that Idris “makes N10bn monthly from oil companies and other private individuals who enjoy special protection from the security agency.”

Misau said the level of corruption being perpetrated by Idris was so alarming and capable of undermining the anti-corruption stance of President Muhammadu Buhari.

But the Federal Government on Tuesday  through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, filed two separate sets of charges against Misau.

One of the two sets of charges, marked FCT/HC/CR/345/2017, filed before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja, stemmed from his  running battle with Idris.

In the case filed before the FCT High Court, the prosecution preferred against Misau five counts of making “injurious falsehood” against Idris and the Nigeria Police Force based on various allegations of corruption made by the senator against the IGP in the media.

Part of the allegations by Misau, considered injurious to the IGP and the Nigeria Police Force, were that police officers allegedly paid as much as N2.5m to get special promotion and posting through the Police Service Commission.

The federal lawmaker also accused the IGP of allegedly diverting money meant for the purchase of Armoured Personnel Carriers, Sport Utility Vehicles and other exotic cars.

Misau was also said to have falsely accused the IGP of making almost half of the mobile commanders in the country the people of his Nupe extraction.

The offences were said to be contrary to Section 393(1) of the Penal Code.

In the set of charges, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/170/2017, the prosecution preferred seven counts of making and “uttering” false documents comprising affidavits, statutory declaration of age deposed to at the FCT High Court and the Bauchi State Health Management Board Birth Certificate, which he allegedly submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission in 2011 and 2014.

Uttering, according to Wikipedia, “is a crime involving a person with intent to defraud that knowingly sells, publishes or passes a forged or counterfeited document.”

The offences in the seven counts were said to be contrary to Section (1)(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.

The two sets of charges were signed on behalf of the AGF by an Assistant Chief State Counsel, Mr. Aminu Alilu, who is of the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Posted On Thursday, 12 October 2017 02:29 Written by

Former First Lady Patience Jonathan used her mother’s company to launder about N2.114b, according to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detectives.

Besides, Magel Resort Limited, which was incorporated by Mrs., Jonathan’s late mother, allegedly secured over N200m IT contract from the National Information Technology Development Agency.

Many people, including an hotelier in Abuja, also remitted funds into the account.

Also, uncovered is how some domestic aides of the former First Lady remitted about N5.7billion into the accounts of three firms linked to Mrs. Jonathan.

As part of the investigation, some Federal Government agencies were found to have remitted funds into the account of Ariwobai Aruera Reach Out Foundation,  her NGO, which has N2,475,784,487.77.

Detectives put the cash in the two domiciliary accounts of the ex-First Lady at $20,731, 173.

According to sources in EFCC, the major highlights of the latest investigation of Mrs. Jonathan border on the use of her mum’s firm and domestic aides to launder funds.

The sources claimed that the ex-First Lady has a case to answer because of the “curious payments” made into more than five accounts linked to her.

A source, who pleaded not to be named so as not to jeopardise the investigation, said: “This is not a case of witch-hunt or vendetta. We have retrieved records of transactions and those concerned. There is a strong case of abuse of office.

“Nigerians should prevail on Mrs. Jonathan to seek equity with clean hands by subjecting herself to legal process. How did domestic aides come about billions? Why will a resort company secure an IT contract? How did a furniture firm without a fixed address come about N1.140billion?

“As we investigate the ex-First Lady, our detectives dig out more evidence of alleged money laundering by her between 2009 and 2015.”

The source gave an insight into the latest findings by detectives on Mrs. Patience Jonathan.

The source added: “A company owned by Mrs. Jonathan is Magel Resort Ltd. It was incorporated by Mrs. Jonathan’s late mother. But Patience Jonathan became the sole signatory to the account of the company by board resolution upon the demise of her mother.

“The EFCC is probing the circumstance in which the firm though registered as a resort agency secured over N200m IT contract from the National Information Technology Development Agency.

“The contract was allegedly funded through the National Information Technology Development Fund.”

Several other persons under investigation for money laundering by the anti- graft agency were discovered to have made payments into the company’s account.

Some of them, including a hotelier in central area, Abuja, have been invited for questioning.

“The total sum allegedly laundered through the account of Magel Resorts Ltd run by Mrs. Jonathan and her late mother is N2.114billion.

“Also allegedly laundered by the former First Lady through the account of Lawari Furniture and Baths Ltd is N1.140billion. The company’s address is given as 100 Akamfa Road, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. The bulk of the money was deposited by Bureau de Change operators.

“The BDC operators have already been invited by the EFCC for questioning.

EFCC sources said that the addresses of most of the companies were discovered to be fictitious as mails sent to them were returned undelivered.

Ariwobai Aruera Reach Out Foundation, an NGO, was discovered to have various accounts but the principal account is domiciled in Diamond Bank.

“The commission stumbled on evidence in which several government agencies made payments into the account. A total inflow of N2, 475,784,487.77 was recorded in the account between 2009 and 2015.”

The source also spoke about the deposits in the domiciliary accounts of the ex-First Lady.

The source said: “Investigation equally discovered that Mrs. Jonathan maintains a dollar account with Diamond Bank which received huge financial inflow from her domestic aides.

“Some of the domestic aides that made payments into the accounts are also trustees of her so- called NGO and director in her companies. The balance in the account was $12,831,173.

“Another dollar account of the former First Lady was discovered in Skye Bank. Inflows into the account came through deposits by domestic aides of Mrs. Jonathan.

“Intelligence reports indicate that most of the purchase of luxury items by the former First Lady was through the Platinum Card of the account. The total amount in the account is $7.9m.”

“Also under investigation is how N1.8billion was deposited in the account of Flinchley Top Homes Ltd, a company linked to Mrs. Jonathan, by her domestic aides between 2009 and 2015.

“Other discoveries are the N2.1billion and N1.8billion deposited into the accounts of AM PM Global Network Ltd and Pagmat Oil and Gas Ltd, between 2009 and 2015. Both companies are linked to the former First Lady,” the source said.

Posted On Thursday, 12 October 2017 02:03 Written by

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the final forfeiture to the Federal Government of 56 houses situated in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja linked to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The value of the properties was put at 22 million dollars.

The forfeited properties include 21 mixed housing units of eight four-bedroom penthouse apartment, six three-bedroom apartments, two three-bedroom apartment and one four-bedroom apartment.

The properties located at 7, Thurnburn St., and 5, Raymond St., Yaba, are valued at N937 million and bought through Chapel Properties Ltd.

The 16 four-bedroom terrace located at Heritage Court Estate, Omerelu Street, Diobu GRA, Port Harcourt, River, valued at N928 million were bought through Blue Nile Estate Ltd.

Others are 13 units of 3-bedroom with one room maid’s quarter situated at Mabushi Gardens Estate, Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi, Abuja, valued at N650 million, were bought through Azinga Meadows Ltd.

Also, the A six flats of three-bedroom and one boys quarter located at Plot 808 (135), Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, valued at N805 million were bought for the ex-minister through Vistapoint property Development Ltd.

The forfeiture order followed a motion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking the permanent forfeiture of the properties.

The anti-graft agency while urging the court to grant the motion, argued that the properties sought to be attached “are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities”.

After listening to the submissions of EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Anselem Ozioko, Justice Abdulazeez Anka, granted the motion.

The judge noted that there was no response to the applicant’s motion on notice for final forfeiture by any of the respondents in spite of the fact that they were served with the hearing notice.

“I have gone through the affidavit attached to motion for final forfeiture as well as the submissions of the EFCC’s counsel, Mr Ozioko.

“The court has no option considering the incontrovertible evidence led by the EFCC than to grant the application.

“The motion for final forfeiture is accordingly granted as prayed. All parties have a right of appeal,” the judge ruled.

Joined as respondents in the suit are Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, Donald Chidi Amamgbo, Chapel Properties Ltd, Blue Nile Estate Ltd, Azinga Meadows Ltd, and Vistapoint Property Development Ltd. (NAN)

Posted On Wednesday, 11 October 2017 22:24 Written by

Three-year-old Caleb Popoola is on a hospital bed at the Paediatric and Child Care unit, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, Lagos. He is in coma on a life support machine. Master Caleb’s doctors have diagnosed him with ‘brain tumour’ and he needs N9million to survive.

A letter from LASUTH said Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) done on Caleb showed that he has a large Brainstem glioma with mild hydrocephalus.

His father, Akeem Popoola said Caleb, his first son, had been on a LASUTH hospital bed for three weeks.

He explained that the surgery would be done at Fortis Hospitals Limited in India.

He said: “It would cost N2, 711,250:00 ($7,500), while feeding and accommodation in India would cost N759, 150:00 ($2,100). Air ticket for Caleb would cost about N5million, because we cannot book normal air ticket for him, although we are still looking for something cheaper. He would be travelling on a stretcher; life oxygen and possibly the airline’s medical team would be on board to support him. My wife and I would also be traveling with him and we would need N860, 000 to buy air tickets, because ticket costs N430, 000 per person.”

Popoola noted that since the illness began last June 15, the family has spent about N1.8million on Caleb’s health, including, hospital bills and getting an Indian Visa.

He said the sickness started with Caleb limping on his right leg.

“He could not use his right hand and he was less active in school. We took him to a private hospital but we were told nothing was wrong with him; we later took him to LASUTH and we did all sorts of tests which all came out fine. It was when we did MRI test that we discovered that he had the ailment. We were told that where he had the tumour is very delicate and they cannot play around it. I was at University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo State and Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), all to no avail. I was told that his case was delicate and he cannot be handled in the hospitals due to lack of facilities. We are to spend a minimum of 42 days in India,” Popoola said.

He added: “We have taken him to various churches including The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Mowe, and Mountain of Fire Ministries (MFM) for prayers.”

Popoola is appealing for financial assistance for Caleb. Naira donations can be made to Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB), account name: Popoola Akeem and account number, 0006748242.

Dollar donations can be paid to Standard Chartered Bank, account name: Popoola Akeem and account number: 0002492351.

He can be reached on 08056573117 or 08095827721.

Posted On Wednesday, 11 October 2017 03:17 Written by

‘GMD’s response full of  distortions’

David-West: minister’s claims wild

Loyalists find gaps in NNPC’s position

POSERS FOR BARU, BY KACHIKWU’S LOYALISTS

 

•What becomes of Sections 130(2), 148(1) of the Constitution and Section 1(1) of NNPC Act?
•How can the NNPC Tenders Board appointed by Baru be responsible for approving
contracts in the light of Section 20(1) of the Public Procurement Act?
•What is the proof that Kachikwu as NNPC GMD did what Baru is doing?
•How can NNPC Board oversee budget without information?
•Why was Baru silent on the controversial appointments he made without briefing the board?
•Are there standards of transparency and due process when NNPC awarded contracts of
that magnitude without carrying NNPC Board along?

The crisis of confidence in the oil sector raged on yesterday, with some associates of the Minister of State, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, taking on the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru.

Kachikwu wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari, alleging that Baru

  • awarded $25billion contracts unilaterally;
  • ran a “bravado” management; and
  • made appointments without consultations.

Baru denied it all. He said no money was involved in the contracts and that the NNPC Tenders Board had no business reporting to Kachikwu and the corporation’s Board. The Presidency backed his position.

But Kachikwu’s “loyalists” have described Baru’s response as a potpourri of contradictions and distortions. To them, Baru’s and NNPC’s defence is “unconvincing”.

These verdicts were contained in a fact-sheet meant to clarify issues surrounding the disputed $25billion transactions by NNPC. 

The Nation stumbled on the fact-sheet yesterday. It may have been prepared against the backdrop of NNPC’s Monday statement, which described Kachikwu as a “liar” with his August 30 memo to President.

The loyalists of the Minister raised six posers for Baru and NNPC to answer.

The six posers, based on the 1999 Constitution, the NNPC Act and the Public Procurement Act, are as follows:

  • What becomes of Section 130(2), Section 148(1) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 1(1) of the NNPC Act if Baru said he did not have to consult the Minister and NNPC Board?
  • How can the NNPC Tenders Board appointed by Baru be responsible for approving contracts in the light of Section 20(1) of the Public Procurement Act?
  • What is the proof that Kachikwu as NNPC GMD did the same things that Baru is doing?
  • How can NNPC Board oversee budget without information?
  • Why was Baru silent on the controversial appointments he made without briefing the board? Did the silence confirm that the appointments were irregular or wrong?
  • Are there standards of transparency and due process when NNPC awarded contracts of that magnitude without carrying NNPC Board along?

The fact-sheet reads in part: “While not joining issues, it will be worrisome if relevant section of Nigerians and keen watchers of oil and gas industry are not put through on the response of the NNPC GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru on policies on public procurement as enshrined in the relevant laws and regulations governing procurement in Nigeria, which include Public Procurement Act 2007 and Procurement Procedures Manual.

“The Public Procurement Act 2007 provides procurement guidance to all Federal ministries, extra-ministerial agencies, departments, agencies, parastatals, corporations and other public entities set up by the constitution or Acts of the National Assembly and /or whose funding derives from the Federation Accounts, their own internally generated revenue, the Federation share of the Consolidated Revenue Fund and special allocations in the federal budget or being entities outside of the foregoing description, derive at least 35% of the funds appropriated or proposed to be appropriated for any type of procurement described in the Public Procurement Act 2007, which NNPC is one.

“The procurement Act 2007 borders on Efficiency, Fairness, Transparency, Accountability and Ethical Standards, and way and manner such procurement shall be conducted, and the entities like Tenders’ Board with powers to do.

“And any procurement system that fails to take into consideration these relevant sections stimulated hesitation to compete, submission of inflated tenders containing a risk premium, or submission of deflated tenders followed by delayed or defective performance, collusion in bribery, bad value for money, and betrayal and abuse of the public trust for personal gain.

“Dr. Kachikwu’s leaked memo to the President sought among other things, to promote application of fair and competitive standard and ethical practices.

“But in his public response to the private memo to the President, it is clear to all fair-minded persons that the attempt of the NNPC GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru, to defend himself is unconvincing, clear embarrassment to the person of President Buhari, his dream of sanctified institutions, and our dear constitution.

“The public response to the issues raised in the leaked memo to the President is a potpourri of contradictions, distortions, and clear breach of facts and logic.”

The loyalists faulted Baru’s claim that he did not need to consult the Minister and the Board on the alleged $25billion transactions.

They asked the NNPC boss to be more forthcoming on his non-consultation of the Minister and the Board in respect to the provisions of sections 130(2) and148(1) of the 1999 Constitution, and Section 1(1) of the NNPC Act

The fact-sheet  added: “The ministerial issue as viewed lacks substance. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (3rd alteration) is very clear on the powers of the President of the Federal Republic.

“By virtue of Section 130(2) of the Constitution, “the president shall be the Head of State, the Chief Executive of the Federation and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation,” and by virtue of Section 148(1) of the Constitution, ‘the president may, in his description, assign to the Vice-President or any Minister of the Government of the Federation responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation, including the administration of any department of government.’

“So by the enshrinement of that Section 148(1) above, and the supremacy of the Constitution, according to Section 1 sub-section (1),  Baru’s submission as regards Kachikwu’s role as an appointed Minister by Mr. President is wrong, null, void and inconsistent with the constitution to the extent of its inconsistency.

“Again apart from the fact that every Board of parastatals, extra-ministerial or corporations etc. are the supervisory entities of such, the NNPC Act in Sections below are clear

“S. 1(1) says: ‘There shall be established a corporation by the name of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (hereinafter in the Act referred to as “the Corporation”) which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue or be sued in its corporate name.

(2) The affairs of the Corporation shall be conducted by a Board of Directors of the Corporation which shall consist of a Chairman and the following other members, that is (a) the Director-General, Federal Ministry of Finance and Economic Development;

(b) The Managing Director of the Corporation; and

(c) Three persons to be appointed by the National Council of Ministers, being persons who by reason of their ability, experience or specialised knowledge of the oil industry or of business or professional attain.”

“Sub-section (2) of the Act is clear that the NNPC Board has overall supervisory powers over the corporation. How can these supervisory powers not include some kind of oversight on contracts worth billions of dollars?”

The minister’s loyalists faulted Baru’s claim that the NNPC Tenders Board is the only legal body to approve contracts and not the NNPC Board.

The fact-sheet said: “Baru’s claim that the NNPC Tenders’ Board, not the NNPC Board, is the right body to approve such contracts in question is also false. According to Public Procurement Act’s Section below:

S.20. (1) The accounting officer of a procuring entity shall be the person charged with line supervision of the conduct of all procurement processes; in the case of ministries the Permanent Secretary and in the case of extra-ministerial departments and corporations the Director-General or officer of co-ordinate responsibility.

(2) The accounting officer of every procuring entity shall have overall responsibility for the planning of, organization of tenders, evaluation of tenders and execution of all procurements and in particular shall be responsible for.”

“Apart from the GMD as the appointor of the Tenders’ Board, which he also chairs, his duty is purely to plan, organise, evaluate, execute and supervise the conduct of ‘procurement processes’ and not to approve contracts above his threshold under the seal of the Corporation.

“He cannot plan, organise, evaluate, execute procurement process, approve and execute approved projects. He lacks the statutory capacity to be the sole determinant of due process in the corporation.

“But after the approval by the NNPC Board, President or FEC, it is worthy of note that the Tenders’ Board, according to Public Procurement Act in Section 22 (3), ‘shall be responsible for the award of procurement of goods, works and services within the threshold set in the regulations.”

“Under the seal of the NNPC Board, according to the First Schedule, Part A, Sections 11, 12 and 13 of the NNPC Act which says:

“11. The fixing of the seal of the Corporation shall be authenticated by the signature of the Chairman and any other person authorized in that behalf by the Board.

  1. Any contract or instrument, which if made or executed by any person not being a body corporate would not be required to be under seal, may be made or executed on behalf of the Corporation by any person generally or specially authorised to act for that purpose by the Board.
  2. Any document purporting to be a contract, instrument or other document duly signed or sealed on behalf of the Corporation shall be received in evidence and, unless the contrary is proved, be presumed without further proof to have been so signed and sealed.”

The loyalists claimed that it was not true that Dr. Kachikwu as NNPC GMD did what Baru is doing

The fact-sheet states: “At the inception of Dr. Kachikwu’s term as the GMD NNPC, there was no NNPC board in place, and this void Kachikwu bridged by briefing the President weekly on all key issues. All actions and activities were sanctioned by Mr. President.

“Beyond that, it is on record that Dr. Kachikwu as the then GMD of NNPC instituted a culture of transparency at all levels which culminated to monthly publications of the operational activities and briefings of stakeholders of the corporation. This practice, which is a key component of the oil and gas reform plan, has since ended with his exit as the GMD.”

The loyalists asked Baru to explain how NNPC Board oversees the budget without information.

They also challenged NNPC and Baru to explain their silence on some controversial appointments made by the GMD.

They said Baru could not hide behind illegality to justify wrong actions.

The fact-sheet said: “Baru admitted that one of the NNPC board’s statutory responsibilities is overseeing the budget. How can the board perform this function if it has no information or input about contracts to be executed?

“Why was Dr. Baru silent on the controversial appointments he made without briefing the board? It is noteworthy that Dr. Baru was silent on the appointments which he carried out without informing the NNPC board, and were not subsequently ratified by the board.  His silence confirms that his appointments were irregular and wrong.

“The truth is, there are no standards of transparency and due process that will allow NNPC to award contracts of that magnitude without carrying the NNPC board along. Due process is about being open, not taking refuge behind distorted and convenient interpretations of the rules.

” Due process is not just the letter of the law. It is also about the spirit of the law. People who have nothing to hide, welcome the opportunity to share information with relevant stakeholders. As they say, transparency is the best deodorant.”

Posted On Wednesday, 11 October 2017 02:57 Written by

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters in Togo have marched in the capital, Lome in what they call the next phase of their campaign to force out President Faure Gnassingbe.

There were also big numbers of protesters in the second largest city of Sokode and the northern town of Bafilo, where youths blockaded a major highway connecting the north and south of the country.

Organisers had billed today's march as a "final warning" to the regime.

More rallies are expected on Thursday, described by organisers as a "march of anger", AFP news agency reports.

The main opposition leader, Jean-Pierre Fabre, said that they were going to maintain pressure on the government.

Protesters carried placards demanding the restoration of the 1992 constitution, which limited the number of presidential terms to two. Mr Gnassingbe is serving his third term in office.

He succeeded his father, meaning the same family has ruled Togo for 50 years.

At least four people have been killed and hundreds injured during weeks of anti-government protests in Togo.

Abdou Razak (C) of Togo demonstrates with others against President Faure Gnassingbé in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza outside the UN in New York on September19, 2017
AFP
Togolese in the diaspora have also joined in the protests
Posted On Thursday, 05 October 2017 01:35 Written by

The war of words between Senator Isa Hamma Misau (Bauchi Central) and Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris deepened yesterday, with the Senate opening a probe into the senator’s allegations against the police chief.

The lawmakers constituted a special panel to investigate the police boss for alleged misappropriation of funds, illegal promotion and posting of senior officers and bribery.

Misau also brought up an allegation of infidelity against the IG.

The panel is also empowered to investigate claims that the IG put an officer in the family way and secretly wedded her in Kaduna.

Senate President Bukola Saraki named Senate Deputy Chief Whip Francis Alimikhena (Edo North) as the chairman of the special panel.

Other members are: Senators Nelson Effiong, Binta Garba, Obinna Ogba, Faseyi Duro, Abdulaziz Nyako and Suleiman Hukunyi.

The special panel is to probe the corruption allegation against the police boss. The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions is to investigate claims of professional misconduct made by Misau against the IGP.

The committee is to submit its findings and report in two weeks.

Saraki said: “We have listened to our colleague and we cannot ignore the allegations. We have a duty to fight corruption. These matters are weighty and we have to investigate the allegations. We will set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate these allegations and report back to the Senate

“The ad-hoc committee we will set up will deal with all the allegations about misappropriation of funds made against the IGP. We will refer the other issues about personal misconduct against the IGP to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to for investigations. “

The row between Misau, a former police officer and the IGP blew open in August, when the Bauchi lawmaker, in an interview, claimed that police officers paid bribes to get favourable postings and promotions.

The police dismissed the claim as the ranting of a disgruntled deserter.

The IG, through Force spokesman Jimoh Moshood, said Misau’s claims were unfounded.

Moshood added that Misau was only out to discredit the institution of the police.

The police image maker added that Misau deserted the Force and that he would  soon be declared wanted so that he would be made to respond to a disciplinary committee set up to investigate him.

The police claimed: “Misau dubiously absconded and deserted the police on September 24, 2010, when he was redeployed to Niger State Command, consequent upon which he was queried, in line with the Public Service Rules.

“The police also alleged that Misau had previously faced disciplinary investigation when he refused to proceed on Junior Command Course (JCC) 49/2008 at Staff College, Jos, between January 15, 2009, and June 19, 2009.”

Rising on Order 45 on the floor of the Senate yesterday, Misau told his colleagues that the police boss was yet to respond to all the allegations he made against him.

Misau said that rather than address the issues he raised, the police authority was busy dealing with trivialities, including insulting him and his father.

He added another dimension to his claims when he told his colleagues that the police boss hurriedly married an officer after he put in the family way.

The officer, Misau said, was already four months pregnant when the IGP hurriedly arranged a marriage ceremony in Kaduna State.

He said that the officer used to serve in the office of the IGP.

Misau claimed that the expectant officer was promoted despite her lack of qualifications.

The Bauchi lawmaker noted that the marriage between the police boss and the officer contravened the code of ethics of the police.

Misau said: “During the recess, a lot of things happened between me and the office of the IGP. I am a retired police officer and served for 10 years and my father was in the police too and served for 34 years. In fact, my father joined the police even before I was born.

“So when I speak about the police, I know what I am saying. When I speak about the police, I speak on authority. I was concerned about what was happening in the police in terms of bribery which led the IG to be scared.

“I called three serving officers and they confirmed to me that people pay much more than N500,000 to get promotion. Even the revenue the police is generating we know. Police is not supposed to generate money. Meanwhile companies pay money to police to provide security for them. This is an open secret. It is obvious that even people with questionable character have police backing with siren all over the place.

“One police officer is supposed to be for 400 people, but in Nigeria, it is one police officer to 800 people and an oil marketer, for instance, will have over 30 policemen, thereby depleting the few police we have while the ordinary citizens are left without adequate protection.

“Another thing I found out is that there is illegal diversion of funds by the IGP. Under the 2016 budget, there is a place where IG ought to buy Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), but he bought luxury cars without virement.”

On his claims that the IGP put an officer in the family way, Misau said: “I am aware that the IGP has impregnated a female officer in his office. Because he wanted to save his face, he hurriedly went ahead and married the woman. The wedding ceremony was held in Kaduna State.

“The female officer was already four months pregnant. This is against the rules of the Police Service Commission. You cannot marry another police officer while you are still serving. But the IGP has flouted that law.”

Posted On Thursday, 05 October 2017 01:11 Written by

When the Union flag was lowered and the Nigerian flag raised 57 years ago there was a sense of euphoria. Many former colonies had to fight a war of independence in which many lives were lost but we were spared that trauma. So it would be fair to say that Nigeria got its independence on a platter of gold. But that gift was thrown away six years later. The war we didn’t have before independence we had it after: the Biafran war.

That war which lasted for 30 months and cost one million lives still haunts us today like an unscrutable mystery. At the end of that war General Yakubu Gowon had on Biafra’s surrender announced that there was “no victor and no vanquished.” He also established a three-pronged programme of reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction, as a way of bringing the war weary Easterners from the cold into the comfort of the Nigerian family again. The rebel leader, Emeka Odumgwu-Ojukwu, who had fled to the Ivory Coast remained in exile for 12 years. When President Shehu Shagari pardoned him he was allowed to return to the country without any pre-conditions. That gesture represented the final nail in the coffin of secession.

The Igbos who were the major victims of the war or of its cause in the first place have never felt convinced that they have been fully reabsorbed and their rights as full-fledged citizens of Nigeria fully restored. This argument has gone on for years and many Nigerians on the opposite side of the war are convinced that the Igbos having fought and lost a war could not expect to be treated as if they had won the war. War is a serious business that often comes with serious and dangerous consequences. In the political arena, the Igbos have produced a vice president, several Senate presidents, a Central Bank governor and a number of ministers that took charge of important portfolios. In the security sector, two Igbos had become the Inspector General of Police, while another Igbo man had occupied the strategic position of Chief of Army Staff. But many Igbos have argued that they have been denied the top trophy: the Presidency.

The Presidency is the top job in the land and many people from various parts of the country covet it. No one is likely to wrap it like a parcel with a ribbon around it and donate it to the Igbos. If they want it they must work for it by networking with other groups and doing the necessary horse-trading. However, I believe that their flirtation with secession through MASSOB and IPOB is clearly the wrong way to go. If the thesis is that an attempt, even a half hearted attempt, at secession will induce the political decision makers to donate the presidency to the Igbos it is a fraudulent thesis. In fact, on the contrary the agitation for secession will rather damage almost irreparably the case for an Igbo presidency. My advice to the Igbos is for them to begin to mend fences now instead of allowing Nnamdi Kanu and his gang to put a fly in the Igbo ointment.

The two major parties, APC and PDP have allocated the presidency to the North. If the Igbos choose to contest for the presidency in the PDP they will have to wait until 2027. But if they want to run in the APC they have to pray that President Muhammadu Buhari runs again in 2019 and successfully brings his second term to an end in 2023. If someone else from the North runs in 2019 he will go for two fresh terms which will terminate in 2027. But the Igbos can choose any of the minor parties as a platform but the chances for success on such party platforms are extremely slim. The starting point is to rein in Nnamdi Kanu and his gang and begin to build trust as they network with other political and ethnic groups in the country.

At present, Nigeria is in a state of confusion arising from agitations from different groups in the country. Old questions about the Nigerian condition have arisen and these questions are begging for new answers. The reason for the search for new answers is that the old answers have not been adequate in laying to rest the ghosts of these questions. Ours is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious community. In such a heterogeneous polity with several nationalities each with their own set of values and expectations, there will always be differences of opinion. The problem is often how to find many points of convergence and reduce the many areas of divergence so that all groups can find comfortable accommodation within the polity. As of now no group is certain that it has found its comfort zone. That is why we have several discordant tunes.

It is most unlikely that we can all agree all the time on all the issues that confront us and affect our lives. But we must understand where we all stand and where we all want to go. We must search for shared beliefs, shared expectations, shared goals and common grounds. We moved from centrifugalism instalmentally in the 60s into the extreme centripetalism that the military bestowed on us. This has brought a political gridlock that manifests itself in unpaid bills, new foreign and domestic debts, unsettled staff salaries and pension benefits, spiraling inflation, corruption, unemployment, crisis of rising expectations and high crime and many other dysfunctionalities. These have combined to put pressure on the country’s unity and sense of oneness. This has also made the search for a new direction urgent, very, very urgent.

A lot of things are wrong with our country and these are problems that have been with us for many years. A time like this offers us an opportunity for introspection. The World Bank says that about 67 per cent of Nigerians go to bed everyday on an empty stomach. That is a dangerous situation because a hungry person can become an angry person. Besides, there is a long unemployment and underemployment queue whose estimate is more than 25 per cent. That means that we all are sitting on a keg of gunpowder. The worst aspect of the problem is that the opportunities are shrinking further as factories close shop or trim their operations and show some of their staff the exit door. We have been told that the economy has made its exit out of recession but we need to stimulate it for optimal growth so that we can begin to experience some worthwhile improvements in no distant date.

Every year we go through the ritual of drawing up, presenting and defending the national budget. Most of the time these budgets are passed in the middle of the year. This means that there is often not much time for implementation before the year draws to a close. Then the ritual starts again without any information to the public on how much of the previous year’s budget was actually implemented. This year’s budget had experienced some hiccups which led to its late passage. Even when it was passed with all the padding that was done by the legislators no one was truly sure what was eventually approved by the executive. Isn’t there a way of reducing these uncertainties and the acrimony that reduce budgeting to the science of voodooism?

How can we make our governments work better so as to reduce the level of poverty, disease, ignorance, corruption, terrorism, cultism, infrastructural decay etc when the bulk of our budget, about 80 per cent, goes into recurrent expenditure? With only 20 per cent left for capital projects how much can we achieve to turn around a country with decaying infrastructural facilities? Pretty little. So it is clear that as a nation we are living above our means; we are piling up debts, foreign and domestic again, we are mortgaging our future and the future of our children. Our governments and parliaments are engaged in conspicuous consumption not minding the dire state of the economy and the poor state of its people. No one expected that at 57 Nigeria’s economy would be in the bind in which it is now considering our massive mineral and manpower resources. But it appears the presence of such solid and liquid mineral resources has unbelievably become a harbinger of doom, a disincentive to hardwork and creativity, a curse from which we have made very little effort to exit.

The little piece of good news is that there has been some encouraging happenings in the agricultural sector. If we do not take our eyes off the ball in that sector we may be self-sufficient in food production before 2019. That would be a good legacy for the Buhari administration and an indication that oil or no oil we can survive. And thrive.

Buhari is President at a momentous time in the annals of our country, a time during which the very existence of the country as a unit is being challenged once again. The nation expects him to be a great bridge-builder and unifier and one with a vision of a greater Nigeria. That vision demands that he rises above the din of ethnic and geographical irredentists and comes up with a life changing transformation agenda for Nigeria. That demands courage and the right dose of political will. The next two years will reveal whether he has them or not.

http://guardian.ng/opinion/does-buhari-have-it/

Posted On Wednesday, 04 October 2017 00:12 Written by

IT was simply impossible not to empathise with the Minister of Education, Mr Adamu Adamu’s sense of indignation during the celebration of the International Literacy Day. In a moment of agonising self-indictment, he admitted that the number of illiterates in the country had literally hit the roof under his watch, being “between 65 million and 75 million.” The minister revealed this when he paid a courtesy call on Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State at the state capital, Birnin Kebbi, during the two-day International Literacy Day Conference organised by the National Commission for Mass Education. Represented by the Director of Basic and Secondary Education in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Jonathan Mbaka, the minister said that with the estimated population of Nigeria at 170 million, the number of illiterates was too high. He said: “Education is the bedrock of any country’s development and any country that does not educate its populace is bound to fail. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, we have a large population of illiterates; the figure, considering our population, is unbecoming.”

This dismal figure represents just a tad below 45 per cent of the country’s estimated population and that is alarming, to put it mildly. What makes the situation worse is the staggering figure of out-of-school children in the country, as the states from the southern part of the country have also joined in producing the league of illiterates. Even at that, the rate of school dropouts is also very high. Confronted by existential problems, children who were once enrolled in schools have been leaving schools to fend for themselves even when public schools have been failing to impart qualitative education to those who attend them. In other words, it may be misleading to assume that children enrolled in schools are getting educated enough to become assets to the country. Many of them are hardly benefitting from the poor and crude infrastructure and personnel in these schools and the government appears to be oblivious of the damning reality.

The situation is really a quandary. Rescue is a far cry away because if school leavers at different levels are regularly left despondent, desultory and without any gainful employment, it will be difficult, not to say impossible, to persuade others that attending schools is actually a good option. It would seem that the fundamental question of the philosophy of education, that is, “education for what?”, should be addressed by governments at all levels, as the notion that education is merely to access white-collar jobs is not really helpful after all. Equally unhelpful has been the practice of rampant, automatic promotion in public primary and secondary schools which makes pupils to write public examinations which they are not prepared for.

Governments at all levels should be single-minded about mass literacy, as opposed to having certificates for the purposes of employment. It is vitally important even for those doing menial jobs to be literate. We think that massive public education and campaigns are necessary in this direction. Of course, there are agencies of government saddled with the task of achieving mass literacy and encouraging adult learning, and it has now become imperative to assess their activities and impact on the people. The fact that some people do not have certificates should not mean that they are unable to read the prescriptions on their drugs or cross the road at the prompting of traffic lights.

The National Commission for Mass Education must register its relevance in terms of performance. Making people literate should be clearly separated from formal education. The commission should be able to draw the line and come up with programmes that will be accessible to both the old and young populations. A situation in which about 45 per cent of the country’s population are virtually illiterate should bother the authorities. We think that the way to go is to encourage people to go to school, adults for adult literacy programmes and the youth populations for regular education. The government should also equip the nation’s schools and motivate the teachers to make learning a delightful experience.

http://www.tribuneonlineng.com/nigerias-75-million-illiterates/

Posted On Wednesday, 04 October 2017 00:07 Written by
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