Saturday, 24 February 2018

NEWS AND STORIES

Fit-again Cameroon international defender Ambroise Oyongo has agreed a four-year deal to join 2012 French champions Montpellier.

The 26-year-old, whose contract with MLS club Montreal Impact ends on 31 December, ruptured a tendon in June.

He becomes the club's first major winter signing, according to club president Laurent Nicollin.

"It's done, it's signed," Nicollin told French publication 'Midi Libre,'

"He's an endearing boy, who has not played since June and is only making a big return from his injury.

"I hope it's going to be a nice surprise, he's here to help us from this season, but most importantly to be starting from the next."

It will be Oyongo's first professional club in Europe in a career which began at Coton Sport in his native Cameroon, where he won three league titles between 2010 and 2014.

He had a brief spell with Major League Soccer (MLS) club New York Red Bulls in 2014, before switching to Montreal Impact in January 2015.

Oyongo scored three goals and provided six assists in 72 games for the MLS Eastern Conference outfit.

Capped 28 times by Cameroon scoring twice, Oyongo played all six games as the Indomitable Lions won their fifth African Cup of Nations title in Gabon early this year.

LATELY, crude oil prices have rallied steadily, rising above $60 per barrel in November. The increase has been precipitated by three principal factors. First is the production cut by members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The reduction in OPEC members’ output reduced supply to the market with a corresponding increase in prices. Another reason is the ongoing hostilities between Iraq and Kurdistan over the status of the city and region of Kirkuk. The crisis has impeded Iraq from reaching its optimal production capacity.

But the most recent factor is the situation in Saudi Arabia. When Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed ibn Salman, launched an anti-corruption purge which saw the arrest and detention of 201 persons, including 11 princes and 38 officials, oil prices rose to $62 per barrel, hitting the highest point since July 2015. Since the Kingdom is the world’s largest exporter of crude oil, whatever happens therein goes a long way in determining the direction in which the oil price pendulum will swing.

The rise in the prices of crude oil is good news to Nigeria because oil is the main source of the country’s revenue. Thus, a rise in its prices signals a surge in Nigeria’s revenue inflow which increases the likelihood of budget implementation and project execution.  However, since the benchmark used for the budget is usually lower than the expected crude oil prices, high crude oil prices means that more money than appropriated comes into the government’s coffers. The temptation, therefore, is for government agencies and officials to treat such money as free fund and squander same.

A pointer to this is the issue of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which was forced to pay N30 billion into the Federation Account following the boycott by state finance commissioners of the September meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) because, according to them, the revenue to be shared was grossly inadequate.

The House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the pump prices of petroleum products quickly swung into action, directing the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to provide details of the N30 billion unremitted crude oil revenue into the Federation Account. While the step taken by the House is commendable, the action of NNPC suggests that the above-the-benchmark revenue from crude oil sales is largely unaccounted for and ends up in private accounts because if the commissioners had not raised the alarm, the money would not have been paid into the Federation Account.

However, the failure of the NNPC to remit the money points to the far more serious issues of incompetence and negligence of those whose responsibility it is to track the nation’s revenue. Since there is a daily production figure and crude oil prices are not a secret, why was it so difficult for those in charge of monitoring this to find out the unconstitutional act of the NNPC before the commissioners’ protest? Was it a case of a collusion of a few against the interest of the majority? The current administration has repeatedly accused its immediate predecessor of failing to save and squandering the nation’s resources. Therefore, it should not be found guilty of what it accused others of.

Every avenue for ripping the country off should be effectively blocked. The excess earnings from crude oil sales should either be deployed to infrastructure development or saved for the rainy day in the Excess Crude Account as stipulated by the nation’s laws. It is distressing and discomfiting to note that in spite of the hike in the prices of crude oil and the attendant increase in the nation’s revenue, so much debt has been amassed in the last two years. This is not the way to go. No country can experience development without prudent utilisation and optimal management of resources.

The Ministry of Finance must up its game of monitoring and managing the nation’s resources for the benefit of every Nigerian. Every dollar earned by the country must be properly appropriated for the benefit of every Nigerian. It should not be left for a few to misappropriate.

Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday named the former army chief who led a coup that ended Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule, as one of his two deputies in the ruling party, the presidency said.

Presidential press secretary George Charamba said in a statement, retired general Constantino Chiwenga and long-serving state security minister Kembo Mohadi were appointed as Mnangagwa’s deputies in the ZANU-PF party “with immediate effect.”

The party appointment is a first step in their elevation to state vice presidents. Two other top military officials were earlier this month awarded ministerial posts.

Chiwenga retired this week, slightly over a month after the military temporarily took control of the country on November 15 as internal feuding escalated in ZANU-PF over then president Mugabe’s succession.

The takeover which the army said was targeting Mugabe’s corrupt allies came days after the 93-year-old leader had fired then deputy Mnangagwa who has strong military ties and was widely tipped as the likely successor.

Mugabe’s wife Grace had indicated interest in succeeding her husband.

The army’s intervention was followed by mass street protests against Mugabe and a motion to impeach the veteran ruler who resigned in a letter to parliament as proceedings to recall him began.

The ruling ZANU PF party then appointed Mnangagwa as Mugabe’s replacement, leading to his inauguration as the country’s president on November 24.

Friday, 22 December 2017 16:35

Police declare Badoo kingpin Alaka wanted

The Lagos State Police Command has declared a popular independent oil marketer and prime suspect of the Badoo cult killings in Ikorodu and Epe axis of the State, Alhaji Alaka Abayomi Kamal, wanted.

In a statement, signed by the Police Public Relations officer, SP Chike Oti, the 51-year-old suspect, who is the owner of Alaka Petroleum, is wanted in connection with series of well-orchestrated killings of the Badoo cult group. The statement reads;

”The 51-year-old suspect, who is the owner of Alaka Petroleum, is wanted in connection with series of well-orchestrated killings and nefarious activities of the Badoo cult group.

The notorious activities of the dreaded cult group had sent many to their early graves with cruel killings through the smashing of mortar and pestle on victims’ heads.

In a Special Police Gazette Bulletin issued under the authority of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, with reference number CR 07/2017, Alaka who had earlier been arrested and released on bail by the police, was said to have frustrated attempts to rearrest him.

His declaration as a wanted man followed a warrant of arrest duly obtained from a Lagos State Magistrate Court.

According to the bulletin, “The above-named person (Alhaji Alaka Abayomi Kamal “M”) is hereby declared wanted by the Nigeria Police Force on CRO Form “5” issued by the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Criminal Intelligence and Intelligence Department, Musiliu Smith Street, Yaba, Lagos.

“He (Alaka) is wanted for the offence of Badoo Cult Killings in Ikorodu and Epe areas of Lagos State. He was once arrested, and released on bail; since then it has been impossible to rearrest him.

“He is 5ft 8ft tall, dark in complexion, stout in stature, no tribal marks, speaks Yoruba and English. A Yoruba by tribe, 51 years of age. Home Address – No 22, PSSDC Magodo Estate, Shangisha, Lagos State. A business man with good set of teeth, brown eyes, oval face, small head, low forehead and always on white kaftan.

“If seen should be arrested and handed over to the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Musiliu Street, Yaba, Lagos or any nearest Police Station or call 08068169076 and 08125151772.”

The State Government and the State Police Command had earlier uncovered and demolished the alleged Badoo shrine belonging to Alaka in Agbowa area of Ikorodu on September 20, 2017 in an operation led by the Commissioner of Police, Mr Imohimi Edgal.

SIGNED

SP CHIKE OTI

POLICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER,

LAGOS STATE POLICE COMMAND

DECEMBER 22, 2017”

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) and the Chairman, Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIPRPP), Okoi Obono-Obla have explained why the panel was probing the purchase of the official residence of the Senate President by David Mark.

They said the investigation was informed by information to the effect that Mark, a former Senate President, unlawfully acquired the property in 2011, without being reflected in the Federal Government’s gazette as required.

They argued that the house said to be built on 1.6 hectares of land, located in Gudu, Apo, Abuja, is a national monument that was not meant to be acquired by an individual.

Malami and Obono-Obla’s explanation is contained in the court papers they filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja Thursday in reaction to a suit by Mark, challenging the notice of investigation served on him by the SPIPRPP.

The documents include a notice of preliminary objection, a counter-affidavit to Mark’s motion for interlocutory injunction and a defence to the substantive suit.

An official in the office of the Chairman of SPIPRPP, Aribatise Olanrewaju, who deposed to the counter- affidavit for Malami and Obono-Obla stated that the panel was empowered to probe the circumstances in which Mark took over the property.

He said although former President Goodluck approved the sale of the property to Mark; the purchase was not gazetted as required by law.

He said: “The request of Senator Bala Muhammad (the then Minister of Federal Capital Territory) was approved by former President Jonathan, but on the condition that the sale should be gazetted.

“However, the sales of the houses were never gazette. Notwithstanding the directive of former President Jonathan that the said house should be sold to the plaintiff upon enactment of a Federal Government gazette, the said property was illegally sold to the plaintiff;

“The sales of these houses were never reflected in the Federal Government official gazette contrary to directive/ minute in the memo of Senator Bala Muhammad by former President Jonathan;

“I know as a fact that the sale of the said house to the plaintiff was never conducted in a competitive bidding and transparent process; this is contrary to the provisions of Section 15 (1) of the Procurement Act, 2007;

“I know as a fact that the sale was contrary to the provisions of the Federal Government of Nigeria official gazette No. 82, Vol. 92 of 15 August 2005;

“The said house is a national monument, which should have never been sold;

“I know as a fact that the provisions of Part 11 (b) of the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, Etc.) (Amendment) Act, 2008 otherwise known as the Remuneration Act, 2008 provides that Senate President is provided with accommodation by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“I know as a fact that the sale to the said house was contrary to the provisions of Paragraphs 1  & 6 (1) of Part 1 of the 5th Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) since the purchaser (the Plaintiff) was a the Senate President  he purchased the house.”

Olanrewaju referred the law that empowered the  panel to investigate Mark’s acquisition of the property.

He said: “I know as a fact that the notice alluded to in paragraph 17 of the affidavit is therefore not a notice of eviction as claimed by the plaintiff/applicant.

“I know as a fact that the 2nd defendant never declared the plaintiff/applicant acquisition of the said property illegal, but a notice to inform him that the acquisition of the said property was under investigation by the Special Investigation Panel.

“I know as a fact that the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property was set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria pursuant to the provisions of Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, Cap. R4, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004,” he said.

In their objection, Malami and Obono-Obla faulted the suit by Marked and described it as a ploy to stall his ongoing investigation.

Obono-Obla, who endorsed the processes filed by the respondents in the suit – the AGF and Obono-Obla – described the suit as speculative and hypothetical.

He contended, in the objection that the Federal High Court was without the jurisdiction to hear the suit.

He grounds on which he hinged his argument include that the court has no jurisdiction to grant the relief sought by the plaintiffs in view of the fact that, by virtue of Section 251 (1) (p) of the Constitution, the subject matter of the case has nothing to do with the administration or the management and control of the Federal Government or any of its agencies.

He said the suit was a disguise to scuttle criminal investigation of the plaintiff  (a public officer) using the court.

Obono-Obla added tha: “This court has no jurisdiction to stop the Special Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property established pursuant to Section 1 (1) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, Cap. R4, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 from carrying out its statutory functions.

“The 2nd defendant (Obono-Obla) is an agent of a disclosed principal and as such the plaintiff is wrong to sue the 2nd defendant in his official capacity with his personal name.

“This suit has disclosed no reasonable cause of action; it is speculative and hypothetical,” he said.

The SPIPRPP, in September this year, issued a 21-day notice to Mark to quit the property or “show cause” why the Federal Government should not “enforce the recovery of the property for public good”.

Rather than “show cause” as requested by SPIPRPP, Mark head before the Federal High Court where he lodged the suit and prayed the court to among others, quash all steps taken by the panel to evict him and recover the house from him.

The case will come up for hearing on January 22 next year before Justice Gabriel Kolawole.

 

Barely 24 hours after his arrest,  the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has released the owner of Innoson Motors, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, on bail.

The anti-graft agency, however, said Chukwuma and his brother, Charles Chukwuma, are being probed for N1,478,366,859.66 fraud and forgery.

The industrialist was also accused of using forged documents to secure tax waivers.

A statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said: “The EFCC has released the Nnewi, Anambra-State born industrialist, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, on bail.

“The businessman who runs a local auto assembly plant was arrested on Tuesday December 19, 2017 at his Enugu residence, following his refusal to respond to invitations by the commission, after initially being granted administrative bail by the commission, while his surety could also not be found.

“Unfortunately, the industrialist resisted arrest and stirred controversy by bringing six truck-loads of thugs to block the entrance to his Plot W1, Industrial Layout, Abakaliki Road, Emeni, Enugu home.

“This was after he initially misled the Police Command by informing them that his home had been invaded by armed robbers and kidnappers despite the fact that operatives of the commission duly identified themselves to policemen guarding his home.

“His unruly thugs encircled and manhandled operatives of the commission, who had gone to effect the arrest.

“Consequently, a distress call was sent to the commission’s Enugu Office for reinforcement.

“In all of this, the commission’s operatives acted with decorum and civility.

“No one was manhandled or assaulted by the EFCC team, and not a single shot was fired, despite the provocation.”

The EFCC explained why it was investigating the industrialist.

It said was in connection with N1, 478, 366, 859.66 fraud and forgery.

The statement added: “Chief Chukwuma and his brother, Charles Chukwuma (who is still at large), are being investigated by the Insurance and Capital Market Fraud Section of the commission’s office in Lagos over matters bordering on N1,478,366,859.66 fraud and forgery.

“The industrialist, among other infractions, allegedly used forged documents to secure tax waivers.”

 

This was exactly the feelings of Fatima Ganduje, daughter of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State when her heartthrob, Abolaji Ajimobi, the only son of Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, proposed to her.

To express her deep feelings, Fatima paid glowing tributes to her man and posted the photographs on the internet for the world to see.

”I am blessed and at peace, it all began a year ago. Idris Abolaji you have filled my life with passion, commitment, laughter, partnership, adventure, respect and selfless love. You are my knight in shinning armor, my protector and my King. I have always admired people who look ahead and see challenges as tests and not as hurdles, you have pushed every limit that was given to you and loved me in all aspects of life.

”Look where we are! I got myself a winner. I love you Idris and I will be that woman you fell in love with all the days of our lives here and in heaven. Ololufe Mi ?? ”.

 
 
Tuesday, 19 December 2017 03:08

Henry Thiery ‘crowned’ Igwe of football

Football legend, Henry Thiery, who is popularly referred to as ‘Igwe’ by Arsenal fans, was on Sunday crowned ‘Igwe of football.’

The Arsenal legend was unveiled as the ambassador for Guinness ‘Made of Black’ campaign held at the Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The Federal Government has accused a former Senate President, David Mark, of illegally acquiring his then official residence as his private property.

In September this year, the government, through the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, which is chaired by Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, gave the former Senate President a 21-day notice to quit the mansion.

The notice to quit, however, asked Mark to “show cause” why the Federal Government should not “enforce the recovery of the property for public good.”

But Mark had quickly filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja to quash all steps taken by the panel to evict him and recover the house from him.

The case has not been heard.

The PUNCH, on Monday, obtained from court sources, copies of documents, including exhibits, filed by the former Senate President in his suit challenging the recovery process.

The Senate President’s official residence is sited on 1.6 hectares of land at 1 Musa Usman Street, (also known as No. 1 Chuba Okadigbo Street), Apo Legislative Quarters, Gudu, Abuja.

According to title documents, the property comprises eight structures, made up of the main house, ADC/chief security detail’s house, guest chalet, security/generator house, boys quarters, security post, driver/servants’ quarters and chapel.

The eight structures are said to be properly spaced and linked with well-paved drive and walkways and further done with lawns.

Mark, the senator, currently representing Benue South in the National Assembly, is accused of illegally acquiring the property with the approval of former President Goodluck Jonathan despite that such property was excluded from the monetisation policy of the Federal Government.

Copies of correspondences and other documents, leading to the purchase and eventual handover of the property to Mark in April, 2011, showed that the serving senator purchased the property at a “reserved price” of N673,200,000.

Meanwhile, in his letter, dated October 28, 2010, seeking the then President Jonathan’s approval for the sale of the property, the then Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Bala Mohammed, had indicated that the open market value of the property was N748,000,000.

In addition, the then minister specifically stated that the Federal Executive Council had, in 2004, mandated the Federal Capital Territory Administration to sell all Federal Government’s “non-essential housing units in Abuja under specific rules and guidelines.”

Exempted from this arrangement are the official residences of the Senate President, the Deputy Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Deputy Speaker.

He stated that the exemption was “expressly contained in the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Official Gazette No. 82, Vol. 92 of August 15, 2005.”

In justifying the request for the then President’s approval for the sale, the former minister noted that all the houses in Apo Legislative Quarters, with the exception of the official residences of the four principal officers of the National Assembly, had been sold to the legislators occupying them at the time or the general public, under the Federal Government’s monetisation arrangement.

The former minister however stated that sale of other houses in the Apo Legislative Quarters had “altered the general security provision for the area and extension, the security of the leading principal officers of the National Assembly.”

The letter added, “This lapse in the general security provision of the area led the National Assembly to unofficially rent residential accommodation for its leading principal officers in more secure areas within the city.”

It also stated that due to the security concerns, the four houses of the leading principal officers “will no longer have the status of ‘essential properties’,” hence the FCTA “has made provision in the budget to construct residential accommodation for the leading principal officers of the National Assembly where the general security is befitting the status of the officers.”

The then minister had stated that the Senate President’s residence had an open market value of N748,000,000; the Speaker’s N670,000,000; the Deputy Senate President’s N458,000,000; and the Deputy Speaker’s N348,500,000.

What appeared on the then minister’s letter as Jonathan’s hand-written approval of the request dated November 15, 2010, read, “Para 6 and 8 approved. Also see if this could be gazetted.

“N/B: Ensure that the new residences are ready early next year.”

By a letter, with reference number PRES/83/FCTA/18 and dated November 18, 2010, Jonathan conveyed his approval to the then minister’s request for the sale of the Senate President’s official residence.

The letter, addressed to the FCT minister and titled, ‘Re: Sale of Residential Houses Occupied by Leading Principal Officers of the National Assembly’, was signed by the then President’s Senior Special Assistant (Admin), Matt Aikhionbare.

The letter read in part, “I am directed to forward Reference A to you and to convey to you, Mr. President’s approval of paragraphs 6 and 8 and further directive on page 2 in line with the earlier approval of 27/06/2010.”

But by a letter with reference number SPIP/INV/2017/VOL.1/17 and dated September 5, 2017, the Obono-Obla-led Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property insisted that Mark acquired the “national monument” in clear breach of the monetisation policy of the Federal Government.

The letter, signed by Obono-Obla and titled ‘Investigation activities: Notice to recover public property in your care’, and addressed to Mark, stated in part, “The extant Monetisation Policy of the Federal Government, as enunciated and still being implemented, excludes all Principal Officers of the National Assembly and hence places the responsibility on the Federal Government to provide accommodation for them, same which you allegedly illegally appropriated.”

The letter asked Mark “to take steps within the next 21 days to vacate the said property or show cause why the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should not enforce the recovery of the said property for public good.”

It added, “You are further being notified pursuant to the Recovery Property (Special Provisions) Act, 1983, to complete and return within 30 days the attached Form B (Declaration of Assets Form) to the office of the undersigned.”

But Mark, through his lawyer, Ken Ikonne, filed the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1037/2017 before the Federal High Court in Abuja, insisting that he legally acquired the property through a “walk-in bid” at the behest of the FCTA.

He also contended that the recovery process initiated by the Federal Government was unconstitutional.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Obono-Obla are joined as respondents to the suit.

Among his prayers, Mark sought “a declaration that the unilateral declaration by the defendants that the plaintiff’s acquisition” of the property “is illegal and the order compelling the plaintiff to vacate the aforesaid property” without affording him “a hearing,” amounted to a denial of his “fundamental rights to fair hearing and property, and are therefore unconstitutional and void.”

He also sought a declaration that “the service by the defendants on the plaintiff of the Notice to Declare His Assets (Form A) and the Assets Declaration Form B is unconstitutional and thus void.”

He sought “an order quashing” the defendants’ declaration of his acquisition of the aforesaid property as illegal, and another order “quashing the order of the defendants” compelling him to vacate the aforesaid property.”

He also applied for an order of the court “quashing the Notice to Declare Assets Form A and the Assets Declaration Form B” served on him and “a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, jointly and severally” or through any agent “from evicting the plaintiff from the said property, or recovering same from him.”

Mark said he was occupying the said property in 2010 when the FCTA, “citing security concerns”, decided to construct new official residences for the leadership of the National Assembly, including the President of the Senate, in a more secure and conducive environment.”

According to the former Senate President, the FCTA had insisted that the reserve price of N673,200,000.00 reflected the open market value of the property.

He added that the valuers of the FCT that inspected and carried out a valuation of the property had put the “replacement cost” of the property at N492,700,000.

He said he duly accepted the offer on April 21, 2011 and paid the “agreed purchase price to the Ad hoc Committee on Sale of FGN Houses” on April 27, 2011.

He said the house now served as his family home in Abuja.

But he said surprisingly he was on October 9, 2017 served a letter of investigation activities dated September 5, 2017, by the Okono-Obla-led panel.

He stated in his suit that, “the defendants (AGF and Obono-Obla)  unilaterally, and without affording me any hearing at all, and without any order of any court, declared my acquisition of the said property illegal, and ordered me to vacate the said property failing which the defendants would enforce the recovery of the property against me.”

EFCC grills Benue senator for seven hours, seizes passport

Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Monday, interrogated the immediate past Senate President, David Mark, for seven hours, The PUNCH has learnt.

Impeccable sources within the EFCC told one of our correspondents that Mark’s passport was also seized before he was allowed to go on an administrative bail.

The PUNCH learnt that Mark, who served as Senate President from 2007 to 2015, arrived at the Abuja office of the EFCC around 12noon and was released at 7pm.

The source added, “The former Senate President arrived around 12pm and spent seven hours responding to several questions from detectives.

“He was released at 7pm on the condition that he must submit his passport to the commission which he did.

“Senator Mark is expected to return soon to answer more questions”

The former Senate President is expected to account for over N5.4bn slush cash and campaign funds allegedly traced to him.

He was alleged to have received over N500m from the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan during the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.

The money is alleged to have been part of the $2.1bn meant for arms procurement.

The Senator, who has been representing Benue-South Senatorial District since 1999, is also accused of sharing N2.9bn to his colleagues while presiding over the upper legislative chamber.

The former Senate President has, however, denied all the allegations levelled against him.

In a statement on Sunday, Mark said, “To set the records straight, Senator Mark was invited by the EFCC via a letter addressed to the National Assembly to answer questions on the 2015 presidential election campaign funds as it concerned Benue State.

“As a law-abiding citizen, Senator Mark honoured the invitation.

“Curiously, they also alleged that the PDP paid over N2bn into the National Assembly’s account which he, as then President of the Senate, allegedly shared among the 109 senators, including PDP, Action Congress of Nigeria and All Nigerian Peoples Party (members) in 2010.

“Again, to the best of his knowledge, Senator Mark is not aware of such transactions. This simply did not make sense to any right thinking member of society.

“Senator Mark wondered why anybody would think that PDP will pay money into National Assembly account. He, however, clarified all the issues raised before returning home.”

The Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Senator David Umaru has tackle the Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sanitation Bello over his frequent trips abroad while the economy and security of the state is deteriorating.

He described the reasons given by the governor for his trips as unreasonable saying he is always in pursuit of ‘phantom agreements and MOUs’. 

In a press statement titled, “When Silence is No Longer Golden… A Must Read for All APC Wailers”, the Senator asked, ‘Why Should I Keep Quiet? ‘

He said that he have been told to shut up but he cannot keep quiet as the past and recent developments in the state do not seem pleasant enough to afford the luxury of such passive disposition.

He alledged that billions of naira accrue to the state monthly is being squandered with reckless profligacy stating that the leadership has demonstrated its incapacity to use the resources to bring relief to the suffering of the people.

Umaru also said that the APC administration in the state has virtually nothing tangible to show for the billions of bailout funds, budget support funds and Paris club refunds that had accrued to the stat stating there has not been any visible development projects in the state tied to the funds collected.

“Why should I keep quiet when the state of affairs in Niger State has in recent times become worrisome to the extent that some of us involved directly or indirectly in governance under the ruling APC can no longer pretend that all is well. My concern over the plummeting political and socio-economic condition in the state has become more desperate for the obvious fact that I had played a leading role in the campaign that gave power to our party in the 2015 election.

“How can I keep quiet when it is a known fact that I went to every nook and cranny, particularly in Niger East Senatorial District, soliciting for votes based on the conviction that if voted into office our government would bring succour to our suffering people in line with its slogan of change but unfortunately, two years after our victory, that conviction is fast fading and becoming a mirage as our people continue to wallow in hardship occasioned by lack of basic and essential amenities as a result of the administration’s failure to direct available huge financial resources to the benefit and development of the state.

“Why should I keep quiet when as much as one would have wanted to stay aloof and maintain “dignified” silence, past and recent developments in our beloved state do not seem pleasant enough to afford the luxury of such passive disposition. Available records have shown that billions of naira accrue to the state monthly but same is squandered with reckless profligacy. The Leadership has demonstrated its incapacity to use our resources to bring relief to our suffering people.

“The Leadership continues to exhibit serious inadequacy, lack of honesty, lack of accountability, lack of transparency and prudence in the management of the huge amounts coming from federal allocations and special interventions by the Presidency to the state over the years. In essence, this APC administration has virtually nothing tangible to show for the billions of bailout funds, budget support funds and Paris club refunds that had accrued to the state. I am also aware that Mr. Governor has within the year or so approached the state House of Assembly twice or thereabout for legislative approvals to access more funds running into billions of naira but there has not been any visible development project(s) in the state tied to these funds.

“I am told to shut up but I cannot keep quiet while under our watch billions of naira meant for payment of pensioners is alleged to be heartlessly diverted? Why should I not speak out when the government I campaigned to install has continued to be insensitive to the plight of our pensioners through dubious manipulation of pension reform matters thereby jeopardising the already impoverished state of our retirees.”

Senator Umaru further stated that that the inattention of the governor to security have led to the increase in crimes in local government areas across the state.

“Again, why should I keep quiet when the security situation in the state has degenerated to the level that several villages have been sacked by criminals and kidnappers while the government remains clueless and insensitive to the plight of the affected communities in complete abdication of it’s constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property of its citizens.

“As I speak to you Tsohon Kabulu, Bakin Nyanyi, Rigogo, Fwapeyi among other Communities in Munya LGA have been dislodged by the criminals who have killed 4 persons and kidnapped 10 others. Why shouldn’t I speak out when the Governor is preoccupied with undertaking trips abroad in pursuit of phantom agreements, MOUs rather than being around to attend to the serious security challenges rocking the state.

“There are several other similar security issues on which the government inaction is evident and they include the Fulani herders/farmers clashes in many parts of the state where scores of people are being killed; The Ebota village incident in Mokwa LGA where over 23 villagers were mercilessly massacred by Fulani assailants and this is still fresh in our memories; the wanton and senseless murder of a woman in Pandogari, Rafi LGA; the Lambata/Izom cattle market clashes and serious kidnappings, armed robbery and rape incidents in Gurara LGA; the Kaffin-Koro communal clashes, and the Kidnappings, rape, armed robbery in Ishau, Paikoro LGA, the Suleja church attacks etc. All these are begging for government attention.

“In the light of the security challenges confronting us, I cannot keep quiet. I urge the State Government to deploy the huge security votes at its disposal to provide logistics and support to the security agencies in the state to enhance the performance of their duties.

“Finally, let it be known that I speak out because the resources accruing to our State is our commonwealth and does not belong to any one family and their friends. I will not keep quiet for the sake of our suffering jobless young people, women and children and our future generation. “

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