Monday, 24 July 2017
Items filtered by date: September 2016

Obafemi Awolowo’s letter from prison to Major General Aguiyi Ironsi, pressing for his release and that of his colleagues.

Unfortunately, this did not happen.

While many believed that Ironsi turned down the request, others argued otherwise. One of them is the Dr Raphael James, Director General, Center for Research, Information Management and Media Development (CRIMMD). He argued: “Gen JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi did not turn down the request, he approved the release of Chief Awolowo, Chief Awolowo got the news on July 27, 1966 and he was released from prison the morning of July 29th, but the prison authority held him back when the news of the kidnap of Ironsi and Fajuyi got to Calabar. Chief Awolowo was told that he was being kept behind for his own security since they were not sure of the events going on in Ibadan and Lagos. After Gen. Yakubu Gowon took over, he requested that Chief Awolowo be brought to Lagos. Unfortunately we are killing out history for political reasons as such the main characters in this political game kept the secret to themselves. The records are there for verifications. The details can be found in “My March Through Prison” by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Pages 302-303″

However, Gowon came on board, released the man and the rest as they say is history .

Dated 28th March 1966

CONFIDENTIAL

To: The Supreme Commander and Head of the Federal Military Government, Lagos.
Thro: The Director of Prisons, Prisons Headquarters Office, Private Mail Bag 12522, Lagos.

Sir:

Prerogative Of Mercy:
Section 101 (1) (A) of the Constitution of The Federation Act 1963

1. I am writing this petition for FREE PARDON under Section 101(1) (a) of the Constitution of the Federation Act 1963, on behalf of myself and some of my colleagues whose names are set out in the Annexe hereto.

2. Before I go further, I would like to stress that the reasons which I advance in support of this petition, in my own behalf, basically hold good for my said colleagues. For they share the same political beliefs with me, and have intense and unquenchable loyalty for the ideals espoused by the Party which I have the honour to lead.

3. There are many grounds which could be submitted for your consideration in support of this petition. But I venture to think that SEVEN of them are enough and it is to these that I confine myself.

(a)In the course of my evidence during my trial, I stated that my Party favoured and was actively working for alliance with the N.C.N.C. as a means, among other things, of solving what I described as ‘the problem of Nigeria’, and strengthening the unity of the Federation. In October 1963 (that is about a month after my conviction and while my appeal to the Supreme Court was still pending), a Peace Committee headed by the Chief Justice of the Federation, Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, made overtures to me through my friend Alhaji W. A. Elias to the effect that if I abandoned my intention to enter into alliance with the N.C.N.C. which, according to the Committee, was an Ibo Organisation, and agreed to dissolve the Action Group and, in co-operation with Chief Akintola (now deceased), form an all-embracing Yoruba political party which I would lead and which would go into alliance with the N.P.C., I would be released from prison before the end of that year.

major-general-aguiyi-ironsi

I turned down these terms because I was of the considered opinion that their acceptance would further widen and exacerbate inter-tribal differences, and gravely undermine the unity of the Federation. TODAY, THE MILITARY GOVERNMENT, OF WHICH YOU ARE THE HEAD, LEAVES NO ONE IN ANY DOUBT THAT IT STANDS FOR NIGERIAN UNITY. BUT IT MUST BE EMPHASISED, IN THIS CONNECTION, THAT IF I HAD PRIZED MY PERSONAL FREEDOM ABOVE THE UNITY OF NIGERIA, I WOULD HAVE BEEN SET FREE IN 1963. IN THAT EVENT, THIS PETITION WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN NECESSARY, AND THE WORK OF CONSOLIDATING THE UNITY OF THE COUNTRY TO WHICH YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES NOW SET YOUR HANDS MIGHT HAVE BEEN MADE EXTREMELY MORE INTRACTABLE AND IRKSOME. As recently as 20th December, 1965, identical peace terms (the only variant being that the alliance with the N.C.N.C. which was now a reality should be broken) were made to me here, in Calabar Prison, by a delegation representing another Peace Committee headed by the self-same Chief Justice of the Federation and purporting to have the blessing of the Prime Minister, with the unequivocal promise that if I accepted the terms my release would follow almost immediately. I rejected the terms for the reasons which I have outlined above.

(b) One of the monsters which menaced the public life of this country up to 14th January, this year is OPPORTUNISM with its attendant evils of jobbery, venality, corruption, and unabashed self-interest. From all accounts, you are inflexibly resolved to destroy this monster. That was precisely what my colleagues and I had tried to do before we were rendered hors de combat since 29th May, 1962. On two different occasions I was offered, first the post of Deputy Prime Minister (before May 1962), and second that of Deputy Governor-General (in August 1962), if I would agree to fold up the Opposition and join in a National Government. I declined the two offers because they were designed exclusively to gratify my self-interest, with no thought of fostering any political moral principle which could benefit the people of Nigeria.

The learned Judge who presided over the Treasonable Felony Trial, commented unfavourably on my non-acceptance of one of these posts and held that my action lent weight to the case of the Prosecution against me. I must say, however, that in all conscience, I felt and still feel that a truly public-spirited person should accept public office not for what he can get for himself — such as the profit and glamour of office — but for the opportunity which it offers him of serving his people to the best of his ability, by promoting their welfare and happiness. To me, the two aforementioned posts were sinecures, and were intended to immobilise my talents and stultify the role of watch-dog which the people of Nigeria looked upon me to play on their behalf, at that juncture in our political evolution.

Published in Headliners

The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a 47-year-old trader, Uchena Elumadu, for allegedly raping his 15-year-old daughter in the Agege area of the state.

SUNDAY PUNCH learnt that each time the Imo State indigene slept with the victim, he would drug her to prevent her from being pregnant.

He was, however, caught by his wife, who raised the alarm which drew the attention of neighbours and residents of Martins Street, New Oko Oba, Agege, where the incident happened.

The suspect, upon his arrest, allegedly admitted to sleeping with his daughter three times.

A police source said immediately the incest was discovered by the girl’s mother on Monday, September 19, the suspect fled the house.

He said, “The man has three children, two girls and one boy. The victim is the first child and she is in JSS 3. He had been sleeping with her for a long time. He started sleeping with her in 2015.

“It was easy for him because his wife is a casual worker at the airport and she is most times on night duty and does not sleep at home. What he does is to sneak into the room at midnight while the other children are asleep. He will wake the girl up, rape her and give her drugs to prevent pregnancy.

“But on September 19, his wife was around. He woke up and went to the room to wake up the girl, not knowing that his wife was awake and observing everything.

“The woman caught him in the act and shouted. She reported the case directly to the Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni.”

The source said the matter was immediately referred to the Gender Unit of the Lagos State Police Command headquarters, Ikeja, where a manhunt was launched for the suspect.

The source, who stated that Elumadu was arrested at his house on Friday after the police got a tip-off that he was around, added that the suspect thought that the case had died down.

The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmos, who confirmed the incident, said the victim had been admitted to Police College Hospital, Ikeja.

She said, “Preliminary investigation reveals that the suspect had on different occasions raped the daughter, after which he administered drugs to her to prevent her from getting pregnant.

“The 15-year-old girl told the police that the father on countless occasions woke her up in the middle of the night to rape her mostly when the mother was on night duty.

“The mother caught the suspect having intercourse with the victim. The father admitted to raping her on three occasions, blaming the act on the devil. The victim is currently admitted to Police College Hospital, where she is receiving treatment. This is in partnership with Mirabel Centre and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, where medical examination will be carried out on her.”

Badmos, a Superintendent of Police, said the CP had ordered that the suspect be charged to court at the end of investigations.

She added that the command had no tolerance for sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Published in News & Stories

As the trial of former aides of ex-First Lady, Patience Jonathan begins on Tuesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has placed its 13 witnesses in the case under security watch.

The witnesses, including a banker and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) are expected to tell the court how four slush accounts were opened for the former First Lady.

The Nation newspaper reports that the accounts were opened by the ex-First Lady’s former Senior Special Assistant (Domestic/Household and Social Events to the former President), Dr. Dudafa Waripamo-Owei Emmanuel.

Dudafa and six others were last Thursday, September 15 arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos.

The others are a lawyer Amajuoyi Briggs, a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku; Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited; Globus Integrated Service Limited; and Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited.

A document attached to the charge sheet indicates that 12 witnesses, including an account officer, will tell the court how the current and VISA Platinum Credit Card ( USD) accounts were opened.

The document lists the accounts in Skye Bank Plc as follows: 1771420773 and 2110002238 ( Pluto Property and Investment and Company Limited); 1771420797 and 2110002245(Trans Ocean Property and Investment and Company Limited); 1771421299 0and 2110002269 (Globus Integrated Services Limited) and 1771420780and 2110002207 (Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited).

A source with the EFCC said: “We are set for the trial on how the slush accounts were opened for the former First Lady. We have filed a list of 13 witnesses along with our Proof of Evidence to show that we conducted due diligence.

“The Account Officer, who managed the slush funds, will tell the court the remittances into the accounts and how the ex-First Lady operated them. I think Nigerians have not heard the last on these slush accounts. This is not a case of witchhunt.

“We have also taken adequate measures to protect all the witnesses in order to enable them to testify against encumbrances. We know some of the witnesses have been under pressure but we will ensure their safety.

“It is imperative to protect these witnesses because we have availed the defence their names in line with the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. This may expose the witnesses to some risks which are being taking care of.”

The former First Lady is said to have sued the EFCC, demanding that her accounts be defrozen.

But the EFCC said: “We are still investigating her and she cannot operate all these accounts until she is able to give the details of the sources of funds remitted into the accounts,” the source said, adding: ”Our findings showed that the remittances were products of gratification. It is left for her to prove otherwise.

“Already, the team which investigated the case has declared that she has a case to answer. But we need to dig more before determining her fate.”

The report of the investigative team said in part: “Investigation so far carried out has revealed that the four VISA Platinum USD Card accounts used by Mrs. Patience Jonathan has a cumulative balance of $14,029.881.79 which has been swept Post No Debit Card category.

“Again, her personal account, different from the four VISA Platinum USD card accounts, bears the balance of $5,841,426.17.

“Considering the above stated findings, we can safely conclude that a prima facie case of conspiracy to retain proceeds of unlawful activities, retention of the proceeds of unlawful activities, money laundering, contrary to Section 15(3) and 18(a) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and forgery contrary to Section 1(2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation, 2004 have been established against the aforementioned suspects.”

Published in Business and Economy

The Wife of the Bayelsa Governor, Mrs Rachael Dickson, on Friday gave birth to four babies, a boy and three girls, after 15 years of barrenness.

A statement issued by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson in Yenagoa, said that Rachael put to bed in the United States of America.

According to the statement, the mother and the newborns are doing well.

The statement also expressed Governor Dickson’s gratitude to friends, family members and the people of Bayelsa for their prayers and support.

The statement quoted him as calling on well-wishers to continue to pray for the family.

The latest news has been tagged a double celebration as the governor’s re-election was overwhelmingly upheld by the Appeal Court in Abuja yesterday.

Published in Headliners

A Nigerian police unit, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) set up to combat violent crime has instead been systematically torturing detainees in its custody as a means of extracting confessions and lucrative bribes, Amnesty International said in a report published on Wednesday.

In Nigeria, you have signed your death warrant, former detainees told Amnesty International as they had been subjected to horrific torture methods, including hanging, starvation, beatings, shootings and mock executions, at the hands of corrupt officers from the feared SARS.

“A police unit created to protect the people has instead become a danger to society, torturing its victims with complete impunity while fomenting a toxic climate of fear and corruption,” said Damian Ugwu, Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher.

“Our research has uncovered a pattern of ruthless human rights violations where victims are arrested and tortured until they either make a ‘confession’ or pay officers a bribe to be released.”

Amnesty International has received reports from lawyers, human rights defenders and journalists and collected testimonies stating that some police officers in SARS regularly demand bribes, steal and extort money from criminal suspects and their families.

“SARS officers are getting rich through their brutality. In Nigeria, it seems that torture is a lucrative business,” said Damian Ugwu.

SARS detainees are held in a variety of locations, including a grim detention centre in Abuja known as the ‘Abattoir’, where Amnesty International found 130 detainees living in overcrowded cells.

Amnesty International’s research shows that, in addition to its stated remit of tackling violent crime, SARS investigates civil matters and in some cases tortures detainees involved in contractual, business and even non-criminal disputes.

In one case in Onitsha, Anambra state, a 25-year-old fuel attendant was arrested by SARS after his employer had accused him of being responsible for a burglary at their business premises.

He told Amnesty International: “The policemen asked me to sign a plain sheet. When I signed it, they told me I have signed my death warrant. They left me hanging on a suspended iron rod. My body ceased to function. I lost consciousness. When I was about to die they took me down and poured water on me to revive me.”

Like many people detained by SARS, he was not allowed access to a lawyer, a doctor or his family during his two-week detention.

Yet in various cases where victims of police torture or other ill-treatment attempted to seek justice, the authorities took no action.

When asked by Amnesty International to explain why no police officers had been suspended or prosecuted for torture, the police simply denied that any torture had taken place.

However, one senior officer disclosed that around 40 officers alleged to have carried out various acts of torture and ill-treatment of detainees were transferred to other stations in April 2016. He did not say whether the claims against them were being investigated.

“This lack of accountability breeds and perpetuates impunity, creating an environment where SARS officers believe they have carte blanche to carry out acts of torture,” said Damian Ugwu.

“This is hardly surprising when many of these officers have bribed their way to SARS in the first place. The police chiefs in charge are themselves entwined in the corruption.”

Chidi Oluchi, 32, told Amnesty international he was arrested in Enugu before being robbed of his belongings and then tortured in custody by SARS officers.

“They told me to slap myself and, when I refused, they started beating me with the side of their machetes and heavy sticks. My mouth was bleeding and my vision became blurred,” said Chidi, who was released after he paid SARS officers N25,500 ($100) to be freed.

Apart from demanding bribes, SARS officers have been accused of stealing or confiscating property from relatives of detained suspects.

Some family members told Amnesty International that SARS officers stole their cars or withdrew all the money from their bank accounts.

The brother of a man arrested on suspicion of participating in an armed robbery told Amnesty International how a team of SARS officers raided his home in Nsukka.

“The police team from SARS forcefully broke into boxes, locked furniture and drawers. By the time they left, several items including watches, jewellery and shoes were missing. We were too scared to report the incident,” he said.

The majority of the victims of torture in SARS custody are poor and unable to hire legal representatives. In some cases when detainees cannot afford to pay bribes, they are simply tortured more.

“Our research has exposed the callous workings of a police squad operating outside of the law and inflicting daily brutality on Nigerians who are often legally powerless to defend themselves against criminal accusations, let alone from the torture meted out by SARS,” said Damian Ugwu.

“Depressingly, there are scant judicial or any other mechanisms in place to prevent SARS officers from subjecting vulnerable targets to human rights violations for their own financial gain.”

Despite repeated calls from Amnesty International in recent years, the Nigerian justice system has failed to prevent or punish torture.

In December 2014, the Nigerian police launched a human rights manual which prohibits torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, but SARS has failed to implement it.

When a new Inspector General of Police was appointed in early 2015 it was announced that there would be reform and reorganization of SARS, but officers attached to the unit told Amnesty International they were not aware of the reforms.

A revised version of a bill to criminalize torture, which was first introduced in 2012 but was returned unsigned by the President, was passed by the House of Representatives in June 2016 and will be resubmitted to the Senate for further debates in 2016.

“With the Nigerian government’s previous attempts at stamping out torture proving completely ineffective, it is time for the authorities to ensure that officers responsible for such human rights violations are finally held accountable,” said Damian Ugwu.

“Police torture is a stain on Nigerian society that must be addressed with clear orders to law enforcement officers not to inflict torture or other ill-treatment on detainees under any circumstances.

“There is also an urgent need for robust legislation that ensures all acts of torture are offences under Nigeria’s criminal law. All victims have a right to reparations, and steps must be taken to ensure that nobody profits from abusing detainees.”

Nigeria is obligated under international and regional human rights law to ensure the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment.

-Kazeem Ugbodaga

Published in Business and Economy

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has frozen Patience Jonathan’s personal account, titled ‘Patience Ibifaka Jonathan’, which is domiciled in Skye Bank Plc.

Impeccable sources within the agency told our correspondent on Wednesday that the move had become necessary due to the prima facie case established against the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s wife.

As part of investigations into alleged diversion against a former Special Adviser to ex-President Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa, the anti-graft agency had frozen four companies’ accounts in Skye Bank with a balance of $15,591,700.

However, before the EFCC could arraign the four companies in court, Jonathan’s wife deposed to an affidavit, claiming that the money belonged to her.Despite Patience’s claims, however, the EFCC arraigned the four companies –Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited; and Globus Integrated Service Limited.

The companies pleaded guilty and the EFCC had already begun moves to ensure that the money is forfeited permanently to the Federal Government.

A detective at the EFCC told The PUNCH, “Recall that we had frozen the four companies’ accounts, which Patience Jonathan later laid claim to. We have been able to establish that the money was part of proceeds of crime.

“She had no evidence that the money in the four accounts belonged to her. All she had were platinum debit cards, which she was using to withdraw money and the cards are not evidence of ownership.

“Initially, we had traced $5m to her personal account, which we did not touch but I can confirm to you now that the $5m account, bearing Patience Jonathan’s name, has also been seized since she claimed that the monies in the company accounts and the one in her personal name all emanated from the same source.

“We are tracing other accounts belonging to Patience. It will interest you to know that despite all the letters she has written, she has never stated where she got the money from. She claimed to be a housewife and yet she has $20m.”

Patience had recently written a letter to the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, where she claimed that she needed the money for her medical treatment abroad.

She had also sued Skye Bank for N200m, accusing the bank of freezing her accounts unjustly.

In a letter written by her lawyers, Granville Abibo (SAN) and Co, Patience said, “It is noteworthy to emphasise that the said accounts, which were in US dollar denomination, were card-based accounts and our client is the sole signatory of these accounts.

“The said bank officials also assured our client that they will change the account names accordingly and issue to our client new credit cards for the said accounts which was not done despite repeated demands.

“However, our client has been operating the said accounts using the cards for her medical bill payments and purchases for her private purposes without any let or hindrance.

“Our client was therefore surprised when the said cards stopped functioning on July 7, 2016 or thereabout. Our client immediately thereupon contacted Skye Bank Plc through our solicitors. It was only then that the bank officials informed our client that the said accounts were placed on a ‘No Debit Order’ following investigations and instructions from your commission and this is without notice to our client by either the bank or the commission.

“It is in the light of the foregoing that we urge you to use your good offices to vacate the ‘No Debit/Freezing Order’ placed on the said accounts.”

Published in Headliners

The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Mr Yahaya Bello as the duly elected Governor of Kogi State.

The seven-man panel headed by Justice Sylvester Ngwata affirmed the election after listening to the closing statements of all the counsel.

The court also said it would provide reasons for its decision on September 30.

There had been four appeals against the Court of Appeal rulings with the Supreme Court expected to decide if Mr Bello should continue as Kogi governor or vacate office.

One of the appeals was by the immediate past governor of the state and candidate of the opposition PDP, Idris Wada, while another was by Mr James Faleke who was the deputy governorship candidate to late Abubakar Audu.

Mr James Faleke of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had challenged the decision of the Kogi State governorship election petition tribunal which upheld the election of Yahaya Bello as the validly elected governor.

Mr James Falake was the deputy governorship candidate to late Abubakar Audu who died before the conclusion of the governorship election that was to see him elected as governor.

Yahaya Bello was then presented by the party, All Progressives Congress (APC) as replacement for Audu, a decision Mr Faleke challenged, arguing that he should have stepped into the position, having together with the late Audu gone through the election process.

He approached the Supreme Court after being dissatisfied with the judgement of the election tribunal and Appeal Court which both upheld Yahaya’s eligibility.

Channels Tv reports that it is expected that Kogi State would be peaceful in spite of the judgment which would be met with different reactions by parties involved.

The Kogi State Police Command had warned that it would deal decisively, in accordance of the law, with anyone caught taking laws into his hands, as the Supreme Court delivers its judgment.

The State Police Commissioner, Abdullahi Chafi, gave the warning while addressing newsmen at his office on Friday.

The CP further stressed that intelligent report reaching the command revealed that some miscreants were planning to create crisis before, during and after the Supreme Court judgement.

While warning parents to caution their wards, political party heads and their supporters, he said that his command was fully ready to deal with whoever disobeys the law.

He also placed a ban on any kind of public celebration by anybody or groups after the court judgement.

Published in Politics

On a site four times the size of Manhattan along the banks of the Niger river, the Ajaokuta steel plant was supposed to symbolize Nigeria’s modernity and prosperity rather than its failure.

Russian contractors first started building it in 1979 and estimates on how much has been spent range from $4 billion to $10 billion. The state-owned company that owns the facility calls it “the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialization.” It’s yet to produce any steel.

“It’s not about resuscitating it, it’s about developing it,” Frank Jacobs, who runs a company making wine from pineapples and heads Nigeria’s main manufacturing association, said at his office in Lagos. “If you say resuscitating, it means it was working before. It hasn’t worked. There’s nowhere a country can industrialize without steel.”

Africa’s most populous country has gone from a promised land for Nigerians and foreign investors alike to one of frustrated fortunes. The decline looked complete last month when Nigeria’s vice president said the country was in the worst economic crisis it had ever faced. The currency has collapsed and output is set to shrink this year for the first time since 1991 after 8 percent-plus growth through the 2000s.

The nation remains blighted by the mismanagement and corruption that were rife during the oil-led boom years and its dysfunction has been more exposed since the collapse of energy prices. Transport links are in tatters and blackouts are common because the country produces just 10 percent of the electricity of South Africa, which has one-third of Nigeria’s 180 million population.

Islamist militant group Boko Haram has wreaked havoc in the northeast, killing tens of thousands of people and leaving 250,000 children needing food aid. Other groups blew up oil pipelines and export terminals in the southern Niger River delta, sending crude production to an almost three-decade low.

Nigeria’s 36 states are so cash-strapped that many teachers, pensioners and civil servants have gone months without pay. The governor of Imo, home to about 4 million people in the southeast, announced a three-day working week, telling bureaucrats to farm on the other two. Nigerians are even scrimping on protein in their diets, according to the head of Nestle SA’s local business.

French construction company Bouygues SA has halted some projects and plans to do less work for the government because of the risk of not getting paid.

“The last two years have been terrible,” said Andre Guillou, Bouygues’s vice chairman in Nigeria. “It’s a mess.”

At the 92 square-mile (240 square-kilometer) Ajaokuta site, a three-hour drive south from the capital Abuja, cows graze on grounds that were meant to store iron ore, coal and lime, and thousands of houses for workers lie empty and windowless. A railway bridge across the river has never been used because there’s no line linking it to ports or manufacturing hubs. It has produced rods, wires and machine parts — on and off — and banks, hospitals and schools are open for the local community.

“I did some work at the plant, but there is not much to do there yet,” said Sulaiman Abubakar, a 56-year-old father of nine who lives near Ajaokuta and studied metallurgy in his youth so he could get a job there. Instead, he drives a keke, a Nigerian version of a motorized rickshaw, and wants his children to become engineers. “They will get jobs once this plant starts working,” he said. “We still hope it does, because it’s all we have.”

It’s hard to imagine in Ajaokuta that investors once drooled over Nigeria’s prospects.

Fidelity Investments promoted “MINTs” in April 2011, saying Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey were the emerging markets of the future, an opinion reinforced by Jim O’Neill, the former Goldman Sachs economist. Consulting firm McKinsey said Nigeria had the potential to grow 7 percent a year through 2030, ultimately making its economy larger than the Netherlands, Malaysia or Thailand.

Then came the 2014 oil crash. Foreign investors fled and the economy tanked. Though Nigeria was always going to suffer from a drop in oil prices, it was the government’s bungled response that made it worse, according to Martina Bozadzhieva, an analyst at Frontier Strategy Group.

President Muhammadu Buhari, a military ruler in the 1980s, came to power again last year, this time via the ballot box and on a wave of optimism that he would fight corruption and revive the economy. He took almost six months to form a cabinet and only approved the 2016 budget in May.

He also leaned on central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele to peg the naira, ostensibly to stop prices of food and transport rising. Instead, inflation soared to an 11-year high of 18 percent as businesses struggle to pay foreign suppliers for the machinery and raw materials that aren’t available locally. Since June, when Emefiele gave up trying to support the currency, the naira has plunged 40 percent against the dollar. S&P Global Ratings downgraded Nigeria five levels into junk territory on Sept. 16, saying the economy had performed worse than it expected because of the attacks on oil facilities and Buhari’s foreign-exchange policies.

“The confidence in Buhari is very quickly evaporating,” said Bozadzhieva, whose company advises multinationals like Coca-Cola Co. and General Electric Co. “Firms are close to that point where they say: ‘You know what, this is a disaster.’ It’s okay to have an oil price drop. But there are countries that have managed it much better.”

Published in Headliners

“We are on it (Patience’s $15,591,700). You see, we work for the long-term. We must complete our preliminary investigations before we come out. We will not spare anybody. We cannot protect anyone form answering to the people.

“Determination is key. I believe we will go a long way. Our tomorrow is better than our today.”

Magu said banks and their officials who helped in stealing public funds would soon face trial, adding that it was unfortunate that some banks created an enabling environment for looting.

“The banking sector is creating a fertile ground for corruption. It was as if the banks told the looters, go and steal and I will hide it for you. This must stop. We will zoom in on the banks. We need to stop them from creating an enabling environment for corruption to thrive,” he added.

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has said the agency is investigating a sum of $15,591,700, which Patience, wife of former president, Goodluck Jonathan, claimed belongs to her.

Magu said this in Lagos on Tuesday while fielding questions from journalists after an interactive session with the commission’s external lawyers and civil society organisations.

The EFCC chairman added that some banks in the country which allegedly helped in concealing stolen money in the country would soon face trial by the commission.

Published in Business and Economy

The Nigeria Labour Congress has challenged the wife of the former President,  Mrs. Patience Jonathan, to disclose how she made the $31m found in some accounts recently frozen by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The  President of the NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, told journalists on the  sidelines of ‘NLC National Youth Conference’ in Abuja on Tuesday, that the former First Lady had a responsibility to prove to Nigerians that the money in question was legitimately earned.

Wabba also challenged Mrs. Jonathan to tell Nigerians the kind of business she had been doing to make such a huge amount of money.

The NLC’s President said the former First Lady would have been made to forfeit the money to the government in other countries.

He said it had always been the position of the NLC that all those who stole public funds should be duly investigated and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.

He urged the government to extend the fight against corruption to states and local government areas in the country.

“We have said it over and over again that NLC is the first organisation that actually supported openly the anti-graft war. We said recover, investigate and prosecute so that it can serve as a deterrent.

Our position has been clear on the issue of the frozen $31m. In this respect, the onus of prove is on the  ex-First Lady. First, she must inform all of us the sources  of the money. She must explain what business she has done to accumulate such wealth. In other climes, people would have forfeited such funds. This is our position and we have always been consistent about it.

“If you look at it critically, that is why we are where we are today. Salaries are not paid in many states not because the resources are not there but because of the inherent corruption in the system.

“Corruption fight should also be extended to states and local governments. Wherever there is element of corruption, whoever is involved, the law must take its course.

“There should be investigation. There should be fair trial within the confines of the law and whoever is found wanting, those funds should be recovered and prosecution should follow to serve as a deterrent.”

 

Published in Headliners
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