Friday, 19 January 2018

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka on Saturday said there is something rotten in the state of ‘Naija’ (Nigeria) following persistent fuel crisis and the blame passing of those in authorities who are supposed to remedy the situation.

Soyinka, in a statement lamented that Nigerians were being frustrated and made to undergo excruciating pains and sufferings due to ongoing fuel crisis in the land.

The Nobel laureate said even before the current edition of the fuel crisis, other challenges, requiring immediate fix, had begun to monopolize national attention, relegating to the sidelines the outcry for a fundamental and holistic approach to the wearisome cycle of citizen trauma.

“This has been expressed most recently, and near universally in the word “Restructuring”, defined straightforwardly as a drastic overhaul of Nigerian articles of co-existence in a more rational, equitable and decentralized manner. Such an overhaul, the re-positioning of the relationship between the parts and the whole offers, it has been strongly argued, prospects of a closer governance awareness of, and responsiveness to citizen entitlement. An overhaul that will near totally eliminate the frequent spasms of systemic malfunctioning that are in-built into the present protocols of national association.

“I recently ran the gauntlet of petroleum queues through three conveniently situated cities – Lagos, Abeokuta and Ibadan – deliberately, this Friday. Even with ‘unorthodox’ aids of passage, this was no task for the faint-hearted. Just getting past fueling stations was traumatizing, an obstacle race through seething, frustrated masses of humanity, only to find ourselves on vast stretches of emptied roads pleading for occupation. As for obtaining the petroleum in the first place – the less said the better. I suspect that this government has permitted itself to be fooled by the peace of those empty streets, but also by the orderly, patient, long-suffering queues that are admittedly prevalent in the city centres.

“It is time the reporting monitors of government move to city peripheries and sometimes even some other inner urban sectors, such as Ikeja and Maryland from time to time to see, and listen !Pronouncements – such as the 1977 above – again re-echoing by rote in 2017– are a delusion at best, a formula that derides public intelligence. Buying time. Passing blame. Yes of course, the current affliction must be remedied, and fast, but is there a dimension to it that must be brought to the fore, simultaneously and forcefully? This had better be the framework for solving even a shortage that virtually paralyzed the nation,” he said.

Read Soyinka’s full statement below:

BLAME PASSING – The New Year Gift to a Nation

In the accustomed tradition, I wish the nation less misery in the coming year. A genuine Happy New Year Greeting is probably too extravagant a wish.

The accompanying news clipping from June,1977 came into my hands quite fortuitously. It is forty years old. It captures the unenviable enigma that is the Nigerian nation. It is however a masterful end-of-year image to take into the coming year, not only for the individual now at the helm of government, General Buhari, but for a people surely credited with the most astounding degree of patience and forbearance on the African continent – except of course among themselves, when they turn into predatory fiends. When many of us are blissfully departed, an updated rendition of this same clipping – with a change of cast here and there – will undoubtedly be reproduced in the media, with the same alibis, the same in-built panacea of blame passing.

Let this be called to our collective memory. Even before the current edition of the fuel crisis, other challenges, requiring immediate fix, had begun to monopolize national attention, relegating to the sidelines the outcry for a fundamental and holistic approach to the wearisome cycle of citizen trauma. This has been expressed most recently, and near universally in the word “Restructuring”, defined straightforwardly as a drastic overhaul of Nigerian articles of co-existence in a more rational, equitable and decentralized manner. Such an overhaul, the re-positioning of the relationship between the parts and the whole offers, it has been strongly argued, prospects of a closer governance awareness of, and responsiveness to citizen entitlement. An overhaul that will near totally eliminate the frequent spasms of systemic malfunctioning that are in-built into the present protocols of national association.

I recently ran the gauntlet of petroleum queues through three conveniently situated cities – Lagos, Abeokuta and Ibadan – deliberately, this Friday. Even with ‘unorthodox’ aids of passage, this was no task for the faint-hearted. Just getting past fueling stations was traumatizing, an obstacle race through seething, frustrated masses of humanity, only to find ourselves on vast stretches of emptied roads pleading for occupation. As for obtaining the petroleum in the first place – the less said the better. I suspect that this government has permitted itself to be fooled by the peace of those empty streets, but also by the orderly, patient, long-suffering queues that are admittedly prevalent in the city centres. It is time the reporting monitors of government move to city peripheries and sometimes even some other inner urban sectors, such as Ikeja and Maryland from time to time to see, and listen !Pronouncements – such as the 1977 above – again re-echoing by rote in 2017– are a delusion at best, a formula that derides public intelligence. Buying time. Passing blame. Yes of course, the current affliction must be remedied, and fast, but is there a dimension to it that must be brought to the fore, simultaneously and forcefully? This had better be the framework for solving even a shortage that virtually paralyzed the nation.

Just to think laterally for a moment – what became of the initiatives by some states  nearly two decades ago – Lagos most prominently – to decentralize power, and thus empower states to generate and distribute their own energy requirements? Frustrated and eventually sabotaged in the most cynical manner from the Federal centre! The similarity today is frightening – for nearly four days on that earlier occasion, the nation was blacked out near entirely. We know that one survival tactic of governments is to keep their citizens in the dark over decisions that affect their lives but, this was literal! And yet each such crisis, plus lesser ones, merely reiterate again and again that this national contraption, as it now stands, is simply– dysfunctional!. What this demands is that, in the process of alleviating the immediate pressing misery, we do not permit ourselves to be manipulated yet again into forgetting the MAIN issue whose ramifications exact penalties such as petroleum seizures and national power outage. These are only two handy, being recent symptoms – there are several others, but this is not intended to be a catalogue of woes. Sufficient to draw attention to the Yoruba saying that goes: Won ni, Amukun, eru e wo. Oun ni, at’isale ni. Translation: Some voices alerted the K-Legged porter to the dangerous tilt of the load on his head. His response was – Thank you, but the problem actually resides in the legs.

The providential image above sums up a defining moment for both individual and collective self-assessment, places in question the ability of a nation to profit from past experience. Vast resources, yes, but proved unmanageable under its present structural arrangements. As the tussle for the next round of power gets hotter in the coming year, the electorate will again be manipulated into losing sight of the BASE ISSUE. Its noisome claque in the meantime, the automated mumus of social media, practiced in sterile deflection and trivialization of critical issues, unwittingly join hands with government to indulge in blame passing and name calling – both sides with different targets. From the anguished cry of Charley Boy’s Our Mummu Done Do! to expositions from academics such as Professor Makinde’s recent intervention, the public is subjected daily to a relentless barrage of awareness, underlined in urgency. Nobody listens. One wonders if many people read. And certainly, very few retain or relate – until of course the next crisis. The Labour movement declares that it awaits a guarantee of the ‘people’s backing’ before it embarks on any critical intervention. Understandably. There is more than enough of the opium of blame passing on tap to lull mummus into that deep coma from which – give it a little more time – there can only be a rude awakening.

Sooner than later, but not as soon as pledged, the fuel crisis will pass. And then of course we shall await the next round of shortages, then a recommencement of blame passing.  What will be the commodity this time – food perhaps? Maybe even potable water? In a nation of plenty, nothing is beyond eventual shortage – except of course, the commonplace endowment of pre-emptive planning and methodical execution. Forty years after, the same language of re-assurance? “There is something rotten in the state of Naija!”

-Wole SOYINKA

 
 
Published in Headliners

President Muhammadu Buhari in one fell swoop on Friday appointed 209 board chairmen and 1,258 members of government owned agencies and parastatals, redeeming a part of the pledge he made 31 October at the National Executive Committee meeting of his All Progressives Congress.

More appointments are on the way, said Mr. Boss Mustapha, secretary to the Government of the Federation, who announced the latest massive batch of appointees.

At the APC NEC meeting, President Buhari also hinted he would expand his cabinet by appointing more ministers.

The latest appointments, the largest President Buhari ever made since 2015.

Many big wigs of the APC were appointed.

The party’s legal adviser, Muiz Banire is now the chairman of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria(AMCON). Senator Olorunimbe Mamora is the chairman of Abuja Investment and Infrastructure Centre.

The party’s secretary, Mai Mala Buni, is the chairman of the Shippers Council. Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, the publicity secretary of the party is in charge of the National Sugar Development Council(NSDC).

Demola Seriki, a former minister of state for defence is the chairman of the National Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron. Former Speaker House of Representatives, Patricia Olubunmi Etteh is the new chairman of the National Hospital, Abuja. A former deputy speaker, Chibudom Nwuche is in charge of Federal Medical Centre Lokoja.

Dr. Leke Pitan, a former commissioner for health in Lagos, under Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was appointed chairman of National Agricultural Extension Research Liaison Services in Zaria. Teju Philips, also a former Lagos commissioner is the chairman of Federal College of Agriculture, Ibadan. Pastor Yomi Kasali will head the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission.

Chief George Moghalu is the chairman of the Nigerian Communications Satellite(NIGCOMSAT). General John Shagaya is the chairman of National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru Jos.

Former governors of Ekiti state, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Engineer Segun Oni were also named as chairmen. Adebayo is in charge of Federal Airports of Nigeria(FAAN). Oni who is a vice-chairman of the APC has been posted to Nigerian Export Processing Zone. while Senator Ayo Arise, a recent kidnap victim will chair Sheda Science and technology Complex.

Former deputy governor of Plateau state, Pauline Tallen is the new chairman of National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS(NACA).

Former deputy governor of Ondo state, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, will chair the Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority, while a former deputy governor of Lagos, Femi Pedro is the chairman of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria.

Timi Alaibe, former Managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, is heading to Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority as chairman.

According to Boss Mustapha, all the appointments take immediate effect.

The ministers under whom the agencies fall, have been asked to constitute the boards immediately.

Said Mustapha: ” Mr. President considered the approval for the constitution of the Boards as well as the appointments, very necessary, so as to provide a proper Governance and oversight structure for Government Agencies and Parastatals.

“The constitution of the boards with the appointments, is a demonstration of this Government’s efforts aimed at building strong institutions of Governance, and by extension, improving the quality of Policy formulation and supervision”, he added.

See the full list: Board-Chairmen-and-members

Published in Business and Economy

Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie Oyegun Thursday explained that his loyalty to the present administration led by Muhammadu Buhari, was the reason why he is being persecuted by some disgruntled elements in the party who wanted him out as National Chairman.

Oyegun who spoke in Benin, Edo State, at an event organised in his honour by the Benin National Congress (BNC), said the only thing his adversaries could punish him for is his loyalty.

He said: “I grew up in an environment where bringing disgrace to the family is the worst thing you can possibly do. Even the family will be the first to disown you.

“In all my life, this is the circumstance that has conditioned me. I do not do things that will not make me sleep soundly at night. I do nothing that will appear as headline in any of the national dailies.

“I have been through several trials, but I have overcome them all. Why have I done so? Because at the end of the day, whether detailed or forensic examination, you will not find that your own Oyegun has done something dishonorable.

“And so, with all the hue and cry, at the end of the whole thing, when we sit down and ask, tell us what he has done, behold the whole situation fizzles out.

“The only thing you can punish him for is loyalty. Edo people are loyal. We look at something, we make sacrifices to ensure that those hands are upheld and neat.”

The APC National Chairman who urged Nigerians to be patient with the present administration in delivering the right and purposeful leadership for the country, noted that change takes time, consistence of applications, adding that Nigeria cannot afford to go back to the old days.

Earlier in his welcome address, the President of Benin National Congress (BNC), Mr. Aiyemenkhue Edokpolo, said Mr. Oyegun took steps to preserve the sanctity of the presidency, protected the interest of Nigeria as one and indivisible nation and defended the founding values of his party, when President Muhammadu Buhari went on medical vacation, during which the nation wet through series of frightening challenges.

Edokpolo who described Oyegun as a distinguished Benin and humble son of Edo State who has made landmarks in civil service and party politics, said the APC chairman deserved the honour, which he said was why the Benins decided to honour him as a role model.

Published in Headliners

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Femi Fani-Kayode has revealed that it was Prophet T.B. Joshua’s prayers that assisted George Weah, former World Footballer of the Year, clinched the Liberian presidency.

The former minister while congratulating Weah on his well deserved victory, stated in a tweet, “I congratulate George Weah on his election as the President of Liberia.

“I thank God for his life and for that of Prophet T.B. Joshua who prayed for him and assured him of victory when he visited him in his Church in Lagos a few weeks back.

“This is a well deserved victory!”

Published in Headliners

Yusuf Buhari, the son of President Muhammadu Buhari, has suffered a head injury and multiple fractures, following a power bike crash in Abuja.

However, the presidency has said that the president’s son is in a stable condition in a private clinic after undergoing head surgery in Abuja.

It was learnt that the crash occurred on Tuesday night when Yusuf, along with a friend were racing in the capital city and veered off the road in the process.

He was said to have laid there unconscious before the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari was alerted.

Reports said “She ordered that he be immediately rushed to Cedarcrest Hospital, where he is currently receiving treatment. We are more concerned about the head injury than the fractures. As I speak to you, Yusuf is unconscious.

“An air ambulance may take him out of the country any moment,” the reports said.

Meanwhile, a statement made available to newsmen by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity President Buhari Garba Shehu on Wednesday confirmed that Yusuf Buhari had a bike accident on Tuesday night around Gwarimpa in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“He broke a limb and had an injury to the head as a result. He has undergone surgery at a clinic in Abuja. He is in a stable condition,” he said.

The President and his wife, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, are thankful to Nigerians for the good wishes and prayers for their son, the statement said.

Published in Headliners
Wednesday, 27 December 2017 12:38

George Weah elected Liberia President

Former World Player of the Year, George Weah, has been voted president of Liberia after clinching 12 of the 15 counties in the West African nation.

The ex- soccer star becomes the 25th president of Liberia.

Hours before the results were announced Weah took to Twitter to thank all his supporters, saying he plans to liberate the country.

“I am deeply grateful to my family, my friends, and my loyal supporters who contributed to our campaign during this extremely long election season,” the ex- AC Milan striker said.

Published in Headliners

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says the sum of N27bn, which formed part of the proceeds of the sale of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, was shared among top government functionaries in 2014.

The EFCC disclosed this in a court paper filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja on December 5, 2017.

The total sum of N27,188,232,208.20, allegedly looted by the named officials was said to be meant for the settlement of the insurance premiums for disengaged members of staff of PHCN.

Among the top government officials, named in the alleged scam, were the then Chief of Staff to the then President Goodluck Jonathan, Brig. Gen. Jones Arogbofa (retd.); the then Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla; and the then Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Dr. Godknows Igali.

Others also named in the scam are a cousin to Jonathan, Robert Azibaola; a former Director-General, Bureau for Public Enterprises, Mr. Benjamin Dikki; and a former Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil.

A supporting affidavit, filed alongside the EFCC’s ex parte application, stated how the money was shared.

The commission alleged that through proxies, Arogbofa got N150m; Dikki N1bn; Igali, N475m; Otunla N3.6bn; Jonathan’s cousin, Azibaola, N2.5bn; and Wakil, N118m.

The application alleged that of the total sum of N27,188,232,208, allegedly misappropriated by the government officials, the sums of N6,584,785, US$222,000, and N2,028,800,000 worth of shares of Aso Savings Limited had been recovered from the suspects.

The document, obtained by The PUNCH on Sunday, stated that the recovered money was being kept in the EFCC’s Recovered Funds Account domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria.

It added that apart from the monetary recovery, 12 houses as well as two pieces of land, located in Lagos, Ibadan and Abuja, and which were allegedly bought with proceeds of the loot, had also been recovered.

The seized properties include two units of four-bedroom detached duplex (Houses 12 & 14) at Alexander Miller Estate, Lekki-Lagos; one unit four-bedroom semi-detached terrace duplex (block C11, Unit 7) at Lekki Garden Estate Paradise 3, Lekki, Lagos; one unit of four-bedroom semi-detached(House 4b) at Olive Court, Agodi, GRA, Ibadan, Oyo State; and two units of three-bedroom flat with one room boys quarters at 6a & b Ogedengbe Street, Apapa, Lagos.

Others include one unit four-bedroom terrace duplex with one one-bedroom flat boys quarters (House 23, Flat 6) at Plot 100/101Gudu District, Isa Mohammed Street, Cadastral Zone, B01, FCT, Abuja; and one unit bedroom detached (House No. D1077) at House No. D1077 at Brains & Hammers Estate, Apo, Dutse, Abuja.

They also include one unit six-bedroom detached (House No.D1069) at house No.D1069 at Brains & Hammers Estate, Apo Dutse, Abuja; one unit three-bedroom flat (Flat 4A Hyde Tower) at 16a Akin Olugbade Street, Victoria Island, Lagos; a five-bedroom (detached) and three-bedroom bungalow both at Plot 145, Tarkwa Close, Wuse II, Abuja.

The rest are one unit plot of land, measuring 921.26 square meters at Plot 1086 Cadastral Zone, B10 Daki-Biyu, FCT, Abuja, and one unit plot of land, measuring 2486.12 square meters at Plot 2317 Nbora District, Cadastral Zone C06 FCT, Abuja.

The commission, by its ex parte application, is seeking orders of interim forfeiture to the Federal Government of Nigeria” of the sums of N6,584,785,000.00 and US$222,000.00  “recovered in the course of investigation and presently in the possession of the EFCC in its Recovered Funds Account domiciled at the CBN.”

It also seeks the interim forfeiture of “units of ASO savings shares worth the sum of N2,028,800,000.00 “recovered in the course of investigation”.

It said the share certificates were “in the possession of the EFCC.”

The application also seeks an “order of interim forfeiture to the Federal Government of Nigeria of the properties allegedly “recovered in the course of investigation from several persons and bodies and presently under the control of the EFCC (the applicant).”

The commission is also asking the court to direct the publication of a notice in any national daily newspaper “inviting any person(s) or body, who may have interest in the funds and /or assets/properties to show cause, within 14 days of the publication of the order of final forfeiture to the Federal Government of Nigeria, why the said funds and assets/properties forfeiture order should not be made.”

The commission, through a member of its Special Investigation Committee, Madaki Yakubu, who deposed to a supporting affidavit, explained that it received intelligence report concerning the looted N27bn in August 2016.

The investigating officer explained that the sum of N27bn, which was part of the proceeds of the sale of PHCN, was released upon a recommendation by the Bureau for Public Enterprises and presidential approval, for settlement of insurance premiums for disengaged staff of the company.

He said the money was released to Great Nigeria Insurance.

He said there were however hiccups that arose in the process of paying the money to GNI Plc, but instead of returning the money to the treasury, “some unscrupulous public officials conspired among themselves and misappropriated the funds.”

He added that investigation revealed “that the funds, less taxes, which amounted to the sum of N26,236,594,986, was fraudulently paid to BBIL for further sharing to the conspirators ostensibly to collate details of beneficiaries, verify their claims and effect payment of group life and group accident insurance claim.”

On how the alleged loot was shared, the document stated, “That in furtherance of the fraudulent scheme, BBIL in turn paid out the sum of N6bn from the said funds to PJO Ventures Limited, a company controlled by Cecilia Osipitan, who doubled as the Managing Director/CEO of GNI Plc.

“That further to paragraph 9 above, the remaining sum of N20bn was further shared by BBIL amongst individuals and corporate bodies who acted as proxies and nominees of top government functionaries while BBIL also retained a part of the proceeds of unlawful activity for itself.

“That investigation further revealed that the details of the beneficiaries of the fraudulent sharing and criminal misappropriation of the public funds are as follows:

“Sunrise Estate Development Limited, a company controlled by one Sami A. Jaoude, fraudulently received the sum of N150m out of the funds from the account of BBIL on behalf of Brig. Gen. Arogbofa (retd.), the Chief of Staff to the then President Goodluck Jonathan, for development of a personal property.

“Kebna Studios & Communication Limited, a company in which Mr. Benjamin Ezra Dikki, the then DG of BPE, has interest, fraudulently received the sum of N1bn out of the funds by the order of BIBL.

“Cheltenham Investment Services Limited, controlled by one Ifeyinwa Umunnakwe Okeke, fraudulently received the sum of N475m out of the funds from the account of BBIL, ostensibly to invest on behalf of Dr. Godknows Igali, the then Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Power.

“WESAC Farms Limited and five other companies, all linked to Otunla Jonah, then Accountant General of the Federation, fraudulently received the sum of N3.6bn out of the funds from BBIL and used the sum of N2.0288bn to purchase Aso Savings’ shares in the name of LAVAGRE Y Limited.

“Sentinel Investment & Property Limited fraudulently received the sum of N45m also from BBIL out of the misappropriated funds.

“KAKARTA CE Limited and its promoter, one Robert Azibaola, fraudulently received the sum of N2.5bn out of the funds from BBIL.

“Carozzeria Nig. Limited and Pikat Properties Limited, both controlled by the then Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil, fraudulently received the respective sums of N118m and N30m from BBIL out of the misappropriated funds.

“Nathan Christopher Construction Limited received the sum of N475m from BBIL out of the misappropriated funds on the pretext of a loan.”

The commission stated that the funds” paid in favour of the respective beneficiaries thereof, represent proceeds of unlawful activity, to wit criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, criminal misappropriation and abuse of office by the public officers involved on one hand, and the unlawful act of obtaining by false pretences, receiving stolen property and money laundering by the companies involved and their promoters on the other hand.”

It added, “In the course of investigation, the public officials, representatives and management of some of the beneficiary companies surrendered the properties listed as items No. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12 in the schedule to the Motion on Notice, and refunded various amounts of money in Naira and US Dollars (the total of each is stated on the Motion paper) to the Recovered Funds Account of the EFCC domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“That further to paragraphs 12 & 13 above, in the course of our investigation, we discovered that the properties listed as items No. 1, 2, 3 & 4 in possession of PJO Ventures Limited, were substantially purchased with the proceed of unlawful activities of the company and its promoters as stated in paragraph 9 above.

“That further to paragraphs 11(d) & 12 above, the boards of Aso Savings Limited and Lavagrey Development Company Limited have respectively passed separate resolutions surrendering and forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria the said shares purchased with the proceeds of unlawful activity.

“That further to the foregoing paragraphs, I know as a fact that the recovered funds are proceeds of the stated unlawful activities and/or unclaimed properties, and that it is desirable and in the interest of justice to grant our prayers.”

Jonathan’s ex-Chief of Staff has been invited, cleared –Aide

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Arogbofa said the ex-chief of staff had been invited by the EFCC and cleared.

The spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was Igali that handled all the affairs of the Ministry of Power.

He said, “Mr. Arogbofa was invited by the EFCC last year and he explained everything he knew. Igali and his people were the ones running the entire power ministry.

“When the EFCC saw that he (Arogbofa) was innocent, they let him go. As I speak to you, he is out of the country because he is no longer on the EFCC radar. You can call his lawyer, Mr. Kayode Ajulo, for more details.”

However, attempts to speak with Ajulo on Sunday proved abortive as his telephone indicated that it was switched off.

I know nothing about that, says Igali

When contacted on the EFCC’s allegations against him as touching the N27bn allegedly shared proceeds, Igali, who was the former permanent secretary of the power ministry, told one of our correspondents that he was not aware of the case.

Igali, who claimed to be ignorant of the matter, requested to know when the court paper was filed.

When told that the paper was filed on December 5, 2017, at the Federal High Court in Abuja, he replied, “I don’t know anything about that.”

Attempts to speak with the former DG of BPE, Mr. Benjamin Filling, proved abortive as calls to his mobile rang out.

He had yet to respond to a text message sent to his mobile line as of the time of going to press.

Published in Business and Economy
Monday, 25 December 2017 14:14

Salah leads African goal charge in England

Egypt star Mohamed Salah led an African goal charge in the English Premier League with his 21st of the season for Liverpool in a 3-3 thriller at Arsenal.

Another seven Africans were on target in the Premier League, including the Ayew brothers from Ghana, Andre of West Ham and Jordan of Swansea.

All the Newcastle goals in a shock 3-2 win at West Ham were scored by Africans — Senegalese Henri Saivet and Mohamed Diame and Ghanaian Christian Atsu.

 

ENGLAND

MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)
The winger maintained his blistering form with a goal and an assist in the 3-3 draw at Arsenal. The 25-year-old teed up Philippe Coutinho’s first-half opener and then scored himself with a clinical finish for his seventh goal in his last eight appearances.

MOHAMED DIAME (Newcastle)
The midfielder bagged his first goal of the season in Newcastle’s 3-2 win at West Ham. Diame put Rafael Benitez’s side 2-1 up with a powerful strike into the top corner from the edge of the area in the 53rd minute. It was the 30-year-old’s first goal since February and helped Newcastle end a nine-game winless run as they climbed out of the relegation zone.

ANDRE AYEW (West Ham) and JORDAN AYEW (Swansea)
The siblings both scored in their respective matches, but neither ended with three points. Andre netted for West Ham in the 69th minute against Newcastle, but his side were trailing 3-1 at the time after he had earlier missed a penalty, and his sixth goal of the season wasn’t enough to spark a revival in their 3-2 defeat. Jordan’s fourth goal this season — a 77th-minute equaliser against Crystal Palace — was more valuable as it earned the league’s bottom club a valuable 1-1 draw at the Liberty Stadium.

DANIEL AMARTEY (Leicester)
The Ghana midfielder was sent off in his side’s 2-2 draw against Manchester United. Amartey came off the bench as a 57th-minute replacement for Danny Simpson, but the 23-year-old lasted only 16 minutes before being dismissed. Already booked, Amartey needlessly barged into United forward Marcus Rashford to earn a second yellow card.

SPAIN

ZOUHAIR FEDDAL (Real Betis)
The Moroccan defender deflected a cross into his net to seal a 2-0 home defeat by Athletic Bilbao. Betis had dominated the second half with 10 men and were chasing an equaliser when misfortune struck.

AMATH NDIAYE DIEDHIOU (Getafe)
The Senegalese scored the second goal as a whirlwind start set up a 2-0 home victory over Las Palmas. Getafe were ahead within six minutes and Ndiaye Diedhiou added the second on 15 minutes.

ITALY

MEDHI BENATIA (Juventus)
Moroccan Benatia scored the only goal against his former club Roma at the third attempt after a save from Giorgio Chiellini and a ricochet off the bar after 18 minutes in Turin as champions Juventus remained one point behind leaders Napoli.

KHOUMA BABACAR (Fiorentina)
Senegalese striker Babacar came on as a late substitute to score as Fiorentina moved closer to European action with a 1-0 win at Cagliari. The Tuscany side had been frustrated in Sardinia before Babacar picked up a Federico Chiesa cross with eight minutes to go.

FRANCK KESSIE (AC Milan)
Ivorian midfielder Kessie had a mediocre outing as AC Milan suffered a second consecutive defeat, losing 2-0 to his former club Atalanta to plunge into the bottom half of the Italian league table.

 
Published in Sports

Members of the Kwara South Unity Forum in Kwara State have initiated a recall process against the senator representing the Kwara South Senatorial District, Dr. Rafiu Ibrahim.

According to a photocopy of the acknowledged copy of the petition, made available to journalists in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Sunday, the petition had been sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission and the office of the President of the Senate.

The letter, dated November 13, was received and acknowledged at INEC on November 14 and the office of the President of the Senate on November 17.

The public notification of the recall process however did not come without a drama.

While the group was about addressing journalists at Ofa on the recall process, hoodlums and thugs stormed the venue and disrupted the media briefing.

The General Secretary of the Kwara South Unity Forum, Mr. Ahmed Akorede, alleged that the invaders also made away with some valuables, adding that members of the group had been receiving threat messages, for discharging their “human right and constitutional” responsibility.

The President of the group, Mr. John Adegboye, while addressing journalists during a media briefing at Ijagbo in the Oyun Local Government Area of Kwara State, alleged poor representation by Ibrahim.

He also accused Ibrahim of disregarding members and elders of the senatorial district while taking directives from external personalities.

He further alleged that issues, critical to the growth and development of Kwara South, were allegedly being openly disregarded and dismissed by the senator.

Adegboroye also accused Ibrahim of abusing their democratic rights and intelligence and was not sufficiently addressing human capital development in the area.

He stated, “A situation whereby, a man we voted for, now comes out openly and with audacity, to state that he needs to consult ‘his boss’, who isn’t even from Kwara South, is nothing but a violation of our human and democratic rights.”

Adegboye said it was wrong for Ibrahim to kneel before the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

According to him, the Senate is a gathering of equals while the President of the Senate is simply the first among equals.

He said, “We find it demeaning, insulting and outrageous that our senator acted as an escort and body guard to the wife of the Senate President when she was arraigned in court on charges of money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“This unnecessary show of subservience has been interpreted to imply a situation in which we are not the people in control of our destinies. We cannot accept this anymore.

“It is therefore under these circumstances that the good people of Kwara South today decide to intimate the generality of Nigerians about our intention to recall Senator Rafiu Ibrahim from the 8th National Assembly.

“We affirm that the Kwara South Unity Forum has instituted recall proceedings against the senator representing Kwara South Senatorial District. The days of ‘shadow democracy and indirect rule,’ whereby a few individuals become more important than the entire electorate, are over.”

But a coalition of students, during another media briefing, passed a vote of confidence in Ibrahim.

The coalition comprise the National Association of Nigerian Students, Kwara State branch, and the National Association of Kwara State Students.

The students’ speech was jointly signed by the Chairman, NANS, Kwara, Abdulkadir Aliyu; President, NAKSS, Abdulafeez Oyedepo; and Director of Travelling and Exchange, NANS, Abdullahi Olawale.

Aliyu, who read the speech, said Ibrahim had made tremendous contributions towards infrastructural and human capital development in Kwara South.

He said, “Ibrahim’s unblemished reputation, leadership sagacity, hospitality, open door policy, philanthropic gesture, kind heartedness, ‘articulacy’, listening ears and most importantly, his integrity, have given us hope that with his kind, there is great hope for the Nigerian students.”

A stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress, led by Kazeem Adekanye, during the media briefing, urged the senator and the proponent of his recall to embrace dialogue.

Adekanye, a former Chairman, Transition Implementation Committee, Irepodun LGA, said there was unity in the party.

He said, “For some of us, we believe that we have leaders that we respect. Yes, we may have one or two things that may not be okay with us, we should employ better means of engaging them so as for us all to reap the benefits of democracy.

“We all know that as senators, their primary job is to legislate; the other aspect has to do with constituency project. I am aware he has brought a lot of constituency projects to Kwara South. He has also been reaching out to people as individuals and I am sure he has reached out to traditional rulers.

“We in Kwara South, we are under one leadership of Dr. Bukola Saraki. All of us, who are his disciples and followers, are united under that banner. There are no internal crises; there is no war between us.”

Published in Politics

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has traced 38 choice houses to a former Chairman of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Dr. Ngozi Olojeme.

Mrs Olojeme, Deputy Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Goodluck Campaign Organisation in 2015, is being investigated by the EFCC for alleged diversion of $48,485,127 from the accounts of the NSITF.

Of N62.3billion fraud discovered in NSITF, $48,485,127 is allegedly credited to Mrs. Olojeme.

The anti- graft agency has secured a court order to place the assets under interim forfeiture, pending Mrs. Olojeme’s trial.

Besides, EFCC has obtained a warrant from the court to detain the suspect for two weeks to complete the first round of the investigation and her arraignment.

Mrs. Olojeme, who is said to have taken ill, is at a private hospital in Abuja where EFCC detectives are keeping an eye on her.

EFCC detectives uncovered 40 houses, 38 of which are believed to be Mrs Olojeme’s.

Of the 38 houses, detectives rated the mansion at No. 51, Kainji Crescent in Maitama, as a “multi-billion naira piece with some foreign leaders occasionally staying there when they come visiting”.

The golden mansion was at the weekend sealed off by the EFCC.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “EFCC  recovered over 40 properties out of which 38 belong to the ex-NSITF chairman, including the property at No. 51, Kainji Crescent, off Lake Chad Crescent in Maitama District.

“The Kainji Crescent property is said to have housed some foreign leaders when they came visiting. It is a multi-billion naira mansion.

“We have invoked sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004, which empower the agency to apply the Interim Assets Forfeiture Clause.”

Section 28 of the EFCC Act reads: “Where a person is arrested for an offence under this Act, the Commission shall immediately trace and attach all the assets and properties of the person acquired as a result of such economic or financial crime and shall thereafter cause to be obtained an interim attachment order from the Court.”

The EFCC source went on: “As I am talking to you, we have placed all the over 40 assets under interim forfeiture based on the approval of our application by the court. The assets will be temporarily forfeited until the end of the trial of all the affected suspects.”

“We have also secured a court order to detain her for two weeks in preparation for Dr. Ngozi Olojeme’s arraignment in connection with the alleged diversion of $48,485,127 from NSITF’s account. We have charges already prepared and we will be arraigning her soon.

“But she sought for medical attention in a private hospital for an undisclosed illness. We accorded her the right to seek medical aid and deployed in detectives and sentry guards to the hospital.”

The EFCC has already arraigned a former Managing Director of NSITF, Umar Munir Abubakar, and four others for alleged diversion of N18billion.

The others are Henry Ekhasomi Sambo, Adebayo Adebowale Aderibigbe, Chief Richard U. Uche and Aderemi Adegboyega.

The cash was said to be the Federal Government’s contribution to the take-off grants and Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS) for Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

EFCC’s report on preliminary investigation said in part: “That through this process, Dr. Ngozi Olojeme, the then NSITF board chairman, has collected a total sum of $48,485,127 from Mr. Chuka Eze (her account officer at FBN), which cash he collected on her behalf being the dollar equivalent of monies paid to BDCs by NSITF contractors.

“She and others also diverted huge cash allocated for allowances of its staff and compensation to contributors. Detectives actually traced some of the NSITF funds in the personal accounts of Olojeme and the former MD, Umar Abubakar.

“For instance, Abubakar and others dishonestly converted to N18billion, being contribution from the Federal Government of Nigeria as take-off grants and Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS) for MDAs.

“The said sum was diverted into personal accounts by an e-payment mandate jointly signed by Umar Munir Abubakar and Henry Ekhasomi Sambo.”

The report added: “It was discovered that the NSITF accounts in First Bank of Nigeria and other banks have witnessed a total turnover of over N62, 358,401,927 between 2012 and 2015 from the Employee Compensation Scheme contributions.

“That out of the N62bn, the Federal Government contributed N13,600,000,000 while the sum of N48,758,401,927.80 was contributed by the private sector. That there were several payments to individuals and companies from the NSITF bank accounts for purported contracts or consultancy services.

“That some individuals and companies that received these payments, in turn, transferred part of the monies directly to the NSITF officials while others transferred huge sums to bureau de change operators who changed them to dollars.”

 
Published in Headliners
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