Friday, 03 December 2021

Items filtered by date: February 2021

By Abankula/ PM NEWS

Senior lawyer, Ndieonyema Nwankwo was found dead in his Owerri office on Sunday, a victim of a gruesome murder.

Sixty-four year-old Nwankwo, who was a former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association in the Imo state capital, was found, in a pool of blood, with machete cuts on his neck.

The police said they also found the machete used to attack the lawyer from Arochukwu, Abia state.

According to the account of Chinedu Agu, the NBA secretary in Owerri, Nwankwo had left his home for his office on Saturday, to work.

It was when he did not return home, that the family raised an alarm.

Imo State Police Public Relations Officer Orlando Ikeokwu, on Sunday, explained that when the command received the report of the murder, operatives were immediately deployed to Nwankwo’s office.

According to the PPRO, they met the lawyer’s lifeless body.

Ikeokwu noted that while taking a further look around the office, a machete with bloodstains, suspected to have been used in inflicting the cuts on him, was found on the floor.

He said it was also discovered that his car and other yet to be identified items were taken away.

The state Commissioner of Police, CP Nasiru Mohammed, has called for calm.

He has also ordered an investigation into the murder.

But the police may already have a clue to work on: Nwankwo’s driver, who took him to work in the vanished car, has not been seen.

Here is the narration by Chinedu Agu:

At about 8.15am today [Sunday] on my way to Church for 8.30am Mass, I received a call from the Chairman of the Bar, J.I Ogamba, Esq. detailing me to liaise with the former Secretary of the Bar, Ishmael Nkwocha Esq., to take Police to N.H Nwankwo & Co. at 43 School Road Owerri, to ascertain the safety of N.H Nwankwo, Esq. who left home for work yesterday Saturday the 6th day of February, 2021 and was yet to return from work.

However, earlier to the call, Ishmael Nkwocha, who shares same office space with him had, in response to frantic calls from his family members over the uncertainty of his whereabouts, gone to his office to meet same locked. On opening the Entrance door, he met Nwankwo’s main office locked and with traces of blood on the door to his (Nwankwo’s) office.

Not very sure of the situation he went to the Homicide Section of the State CID, going with him Forensic Experts from the Police Headquarters to the office to have it properly opened by themselves in order not to contaminate evidential materials.

When the forensic experts arrived at 9:56hrs with their gadgets, they opened the door only for us to find his bulky frame lying lifeless inside his office in a pool of his congealed blood.

On a closer inspection, Nwankwo appeared to have been savagely macheted by his Assailant, as a very gaping cut was seen on his neck, a monstrous cut of not less than of about 30cm with only about less than 50percent of the flesh in his neck region holding the head.

On a closer inspection, Nwankwo appeared to have been savagely macheted by his Assailant, as a very gaping cut was seen on his neck, a monstrous cut of not less than of about 30cm with only about less than 50percent of the flesh in his neck region holding the head.

Blood splashes were seen on the roof, fans, Printer, Computers, table, files, seats, books, bookshelves inside his office suggestive of a ferocious macheting of his neck.

Nwankwo was suspected to have been busy working as his Printer, Computer, Standing Fan were on while a writing pad containing jottings unrelated to this incident and a Pen were found on his Desk.

A bucket of water was seen in his office, with which the assailant must have washed his hands and Machete used in this act.

A search of the office revealed a machete abandoned inside the Toilet of his office with which the assailant was suspected to have used to cut his neck.

When his body which lay half prostrate was turned machete cuts were seen on his Wrist also and the footprints captured by forensic experts suggested the act was done by two persons as the two footprints were unidentical.

As at the time of this Provisional report, Forensic Experts are still gathering evidential materials for their use accompanied by myself, L.C Ugorji, Uche Osuji, Ishmael Nkwocha, J.I Ogamba, D.O Nosike and a host of other Lawyers.

Meanwhile, his Driver, who reportedly was the only person with him in the office on Saturday, is at the time of this report at large, with Nwankwo’s phones, and Car no where to be found.

Arrangement has just been concluded to take the lifeless body to the Morgue.

This is one death too many; one murder too savage!

Published in News & Stories

By Samuel Oamen/ THE NATION

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reacted to condemnations trailing the directive to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to desist from transacting in Cryptocurrencies.

In a statement on Sunday, Osita Nwanisobi, Acting Director, Corporate Communications, clarified that the CBN circular of February 5, 2021 did not place any new restrictions on cryptocurrencies.

He recalled that all banks in the country had earlier been forbidden, through CBN’s circular dated January 12, 2017, not to use, hold, trade and/or transact in cryptocurrencies.

Nwanisobi noted that the CBN’s position on cryptocurrencies is not an outlier as many countries, central banks, international financial institutions, and distinguished investors and economists have also warned against its use.

He said China, Canada, Taiwan, Indonesia, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Bolivia, Kyrgyzstan, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iran, Bangladesh, Nepal and Cambodia have all placed certain level of restrictions on financial institutions facilitating cryptocurrency transactions.

CBN said in China, cryptocurrencies are completely banned and all exchanges closed as well.

Nwanisobi said even famed investor Warren Buffett has called cryptocurrencies “rat poison squared,” a “mirage,” and a “gambling device.”

“Mr. Buffett believes it is a “gambling device” given that they are mostly valuable because the person buying it does so, not as a means of payment; but in the hope they can sell it for even more than what they paid at some point.

During an online forum hosted by the Davos-based World Economic Forum few weeks ago, Andrew Bailey, the Governor of the Bank of England, highlighted the extreme price volatility of cryptocurrencies as one of the biggest flaws and explained that this flaw makes it impossible for them to be used as a lasting means of payment.

“It is not surprising he would take that position because, Bitcoin, the best-known cryptocurrency, hit a record high of $42,000 per unit on January 8, 2021, and sank as low as $28,800 about two weeks later. This is far greater volatility than is found with normal currencies.”

Nwanisobi said first, in light of the fact that they are issued by unregulated and unlicensed entities, their use in Nigeria goes against the key mandates of the CBN, as enshrined in the CBN Act (2007), as the issuer of legal tender in Nigeria.

In effect, the use of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria is a direct contravention of existing law.

He highlighted the critical between a Central Bank issued Digital Currency and cryptocurrencies, adding that as the names imply, while Central Banks can issue Digital Currencies, cryptocurrencies are issued by unknown and unregulated entities.

“Second, the very name and nature of “cryptocurrencies” suggests that its patrons and users value anonymity, obscurity, and concealment.

“The question that one may need to ask therefore is, why any entity would disguise its transactions if they were legal. It is on the basis of this opacity that cryptocurrencies have become well-suited for conducting many illegal activities including money laundering, terrorism financing, purchase of small arms and light weapons, and tax evasion.

“Indeed, many banks and investors who place a high value on reputation have been turned off from cryptocurrencies because of the damaging effects of the widespread use of cryptocurrencies for illegal activities.

“In fact, the role of cryptocurrencies in the purchase of hard and illegal drugs on the darknet website called “Silk Road” is well known. They have also been recent reports that cryptocurrencies have been used to finance terror plots, further damaging its image as a legitimate means of exchange.

“More also, repeated and recent evidence now suggests that some cryptocurrencies have become more widely used as speculative assets rather than as means of payment, thus explaining the significant volatility and variability in their prices. Because the total number of Bitcoins that would ever be issued is fixed (only 21 million will ever be created), new issuances are predetermined at a gradually decelerating pace.

“This limited supply has created a perverse incentive that encourages users to stockpile them in the hope that their prices rise. Unfortunately, with a conglomeration of desperate, disparate, and unregulated actors comes unprecedented price volatility that have threatened many sophisticated financial systems.

“In fact, the price of ether, one of the largest cryptocurrencies in the world, fell from US$320 to US$0.10 in June 2017. The price of Bitcoins has also suffered similar volatilities.

“Given that unlike Fiat money, which is accompanied by full faith and comfort of a country or Central Bank, cryptocurrencies do not have any intrinsic value and do not generate returns by themselves.

“When one buys a stock, say of a conglomerate in the Nigeria Stock Exchange, its price reflects the activity and production of that conglomerate and the value people place on their goods and/or services. This price may rise as the conglomerate produces better goods/services and probably gains greater market share.

“The reverse would be true if the conglomerate does not innovate to improve the quality of its goods/services. In other words, the price of that stock reflects market fundamentals.

“In contrast, cryptocurrencies do not have fundamentals and would never have fundamentals. Investors only buy in the hope that its use and acceptability will rise, thereby pushing up its demand and price.

“But since new versions of cryptocurrencies come on stream with new mathematical models, an infinite supply may someday crash the price to zero.”

CBN stressed that its actions are not in any way, shape or form inimical to the development of FinTech or a technology-driven payment system.

The apex bank said to the contrary, the Nigerian payment system has evolved significantly over the last decade, leapfrogging many of its counterparts in emerging, frontier and advanced economies propelled by reforms driven by the CBN.

The statement said this was evident from the variety of participants, products, channels, cutting-edge technology in the payments system.

CBN said the system was validated by the astronomical growth of volume/value of transactions and the fact that Nigeria is an investment destination of choice for international financial technology companies because of CBN’s policies that have created an enabling investment environment in the payments system.

Published in Business and Economy

Agency Report

As Nigeria shuts its doors, billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc drove Bitcoin toward mainstream acceptance on Monday after its disclosure it had purchased $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency.

Musk said the company would soon accept it as a form of payment.

The announcements, buried deep in Tesla’s 2020 annual report, drove a 10% surge in the world’s most widely-held cryptocurrency.

Investors anticipated other companies will soon join a list of firms that invest in or hold bitcoin including BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest asset manager, and payments companies Square and PayPal.

Elon Musk buys $1.5billion of bitcoin

Nigeria’s Central Bank last week warned banks to steer clear of the digital currency.

Musk has upended Wall Street over the last year and briefly became the world’s richest person as shares of Tesla surged nearly 500% to become the fifth most-valuable U.S. company, leaving other companies and investors eager to follow in his wake.

“If any lesser mortals had made the decision to put part of their balance sheet in Bitcoin, I don’t think it would have been taken seriously,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital LLC in New York.

READ ALSO BBNaija housemates rewarded with $500 worth Bitcoin

“But when the richest man in the world does it, everyone has to take a second look.”

The news sparked heavy trading in cryptocurrencies and caused exchanges like Coinbase, Gemini, Binance to experience technical issues, according to Coindesk here.

A well-known supporter of cryptocurrencies, Musk has weighed in regularly on the past month’s frenzy in retail investment, also driving up prices of the meme-based digital currency dogecoin and shares of U.S. video game chain GameStop.

He said a week ago that bitcoin was “on the verge” of being more widely accepted among investors, and in December asked if it was possible to do large transactions in the currency.

In late January, Musk changed the bio of his Twitter account, which has 46 million followers, to include #bitcoin.

Tesla said in a filing the decision was part of its broad investment policy as a company and was aimed at diversifying and maximizing its returns on cash, including holding gold.

READ ALSO Elon Musk overtakes Jeff Bezos as world’s wealthiest person

The report said it ended 2020 with $19.38 billion in cash and cash equivalents.

Gold jumped more than 1% Monday while ethereum, another cryptocurrency, surged to a record high.

LONG-TERM STORE OF VALUE?

Central banks remain skeptical of digital currencies, but analysts say the more real world uses appear for bitcoin, the more attractive it will prove as a long-term store of value.

Bitcoin surged more than 10% to a record high of $43,625 after Tesla’s disclosure.

“The argument for bitcoin is evolving. It used to be negative (reasons to buy) but suddenly there are positive reasons, and that’s why you see bitcoin at (new highs),” Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic advisor of Allianz, told CNBC.

Tesla is the latest company to add bitcoin to its corporate treasury, following similar moves by Square, the payments company led by Twitter Inc chief Jack Dorsey and U.S. software firm MicroStrategy Inc.

PayPal said in October that it would allow customers to buy, sell and hold bitcoin and other virtual coins using its online wallets. It remains to be seen whether bitcoin will see greater adoption as a form of payment, something that it has traditionally struggled to achieve.

READ ALSO Cow ranching business better than cryptocurrency – Adamu Garba

“If this becomes a trend in corporate treasuries the downside of staying on the sidelines will only become costlier over time,” said Maya Zehavi, a blockchain consultant.

Musk has also endorsed other cryptocurrencies. He gave dogecoin, the coin based on a popular internet meme, a shoutout on Twitter last week, sending its price to record highs over the weekend.

Dogecoin was created largely as a satirical critique of the 2013 crypto frenzy and is not taken as seriously as bitcoin or ethereum. It has almost doubled in value since Friday, hitting a record 8.71 cents, according to data on blockchain and cryptocurrency website Coindesk.

Published in Headliners

By Yusuf Alli, Abuja/ THE NATION

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has interrogated a former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, over alleged N300billion suspected slush cash.

The cash was suspected to have been laundered through a company’s account in a new generation bank.

It was gathered that the governor was alleged to have attempted to move the cash in the account.

But, the EFCC was silent on the identity of the company and the affected bank “in order not to jeopardise the investigation.”

A brief obtained last night stated: “Yari was invited and interrogated at the EFCC’s office in Lagos on Tuesday.”

“He made a statement based on preliminary findings and he was released on bail.

“All those connected with the suspicious attempt to move the N300billion will be invited too.”

Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said: “Ex-Governor Abdulaziz Yari was invited and quizzed in respect of an ongoing investigation. It is too early to give the details of the ongoing probe.”

Before this latest invitation, Yari has been under investigation on London-Paris Club refunds.

About $3million out of $86million was suspected to be paid to some slush accounts.

Published in Business and Economy

By Jethro Ibileke/Benin/ PM NEWS

Prince Denis Abuda, the US-based Nigerian, who was kidnapped at the weekend in Edo state has been found dead, five days after his abduction.

His decomposing body was found on Wednesday along the Benin-Auchi bypass

Abuda who hails from Fugar, Etsako central local area of the state, was the President America-Fugar Foundation.

It was gathered that he came home for the holidays and was traveling back through Benin to Lagos last Saturday, to board a flight back to USA on Sunday, when he was kidnapped alongside three others.

It was learnt that family members got to know of the kidnapping on Sunday after waiting endlessly for his arrival in Lagos.

The kidnappers were said to have demanded N10 million ransom after which a negotiated amount was paid.

It was gathered that after the ransom was paid only three of those abducted were released around 7pm while Abuda was killed by his abductors.

One of the released victims allegedly told the deceased family members that as they walked away in the bush, Abuda fell down and was killed by the kidnappers.

Calls made to the state police command spokesman, SP Chidi Nwanbuzor, for a reaction went unanswered.

Published in Headliners
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