Thursday, 23 November 2017
Items filtered by date: October 2016

Hadiza Buhari-Bello, one of the daughters of President Muhammadu Buhari, has faulted a statement credited to a former Minister of Education, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, that she is using her Africa Support and Empowerment Initiative to infringe on the franchise of the Bring Back Our Girls group.

Buhari-Bello,  in a statement she jointly signed with AFRISEI Secretary, Don Uche, on Friday, said her organisation was a responsible body that would never engage in illegal activities by stealing someone else’s franchise.

She explained that contrary to Ezekwesili’s allegation, her organisation did not need to lean on the BBOG to be of service to the Chibok girls and therefore had no reason “to steal anything from BBOG or use its name to achieve any advantage.”

The President’s daughter explained that her organisation had its own defined objectives and that it did not need to steal anybody’s ideas to operate in line with its own objectives.

She said the organisation was duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and issued certificate of incorporation on July 14, 2016.

While praising the activities of the BBOG to raise and sustain awareness about the plight of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls, the President’s daughter said her organisation had broader objectives beyond the Chibok girls.

She said though the Chibok girls were within the priority of her organisation, its commitments to humanitarian causes did not end with Chibok schoolgirls.

“Given the size of the problem at hand, the more organisations we have assisting Chibok and other devastated communities, the better for the country,” she said.

She added that AFRISEI is committed to empowering the youth and the underprivileged in the area of job creation and skill acquisition.

 

Published in Headliners
Saturday, 22 October 2016 17:49

Donald Trump: Huffington Post warns voters

Popular online news portal Huffington Post now runs a caveat on US Republican candidate, Donald Trump. 

Every story now published by the platform has a footnote from the editor that further dents Trump’s voter appeal and warns would be voters about Trump’s character.

The note says: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar,rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.”

It even has a video of Trump’s lies.

It was not clear when the newspaper decided on this course.

But last year, as the Republicans began the nomination race, Huffington Post editors said that they would consign Trump political stories into the entertainment section of the portal.

Washington bureau chief of the paper, explaining the decision then said Trump’s campaign ‘will be a side show’.

Trump however went on to win the Republican nomination, to the bewilderment and horror of the party’s establishment and many Americans.

On Friday, Huffington Post in several posts further undermined Trump’s campaign for the presidency, in featuring a post by Virgin Atlantic founder, Richard Branson, among others.

In the post, Richard Branson described a “bizarre” meeting with Trump at some point in the past that left him “disturbed and saddened.”

According to Branson, the Republican nominee invited him over “some years ago” for a one-on-one lunch at his gilded Manhattan apartment. Soon after sitting down to the meal, Branson said, Trump launched into a vicious tirade, vowing vengeance on people who’d refused to lend him money during one of his six bankruptcies.

“Even before the starters arrived he began telling me about how he had asked a number of people for help after his latest bankruptcy and how five of them were unwilling to help,” Branson, 66, wrote. “He told me he was going to spend the rest of his life destroying these five people.”

Branson said Trump “didn’t speak about anything else.”

“I was baffled why he had invited me to lunch solely to tell me this,” Branson wrote. “For a moment, I even wondered if he was going to ask me for financial help. If he had, I would have become the sixth person on his list!”

Valued at about $5 billion, Branson is now one of several people in the so-called “three comma club” to criticize Trump.

“What concerns me most, based upon my personal experiences with Donald Trump, is his vindictive streak, which could be so dangerous if he got into the White House,” wrote Branson, who, as a British citizen, cannot vote in the U.S. election. “For somebody who is running to be the leader of the free world to be so wrapped up in himself, rather than concerned with global issues, is very worrying.”

By contrast, Branson said, the conversation at the first one-on-one lunch he shared with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton revolved around education reform, the war on drugs, women’s rights, conflicts around the world and the death penalty.

“She was a good listener as well as an eloquent speaker,” he wrote. “As she understands well, the President of the United States needs to understand and be engaged with wider world issues, rather than be consumed by petty personal quarrels.”

Published in Business and Economy

The trial of former aviation minister, Mr. Femi Fani-kayode, former Finance Minister Nenadi Esther Usman and Danjuma Yusuf in alleged N4.9 billion money laundering has begun at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The commencement of trial followed an order issued by the presiding judge Mallan Sule after dismissing an application for adjournment filed by counsel for the former minister and the other accused persons.

The application for adjournment was vehemently opposed by the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, who urged the court to begin trial today.

Justice Sule in his ruling dismissed the application as being a mere technicality and a ploy to further delay the trial of the accused persons, as witnesses set to be called by the prosecution had his statement attached to the prove of evidence.

In addition, the judge ruled that the witness can give evidence today for the court to adjourn till a later date for cross -examination.

Following this, the trial of the accused commenced in earnest with the first witness giving his evidence.

Fani-Kayode, Usman and Dajuma are being tried before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on a 17-count charge of unlawful retention, unlawful use and unlawful payment of money to the tune of about N4.9 billion.

The three accused persons and a limited liability company, Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited, were alleged to have commited the offences between January and March 2015.

Fani-Kayode, who was also a Director of Media and Publicity of the campaign committee of ex President Goodluck Jonathan, and Nenandi Usman, former Finance Minister under Jonathan’s administration, and Danjuma Yusuf, all pleaded not guilty to the charge. They are currently on bail.

The offences, according to the EFCC, are contrary to and punishable under sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

Published in Headliners

Minister of Transport and former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, is in the news again for the wrong reason. 

Another Justice of the Supreme Court being investigated by the Department of State Service (DSS) for corruption, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, has detailed how Amaechi and Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, tried to force him to deliver judgments in favour of candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in governorship election cases involving Ekiti, Rivers and Ebonyi states.

He said Amaechi begged him to facilitate the removal of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State.

In a letter he sent to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Mahmud Mohammed and the National Judicial Council (NJC) on 18 October, 2016, Justice Ngwuta whose home was raided by DSS operatives, said he was a victim of the APC and Amaechi for refusing to help the party claim victory in Rivers, Abia, Ekiti and Ebonyi states.

He told the CJN in his letter that he was approached by Amaechi and Onu to influnce judgments in the governorship cases at different times, a request he said he turned down.

His allegation is coming barely three days after Justice John Inyang Okoro, also a justice of the Supreme Court, accused Amaechi of visiting him to influence governorship appeal cases for Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia States.

Justice Ngwuta’s letter is entitled: “Invasion Of My House In The Night, Planting Of Huge Sums Of Money In Different Currencies, Purported Recovery Of The Money, Carting Away Of My Documents And Other Valuable Items And My Subsequent Abduction By Masked Operatives Of The DSS Between Friday, October 7th And Saturday, October 8th, 2016”.

Read the full letter:

18th October, 2016

My Lord, The Hon. the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council Supreme Court Complex
ABUJA

My Lord

INVASION OF MY HOUSE IN THE NIGHT, PLANTING OF HUGE SUMS OF MONEY IN DIFFERENT CURRENCIES, PURPORTED RECOVERY OF THE MONEY, CARTING AWAY OF MY DOCUMENTS AND OTHER VALUABLE ITEMS AND MY SUBSEQUENT ABDUCTION BY MASKED OPERATIVES OF THE DSS BETWEEN FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7TH AND SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8TH, 2016

1. Some days before Friday, 7th October, 2016 I started feeling symptoms of malaria attack. Any malaria drug keeps me drowsy and sleeping for days and since I had to go to work I decided to hang on until Friday to take the drug after work.

2. I returned from work late Friday afternoon, had a meal and took the medication I got from Dr. Ukah of the Supreme Court Medical Centre. By 7.30 pm I was already in bed having switched off my hand sets. After a little while my house maid knocked on the door to my bedroom. I reluctantly dragged myself to the door. She told me that a group of people wanted to see me. I told her to inform whoever wanted to see me that night that I do not see visitors in the night, that they could come to see me in day time. I went back to sleep. I could not tell how long later that I heard knocks on the door. I ignored the knocks but when my house girl continued knocking on the door I managed to get up and opened the door. She told me that some people said that the President sent them to me. I got out of the room to find that a large number of people some of whom wore face masks and hand gloves were everywhere in the ground floor. I told my house maid to ask the people to meet me in my study next door to the bedroom.

3. They rushed into my study, one of them said his name was John. He flashed a card to me and showed me what he said was a search warrant. My vision was blurred as a result of the malaria and the drug I took. They had drawn guns. I was terrified and I thought they had a more sinister mission than a mere search. I made to know whether the Chief Justice of Nigeria knew of their mission. One of them contemptuously spat “Who is Chief Judge of Nigeria”. I brought out my handset to call the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, they would not let me do so. Rather they collected my three phones and another phone that I had discarded. I lay down on the seat in the parlour downstairs while they turned everything upside down on the ground floor.
When they finished downstairs they demanded that I should show them the rooms on the next floor. Again I had to lie down on the seat in the room while they turned everything upside down. I had to go to another seat when they want to upturn the seat I occupied. One of them saw the sum of forty thousand naira (N40,000.00) and one thousand naira notes in one of the drawers. He was excited and called their lead who saw the money and said “This is not the kind of money we came to pick”. They left the N40,000.000.

4. In the next bedroom I lay on the bed out of sight of the wardrobe from which they brought some boxes and brief cases and travelling bags. All the bags and briefcases and travelling bags except one contained only magazines, papers and some old clothing. Some were empty. Only one small bag was locked with a padlock and this was the only bag that contained money. They directed me to come over and remove the padlock. I retrieved the key from the side pocket of the bag and removed the padlock and returned to my bed. They put the bags together by the toilet door. They called me again and asked me whether the bags were my property and I answered they were my property. None of the bags were neither opened in my presence nor in the presence of my housemaid who was the only person in the house with me at all material times.

5. Some of them stayed in the room while I took them to my study. At this time I became very dizzy and I had to return to lie down on a seat in the parlour and a man with a gun and a face mask stood over me while I dozed. He followed each time I went to the toilet. Another one followed my housemaid each time I asked her for water. There was no way out of the house. They were at all doors. Those searching and those outside the house went into the house through the main door, kitchen door and back doors. They went in and out of every room including the room in which the bags were kept. I dozed intermittently but my house girl was kept sitting on the steps and was able to observe them coming through the kitchen door but she could not see those who came from back doors, took the second steps and went in and out of the rooms on the upper floor.

6. After many hours they came down to the sitting room downstairs and told me they were going to bring down the bags.

I was speechless when I saw them bringing out huge bundles of different currencies from the bags that had contained only magazine papers and old clothes and some were empty. Some were contained in multi-coloured plastic bags which they tore and discarded. They put the money in different bags and brief cases and then proceeded to count a large amount of N5, N10, N20 and N50 notes which was the change I returned each time I went to shop over the years. They kept waking me up to ask how I came about the small denomination of naira notes. No one asked me any question about the huge sums of money they put in the bags.

7. One of them came to where I was lying down and ordered me to sit up. One of the gun men who stood a few feet from me came and stood next to me with his gun drawn. I was ordered to sign a paper which they said contained a list of what they were taking away. Confronted with the life-threatening situation I made an instant mental decision that it was better for me to comply with their orders and stay alive to tell my story rather than get shot and killed on the pretext that I attacked them or that I tried to escape. I signed the paper and wrote my name as ordered. No one told me what offence I was alleged to have committed. No one told me of any petition or allegation against me.

8. The only bag that contained money was the small bag i locked with a padlock which I unlocked when ordered to do so. The bag contained the sum of $25,000, £10 = = and a brown envelope containing the sum of N710,000 which was a monthly allowance paid to me for September 2016. In the brief case, which I carry to my office daily, I had the sum of N300,000 and some loose change. The above are the only sums of money taken from me along with my phones, papers and other household items. I do not know how they came about the huge sums of money I saw for the first time in my parlour on the early hours of Saturday, 8th October, 2016. The various sums of money alleged to have been recovered from me were said to be in the social media in the early hours of Saturday, 8th October, 2016 when the invaders were yet to complete their search.

9. They took me away in their vehicle but before they drove away they ordered my housemaid to get in and lock the house and not to ever come out or let anyone into the house. It was when I saw DSS in the premises into which they drove me that I realized my invaders were agents of a Federal Government Department. Prior to getting into the premises I thought that the invaders were even armed robbers or kidnappers, more so when I was not questioned by anyone about anything.

10. Then I became much more disturbed not only for myself but for the future of this great Nation, Nigeria. I could not convince myself that any agency of the Federal Government, in a democratic setting, could for any undisclosed reason violate the rights of a Nigerian citizen, a Judicial Officer and Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, for that matter with such impunity. I thought that the democratic government had been overthrown and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) abolished or suspended.

11. Then the next phase of the ordeal started. I was taken to a room where I met my learned brother, Hon. Justice John Inyang Okoro, JSC. He looked spent and so were other Judicial Officers both serving, sacked and retired. No one told me anything or asked me any question till late in the night when they drove from over one hour to a place they called villa. They took Justice Okoro and myself into a room that contained only a bed with a discarded, stained old mattress and both of us had to share it for the night. There was no towel, no soap and worst of all there was no toilet paper. We slept in our clothes, went under the tap and used our handkerchiefs in place of towels.

12. The next day, Sunday, we were driven back to the office. I was taken to a room where two operatives fired questions at me in quick succession. I answered as much as I could in the circumstances. I pleaded with them to tell me why I was abducted and detained and subjected to endless questioning. I also asked why everyone kept mute over the huge sums of money allegedly recovered in my house but none of the two men would answer my question. We were allowed to go home Sunday night only as a result of the intervention of the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed, GCON. We were ordered to return on Monday and since then we have been reporting daily to them.

13. On Friday last week, I was ordered to report by 10 am. Justice Okoro and I were required to appear before the Judiciary Committee of the Senate. We told our stories to the Senators and rushed from them to meet our interrogators. On one particular occasion, I was taken to, and locked up, in their different rooms. Each room had only a table and a set of chairs and I was kept for about one and half hours in each room. No one was with me in any of the rooms.

14. My Noble Lord, I am a victim of my own resolve never to violate my sacred oath of office as a Judicial Officer. Politicians and their collaborators have been hunting me on that account. It started in Ebonyi State where I was falsely accused before a panel set up by NJC in August 2000. It was replicated in 2009 when I was pulled from my Division, Calabar, to preside over a motion filed by Senator Andy Uba seeking to be a Governor without going through the process of election. In each case I was exonerated.

15. My present plight started sometime between 2013 and 2014. I represented the then Chief Justice of Nigeria in an event organised in the International Conference Centre. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi came in late and sat next to me at the high table. He introduced himself to me and we exchanged contacts. A few weeks after, Fayose’s case was determined in the Court of Appeal. Amaechi called me by 6.45 am. He said he had come to see me but was told I had left for my office. When he said he would return in the evening, I demanded to know what he wanted but he would not tell me. He did not come that evening but came the following morning when I was already prepared to go to work. He begged me to ensure that Fayose’s election was set aside and another election ordered for his friend Fayemi to contest. I told him I would not help him and that even if I am on the panel I have only my one vote.

16. After the Rivers State Governorship election was determined by the Court of Appeal, he called to tell me his ears were full and he would like to tell me what he heard. I told him I was out of Abuja at the time. On my return he came in the evening and even before he sat down he barked “You have seen Wike”. I asked him whether that was a question or a statement. Then he made a call and asked me to speak with someone. The man he called said he was a DSS man. We exchanged greetings and I handed the phone to him. Next, he said “Oga is not happy”. I asked him who is the unhappy “Oga” and he answered “Buhari”. I retorted “go and talk to his wife”. He got very angry, and left, remarking “we shall see” several times.

17. Your Lordship may recall one morning when I pleaded not be on the Panel for Rivers Appeal. Your Lordship said I was already on the Panel and asked me to explain why I made the request to be excluded. When I explained what transpired the previous night, Your Lordship told me Amaechi had also attempted to influence other Justices. My Lord, on the day we heard the appeal with your Lordship presiding, we were allowed lunch break at 4.20 pm. The moment I got into my Chambers he, Amaechi, called. When he told who was calling, I said to him, “Your Excellency, you want to issue more threats”? He replied “Have you been threatened before?” I replied “I know a threat when I hear one even if veiled. In any case I will not talk to you” and I switched off my phone.

18. The people who failed in their attempt to destroy me in Ebonyi in 2000 and in Enugu in Andy Uba’s case in the Court of Appeal, Enugu in 2009 are now supplying Amaechi with information to fight me for my negative response to his demands, especially my answer to his statement that “Oga was not happy”. This infuriated him and as he stormed out he said he would deal with the situation.

19. The incident I will narrate below may or may not bear on this case. When the Governorship Election appeal from my State, Ebonyi, came to the Court of Appeal, one Mr. Igwenyi, a Senior staff of Federal Judicial Service Commission came to my Chambers and told me that the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu had pleaded with him to convince me to see him, Dr. Onu. I asked him to call Dr. Onu; he did and I wanted to know why he wanted to see me. He said it was confidential. I asked when he wanted to see me and he said he would like me to come in the evening. I told Igwenyi that he would have to take me to Dr. Onu in his car and bring me back. I had wanted him to listen to what Dr. Onu had to say but when we arrived, Dr Onu put him in a different room. He asked me whether I know the Hon. President of the Court of Appeal and I told him that His Lordship was my Presiding Justice in the Court of Appeal, Benin Division. He asked of my relationship with the PJA and I said it was cordial. He nodded his head several times in apparent satisfaction.

20. He told me that the candidate for the Labour Party was ready to switch over to APC if he could help him win the appeal in the Court of Appeal and that in appreciation of the undertaking to come over to his party, he had obtained the services of three Justices of the Court of Appeal to ensure victory for Labour Party. He said he needed one to convince the PJA to include his three Justices of the Court of Appeal in the five-man panel to hear the appeal. I told him I would not help him and that I could not in good conscience convey such request even to a Customary Court Judge. He was disappointed and asked me whether I knew the husband of the PJA. I told him I did not know the man. I bid him good night and left. Igwenyi joined me in the passage and when he drove me back to my home I told him what Dr. Onu wanted. Igwenyi apologised to me and assured me that he would not have bothered me if he had known what Dr. Onu wanted me to do.

21. In addition to the above I have been subjected to visits to the DSS offices. I was made to stay idle for the whole day, without food or even water. On 17th October, 2016 I went to the DSS office to collect my passports as directed. I was to be there by 10 am but I arrived by 9.30 am and I was assured that I would return to my office in no time. I was kept there till 3.45 pm before I was questioned on the passports till 5.00 pm. After that, one of them took the passports to his boss. He returned an hour later, handed me my passports and told me he had finished with me but that only the man in whose office I was could let me go. I was only allowed to go about 10 pm with a warning to report at 10 am on 18th October 2016. From 9.30 am to 10 pm I was not given water or food.

22. I am on my way to the DSS office and who knows if and when I will be allowed to leave the place.

23. My Lord, the facts stated here in can be verified.

24. Attached is an Affidavit deposed by me in the Supreme Court Registry to this effect.

Yours faithfully

NWALI SYLVESTER UNGWUTA
JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT

Published in Headliners

Delay in the appointment of ministers, failure to check the marauding Fulani herdsmen and flawed monetary policies are all hallmark of President Muhammadu Buhari’s failure, according to award-winning novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

“He had an opportunity to make real reforms early on, to boldly reshape Nigeria’s path. He wasted it,” Adichie said in an op-ed published by the New York Times on Wednesday.

In spite of her admission that Nigeria, as the most populous nation in Africa, is difficult to govern, and that falling oil prices were beyond the president, Adichie noted that certain policies the present government had implemented were anti-development.

“After an ostensible search for the very best, he presented many recycled figures with whom Nigerians were disenchanted. But the real test of his presidency came with the continued fall in oil prices, which had begun the year before his inauguration,” she continued.

“Nigeria’s economy is unwholesomely dependent on oil, and while the plunge in prices was bound to be catastrophic, Mr. Buhari’s actions made it even more so.

“He adopted a policy of ‘defending’ the naira, Nigeria’s currency. The official exchange rate was kept artificially low. On the black market, the exchange rate ballooned. Prices for everything rose: rice, bread, cooking oil. Fruit sellers and car sellers blamed ‘the price of dollars’. Complaints of hardship cut across class. Some businesses fired employees; others folded.

“The government decided who would have access to the central bank’s now-reduced foreign currency reserves, and drew up an arbitrary list of worthy and unworthy goods — importers of toothpicks cannot, for example, but importers of oil can. Predictably, this policy spawned corruption: The exclusive few who were able to buy dollars at official rates could sell them on the black market and earn large, riskless profits — transactions that contribute nothing to the economy.”

She said certain presidential actions or inaction are contributing to Nigerians’ declining hope which is precipitated by an economy in a downward slide. These include a selective anti-corruption drive, insecurity occasioned, largely, by activities of Fulani herdsmen, the invasion of judges’ residences by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), and the perceived promotion of ‘northern Sunni Muslim agenda’.

Though Adichie acknowledged the difficulty in solving the malaise she highlighted in the op-ed, she insisted the government could have done more to make the situation better.

“There are no easy answers to Nigeria’s malaise, but the government’s intervention could be more salutary — by prioritising infrastructure, creating a business-friendly environment and communicating to a populace mired in disappointment,” she said.

 

Published in Business and Economy


Former governor of Rivers State and Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi has denied approaching Justice John Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court with the intention of bribing him to influence judgments in the Rivers and Akwa-Ibom States governorship cases at the Supreme Court. 

Justice Inyang Okoro who is being investigated by he Department of State Service (DSS) for corruption, had in a letter written to the Chief Justice of Nigeria accused Amaechi of visiting him at his home in company of the Akwa-Ibom State APC governorship candidate Umana Umana and made offers to him to influence the governorship cases in Rivers and Akwa-Ibom states in favour of the All Progressives Congress.

The embattled apex court judge also blamed the raid on his home and arrest by the DSS on his refusal to manipulate the governorship cases of the two states in favour of the APC.

But reacting to the allegations, Amaechi in a statement issued by his media office described the accusation by Justice Okoro as a figment of his imagination, concocted to cover-up and politicize the real issues for his arrest and DSS investigation of allegations of corruption against him.”

Amaechi further described Justice Okoro’s allegations as blatant lies.

The minister said he had never approached Justice Okoro in respect of the cases he mentioned or any other case.

Published in Headliners
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 01:42

Ken Saro-Wiwa’s son dies at 48

There are indications that Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr, the son of late environmental rights activist, has died.

According to the Punch, it was gathered that Saro-Wiwa Jr, who was based in Abuja, died on ‎Tuesday after a brief illness.

Born in 1968, ‎Saro-Wiwa Junior was an international journalist and an author and later served in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Former President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, Mr. Ledum Mitee, told the Punch that he was still shocked over the news of Saro-Wiwa Jr’s death.

“Somebody just called me to tell me that he is dead, but I am still in shock and have not been able to confirm it,” Mitee said.

Also, the Media Adviser to MOSOP, Mr. Bari-ara Kpalap, expressed shock over the news of Saro-Wiwa Jr’s death.
Kpalap also said though a source called to alert him of the development, he had yet to confirm it.

Published in Headliners

Precious Chikwendu Fani-Kayode, wife of former Minister of Aviation says she was badly treated in Ado Ekiti while her son was denied food by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in Ekiti State on Monday.

She disclosed to the Punch newspaper after the incident that she went to Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, to see Governor Ayodele Fayose when she stopped at the branch of Access Bank in the town to withdraw money.

She was stopped by some officials of the anti-graft agency who accused her of trying to withdraw money from a frozen account.

She warned the anti-graft agency to leave her alone as she was not a politician but a private person.

“I’m not a politician and that account had been dormant for about five years. I only activated it last month in Port Harcourt.

“I decided to go to Access Bank to make some withdrawals when I was detained on the instructions of the EFCC.

“They told me the account had been frozen and they were asked by the EFCC to arrest me on the spot.

“I have been operating the account since 2005 when I was a student in the university. They had earlier frozen my two bank accounts which they have not opened till today and I have been waiting for them to invite me, but up till today, they have not.

“The balance in the account is just N200,000; so, I don’t know what their interest is. I’m a private person. I have not received any political fund; so, why are they trying to starve my family?

“That account has nothing to do with politics. This is dehumanising. I had to called the governor to inform him of the development.”

Condemning the action of the EFCC and the attitude of the bank officials, Fayose warned the anti-graft agency against becoming lawless and reckless against Nigerians.

Fayose added, “They can’t try that nonsense in my state. If they try it, there will be a showdown. They are over-stepping their boundary.

“This is a country that operates a constitution. What kind of molestation is this, taking away the rights of Nigerians because you are investigating?

“Must they terrorise people because they are in opposition? I have demanded an apology from the bank. If it fails to do that, I’m done with them. This is lawlessness.”

Published in Business and Economy
Tuesday, 18 October 2016 01:38

Obanikoro spends the night in EFCC cell

Former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro has been detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Obanikoro who arrived the country early Monday morning went straight to Abuja to meet the EFCC over allegations of N4.75b arms funds traced to his account and that of his sons.

His counsel, James Onoja, SAN, confirmed that Obanikoro will pass the night at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja.

Onoja said the former minister may be grilled overnight by EFCC detectives, adding: “He submitted himself to them upon returning to the country this morning (Monday). Unfortunately, he won’t be out again today.”

The lawyer said Obanikoro told his interrogators all he knew about the arms funds. “He told them all he knew in his statement, so we hope he’ll be released tomorrow (today)” but “if he’s not released, then we’ll have to do the needful. At least we have the courts and this is still a country that should be governed by the rule of law.”

The former minister who had initially vowed not to return to the country alleging persecution by the Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government, flew into the country on Monday.

The EFCC is investigating a firm belonging to two sons of Obanikoro, Sylvan McNamara for receiving N4.75bn arms funds from the office of the former National Security Adviser between April 4, 2014, and December 15, 2014.

The two sons are Babajide and Gbolahan. The Commission is claiming, with documentary proof, that N4.745bn was paid into the Diamond Bank account of Sylvan McNamara during the period.

Obanikoro was also implicated in the Ekiti elections scandal where soldiers allegedly connived with the then PDP candidate, Ayo Fayose, to manipulate the elections.

Fayose later won the election against the incumbent governor and APC candidate, Kayode Fayemi.

However, Obanikoro has denied any wrongdoing.

The Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, has not issued any statement on Obanikoro’s interrogation and detention so far.

Published in Headliners

Despite the criticisms that have trailed his comment that his wife, Aisha, belongs to the kitchen and “the other room,” President Muhammadu Buhari says he stands by his earlier comment.

He insisted that his wife’s duty was to take care of him, hence, she should stay away from politics.

Buhari said this in an interview he granted Deutsche-Welle’s Phil Gayle shortly before he left Berlin, Germany on Saturday. 

The reporter had asked the President to clarify what he meant by his earlier comment while reacting to an interview his wife granted the Hausa Service of the BBC in which she alleged that her husband’s government had been hijacked.

The following discussion ensued between the President and the reporter:

Recently your wife criticised your choices for top jobs, and you responded by saying “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room.” What did you mean by that, sir?

I am sure you have a house. … You know where your kitchen is, you know where your living room is, and I believe your wife looks after all of that, even if she is working.

That is your wife’s function?

Yes, to look after me.

And she should stay out of politics?

I think so.

Buhari’s insistence contradicted the position of his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, who said on Friday that the President was only joking with his remarks on his wife while addressing a joint press conference with Angela Merkel of Germany.

On the recent release of the 21 Chibok girls, Buhari said the Federal Government had always preferred to talk to bona fide Boko Haram leaders about the release of the girls.

He said his position had always been that government must have a credible person or persons that would intervene, preferably the United Nations or international NGOs.

“I think that the Federal Government of Nigeria team insisted on a better type of arrangement and we secured 21 out of about 220 of the Chibok girls,” he said.

When asked if the government released Boko Haram commanders in exchange for the released girls, Buhari said he did not have the details of the deal yet.

He explained that the girls were released shortly before he left Nigeria for Germany on Thursday, hence he had not received full briefing on the deal since the issue should not be something to be discussed on the telephone.

Buhari said he hoped to get the full briefing on his return to Nigeria. Buhari returned to the country on Saturday.

When asked if he knew what had happened to the remaining girls, the President said his administration was working hard to find out.

“That is what we are trying to find (out) now. The more we get, the more information we get about the balance, whether they are dead or alive … and where they are.

“The important thing about really insisting on the go-betweens – especially NGOs, the United Nations – is the credibility of persons that will be talking to the Federal Government,” he said.

When asked for the purpose of his three-day official visit to Germany, Buhari said his aim was to woo more investors from the country.

He said, “We want a lot. We want German investors. As you know, there are about 100 German companies in Nigeria, and German investors have earned a lot of respect from Nigeria because of the quality of the manufactured goods they produce, especially machinery. … Nigerians work very hard to learn as much as possible, and attract German investment in manufacturing, especially.”

Buhari promised to look at the Gender Equality Act as part of the nation’s law.

When asked if he believed that gender equality was a good thing, the President said, “It is a good thing to the extent that it is accepted culturally throughout the country.”

Published in Business and Economy
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