Sunday, 25 February 2018
Items filtered by date: November 2016

SPONSORED BY 234NAIRA.COM: The suspended member of the House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin, on Monday vowed never to return to Nigeria unless his safety is guaranteed. 

Jibrin made this known in a statement circulated in Abuja.

Jibrin left Nigeria for London last week to receive an award and take his anti-corruption campaign to the international community.

He was suspended for 180 legislative days by the House of Representatives after accusing the Speaker, some Principal Officers and a few other members of corruption, abuse of office and monumental fraud in padding up the 2016 budget.

In an exclusive interview with a television station in London on Monday, the lawmaker said he recently received threats from some of the lawmakers he accused of corruption.

According to him, the ‘House cabal’ led by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun, Whip Alhassan Doguwa and Minority Leader,Rep. Leo Ogor are using Rep. Herma Hembe to either assassinate or kidnap him or members of his family.

The lawmaker also said that the initial silence of the President on the matter was a blessing in disguise because if the President had spoken much earlier he would have been accused of using him to fight the House Leadership.

He said that the time was ripe and the crisis matured enough for the President to break his silence.

“The situation currently at hand is different from the initial stage of the crisis. The silence of the presidency is no longer sending the right message to Nigerians and the international community ,” he said.

Jibrin also revealed that he recently wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari, seeking audience to brief him about the monumental fraud in the 2016 budget, individual and systemic corruption in the House.

He said his letter also included some vital information on how to check corruption in the house, fraud in budget process and reform the House for the good of the country.

According to him, over 2,000 fraudulent projects worth over N284 billion were inserted into 2016 budget, saying such fraud never happened in the history of the Nigerian legislature.

He also exonerated himself of any wrongdoing in the appropriation process, saying he had been in the House for five years and had never abused his office or corruptly enriched himself.

Jibrin reiterated his resolve to continue with the anti corruption campaign.

He revealed that he would take the campaign to the international stage by reaching out to foreign governments, parliaments, media, civil society groups and Nigerians in Diaspora among others.

He said that it would enable him to press further for the arrest and prosecution of Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Lasun, Doguwa, Ogor and other members, he tagged the corrupt cabal in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Herman Hembe (APC-Benue) who is one of the lawmakers accused by Jibrin on padding of the 2016 budget, said that Jibrin fled to the United Kingdom to avoid prosecution.

Hembe disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja while reacting to Jibrin’s statement.

Hembe said: “my attention has been drawn to a statement issued by the suspended member Abdulmumin Jibrin who has fled to United Kingdom.

“Jibrin’s allegation that his life is under threat is laughable.

“I understand that the anti-graft agencies are closing in on him with their investigation into his past deeds.

“He might have got the hint of his possible prosecution and decided to flee while raising false alarm.

“May I remind him that no matter where he goes justice will surely catch up with him as there is no hiding place for criminals in our today’s world,” Hembe said.

Published in Headliners
Monday, 07 November 2016 03:12

Leicester lose 2-1 at home to West Brom

Winger Matt Phillips punished a horrendous error by midfielder Danny Drinkwater to score the winner for West Brom at champions Leicester.

Two goals in three second-half minutes livened up what had been a dull encounter at the King Power Stadium.

The Baggies scored first when midfielder James Morrison, making his first league start since January, headed in from Phillips’ brilliant right-wing cross.

Moments later Riyad Mahrez, on Leicester’s right, provided a similarly accurate delivery for £29m club-record signing Slimani to nod in his fourth goal since joining the Foxes in the summer.

But with 18 minutes remaining Phillips pounced on the ball after Drinkwater miscontrolled, and strode forward before dinking his shot past keeper Ron-Robert Zieler.


Published in Sports

SPONSORED BY X365TV.COM: Liverpool went top of the Premier League for the first time under manager Jurgen Klopp with an emphatic victory over Watford at Anfield.

Sadio Mane’s acrobatic header finally put the Reds ahead after a host of missed chances, before Philippe Coutinho drilled in a second from 20 yards three minutes later.

Adam Lallana crossed for Emre Can to nod home before half-time and underline the home side’s clear superiority – and the story was much the same after the break.

Watford were abject and Liverpool masterful as Roberto Firmino tapped in a Lallana cut-back before the Brazilian turned provider and Mane slotted in a fifth amid slack defending.

Georginio Wijnaldum completed the scoring in the 91st minute with his first goal for the club, after substitute Daniel Sturridge had struck the bar twice.

It is the fifth time Liverpool have scored four goals or more in the league this season, and made them the top flight’s highest scorers with 30 goals from their 11 matches.

But Watford’s consolation through Daryl Janmaat means Klopp’s side have only kept one clean sheet in the league this season.

After Manchester City slipped up at home to Middlesbrough and Arsenal were held by Tottenham, Liverpool’s players knew victory would send them a point clear of Chelsea at the top of the league.

If there was pressure following the Blues’ statement win – they defeated Everton 5-0 on Saturday – Liverpool certainly did not show any signs of suffering from it.

Rarely will the home fans have seen their side perform so dominantly. The fluid play of Coutinho, Lallana, Mane and Firmino carved out chance after chance, and while Watford were at times sloppy in possession, there was little they might have done better to resist Liverpool’s 27 attempts on goal.

With the speed of the home side’s passing and the slick interchanging of positions in attack, Watford simply could not live with Liverpool. It was a ruthless performance full of confidence, rhythm and flair.
So who needs a striker?

Sturridge was without a goal in his past nine league games and, having come on to replace the excellent Lallana, the England international played as if he had a point to prove.

But no matter what he did, the ball just would not go in.

Twice he struck the woodwork, once with a fierce left-footed drive that crashed against the bar as he drove in on goal from the left, later with a dipping strike from outside the box that Costel Pantilimon brilliantly tipped on to the bar.

Sturridge should then have done better when cutting on to his left and firing straight at the keeper, but Klopp will have been impressed with his forward’s performance in the 20 minutes he was allowed.

The German was clearly very angry about one thing though – how Watford’s Janmaat was allowed to ghost into the box and slot home Nordin Amrabat’s pass.

Even with his side coasting towards victory Klopp was barking instructions to his players. The message seemed to be: more pressure high up the pitch, more movement off the ball in possession. They were the key attributes in this impressive win.


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Published in Sports

SPONSORED BY X365RADIO.COM: Manchester United ended a run of four Premier League games without a win as they made light work of a feeble Swansea City side.

United dominated from the start and were 3-0 up at half-time thanks to Paul Pogba’s stunning volley and two goals for Zlatan Ibrahimovic – his first in the league since September.

Mike van der Hoorn headed in for Swansea midway through the second half but there was no real danger for the visitors, whose manager Jose Mourinho watched from the stands because of a touchline ban.

United climb up to sixth in the table, while a 10th Premier League match without victory means Swansea remain second from bottom.

The Swans’ dismal performance prompted boos from the home crowd and left manager Bob Bradley with just one point from his first four games in charge.

But for Mourinho, a second win in eight league matches comes as welcome relief following a difficult few weeks.

Although he was banished to the stands, Mourinho made his presence felt with six changes from Thursday’s Europa League defeat at Fenerbahce.

One of those recalled was Ibrahimovic, whose attitude Mourinho had praised as “brilliant” despite a barren spell which had seen the Swede fail to score in six Premier League games.

Happily for Ibrahimovic and United, they faced a ramshackle Swansea defence in charitable mood.

While Pogba’s exquisite volley would have beaten any goalkeeper, Ibrahimovic’s low drive only found its way to the net because it was met with such weak resistance from Swansea keeper Lukasz Fabianski.

Mourinho could sit back and relax as his side controlled the match with embarrassing ease, Pogba, Wayne Rooney and Ibrahimovic all rediscovering their form to torment their abject opponents.

Ibrahimovic’s second goal was a microcosm of the match as he brushed aside Angel Rangel’s untidy challenge before clipping the ball beyond Fabianski.


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Published in Sports

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.

Published in News & Stories

CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has frozen a bank account belonging to Mrs. Bola Shagaya, a businesswoman which Forbes Magazine described as one of the wealthiest in Africa.

It was learnt that Shagaya, who is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bolmus Group International – a diversified Nigerian conglomerate with interests in oil, real estate, banking, communications and photography – had become a subject of investigation due to her links to Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Sources within the EFCC said that Shagaya’s account with Unity Bank with a balance of N500m was frozen.

The business tycoon, who is also the Managing Director of Practoil Limited, one of the largest importers and distributors of base oil in Nigeria, was said to have made suspicious payments into bank accounts belonging to Patience, who has been under EFCC investigation for about six months.

A source at the EFCC said, “When we were investigating Patience and looking into her accounts, we discovered that Bola Shagaya had been making huge and regular payments into her (Patience’s) bank account.

“We then discovered that the monies were kickbacks. The Ministry of Trade and Investment gave suspicious commission to Shagaya’s company on every crude oil sent abroad. The commission was put in an account for Bola Shagaya. The money will then go to Patience’s account. So we started investigating her.

“We were able to trace the N500m to her account at Unity Bank. So, we placed a ‘No Debit Order’ on the account.”

The source said when Shagaya realised that her account had been frozen, she rushed down to the bank and tried to use her position as a board member of the bank to lift the restriction.

The detective added, “When she heard about the restriction, she ran down to the bank to stop the order from being carried out. We then called the bank to let them know that doing such would amount to a criminal conspiracy. At that point, she had no choice.”

When contacted on Saturday night, Shagaya said, “Please, don’t call this number. I am sleeping. Write anything you want to write.”

The Head of Corporate Communications, Unity Bank, Matthew Obiazikwor, could not be reached for comments as his phone line was switched off and a text message sent to him had not been responded to as of the time of filing this report.

Patience attempts to withdraw $5m from frozen account

Sources within the EFCC also told our correspondent that it foiled a fresh attempt by Patience Jonathan to withdraw $5m from her frozen account during the week.

The source said the commission was informed by Skye Bank that Patience had placed a standing order for $5m to be withdrawn from the account but it was stopped.

The detective added, “We received an alert from Skye Bank during the week that Patience attempted to withdraw $5m from her personal account titled Patience Ibifaka Jonathan which is domiciled at the bank.

“We immediately told the bank not to allow any withdrawal because a ‘No Debit Order’ had been placed on the account.”

It will be recalled that the EFCC had frozen four other company accounts with a balance of $15m. The accounts were linked to a former Special Adviser to Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa.

However, during the arraignment of Dudafa and the directors of the companies, Patience filed an application claiming ownership of the money.

She subsequently asked the court to lift the restriction on the accounts.

On Wednesday the directors of the companies pleaded guilty to money laundering. The EFCC applied for the money to be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government, a request which has been deferred by the Federal High Court.


Published in Business and Economy
Sunday, 06 November 2016 12:48

Chelsea demolish Everton 5-0 to move top

Eden Hazard scored twice as Chelsea climbed to the top of the Premier League for the first time this season with a stylish victory over Everton.


Hazard put Chelsea ahead with a low angled shot before Marcos Alonso added a second when he slotted through Maarten Stekelenburg’s legs.

Diego Costa made it 3-0 from a corner just before half-time and Hazard scored the pick of the goals after the break.

Pedro put the gloss on the result when he tapped into an empty net.

Everton spent the majority of the game penned in their own half and did not manage a shot on target in the entire 90 minutes as Chelsea produced a ruthless and dominant performance.

Many of the visiting Everton supporters left Stamford Bridge well before the final whistle. Those that remained applauded the home side off the pitch with the biggest ovation of all reserved for Hazard who capped a brilliant display with two superb goals.

In an attempt to stifle the 3-4-3 system which had earned Antonio Conte’s side four consecutive Premier League wins before this encounter Everton manager Ronald Koeman reverted to three men at the back.

However, the tactical ploy proved to be ineffective as the Dutchman saw his side outpassed and outclassed by Conte’s men as they produced a mesmerising first-half display.

Confidence has been sky high among Chelsea’s players since their 4-0 demolition of Manchester United last month and the swagger with which they dismantled Everton will only further fuel talk of a title challenge.

In the five games since the formation change Conte’s side have scored 16 goals, and conceded none.

Chelsea look a completely different team from the sluggish outfit that struggled under Jose Mourinho last season. This display was a real statement of intent.

Everton striker Romelu Lukaku would have been desperate to impress against former club Chelsea but the Belgium international was a subdued presence.

Luakaku, who joined Everton from Chelsea for a club record £28m in July 2014, was barely able to get on the ball in the final third as Chelsea dominated.

Despite being paired alongside Yannick Bolasie he was deprived of service and spent large parts of the game chasing lost causes.

The 23-year-old has now played five Premier League matches for the Toffees against his former club, but has yet to score in any of them.

If Lukaku endured a frustrating game, the opposite was true for his compatriot Hazard who has truly rediscovered his joie de vivre as he scored in his fourth consecutive league game.

Chelsea striker Diego Costa may have had a hand in more goals than any other Premier League player with nine goals and three assists, but it is Hazard that has supporters on their feet whenever he is on the ball.

The effortless manner with which he glided past the dazed yellow shirts of Everton’s defence for his two goals was breathtaking.

Conte claimed the 25-year-old forward is on the right track to becoming one of the world’s best players and on this evidence that is no exaggeration.

Published in Sports

SPONSORED BY 234NAIRA.COM: Incredible but true. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has confirmed that a former Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Abdullahi Dikko, returned N1 billion to the Federal Government.

EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren on Saturday in Abuja confirmed reports making the rounds on social media that the former customs boss actually returned the sum to the Federal Government.

Uwujaren said Mr. Dikko, who was Comptroller-General of the NCS between August 2009 and August 2015, was arrested by the EFCC in June over alleged diversion of N40 billion from the service’s coffers.

He was later released, reportedly due to his poor health and was expected to return more money.

Mr. Uwujaren also confirmed the seizure of a multi-billion naira property belonging to the former customs boss at 1 Audu Ogbe Street, Jabi District of Abuja, saying it was under investigation.

The EFCC spokesman also confirmed the release of ex-Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, who had been in the commission’s detention since October 17.

He said that the former minister returned N100 million as reported and that the amount was being verified by the commission.

“He dropped his Nigerian and American passports, apart from being released to two sureties”, Uwujaren said. 


Published in Headliners

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With a consistent effort to provide quality and effective banking services to customer across Nigeria, Union Bank Plc, has unveiled two newly upgraded branches in Enugu, Enugu State.

The new branches, located at Zik Avenue, Uwani and Garden Avenue, Enugu, are fully equipped to deliver quick and efficient services to its customers in a vibrant and conducive environment. 

Speaking at the event, Transformation Director, Union Bank Plc, Joe Mbulu, commented on how the constant engagement with customers all over Nigeria has driven the bank to keep developing services to support their lifestyle.

He said, “Our objective as a bank is to be customer-focused, and we are intensively expanding the capabilities of our system to ensure we meet and exceed customers’ expectations. We are improving our physical infrastructure, but we have also gone beyond that. Our promise to build a simpler, smarter bank means to cater for our customers through convenient, secure and fast banking platforms like the mobile and online banking systems which ensure customer spend less time banking and more time living.”

For the Head, Retail Banking, Carlos Wanderley, “The strategy to improve our physical and banking infrastructure is built on creating excellent customer experience. Customers can easily make banking transactions within short periods, gain speedy access to added services wherever they are, and also have private and comfortable conversations with their relationship manager when necessary.”

Complimenting the bank on its excellence in customer experience, former Commissioner of Works, Anambra State and a customer of the bank, Architect Callistus Ilozumba stated that his experience with the bank has always been exceptional, either as an individual, business or for his family. 

“As a customer of Union Bank, we have worked together to build a very successful business, and the bank has continued to support us in increasing our capacity. So it has been a wonderful experience for me as a customer and member of the Union Bank family,” he said

With over 100 new and refurbished branches across Nigeria leading to a 20 per cent reduction in transaction process time, Union Bank continues to reaffirm its commitment towards providing world class facilities that best suit its customers’ banking needs.

Published in Parliament
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