Sunday, 21 January 2018
Items filtered by date: October 2017

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday responded to allegations that the Igbo were under-represented in his government, saying that the South East region was not marginalised in appointments into his cabinet.

Receiving some leaders from the region who visited him at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday, President Buhari said there are “four substantive ministers” from the South East region while seven states in the North only got appointments as ministers of state.

Buhari said: “I gave the South-East four substantive ministers in the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment, Science and Technology and Labour.

“Seven states in the North got ministers of state. And of the two ministries headed by your sons, I cannot take any decision on foreign policy and investments without their input.”

President Buhari also assured stakeholders from the South East, who were led by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, that the region would benefit more from roads and coastal rail projects, which he said are of critical importance to the economy.

The President, according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, declared that the 2nd Niger Bridge, the East-West Road and the Coastal rail project were receiving utmost attention from his administration.

He said that counterpart funding from the Chinese government would substantially fund the projects, which when completed would improve the welfare, well-being and economy of the people in the region.

The President said: “I know the Chinese are very competent in handling such projects and we will ensure that we get the money for the projects to take off.

“I thank you for articulating your demands, and I want to assure that we are doing our best for the country.

“If we can stop people from stealing, then there will be more resources to put into projects that will create employment for Nigerians.”

The President also promised the leaders, comprising governors and ministers from the region, the President of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo and representatives from the National Assembly, that he will visit the states in the zone soon.

“I want to assure you that I came into government with a clear conscience and I will also leave with a clear conscience,’’ he said.

Earlier, the President of Ohanaeze, while articulating the demands of the zone to the President, highlighted the issue of state creation, restructuring, federal projects in the South East, namely Enugu-Onitsha Road, Enugu-Port Harcourt Road and Aba-Ikot-Ekpene Road, among others.

Nwodo also demanded urgent presidential interventions on the Enugu Airport, reticulation of the gas pipelines in the South East and the standard gauge plan for railway construction.

Commending the President’s remarkable achievements on security and the fight against corruption, Nwodo said: “We are ready to work with you. We are determined to work with you. We know you are a decisive leader and we know God will continue to give you the wisdom to govern Nigeria.’’

Also speaking, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State expressed satisfaction on the outcome of their discussions with the President on critical issues and topics affecting the region.

“You have no hatred for any state. You have treated all states with equality. What one state gets in the north, the other gets in the south,’’ the governor said, referring to budget support facility and stabilisation fund released to states and local governments since the inception of the administration.

Published in Headliners
Saturday, 14 October 2017 01:07

By Anthony Chuka Konwea, P.E.: DANCE OF SHAME

A common joke on the Nigerian street has it that if all Nigerians were miraculously transplanted to Germany while all Germans were reciprocally transplanted to Nigeria, within five years Nigeria will look like Germany with well paved roads, 24/7 electricity and a disciplined society, while Germany will look like Nigeria with nonexistent roads, epileptic power supply and an entropic citizenry.

The moral of this idle speculation lends credence to Shakespeare’s observation speaking through Cassius: “the fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

As the wheels come-off President Muhammadu Buhari’s apparently ill-fated administration, it is apropos to point out that the fault lies not just in the vehicle and the overweight passengers but more so in the driver and the driving style. And I am not referring here to human biology over which no man but only God has total control.

You see with his eyes wide open President Muhammadu Buhari made some rookie mistakes from which no political administration in history has ever recovered. His may not be an exception.

On assumption of office, the President, not one to learn from History, labored and tragically still labors under three fatally misconceived notions. The first was that his own Fulani ethnicity was getting a raw deal socio-economically and deserved to be propped up using the instruments of the State at the expense of other sub-nationalities.

The second was that God and fate had given him an opportunity to deal with his erstwhile enemies using the administrative tools placed at his disposition by his new position. The third of course was a morbid dislike for the uber-competitive, republican, proud and increasingly garrulous Igbo ethnicity who ideologically, temperamentally and spiritually represent everything his beloved Fulani are not.

But critical observers make a mistake when they judge the President by normal standards believing that this will spur him on to improve his administrative performance. The President of Nigeria is not a Nigerian patriot. To suggest or imply that he is one, is a grand illusion designed, packaged and sold to the unsuspecting Nigerian public for the sole purpose of obtaining and retaining power. The President only masquerades and presents himself as a Nigerian patriot which he is not. A true patriot will love and act in the best interests of his country not just his ethnic nationality always.

The President is in effect an unrepentant Fulani ethno-patriot who administers Nigeria only from the prism lens of what he can obtain from the rest of the country for his ethnic Fulani people and not necessarily for what is best for the entire country irrespective of ethnicity.

 And so, it is perfectly okay for him to be considered a failed Nigerian President provided his Fulani ethnicity (his base) are empowered to retain and maintain their chokehold on progress in Nigeria and provided the Fulani still consider him as a savior, walking in the foot-steps of the revered late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello.

From a critical view-point therefore, apart from age, religious and ethnic differences (one is Fulani, the other is Igbo) and the fact that the younger is a creation of the older, there is precious little to differentiate between President Muhammadu Buhari on the one hand and the youthful leader of the separatist Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu on the other hand. 

Both are not Nigerian patriots. Both are unrepentant ethno-nationalists cum ethno-patriots and believe this or not, both are actively working in their own ways to ensure that Nigeria as we know it today ceases to exist. On this score alone, the actions or inactions of President Muhammadu Buhari are far more consequential to the future demise of Nigeria than the antics of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB. 

It beats one hollow therefore to imagine that while the one, President Muhammadu Buhari is lionized (although he was chased out from his den in the Aso Rock Presidential Villa by mere rats!!!), the other Nnamdi Kanu is demonized for essentially doing the same thing – seeking the end of Nigeria.

In the typical hypocritical Nigerian fashion, while most commentators are busy condemning the speck in the neo-Biafrans’ eyes i.e. Nnamdi Kanu, they fail to see the log in Nigeria’s eyes i.e. President Muhammadu Buhari. They focus on the Divider, Nnamdi Kanu but are oblivious of the Divider-In-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Igbos are not fools. They know who serves their best interest. If President Muhammadu Buhari on assumption of office had reserved his administrative venom for judicially proven criminals such as kidnappers, armed robbers, ritualists, rapists, drug-barons, murderers, human traffickers and looters whosoever they might be, no sane person would criticize him.

If 100 proven kidnappers and armed robbers were caught, tried fairly and made to face justice, the Igbos would not cry foul if all the criminals essentially prove to be Igbo. Indeed, many Igbos resident outside Igboland who are fearful of returning home for brief vacation would be the first to sing the President’s praises to the high heavens.

Operating from the jaundiced view-point of ‘Fulani empowerment at-all-costs’ and ‘Igbo emasculation by-all-means’, the Buhari Administration failed to recognize that ‘transplanting all Nigerians to Germany and all Germans to Nigeria would only make the current Germany, the new Nigeria and the current Nigeria the new Germany’. 

You cannot give what you don’t have and you cannot sustain a lifestyle without the requisite means. Indeed, as has been repeatedly proven by history, the administrative style of favoritism sets back the recipient much more than it does the non-recipient especially if the latter chooses to react by working harder.

However, the tragedy of the way Nigeria is currently structured is that progress and development is too often dependent on the whimsical caprices of the nation’s leaders. President Buhari bears a very significant share of the historical burden for the current state of Nigeria. Let us recall a few of these whimsical caprices which involve him.

During the seventies around the time when he was Federal Commissioner of Petroleum, a decision was taken by the Federal Military Government to build the nation’s third petroleum refinery in Kaduna in the far north far outside the crude-oil producing zone. There was no economic basis for this decision. It was purely political. To make matters worse, allegedly the refinery could only refine ‘heavy’ crude oil. Nigeria reportedly lost millions of dollars pumping ‘heavy’ crude up north for refining in Kaduna. Talk of ‘One Nigeria’.

When he assumed power as Nigeria’s elected President in 2015, President Buhari decided to embark upon the reconstruction of the North-Eastern part of the country ravaged by the Boko – Haram insurgency. This was fair enough. The only problem was that the insurgency had not been completely crushed even though the insurgents were gleefully declared as tactically defeated.  You do not claim to have killed a snake until you have crushed its head.

Beyond that in a strategic move to prepare the core northern region of Nigeria for the potential disintegration of the country (One Nigeria?), and against all reasonable advice, he unilaterally proposed to sink millions of dollars in petroleum exploration within the vicinity of the Lake Chad region – the very hotbed of the Boko Haram insurgency.

At a time when the world was moving very rapidly away from fossil fuels (representing the past) and into renewable energy like solar and wind energy (representing the future), President Buhari unilaterally chose to invest Nigeria’s hard currency earnings at a time of depression in the past rather than in the future.

This poorly contemplated presidential directive was abruptly terminated when the supposedly ‘tactically defeated’ Boko Haram insurgents staged a dramatic come-back. They attacked and massacred almost the entire exploration team as well as their Nigerian army security detail. They took some members of the team into captivity in which they are still held to this day.

Talk of a whimsical presidential directive motivated by ethno-patriotic reasons, meeting a disastrous end at great cost in irreplaceable human lives. No one talks of petroleum exploration up north anymore.

The sole arrow in President Buhari’s bow, the anti-corruption drive has not fared better. As this writer pointed out in the past, you cannot claim to be fighting corruption (loosely defined as appropriating what does not belong to you or what you do not merit) when you are ipso facto engaged in corruption (unfairly empowering your own ethnic nationality at the expense of other ethnicities without recourse to merit and other acceptable national standards).

 It is not surprising therefore that people around the President are being accused of corruption.  The Secretary to the Federal Government, the Chief of Army Staff and the Inspector-General of Police all appointees of the President have recently been accused of corruption. The tardiness with which these allegations have been investigated has been noted by critical observers.

 Contrasting this with the zeal and propaganda with which corruption allegations against members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party were handled is indicative of the fact that the anti-corruption drive of this Administration is currently mortally wounded.

On the human rights front the case of the illegally detained Shiite Sheik Ibrahim El Zakzaky, the case of the hapless Colonel Sambo Dasuki and the case of the neo-Biafrans currently in detention are some of the most glaring examples of socio-economic injustice and persecution in Nigeria perpetuated by the Buhari Administration. To this day no one has satisfactorily explained to the public the offence committed by Ibrahim El Zakzaky to warrant his continued incarceration.

When the reputation of this same President Muhammadu Buhari was savaged by the very same institution he served i.e. the Nigerian Army, during the run-up to the last election, this writer publicly rose to his defense in an opinion piece published under the ‘A Nation in Heat’ cycle of essays. I would do so again if I establish that he is being unfairly persecuted in future by his opponents. By the same token, I would be lacking in my patriotic duty if I fail to voice out my opposition to the tragically misguided decisions of this administration.

The current national pre-occupation with the antics of IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu is uncalled for. Nnamdi Kanu is a creation of the failed policies of the Buhari Administration. He shall disappear from the national radar when the failed national policies associated with the Buhari Adminstration, which led to his emergence in the first place, disappear. What are those failed policies?

The unnecessary escalation of national tension by the illegal detention of people with contrary opinion, religious beliefs or political views (refer to the comments above); the confliction of the Nigerian space by the tacit support given to murderous Fulani herdsmen; as well as the criminal marginalization of the Igbo heartland are some of the failed policies of the Buhari Administration which led to the emergence of Nnamdi Kanu as a national phenomenon.

To buttress the last point, apart from favoritism, nepotism and marginalization what makes the extension of a modern railway to Daura (President Buhari’s hometown) more strategic and important to the national economy than the extension of railway from Enugu to Onitsha and from Aba to Onitsha. 

More insidiously, at a time when the Nigerian Army should be mobilizing more reinforcements to the North-East theatre to crush the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency once and for all, it is engaged under a futile whimsical Presidential Directive (a.k.a. Operation Python Dance II) to harass and intimidate the peaceful people of the South-East region. Who is the President of Nigeria and the Nigerian Army trying to impress or intimidate with this shameless exercise of raw-power?  Unarmed citizens? Unarmed peaceful agitators for Biafra?

It is cowardly and would prove counter-productive. If anything, it would only strengthen the Igbo resolve to secede from Nigeria. Indeed, only cowards and brutish thugs resort to violence when they are defeated by superior arguments by their opponents.  Refined peoples, governments and institutions face facts with counter-facts not with bullets or dancing pythons.

It bears repeating that the only way IPOB can lose in this battle of wits with the Buhari Administration (I have chosen my words very carefully) is if it allows itself to be provoked into descending into the shameful gutter of violence within which the Buhari Administration and the Nigerian Army is currently dancing. No matter the provocation, IPOB should maintain its discipline and immediately return to its denial-of-target command (DOT COM) phase. This is not cowardice, it is strategy.

Even though I currently do not support the IPOB agitation for outright secession, I support and will defend their right to peacefully express their views and opinions as bona fide citizens of Nigeria, neither superior to nor inferior to other Nigerian citizens. I will also fight for the equal treatment of all Nigerians and their homelands regardless of ethnic origins.

Nigeria is bigger than any one person no matter how highly placed. Nigeria is far bigger than the ego of the current President of Nigeria. The President of Nigeria should humbly acknowledge to the nation that his administrative policies have failed.

If the President loves his Fulani ethnicity more than he loves Nigeria (I do not criticize him for this), it is more honorable for him to resign his position as President of Nigeria and become the President-General of the Fulani nation. Otherwise he should act like the President of all Nigerians while realizing and conceding that like himself, other Nigerians have their own individual ethnicities which they may equally love and be proud of.

Right now the sound we want to hear from the Federal Government is the sound of bulldozers and workmen repairing the dilapidated roads and infrastructure in the Igbo heartland, not the sound of tanks, armoured personnel carriers and troops dancing shamelessly like devilish pythons on the nonexistent roads of the South -East region. 

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Published in Parliament

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed says the Federal Government is on course to presenting the 2018 budget proposal to the National Assembly in October.

Ahmed said this at the news conference at the end of the 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#23) on Thursday in Abuja.She said that 2018 budget proposal would be presented to the National Assembly in October as planned.

“That is what we said and we are still on course and target to do that, the budget is ready.“It will be going to the Federal Executive Council first of all for approval before Mr President will convey it to the National Assembly.

“We are on course to deliver the 2018 budget in October.“ We hope that working together with National Assembly it will be passed on time in December so that in January, we will start a fresh budget going forward,’’ the minister said.

Ahmed said that the government was working to push the implementation of Presidential Executive Orders to boost economic growth and development.According to her, the ministry has come up with a mechanism to monitor the performance of ministers.

“We have started producing a monthly and evaluation report that is measuring the performance of ministers’’.Ahmed, however, said that the government would fast-track the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

“We have just received the recommendations and we are going to review it.“One of the recommendations says the lab for the implementation of the ERGP must be done quickly in the next two weeks.

“That is what we are committed to doing, we will review the recommendations and plan the implementation with the view of fast-tracking the growth we are aspiring,’’ she said.

Earlier, Ahmed received the report of the NES#23 on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari from the organiser of the summit, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Chairman of NESG, Mr Kyari Bukar, presented the report.The theme of NES#23 was “Opportunities, Productivity and Employment; Actualising the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

The deliberations focused on five sub-themes of Think Nigeria; Skills, Competencies and Capacity; Access to Capital; Legislation and Economic Inclusion.The participants adopted a solution-based approach in addressing the issues that would create opportunities, tackle unemployment and improve productivity.

Published in Business and Economy

Florence Otedola, “ DJ Cuppy’’, has confirmed split with her boyfriend, Victor Anichebe, Nigeria’s professional footballer and a striker for Beijing Enterprises.

Cuppy, a disc jockey, music producer and the daughter of Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola, made this known in a recent interview.

She cited distance, time difference and their tight schedule as the reasons for the breakup, but that they are both friends.

Cuppy recently moved back to Nigeria and Anichebe lives in China.

Cuppy featured on Channel 4, a British public-service television documentary, `Lagos To London, Britain’s New Super-Rich’ in 2016.

‘People saying “this DJ is his so and so’s daughter” it doesn’t bother me anymore as I love what I do.

‘I only worry I am not going to make the impact I want to make,” she said as her gigs have included DJing at the inauguration of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.

‘I am scared of always being his (Otedola’s) daughter and not getting past that, for me that means not being successful enough.

‘ ‘I am still masked by my dad’s success. If I didn’t try and make it outside Nigeria I would be unhappy.’

Cuppy is keen to be famous in her own right as a DJ and has been securing gigs around the world at venues including Privé, Jalouse, District and Funky Buddha.

While Cuppy admits her father’s fortune has opened doors and helped her network, she said she has to prove her talent behind the decks to secure more work.

‘I think I am a great DJ. Network comes into it but if I don’t do well I won’t get asked back no matter whose daughter I am.’

Cuppy, who recently graduated from King’s College, University of London, with a degree in business and French, said she wants to become renowned around the world as a DJ and make it into Forbes 30 under 30 Rich List.

She said she does have to deal with criticism from those who think she has only had the opportunities in her career she has had so far due to her father’s connections and purse strings, but she said this doesn’t concern her anymore. (NAN)

Published in Arts & Culture

The Commissioner of Police in Abia, Mr Anthony Ogbizi, has said that lethal weapons, including petrol bombs and one double-barrel gun, were recovered during last Sunday’s raid on the residence of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

Ogbizi said this on Thursday during an interaction with newsmen in Umuahia, adding that the items were recovered during a joint operation by security personnel in the state.

He said that the petrol bombs were found in buckets and incriminating documents and letters, concerning IPOB’s activities and plans, were also recovered during the raid.

He said that the raid was carried out based on an intelligence report, regarding the continued activities of some members of the group.

Ogbizi said: “We recovered many of Biafra’s insignia, staff of office and some of those items are being analysed.”

The police boss said that the operation also led to the arrest of one suspected member of IPOB.

He said that the team also discovered the telephone numbers of the group’s zonal coordinators adding that all the communications between the leadership of the group and their collaborators would be thoroughly analysed.

Ogbizi said that a Biafran flag was also found hanging on a telecommunications mast in the area.

According to him, the police will ask the Nigeria Communications Commission to sanction any telecommunication company that allowed its mast to be used to hoist Biafran flags.

He said that the activities of IPOB in the Southeast were “stirring insurrection” and that security agencies would not fold their arms and watch the group foment violence in the country.

He said that members of the group allegedly set a police station and van ablaze in Aba, and also attacked a military patrol team in Umuahia.

The police chief said that similar joint operations would be carried out intermittently in Kanu’s residence, anytime they received intelligence report that offensive weapons were brought to the place.

He said that it was wrong to say that the military was taking over the duties of the police rather the action should be seen as a synergy between the two organisations to check security challenges.

Ogbizi said that he would not hesitate to invite the army anytime the security situation in the state grew beyond the capacity of the police.

Published in Headliners

The Senate has indicated its readiness to continue with the investigation of the allegations levelled against the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, by Senator Isa Misau.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Sam Anyanwu, told our correspondent that the panel would continue with the probe since it was not joined in the suit filed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation against Misau on behalf of the police boss.

When Anyanwu was asked through a text message if his committee would go ahead with the investigation, as the AGF had filed a suit against Misau on behalf of the IGP, his reply was, “The committee or the Senate is not a party to the suit.”

The Senate had on October 4, 2017 resolved to probe into Misau’s allegations bordering on corruption and misconduct against Idris.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had mandated the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the circumstances surrounding Misau’s disengagement from the Nigeria Police.

Idris had alleged that Misau was a deserter.

Saraki also set up an ad hoc committee to probe into the allegations against

the Nigeria Police and Idris, including alleged collection of N120bn annually from high-profile persons and corporate organisations for security services.

The Senate President named the Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena as Chairman of the panel; and senators Joshua Lidani, Binta Masi Garba,

Duro Faseyi, Nelson Effiong, Obinna Ogba, Abdul-Azeez Murtala-Nyako and Suleiman Hunkuyi as members.

The two committees were mandated to report back to the Senate in two weeks.

Misau, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, had on August 25 accused Idris of extorting money, ranging from N10m to N15m, from Commissioners of Police, State Mobile Commanders and Special Protection Units Commanders, for favourable postings.

The senator also alleged that Idris “makes N10bn monthly from oil companies and other private individuals who enjoy special protection from the security agency.”

Misau said the level of corruption being perpetrated by Idris was so alarming and capable of undermining the anti-corruption stance of President Muhammadu Buhari.

But the Federal Government on Tuesday  through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, filed two separate sets of charges against Misau.

One of the two sets of charges, marked FCT/HC/CR/345/2017, filed before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja, stemmed from his  running battle with Idris.

In the case filed before the FCT High Court, the prosecution preferred against Misau five counts of making “injurious falsehood” against Idris and the Nigeria Police Force based on various allegations of corruption made by the senator against the IGP in the media.

Part of the allegations by Misau, considered injurious to the IGP and the Nigeria Police Force, were that police officers allegedly paid as much as N2.5m to get special promotion and posting through the Police Service Commission.

The federal lawmaker also accused the IGP of allegedly diverting money meant for the purchase of Armoured Personnel Carriers, Sport Utility Vehicles and other exotic cars.

Misau was also said to have falsely accused the IGP of making almost half of the mobile commanders in the country the people of his Nupe extraction.

The offences were said to be contrary to Section 393(1) of the Penal Code.

In the set of charges, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/170/2017, the prosecution preferred seven counts of making and “uttering” false documents comprising affidavits, statutory declaration of age deposed to at the FCT High Court and the Bauchi State Health Management Board Birth Certificate, which he allegedly submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission in 2011 and 2014.

Uttering, according to Wikipedia, “is a crime involving a person with intent to defraud that knowingly sells, publishes or passes a forged or counterfeited document.”

The offences in the seven counts were said to be contrary to Section (1)(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.

The two sets of charges were signed on behalf of the AGF by an Assistant Chief State Counsel, Mr. Aminu Alilu, who is of the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Published in News & Stories

Former First Lady Patience Jonathan used her mother’s company to launder about N2.114b, according to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detectives.

Besides, Magel Resort Limited, which was incorporated by Mrs., Jonathan’s late mother, allegedly secured over N200m IT contract from the National Information Technology Development Agency.

Many people, including an hotelier in Abuja, also remitted funds into the account.

Also, uncovered is how some domestic aides of the former First Lady remitted about N5.7billion into the accounts of three firms linked to Mrs. Jonathan.

As part of the investigation, some Federal Government agencies were found to have remitted funds into the account of Ariwobai Aruera Reach Out Foundation,  her NGO, which has N2,475,784,487.77.

Detectives put the cash in the two domiciliary accounts of the ex-First Lady at $20,731, 173.

According to sources in EFCC, the major highlights of the latest investigation of Mrs. Jonathan border on the use of her mum’s firm and domestic aides to launder funds.

The sources claimed that the ex-First Lady has a case to answer because of the “curious payments” made into more than five accounts linked to her.

A source, who pleaded not to be named so as not to jeopardise the investigation, said: “This is not a case of witch-hunt or vendetta. We have retrieved records of transactions and those concerned. There is a strong case of abuse of office.

“Nigerians should prevail on Mrs. Jonathan to seek equity with clean hands by subjecting herself to legal process. How did domestic aides come about billions? Why will a resort company secure an IT contract? How did a furniture firm without a fixed address come about N1.140billion?

“As we investigate the ex-First Lady, our detectives dig out more evidence of alleged money laundering by her between 2009 and 2015.”

The source gave an insight into the latest findings by detectives on Mrs. Patience Jonathan.

The source added: “A company owned by Mrs. Jonathan is Magel Resort Ltd. It was incorporated by Mrs. Jonathan’s late mother. But Patience Jonathan became the sole signatory to the account of the company by board resolution upon the demise of her mother.

“The EFCC is probing the circumstance in which the firm though registered as a resort agency secured over N200m IT contract from the National Information Technology Development Agency.

“The contract was allegedly funded through the National Information Technology Development Fund.”

Several other persons under investigation for money laundering by the anti- graft agency were discovered to have made payments into the company’s account.

Some of them, including a hotelier in central area, Abuja, have been invited for questioning.

“The total sum allegedly laundered through the account of Magel Resorts Ltd run by Mrs. Jonathan and her late mother is N2.114billion.

“Also allegedly laundered by the former First Lady through the account of Lawari Furniture and Baths Ltd is N1.140billion. The company’s address is given as 100 Akamfa Road, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. The bulk of the money was deposited by Bureau de Change operators.

“The BDC operators have already been invited by the EFCC for questioning.

EFCC sources said that the addresses of most of the companies were discovered to be fictitious as mails sent to them were returned undelivered.

Ariwobai Aruera Reach Out Foundation, an NGO, was discovered to have various accounts but the principal account is domiciled in Diamond Bank.

“The commission stumbled on evidence in which several government agencies made payments into the account. A total inflow of N2, 475,784,487.77 was recorded in the account between 2009 and 2015.”

The source also spoke about the deposits in the domiciliary accounts of the ex-First Lady.

The source said: “Investigation equally discovered that Mrs. Jonathan maintains a dollar account with Diamond Bank which received huge financial inflow from her domestic aides.

“Some of the domestic aides that made payments into the accounts are also trustees of her so- called NGO and director in her companies. The balance in the account was $12,831,173.

“Another dollar account of the former First Lady was discovered in Skye Bank. Inflows into the account came through deposits by domestic aides of Mrs. Jonathan.

“Intelligence reports indicate that most of the purchase of luxury items by the former First Lady was through the Platinum Card of the account. The total amount in the account is $7.9m.”

“Also under investigation is how N1.8billion was deposited in the account of Flinchley Top Homes Ltd, a company linked to Mrs. Jonathan, by her domestic aides between 2009 and 2015.

“Other discoveries are the N2.1billion and N1.8billion deposited into the accounts of AM PM Global Network Ltd and Pagmat Oil and Gas Ltd, between 2009 and 2015. Both companies are linked to the former First Lady,” the source said.

Published in News & Stories

Former First Lady Patience Jonathan used her mother’s company to launder about N2.114b, according to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detectives.

Besides, Magel Resort Limited, which was incorporated by Mrs., Jonathan’s late mother, allegedly secured over N200m IT contract from the National Information Technology Development Agency.

Many people, including an hotelier in Abuja, also remitted funds into the account.

Also, uncovered is how some domestic aides of the former First Lady remitted about N5.7billion into the accounts of three firms linked to Mrs. Jonathan.

As part of the investigation, some Federal Government agencies were found to have remitted funds into the account of Ariwobai Aruera Reach Out Foundation,  her NGO, which has N2,475,784,487.77.

Detectives put the cash in the two domiciliary accounts of the ex-First Lady at $20,731, 173.

According to sources in EFCC, the major highlights of the latest investigation of Mrs. Jonathan border on the use of her mum’s firm and domestic aides to launder funds.

The sources claimed that the ex-First Lady has a case to answer because of the “curious payments” made into more than five accounts linked to her.

A source, who pleaded not to be named so as not to jeopardise the investigation, said: “This is not a case of witch-hunt or vendetta. We have retrieved records of transactions and those concerned. There is a strong case of abuse of office.

“Nigerians should prevail on Mrs. Jonathan to seek equity with clean hands by subjecting herself to legal process. How did domestic aides come about billions? Why will a resort company secure an IT contract? How did a furniture firm without a fixed address come about N1.140billion?

“As we investigate the ex-First Lady, our detectives dig out more evidence of alleged money laundering by her between 2009 and 2015.”

The source gave an insight into the latest findings by detectives on Mrs. Patience Jonathan.

The source added: “A company owned by Mrs. Jonathan is Magel Resort Ltd. It was incorporated by Mrs. Jonathan’s late mother. But Patience Jonathan became the sole signatory to the account of the company by board resolution upon the demise of her mother.

“The EFCC is probing the circumstance in which the firm though registered as a resort agency secured over N200m IT contract from the National Information Technology Development Agency.

“The contract was allegedly funded through the National Information Technology Development Fund.”

Several other persons under investigation for money laundering by the anti- graft agency were discovered to have made payments into the company’s account.

Some of them, including a hotelier in central area, Abuja, have been invited for questioning.

“The total sum allegedly laundered through the account of Magel Resorts Ltd run by Mrs. Jonathan and her late mother is N2.114billion.

“Also allegedly laundered by the former First Lady through the account of Lawari Furniture and Baths Ltd is N1.140billion. The company’s address is given as 100 Akamfa Road, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. The bulk of the money was deposited by Bureau de Change operators.

“The BDC operators have already been invited by the EFCC for questioning.

EFCC sources said that the addresses of most of the companies were discovered to be fictitious as mails sent to them were returned undelivered.

Ariwobai Aruera Reach Out Foundation, an NGO, was discovered to have various accounts but the principal account is domiciled in Diamond Bank.

“The commission stumbled on evidence in which several government agencies made payments into the account. A total inflow of N2, 475,784,487.77 was recorded in the account between 2009 and 2015.”

The source also spoke about the deposits in the domiciliary accounts of the ex-First Lady.

The source said: “Investigation equally discovered that Mrs. Jonathan maintains a dollar account with Diamond Bank which received huge financial inflow from her domestic aides.

“Some of the domestic aides that made payments into the accounts are also trustees of her so- called NGO and director in her companies. The balance in the account was $12,831,173.

“Another dollar account of the former First Lady was discovered in Skye Bank. Inflows into the account came through deposits by domestic aides of Mrs. Jonathan.

“Intelligence reports indicate that most of the purchase of luxury items by the former First Lady was through the Platinum Card of the account. The total amount in the account is $7.9m.”

“Also under investigation is how N1.8billion was deposited in the account of Flinchley Top Homes Ltd, a company linked to Mrs. Jonathan, by her domestic aides between 2009 and 2015.

“Other discoveries are the N2.1billion and N1.8billion deposited into the accounts of AM PM Global Network Ltd and Pagmat Oil and Gas Ltd, between 2009 and 2015. Both companies are linked to the former First Lady,” the source said.

Published in Business and Economy
Thursday, 12 October 2017 01:36

NNPC: Kachikwu got contracts for nine firms

The war of integrity between Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ibe Kachikwu and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director (GMD) Dr. Maikanti Baru got more intense yesterday.

The oil giant faulted the Minister’s claim that he was not consulted on $10billion Crude Term Contracts.

The NNPC said Kachikwu made an input into the shortlisting of 40 off-takers for the Crude Term Contracts by recommending seven companies, which were engaged.

Also, the minister was said to have nominated two companies for the alleged Direct Sales, Direct Purchase (DSDP) transactions, which Kachikwu claimed were worth $5billion.

The corporation said while the Minister was its GMD, he sent a memo to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) seeking clarification on the status of the NNPC Tenders Board.

NNPC’s position is contained in a fact-sheet apparently prepared against the backdrop of the six posers raised by loyalists of Kachikwu for GMD Baru. The Nation published the posers exclusively yesterday.

Besides the posers, the minister had in an August 30 memo to President Muhammadu Buhari alleged that he was being sidelined by the GMD.

He said: “As in many cases of things that happen in NNPC these days, I learn of transactions only through publications in the media. The question is, why is it that other parastatals which I supervise as Minister of State or Chair of their Boards are able to go through these contractual and mandatory governance processes and yet NNPC is exempt from these?”

Sources, who spoke with our correspondent, with a fact-sheet said the “posers amounted to mere academic exercise and sheer deceit by the minister”.

They claimed that the minister was consulted on most of the transactions he listed in his memo to the President, including Crude Oil Term transactions, Direct Sales, Direct Purchase (DSDP) contracts and Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline contract.

The fact-sheet said: “For record purposes, Nigerians should be aware that Kachikwu single-handedly superintended and approved the off-takers of Nigerian Crude Oil and gas for 2016/ 2017. There were no issues then.

“As for the off-takers for 2017/2018, the minister was consulted by the GMD. Out of a list of 40 off-takers, Kachikwu recommended seven firms, which were accepted by NNPC management without any issue. He initially nominated three and later added four. His judgment was respected, accepted and approved by NNPC management alongside 33 others.

“The seven off-takers he recommended are as follows: North-West Petroleum; Setana Energy; Emo Oil; Litasco Supply and Trading Company;   Voyage Oil and Gas; Levene International  and Cespa Trading. Since the Minister strongly recommended all these companies, we concurred with his recommendation which was based on a professional judgment. We also did not find any of the companies wanting and they met the criteria for crude lifting.

“On DSDP, the Minister also nominated two companies, Messrs Falcon Bay Energy Limited and Rain Oil Limited. The NNPC avoided all these details in its statement on Monday in order to protect the interest of these companies doing legitimate business. But Nigerians can appreciate that Kachikwu’s input was sought.

“Regarding AKK Pipeline contract, NNPC has explained that it is still in the works; it has not been awarded by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“There was this $9.2billion Escravos Gas Pipeline Project which the GMD did not touch  in his memo to the President. Apart from discussing and reviewing it with the Board of NNPC, the GMD wrote a June 29, 2017 memo to the Presidency and after official process and consultations with the Minister, it was approved. In fact, the Minister gave the final approval in a memo of August 22, 2017, although with some reservations.

“Concerning sections 130(2) and 148(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the Minister only alluded to the powers of the President. The NNPC GMD made it clear that he obtained the approval of the President on these transactions. If the President, as the senior Minister of Petroleum Resources, has exercised his constitutional powers, what else is the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources after?

“It should be noted that NNPC and its GMD are only following the standards put in place by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on Crude Oil Term Contracts and other transactions. NNPC is following the same rules which the Minister put in place. But the Minister is now criticising the same rules. The only thing that has changed is that Kachikwu is not the substantive GMD of NNPC again.’

“Nigerians need to know that the Minister (while he was the GMD of NNPC) wrote a memo to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to seek clarifications on the financial limit of NNPC Tenders Board. And the BPP put the limit at $20million. This is what the NNPC management has been adhering to.”

When contacted, a top source in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, who is in the position to know, said NNPC was lying.

The source said: “All of the above are lies. No official documentation backing this. This and possibly more to come are vain efforts to discredit Kachikwu and cover up the damning allegations he made.”

Published in Headliners

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the final forfeiture to the Federal Government of 56 houses situated in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja linked to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The value of the properties was put at 22 million dollars.

The forfeited properties include 21 mixed housing units of eight four-bedroom penthouse apartment, six three-bedroom apartments, two three-bedroom apartment and one four-bedroom apartment.

The properties located at 7, Thurnburn St., and 5, Raymond St., Yaba, are valued at N937 million and bought through Chapel Properties Ltd.

The 16 four-bedroom terrace located at Heritage Court Estate, Omerelu Street, Diobu GRA, Port Harcourt, River, valued at N928 million were bought through Blue Nile Estate Ltd.

Others are 13 units of 3-bedroom with one room maid’s quarter situated at Mabushi Gardens Estate, Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi, Abuja, valued at N650 million, were bought through Azinga Meadows Ltd.

Also, the A six flats of three-bedroom and one boys quarter located at Plot 808 (135), Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, valued at N805 million were bought for the ex-minister through Vistapoint property Development Ltd.

The forfeiture order followed a motion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking the permanent forfeiture of the properties.

The anti-graft agency while urging the court to grant the motion, argued that the properties sought to be attached “are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities”.

After listening to the submissions of EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Anselem Ozioko, Justice Abdulazeez Anka, granted the motion.

The judge noted that there was no response to the applicant’s motion on notice for final forfeiture by any of the respondents in spite of the fact that they were served with the hearing notice.

“I have gone through the affidavit attached to motion for final forfeiture as well as the submissions of the EFCC’s counsel, Mr Ozioko.

“The court has no option considering the incontrovertible evidence led by the EFCC than to grant the application.

“The motion for final forfeiture is accordingly granted as prayed. All parties have a right of appeal,” the judge ruled.

Joined as respondents in the suit are Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, Donald Chidi Amamgbo, Chapel Properties Ltd, Blue Nile Estate Ltd, Azinga Meadows Ltd, and Vistapoint Property Development Ltd. (NAN)

Published in Business and Economy
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