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Ahmed Lawan, Festus Adedayo And The APC Mob By Reuben Abati

mar, 2019-06-25 20:47


Reuben Abati
Reuben Abati

Reuben Abati Paradigm Nigeria

Senator Ahmed Lawan is the incumbent Senate President of Nigeria, having won the election into that office, 79 -28, beating his rival, Senator Ali Ndume of the same ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Lawan was the anointed candidate of his party, the APC, but he worked hard to negotiate with and secure the support of other members of the Senate across party lines. He secured a bi-partisan victory in such a convincing manner that has caused turmoil in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s main opposition party. The PDP has since ordered an investigation into how its National Assembly members voted contrary to the party’s directives. The PDP must pursue that course with extreme caution in order not to shoot itself in the foot. But what has Ahmed Lawan done with his victory and what has been the fall-outs? 

Immediately after his declaration and inauguration as Senate President of the 9thNational Assembly on June 11, he and his equally “anointed” Deputy, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege went straight to the Aso Rock Presidential Villa to pay homage to President Muhammadu Buhari. When they got there, Ovie Omo-Agege whose role in the 8thNational Assembly was controversial, knelt down before the President as if he was in front of a demi-god. In Africa, some Presidents consolidate power so much in their persons, that people actually worship them. Ovie-Agege knelt down; Nigerians cried out in criticism. I didn’t join that needless outcry, because from the looks on Omo-Agege’s face, he came across like the kind of guy who would even have preferred to prostrate before the President, and if he was asked to jump up in the air, he would gladly have done so.  It is part of African culture to pay respects to elders, but a “Kabiyesi syndrome” as poet laureate Niyi  Osundare once put it, persists in Nigerian politics. Men and women of power are treated like monarchs and there is never a short supply of acolytes, relying on culture and custom, curtsying and genuflecting, masking what is in reality, opportunistic sycophancy.

Ahmed Lawan’s first act in office (his urgent and prompt visit to the Presidential Villa)  became an issue because he had promised that he would not run a rubber-stamp Senate, and that the 9thNational Assembly (the Senate President is the Chairman of the National Assembly) under his watch, while seeking a harmonious and qualitative relationship with the Executive arm of government, would act only strictly in the interest of the Nigerian people and in line with the legislature’s Constitutional mandate. Rushing off to go and “kiss” the President’s feet, just hours after being inaugurated didn’t send the right signals to an observant public. The newly elected Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives would soon follow in tow, but those ones at least allowed one or two days to pass. The dynamics of power in African democracies more or less subordinates one arm of government to the other, structurally and unjustifiably, but the sad part is how those who should ensure the integrity of spaces wilfully violate them.   

Shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was inaugurated for a second term on May 29, 2019, his first assignment in office was to jet off to Saudi Arabia for a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Barely 10 days before then, he was shown observing the Umrah (lesser hajj) in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. The incumbent Senate President, Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila have both followed in the President’s footsteps, visiting Saudi Arabia, either before or after their emergence as heads of the National Assembly.  The number of trips that have been made to Saudi Arabia by the Nigerian ruling elite, before, during and after the 2019 general elections deserves an independent and rigorous study of its own for all its connotations. These trips are not limited to religious observances, there have been reports of interactions with Saudi officials. Even Christian officials working for the Buhari administration have had to visit Saudi Arabia, decked in traditional Saudi garbs. For more than the reasons of spiritual pilgrimage, Saudi Arabia has always been Nigeria’s strategic partner, but the kind of Saudi Arabian sycophancy that the current government has been demonstrating is the most bizarre that I have seen. Our embassy in Saudi Arabia must be the busiest mission that we have. Were Saudi Arabia to allow dual citizenship, many of our political leaders would have since joined the queue to beg for Saudi citizenship. For now, they have just turned it into their second London and they go and return, and do not fail to flaunt the trips in our face. 

But whereas, we may cite the aforementioned illustrations as evidence of Senator Ahmed Lawan’s attempts to be like the boss, he eventually took a significant step to assert his independence and demonstrate that he has a mind of his own. The fact that he abandoned that attempt in the face of harassment and intimidation, indeed his cowardice in the face of pressure, and how that could well be a sad indication of what to expect, is the bigger point of this commentary. Six days ago, the Senate President Ahmed Lawan, unlike President Buhari, “hit the ground running” by announcing the appointment of his aides. President Buhari is yet to appoint any personal or official aides, his former aides continue to work for him by conduct in utter violation of Sections 151 and 171 of the Constitution. Lawan took the right step of announcing his aides. He retained three media aides who worked with his predecessor, Senator Bukola Saraki - Senate President of the 8thNational Assembly. These are Mohammed Isa, special assistant on media and publicity, Olu Onemola, special assistant on new media, and Tope Brown, special legislative assistant on photography. He retained another Saraki aide: Dr. Betty Okoroh. He further announced Dr. Festus Adedayo, former Special Adviser Media to former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu State) and Senator Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo State), and a journalist with the Nigerian Tribune newspapers as his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity. 

By retaining former aides of Senator Bukola Saraki, a former Senate President who had been declared persona non grata by the Presidency and the ruling APC, Lawan was obviously looking at continuity. He didn’t want to start his career as Senate President on a tabula rasa. It helps to have in place persons with institutional memory who may know where all the corpses in the office are buried. Part of the problem we have in the governance process in Nigeria is that every new person who assumes an office believes that the first thing to do is to get rid of staff who may have worked with the predecessor and who may still be loyal to that predecessor. Lawan took the moral high ground. He showed confidence by re-appointing some of the persons who worked with Bukola Saraki. Then, he chose as the head of his media team, a man who has been very critical of the Buhari administration and even of him. By Adedayo’s account himself, Lawan said he was looking for a man who could get the job done. Certainly, Festus Adedayo has the experience and the skills to deliver on the job. When I was approached about two years ago to provide a shortlist of persons who could act as spokesperson for a government agency, he was one of the top favourites on the short list that I submitted.  Festus Adedayo has the know-how, the intellectual heft, the street wisdom, the personality, and the courage to do a job that I consider, in retrospect, the most suicidal job in government. 

As things have turned out, Festus Adedayo’s appointment as Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to Senate President Ahmed Lawan became the latter’s first major test. An APC mob crawled out of the woods to demand that this was an unacceptable choice. Adedayo was accused of having written a series of anti-Buhari, anti-Lawan, and anti-APC articles in the Nigerian Tribune where he runs a column titled “Flickers” and also works as an editorial board member.  Social media herdsmen pursuing this line of argument created a #sackFestusAdedayo handle online and within 24 hours they were in everyone’s face urging that Festus Adedayo does not deserve to get such a high office in a government that he had consistently disparaged and under a President for whom he seems to have no respect. Passages from Festus Adedayo’s writings were copied, pasted and distributed. He was accused of trying to reap where he did not sow. Those who claimed they worked to ensure APC’s victory and Ahmed Lawan’s emergence as Senate President protested that they had been insulted and marginalized. 

They talked about the soup that they had prepared and now that the food was ready, it would be most unfair to invite an enemy to the table. Festus Adedayo was accused of having no shame, to have done so much damage condemning a party and a government, and to have the temerity to attend an interview for a job under the same government and believe that he could be allowed to take the job. He was labelled an enemy and an unprincipled person. He was asked to go and get a job from the PDP. “You can’t eat where you did not help to prepare the food”, they told him! The way the APC mob was talking about “soup”, “food”, and “juicy positions”, an outsider following the entire saga would think the Nigerian political arena is one big kitchen where Nigerians fight over food, soup and fruit juice, rather than a democracy.  There was so much talk about whose stomach should consume the food that the APC had prepared in Ahmed Lawan’s kitchen. We were even told that the APC has seasoned media managers who have worked and suffered and now that it is dinner-time, outsiders should be kept out. 

In less than 48 hours, there was a press statement relieving Festus Adedayo of his appointment. This must be one of the shortest-lived appointments in Nigeria since 1999. Senator Lawan acted too prematurely and cowardly. He succumbed to blackmail. He may have been intimidated by the fact that the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari also waded into the matter with a widely circulated tweet, but he should have restrained himself from rushing to judgement. He interviewed Festus Adedayo. He didn’t just appoint him without a prior check. To sack him so hurriedly just because of the harassment of the APC mob shows cowardice, lack of principles, and an abject moral stature. He says he will not be a rubber stamp Senate President. He has just rubber stamped the wish of the APC herdsmen on social media. So, if tomorrow an opposition candidate opposes an Executive motion on the floor of the Senate, and we have the APC Senate gang screaming, what he would he do?  A man who cannot stand by his own choice and principles is a weakling whose politics cannot be trusted. 

Senator Ahmed Lawan, who was brought to office on a bi-partisan basis must show greater confidence going forward. He must be the Senate President of all Nigerians not a Senate President that shakes and dithers when either the wife of the President or a frustrated APC mob sneezes. I have been told by a guest on The Morning Show – which I co-anchor on Arise News, Channel 416 on DSTV – (I will not mention the guest’s name because we intend to invite him again) that it would have been better if Festus Adedayo did not accept the appointment in the first place, and that persons in the public place should always stand by their own beliefs and not seek to benefit wherever there is food to be served. Festus Adedayo has already defended himself in characteristically sturdy and lyrical prose. But I told the fellow I hope the professional political class will also abide by the moral code that he prescribes. He merely repeated his position. 

It seems to me, overall, that the ruling APC is mismanaging its success by adopting in most cases a winner-takes-it-all attitude, sheer intolerance, post-election and the needless dictatorship of the APC Headquarters. The only exception to this rule is probably the Dapo Abiodun administration in Ogun State where after the election, all stakeholders have been invited to be part of an inclusive process instituted by Governor Abiodun. I am told, however, that he is also under pressure from the APC to keep “enemies” away from the “kitchen.” The situation is worse in Edo and Bauchi states where infantile politics, and ego-conflict are on full display over the inauguration of the State Houses of Assembly and the election of principal officers. The APC must be reminded that Nigeria belongs to all of us whatever creed we subscribe to. The prevalent Manichean interpretation of power: them vs. us; winners vs. losers belongs to the age of Thomas Hobbes. There was a time after the 2019 general elections that President Muhammadu Buhari talked about inclusion – but there has been nothing inclusive so far since he assumed office for a second time. It is dangerous that other levels of government are beginning to emulate and mutate the arrogance of the APC.  

When there is inclusion, the advantage is a no-brainer: when a so-called enemy is brought into the fold, he automatically becomes a friend, because clearly, there is no way a Festus Adedayo as spokesperson for Ahmed Lawan would have continued to criticize and condemn either Lawan’s Senate Presidency or the Federal Government. Nobody saw that or they thought it didn’t matter. Alimentary politics blocks vision and reason. Perhaps seeing how Adedayo has been treated, Olu Onemola, who used to work for Saraki, has rejected his re-appointment by Lawan. This is not a good sign- Lawan should note that. I urge Senator Ahmed Lawan to avoid this kind of situation in the future. Critics are not destroyers. They are also part of the national common project. Nobody should be subjected to an apartheid treatment or the politics of segregation just because they express a different opinion. Central to all of this is the failure to understand the difference between the job of a journalist and the job description of a spokesperson. I reserve the commentary on that subject for another occasion.  

Opinion AddThis :  Original Author :  Reuben Abati Disable advertisements : 

Internet Fraudster Forfeits N230 Million To Nigerian Government

mar, 2019-06-25 20:39


Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture of the sums of N210,287,697.45; N5,320,373.40; N15, 008,809.79 and $80.59 belonging to one Dehinbo Oluwatobi Reuben, an internet fraudster, to the federal government.

Justice Saliu Saidu gave the order on Tuesday at the hearing of the forfeiture application brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Saidu had, on May 16, 2019, ordered an interim forfeiture of the various sums of money, following an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

In granting the application, Justice Sai’du had ordered the applicant, the EFCC, to publish the interim forfeiture order in any national newspaper for the respondent, Reuben, or anyone who was interested in the money to show cause why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the government.

In compliance with the order of the court, the EFCC had published the interim forfeiture order in The Nation newspaper and subsequently filed a motion on notice dated June 19, 2019.

At today’s proceedings, the judge, upon hearing the applicant’s motion on notice, supporting affidavit and written address, ordered the final forfeiture of the various sums of money found by the anti-corruption in the various accounts of the respondent domiciled in Guaranty Trust Bank to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The respondent, a member of a syndicate of fraudsters who specialize in identity theft, wire fraud, and mail fraud, had been arrested following intelligence report received by the Commission.

Investigation revealed that the syndicate obtained the stolen Personal Identification Information of over 250,000 individuals in the US and used the details to file fraudulent Federal and State tax returns.

It was further revealed that the syndicate obtained monetary value on the fraudulent tax returns, using prepaid cards registered with the stolen information and third-party bank accounts.
 

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Emir Sanusi: Nigeria Is Bankrupt, We Must Face Reality

mar, 2019-06-25 20:34


Muhammad Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano, has raised the alarm over unfavourable economic policies leading the country to bankruptcy, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to remove the fraudulent subsidy regime. 

Sanusi, who was former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, made the revelation on Tuesday while speaking at the ongoing 3rd National Treasury Workshop organized by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation holding in Coronation Hall, Government House, Kano.

He said, “The country is bankrupt and we are heading for bankruptcy. What happened is that the federal government do pay petroleum subsidy, pay electricity tariff subsidy, and if there is a rise in interest rates, Federal Government pays.

“What is more life-threatening than the subsidy that we have to sacrifice education, health sector and infrastructure for us to have cheap petroleum.

“If truly President Buhari is fighting poverty, he should remove the risk on the national financial sector and stop the subsidy regime which is fraudulent.”

"Since I have decided to come here, you have to accept what I have said here. And please, if you do not want to hear the truth, never invite me.

“So let us talk about the state of public finance in Nigeria. We have a number of very difficult decisions that we must make, and we should face the reality. His Excellency, the President said in his inaugural speech that his government would like to lift 100 million people out of poverty, it was a speech that was well received not only in this country but the world-wide.

“The number of people living with poverty in Nigeria are frightening. By 2050, 85 percent of those living in extreme poverty in the world will be from the African continent. And Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo will take the lead.

“Two days ago, I read that the percentage of the government's revenue going to debt services has risen to 70 percent.

“And then, you continue subsidizing petroleum products; and spending N1.5 trillion per annum on petroleum subsidy. And then we are subsidizing electricity tariff. And maybe, you have to borrow from the capital market or the Central Bank of Nigeria to service the shortfall in the electricity tariff, where is the money to pay salaries, where is the money for education, where other government projects."

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AMCON Seals Off Victory Park Estate In Lagos

mar, 2019-06-25 20:09



Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on Tuesday sealed Victory Park Estate at Lekki, Lagos, in the enforcement of a court judgment issued by a Federal High Court in Ikoyi.

AMCON is taking possession of the luxurious estate having been used as collateral in multiple banks by its owners.

AMCON had earlier notified residents of the estate of the court judgment and its plan to take possession.

The statement sent to the residents read: “AMCON hereby notifies all Occupiers, Residents and all persons laying claim to any portion of land comprised within the Victory Park Estate, Lekki, Lagos that on 3rd June 2019, the Court of Appeal (Lagos Division) in the Appeal No: CA/L/146/18 dismissed the appeal filed by Rev Olajide Awosedo against the Judgment of the Federal High Court delivered on 3rd October 2017 in the Suit No: FHC/L/CS/744/17 – Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria v. Knight Rook Limited & Ors, by which a judgment sum of c. N12,966,510,191.00 (Twelve Billion, Nine Hundred and Sixty-Six Million, Five Hundred and Ten Thousand, One Hundred and Ninety-One Naira) was cumulatively awarded in favour of AMCON against Knight Rook Limited, Grant Properties Limited, Rev Olajide Awosedo, Olawunmi Olajide-Awosedo, Abimbola Olajide-Awosedo and Fibigboye Estates Limited, which Judgment also specifically foreclosed the Defendants’ right to the assets of Knight Rook Limited comprised within Victory Park Estate, Lekki, Lagos, among other assets, in satisfaction of the Judgment, which Judgment has been executed by AMCON.” 

The Statement further directed all persons affected by the Judgment and enforcement to contact AMCON through its Solicitors or its Receiver/Manager. 

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Ilicit Drugs Make Herdsmen Invade Farms, Destroy Crops, NDLEA Boss Abdallah Claims

mar, 2019-06-25 20:02


The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has attributed the consumption of illicit drugs by herdsmen as a reason nomads invade farms and destroy crops.

Armed herdsmen are reportedly responsible for 3,094 deaths in Nigeria since 2018.

Col. Muhammed Abdallah (rtd), NDLEA Chairman said at the agency’s sensitization campaign in Abaji Area Council of the FCT on Tuesday that ignorance on the part of the herdsmen led to the consumption of drugs.

He said, “Our decision to embrace you as a target group is for the simple fact that you constitute a larger percentage of the population, coupled with the fact that the food security of the nation rests squarely on the shoulder of farmers. We need to create a critical mass from the farmers and hunters by increasing their stake in the Drug-Free Nigeria Project.

“It is in furtherance of the Agency’s all-inclusive and shared responsibility approach to curbing the drug menace.

“We in drug control are concerned about the high rate of drug abuse among farmers, hunters and herdsmen, a development that has often diminished their productivity and has negatively affected their health and life span. Study has revealed that ignorance of the grim implications of drug abuse has led farmers and hunters  into believing that drugs can energize them to withstand the stress of their work whereas reverse is the case.

“The implication of the unfortunate involvement of farmers, hunters and herders in drug abuse is enormous. Some researchers have attributed the persistent clash between farmers and herders to drug abuse. 

"For instance, under the influence of drugs herders lose control of their stock which often invade farms to destroy crops. The resultant effect is the bloody feud between the parties. Cattle equally become very aggressive when given certain drugs to make them strong to cover distances and in the process they invade farms."

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Drug Abuse Education In Nigerian Schools Not Enough To Help Teenagers, Says Group

mar, 2019-06-25 19:26


A group, Reclaiming Futures in Northern Nigeria (REFINN), has said drug abuse education in Nigerian Schools is not sufficient to help teenagers who are most vulnerable to the scourge. 

The group, which is a project of four alumni of the United States-sponsored International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP), made the revelation after a one-week training workshop in Kaduna state.

The workshop, according to McBishop Ogueji, coordinator of the project, is a preventive education programme to equip the teenagers with life skills required to deal with their vulnerabilities and avoid turning to drugs. 

Experiences

Some students who participated in the workshop spoke on their exposure to the subject of drug abuse.

Sharing her experience, Stella Danjuma, a final-year student of Government Girls Secondary School, Kabala Costain, said she had never heard about the names of drugs commonly abused by youths and what the drugs do to the human body. 

She revealed that her school talks generally to the students on drug abuse occasionally during assembly time in the morning before classes begin.

Her counterpart at De Victory International School, Abubakar Kigo Road, Anaekwe Kenneth, said the school teaches drug abuse as part of Basic Science in the junior secondary school. 

“But we’ve never heard about the names of these drugs and their effects on the body, especially the brain,” he said. 

REFINN noted that none of the 80 senior secondary school students selected from different schools in the state capital could explain properly the negative effects of drug abuse. 

And while most of them could define drug abuse, they had no clue about addiction and the dangers it poses, or how to fight motivation for drug use. 

The group which is sponsored by the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund of the US Department of State with support from the US Embassy in Nigeria called on stakeholders to do more in ensuring drug abuse education in all Nigerian Schools.

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Rape Of 2-year-old: Court Sends Chrisland Supervisor Back To Prison

mar, 2019-06-25 19:17


Justice Sybil Nwaka of the Special Offences Court Ikeja, Lagos has revoked the bail granted to Adegboyega Adenekan, a supervisor at Chrisland School, VGC, Lekki, Lagos.

Adegboyega was accused of defiling a two-year-old pupil of the school. 

The little child gave a detailed description of how Adegboyega had defiled her.

The 47-year-old supervisor was arraigned before the Court in January 2018. 

According to Titilayo Shitta-Bey, the state Director of Public Prosecution, the defendant committed the crime in November 2016.

The child had given a detailed description of how Adegboyega had defiled her in an interview with Adenike Ayanleye, the Police investigative officer in charge of the case. The police officer told the court: "The child took us upstairs to the defendant's office. She identified his seat out of three seats in the room and she identified the restroom in the office where the said incident happened." 

In a video clip of the interview he had with the child shown to the court, the little girl said the supervisor put his "wee wee" in her "wee wee" two times.

However, Adeola Adebola, Deputy Headteacher of Chrisland School, said the mother tutored the 2-year-old on what to say. 

She claimed that when the school interrogated the child, she took them to open space where such action could not have happened. 

“When we got to the place where we have our assembly, she said, 'This is the place'. "Her mother was visibly embarrassed and we were shocked. The mother said to her that there was another place she told her, and the girl looked at her and started walking toward the canteen area. We got there and it is a more open place, and the child said, 'This is the place', and her mother got more jittery. These areas the child showed us are open and very busy with people going out and coming in,” Adebola said at the time.

However, when the case came up for hearing on Tuesday, the presiding judge revoked Adenekan's bail just as he concluded giving his testimony against the allegations levelled against him. 

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Nigerian Banks Lost $175 Million In Value Since Last Capitalisation –Central Bank Of Nigeria

mar, 2019-06-25 17:40


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the minimum value of Nigerian banks have dropped from $250 million, at an exchange rate of N100 to $1, during the recapitalization from N2 billion to N25 billion in 2005 to today’s rate of N305 to $1.

Speaking at a strategy meeting for his next run of five years as Nigeria's central bank governor, Godwin Emefiele claimed that Nigerian banks had lost $3.5 billion, making another revaluation of the country’s commercial money lenders necessary.

Besides the planned revaluation, the CBN said it would seek to achieve a single-digit inflation rate by reducing the price of agricultural commodities while extending more credit lines to Nigerian entrepreneurs.

“If you relate N25b billion with 2004 exchange rate which was about N100 (to $1), N25 billion was about $250 million. Today, if you relate N25 billion at N360 (to $1) you will see that it is substantially lower than $75 million,” the CBN governor said.

“In the next five years, we intend to pursue a programme of recapitalizing the banking industry so as to position Nigerian banks among the top 500 in the world. Banks will, therefore, be required to maintain a higher level of capital, as well as liquid assets in order to reduce the impact of an economic crisis.”

In giving weight to the need for a revaluation, according to the central bank, Nigerian money deposit banks badly need to be able to finance large transactions.

“Recall that it was Governor (Chukwuma) Soludo in 2004 that did the last recapitalization we had. He moved the capitalisation from N2bn to N25bn. And I must commend those efforts because it resulted in positioning Nigerian banks not only in Africa but among the top banks in the world in terms of capitalization," Emefiele stated.

“We are confident that when implemented, these measures will help to insulate our economy from potential shocks in the global economy.

“In my second term in office, part of my pledge is to work to the best of my abilities in fulfilling these objectives.”

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A Tribune At The People’s Tribunal By Ifedayo Babalola

mar, 2019-06-25 15:56


‘How are you keeping these days? It’s been quite a while.’ Lanky queries as his stocky pal sinks in the semi-cushioned chair opposite.

‘Acting out all my security tips, bro….. Don’t talk to strangers, stay away from animals, don’t stay out beyond 5pm, inform no one of your movements, inform ten people of your movements at all times……bal bla bla….You know the whole works.’

‘Good boy, good boy-‘ Lanky nods

‘They can’t silence us!’ Shorty explodes. 

‘They can’t cage us! It’s a free country. They can’t tie us down!’

Silence. Lanky is unsurprised at his friend’s outburst. They sip from half-filled cups.

‘That reminds me.’ Says Lanky with a stolid face. ‘We have missed matters of national importance. Do you know they have been trying to silence some important personalities?’

‘You mean our tribune? A fighter for better society and defender of the plebeians of the earth?’

‘You are right on the money, buddy. The man with the mighty pen.’

‘They can’t silence him, they dare not. We, the people, won’t let them. Otherwise, we are all lost.’ Shorty declared.

‘Methinks though that the plebeians of this nation missed an opportunity to have them represented at the highest level by the incorruptible tribune.’

‘Third to the highest level, you mean?’

‘Fourth, actually-‘

‘Whatever..’

Shorty called for a bottle of Alomo. 

‘He did not want the job anyway,’ He sneezed dismissively.

‘That’s what he went to tell the senator at the interview?’

‘He attended an interview? I thought he was consulting with friends and family…you know, …to determine if to accept or reject–‘

‘He attended and performed excellently. Brilliant man. I’m proud of him.’

‘Yeah…… But I’m confused.’ Shorty frowns. 

‘No one attends and performs well at a job interview they don’t want…unless he went there simply to see what kind of man The Senate President is. I hear he is full of praises for the seasoned senator.’

‘Typical of his tribe, you see?’

‘What is, you tribalist?!’

‘I mean no harm.’ Lanky said defensively, both palms laid forward to prove his mind was clean. ‘I mean spokespersonship for men in power is the stock in trade of his tribe. Remember the big uncle of Babangida era?’

‘Yeah. History.’

‘Then there was The Guardian Angel?’

‘Yeah. History book 2

‘Ok. How about this for current affairs….. Mr. Your Land  or Your Life?’

‘Alright! Alright! Point of correction. His tribesmen are masters of spokespersonship for and against men in power.’

‘Well. The ”against” bit always precedes the appointment, or should I say cultivates the appointment, and ends with the appointment.’

‘Take it or leave it. They were all seasoned professionals.’ Shorty continues his defense of the tribune’s tribe.

‘I suppose so, and I suppose no seasoning is ever complete till one’s been garnished at Abuja. It’s the final transfiguration, the ultimate silencer.’

‘That’s so uncharitable, you incurable cynic! It’s unfair. Imagine if you have fought for a people all your life, yet starved yourself the ownership of political party membership cards.’

‘No party card, but ready to work with every party. Great sacrifice, I should say.’ Lanky said with a cynical smile.

‘Yeah. Keeping his options open. What’s wrong with that, eh?’

‘Oh yeah? Is the bat a bird or a rat?’

‘A cat it is, Mr Wise.’

‘You siddon dia.’

Shorty swallows a big gulp and looks thoughtful for a while. ‘ You know what?’

‘No. I don’t know.’

‘I can murder some seasoned beef right now, except our tribune would have none of that. In fact, I’ve been boycotting beef since I read one of his powerful essays. That’s another reason we won’t let him go to Abuja. How will we know what he’s being served over there, hmmm? Abuja ke? The suya capital of the world. Home to twenty-four-hour barbeque, seasoning and garnishing. No prophet will put me on a dry fast and jet off to Las Vegas. No! We’ll stay here together and boycott all boycottables!’

‘Calm down, mate. He is not here to witness you breaking fast. As for me, my lips are sealed. You can take some orisirisi pepper soup, if you want. The shaki, liver and intestine are no cow beef anyway.’

‘You may be right, but I’ll  take a bite only because your wish is my command.’

Laughs.

Lanky calls for two plates of orisirisi pepper soup and two more bottles of their favourite drink.

‘I still believe in him though, whatever you say.’ Shorty mumbles through a mouthful of bovine entrails. ‘He is a man of the people, a tribune for the plebeians. That’s why we, his teeming fans, stopped him from going. Thrice beaten, a million times shy. Once we prevented him from taking the job, that translates he doesn’t want the job. Same thing.’

‘We can’t silence him then?’

‘No. They can’t!’

‘Power to party then.’

‘No. Power to the people.’

‘Yeah, buddy. Power to the party people!’

(Ifedayo Babalola, satirist and social commentator can be reached at ifebabs@hotmail.com).
 

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Boko Haram Attacks Borno Again: Three Terrorists Killed, Two Soldiers Wounded

mar, 2019-06-25 15:49


At least seven people were killed including three terrorists while two soldiers sustained varying degrees of injuries when Boko Haram terrorist clashed with troops in Borno state Monday night, a security source said.

The attack happened in Mafa headquarters, Mafa local government area of Borno state around 1830hrs on Monday evening, killing a soldier and destroying many houses.

According to the security source both the attackers and troops recorded casualties, although the troops killed three terrorists and seized one of their utility vehicles and motorcycles.

"The troops response swiftly to the attackers, when attacking our troops in Mafa yesterday, they suffered some causality three bodies of attackers found and many of them fled with gun wounds. One Hilux van and two motorcycles were recovered by the troops.

"Unfortunately three civilians and a soldier lost their lives and two soldiers were seriously wounded in the attacks. Two trucks belong troops was by the attackers," the source said.

Similarly, there was another attack at Kareto in Mobar local government area of the state, the gallant troops successfully repelled the attacks.

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Insecurity And The Presidential Imprecation Of Necessity By Raymond Oise-Oghaede

mar, 2019-06-25 15:04


The spate of insecurity in some parts of Nigeria is of great concern to every well meaning citizens and well wishers of our country. 

The menace has persisted despite the efforts of our combative security agencies in ensuring that same is put under control.

Recently, the perpetrators confirmed that they are still very much on ground with the suicide attack that claimed the lives of about 30 people in Mandarari in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno state. 

In his reaction, the President declared that those who perpetrated the act would be “punished by God”. This “presidential imprecation” is very necessary considering the fact that the inhuman act is setting the country backwards and pushing it to the brink of collapse. 

As it is, Mr. President is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and he is expected to ensure the security of lives and properties within the territories of the country; and as such, the buck stops on his desk.

In this circumstance, you will agree with me that placing a `curse` on these killers in our nation is not out place. However, after a holistic study of the situation.

I am of the opinion that this imprecation (curse) should also be extended to those who have directly or indirectly contributed and or are still contributing to this precarious situation in the polity.

People are quick to notice the condemnable activities of these insurgents/terrorists because they are `usually loud and open', unlike the atrocities committed by the actions and inactions of some undesirable elements in our society. 

The casualty figures of the former are very minimal (despite their loudness) compared to the (silent and unnoticed) number of people that are wasted on daily basis as a result of the activities of the later.

In my recent article titled “the real enemies of our nation”, I delved extensively into the numerous ills bedeviling our country and the roles played by these undesirable elements. Needless to say that people are dying in droves as a result of hunger, lack of affordable medical facilities, accidents caused by deplorable states of our roads; high rate of robbery and other criminal activities occasioned by increasing rate of unemployment, electoral violence, and communal clashes in various parts of the country to mention but a few. 

As we speak, some people are currently spreading hatred and derogatory posts that tended to promote disunity in the polity on social media and other platforms.

They are very good at rebroadcasting news that are inimical to some groups and interests in the society; they give deceptive impression that they have the interests of the people and the government at heart while in actual fact they are pursuing self serving ambitions by their unguided and unreasonable postulations. 

This promotion of hatred has caused disaffection and disunity in the country and that is the major reason why insecurity has persisted. If that be the case, the people in this category are also entitled to share in the presidential imprecation (curse) because their activities have directly and or indirectly led to killings across the country. 

The same should also apply to those who are involved in bringing-in these sophisticated weapons illegally into the country and making them available to the end users. Furthermore, those that are aiding and abetting the activities of these terrorists in other secret form(s) will also not escape the punishment of God. 

However, in as much as this imprecation is necessary because of the pains the activities of these evil perpetrators are bringing upon innocent people in the society; there is need for all hands to be on deck towards ensuring that peace returns to every parts of the polity. 

The people in government should also have it at the back of their minds that this curse is no respecter of anybody no matter their positions in the society as long as it has to do with insecurity of lives and properties.

Thus, they are also advised in their own interest to perform their functions appropriately and accordingly to escape the effects or consequences of not doing the right things at the right time.

Consequently, the people in charge of our borders should sit up and ensure that the porosity is put in check. If arms continue to infiltrate into the country and get to wrong hands; killings will continue unabated. 

The people in charge of putting our roads in order should do the needful to curtail `avoidable accidents` which are claiming hundreds of lives on daily basis. 

Also, those in charge of ensuring that our hospitals are equipped and made affordable for the use of the masses do the right things to prevent untimely and unwarranted deaths. 

The people in charge of our military formations should ensure that their officers and men are duly equipped with up to date weaponry to enable them carry out their duties effectively.

Those that are entrusted with conducting free, fair and credible elections should be firm and apolitical in the discharge of their assigned responsibilities to forestall violence and killings as a result of process manipulations. 

The law enforcement agencies should also ensure that they carry out their duties professionally and avoid being used as instruments of destructions in the hands of unscrupulous politicians who are bent on attaining or holding unto power by hook or by crook without minding wasting of precious lives in the process. 

Our political leaders should be mindful of their utterances to avoid `careless statements` that could sow a seed of discords in the minds of the citizenry; associates and close allies who have the listening ears of our leaders should also endeavour to let them realize that the unfriendliness of the economic situations in the country is also pushing some of our youths into criminalities while some others are meeting their untimely deaths in the Mediterranean sea and the deserts. 

From the aforesaid, you will agree with me that this `imprecation of necessity` will travel far and wide considering the enormity of the people that are directly and indirectly responsible for the insecurity of the lives and properties of the citizenry. 

So, the issue is not only about the suicide bombers and the insurgents; it also concerns other saboteurs of our collective interests as a nation. 

Thus, before God eventually punishes the perpetrators (unless they quickly retrace their steps and stop the menace), we also have to play our parts towards ensuring that orderliness returns to every parts of the country. 

We must all come together and rise above ethnic, religious and partisan differences to fight all identified areas responsible for insecurity in our nation. 

As the popular adage says, “if the wall is not cracked, the lizard cannot penetrate it”. The same thing applies to us as a people because, if there is no disunity, perpetrators of criminalities will find it difficult and almost impossible to carry out their nefarious activities. 

So, now that the local government areas have been empowered to function independently; the administrators/chairmen should give topmost priority to the security of their territories. 

They should liaise with the traditional institutions and other stakeholders to have first hand information about happenings in their domains with the aim of ensuring that there are no threats to the security of the lives and properties of the people. The perpetrators are human and some of them live amongst us. 

We should identify them at the grass-roots level and exposed them for the law to take its course. If this arrangement is put in place, it will surely pave ways for the attainment of the much desired peace and tranquillity in our nation.

“Let us play our roles appropriately and accordingly to escape the punishment of God."
Thanks. 
RAYMOND OISE-OGHAEDE,

PUBLIC POLICY ANALYST/COMMENTATOR, 
SURU-LERE, LAGOS. 
08023116867 and 08099405562

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How Obafemi Awolowo University Is Neglecting Security Of Students By Peter Oyebanji

mar, 2019-06-25 14:59


OAU

OAU

Students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state, residing outside the campus of the university have been battling a high level of insecurity since late last year and the University's management has reiterated several times that they will not involve in security issues that are not within the campus.

The recent trend of insecurity started when Adam and Eve, a hostel along Ibadan road was attacked in the wee hours of December 22, 2018. 

The attack which led to the loss of a student of the university, Abiodun Babatola, has been followed by more than a dozen of attacks marked with loss of properties and extreme injuries carried out with cutlasses and machetes.

In an attack that occured in May, occupants of the hostel mostly students of the university were threatened with acid. 

The May attack led to loss of over four phones and a significant amount of money. Series of attacks have also occurred in various hostels along Ibadan road. 

Students' properties that have been lost to these attacks aren't known but it was confirmed that over 30 electronic devices have been carted away since the start of these attacks.

The school management is insisting that insecurity outside the campus is not within their jurisdiction. 

Earlier in April when this correspondent contacted the university spokesperson, Mr. Abiodun Olanrewaju after a recent attack in Oduduwa estate - an area widely occupied by OAU students said, "Is Oduduwa estate on campus? If it's not part of the campus, you can't expect the school security to be there." 

Also recently, the Chief Security Officer of the university, Babatunde Oyatokun, stated in a short interview with a campus news agency that the school security team cannot interfere in security issues concerning OAU students outside the campus.

"Whatever happens outside the campus is outside my jurisdiction. It is purely for the external security agencies. So it’s the Area commander and other security agencies that are working outside the campus that can answer to that."

Meanwhile, after the first robbery in December, Funsho Adegboye, Ile-Ife area commander, told the Students' Union Action Committee of the university that the police can not secure all OAU students living outside the campus area unless the university authority consented to their proposal. 

"Looking at the trend, from our quarters, we've written several proposals to the university authority to build more hostels on campus to ensure the security of students. Because from the statistics we have, there are over 33,000 students with only 9,000 students living inside campus while the remaining 25,000 students are scattered all over different axis in Ile-ife," he stated.

He added, "Even if the whole police force in Ile-Ife is deployed, the number isn't enough to guarantee the security of 25,000 students, especially considering the fact that students are dispersed all over the locations in Ile-ife. 

"Some would be in Opa, some would be in Modakeke, and this makes it difficult. We have told the university authority that it is easier for us to secure a centralised people than people who are scattered all over."

In a data analysis carried out by OAU Kilonshele, a campus news agency, it was discovered that over 72 percent of the university's undergraduate do not live on campus. 

The analysis which was published in 2018 after the university adopted a new accommodation policy which led to a significant decrease in the number of occupants residing on campus, revealed that 18,928 out of over 26,000 students reside outside the school premises. 

Students have been urging the school management to build more hostels but the response has been "we can't give what we don't have," meaning that the institution does not have funds to build more hostels.

The presence of the Federal Government Special Anti-Robbery Squad and State Security Service agents recently increased significantly. 

However, the increase in armed security agents has piled up the problems as the FSARS agents are concentrating on students believed to be cybercriminals (Yahoo boys).

Since the beginning of June, more than seven hostels had been busted by the FSARS agents. 

Speaking with victims and witnesses of the FSARS activities, it was gathered that the agents arrested some students without charge, only to free them after they had been extorted.

A 300-level student of the institution, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, revealed how the FSARS operations was carried out.

 "The operation has been specific. They storm into a hostel and walk directly to the door of their target. They have the information of the people they want to arrest. They just arrest you and free you after you've fulfilled their demands," the student explained.

When the Cheif Security Officer, Babatunde Oyatokun, was contacted, he claimed that he was not aware of the FSARS activities against the students of the university outside the campus. 

"I don't have information as regards the attack outside the campus but I have information that when there is any problem, I can invite the FSARS to come to our rescue. Other things, I don't know," he said.

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N4.6 Billion Fraud: Fani-Kayode Begs Court To Ignore Statement To EFCC But Judge Rules Against Him

mar, 2019-06-25 13:54


The federal high court Ikoyi, Lagos has ruled against the ea of Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister of aviation, asking the court to ignore the statement he offered to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Ridean Aikawa ruled against Fani-Kayode on Monday during the hearing of the N4.6 billion money laundering case preferred against him by the anti-graft agency.

Fani-Kayode had distanced himself from the statements and urged the court not to admit them in evidence.

Fani-Kayode, who was the director of publicity to the Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation in 2015, is being tried alongside Nenadi Usman, former Minister of State for Finance, Yusuf Danjuma, a former council chairman, and Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Limited.

The other defendants alongside Fai-Kayode also disowned their statements.

In their argument before Justice Aikawa, lawyers to the defence, Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), Norrison Quakers (SAN) and Clement Onwuenwuenor, prayed the court to issue an order for a trial-within-trial, to test the voluntariness of the statements.

Opposing this plea, Rotimi Oyedepo, lawyer to the EFCC, insisted that the statements were voluntarily made, adding that there was no need for a trial-within-trial.

Justice Aikawa agreed with Oyedepo. He held that a trial-within-trial is only necessary where a statement sought to be admitted “is manifestly confessional".

“In the present case, none of the statements is confessional. A trial-within-trial is therefore unnecessary,” Justice Aikawa said.

The judge also insisted that the statements complied with the provisions of Section 17 (1) and (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), which provides that someone must be present to witness a statement.

The anti-graft agency had accused Fani-Kayode and others of violating the Money Laundering Act by indirectly retaining N300 million, N400 million, and N800 million, all proceeds of corruption.

Count one of the charge read: “That you, Nenadi Esther Usman, Femi Fani-Kayode, Danjuman Yusuf and Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Ltd on or about the 8th day of January, 2015, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to indirectly retain the sum of N1,500,000,000.00 which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing.”

Also, Fani-Kayode was accused of making a cash transaction of N24million with one Olubode Oke, said to still be at large, on February 12, 2015 “to Paste Poster Company of 125, Lewis Street, Lagos Island,” contrary to the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

But the defendants argued before Justice Aikawa that they are not guilty.

The matter was adjourned until July 4.

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Nigerian Government Launches Hunt For ‘Corpers’ Who Absconded With Over N22 Million Loans

mar, 2019-06-25 12:40


The National Youth Service Corps Foundation is searching for about 75 corps members who took between N300,000 and N400,000 loans to start small businesses but refused to pay after about four years.

The defaulting corps members, who have now passed out, used their certificates as collateral, which was the only condition to access the loans.

Our correspondent learnt the corps members had abandoned their certificates with the foundation for almost four years.

The NYSC Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Bako Ventim, confirmed this to PUNCH during the opening of Skills’ Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development workshop at the NYSC Orientation Camp in Kubwa, Abuja.

The foundation was in the camp to donate 10 sewing machines to the camp for SAED training.

The director said, “We have been providing loans to corps members and our interest rate is one digit. There is no collateral except the NYSC certificate and two guarantors. We make the conditions very flexible so that the corps members can benefit from these loans.

“We have a challenge where corps members have refused to pay back the loans. We have over 100 corps members who took the loans but some of them have not paid back and we still have their NYSC certificates with us. They have not come to claim these certificates for a number of years.

“We give as much as between N300,000 and N400,000 depending on the business proposals. From the records, we have over 75 corps members that have defaulted and we are pursuing them.”

 Meanwhile, the NYSC medical corps in Borno State on Monday protested non-payment of allowances promised by the state government.

The Batch B NYSC members, who gathered at the Borno State Government House in Maiduguri, told journalists they had not been paid for four months.

 One of them, Cornelius Azi, said, “Often times, we work extra hours due to a shortage of medical personnel in the state health facilities. We have explored all alternative ways of dispute resolution but they haven’t yielded results. We appeal to the government to honour its promise.”

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Alhaji Mustapha Alau, who later addressed journalists, said the governor had already directed the ministry of finance to pay the corps members.

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UK Property Worth About N140 Million Recovered From Alleged Nigerian Drug Dealer, Fraudster

mar, 2019-06-25 12:16


A flat in Dagenham has been recovered as part of a National Crime Agency civil recovery investigation into a man believed to be a drug dealer and fraudster.

Mkpa Oju Uka, aged 50, from Essex, claimed the flat, worth around £310,000, had been bought with the profits of a second-hand clothes business, but investigators alleged it was paid for using the proceeds of drug sales and mortgage fraud.

The claim, which was brought back in April 2018, has taken more than a year to resolve due to Uka repeatedly using delaying tactics, such as not complying with court directions, to hinder the progress of the case.

A court order was obtained last week at a hearing in the High Court before the Hon. Mr. Justice Jay to recover the flat under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The NCA is seeking to recover a second property linked to this case later this year.

Andy Lewis, Head of Asset Denial at the NCA, said: “The defendant thought that delaying tactics would stop us pursuing this case, but we were persistent and in the end successful in recovering property we believe was obtained as a result of criminal activity.

“We will continue our work to identify and prosecute those linked to economic and financial crime, and take away their illicit assets using all the tools available to us.”

Sarah Pritchard, Director of the National Economic Crime Centre said: “This is a great result and demonstrates our firm commitment to tackling illicit finance in the UK.

“We will continue to target wealth we believe has been illegally obtained regardless of where and how it is hidden.”

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UK Police Hunt For Fleeing Nigerian, Anthony Oshodi, Convicted In £3 Million Fraud Case

mar, 2019-06-25 12:06


Five men have been sentenced after hacking into an e-mail account and attempting to steal more than £3 million from a London businessman.

All five suspects were convicted at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday, 22 May following a five-month trial. They were sentenced at the same court on Friday, 21 June.

Anthony Oshodi, 49 (1.1.1970) of Dumbreck Road, SE9 was found guilty of one count of money laundering, one count of possession of a false identity document and three counts of possession of articles for use in fraud. He was jailed for six years and six months.

Oshodi fled three weeks into the trial but was convicted and sentenced in absence.

Foyjul Islam, 51 (20.12.1967) of Aberfeldy Street, E14 was found guilty of one count of money laundering. He was jailed for two years and six months.

Mohammed Siddique, 32 (12.10.1986) of Chancellor Way, Dagenham, RM8 was found guilty of three counts of money laundering. He was jailed for six years.

Mohammed Rafeek, 34 (13.7.1984) of Hockley Avenue, E6 was found guilty of two counts of money laundering. He was jailed for two years and six months.

Meharoof Muttiyan, 35 (27.8.1983) of Hockley Avenue, E6 was found guilty of money laundering. He was jailed for one year and eight months.

The group was convicted following a complex investigation carried out by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Cyber Crime Unit (MPCCU) over four years.

The suspects carried out their scam by altering the email account of a single victim, enabling them to send emails without his knowledge and preventing him from viewing messages from his accountant and bank.

In January 2015 the group sent several emails from the victim’s account to his bank requesting payment be made to a number of people. The payment was requested through fraudulent invoices containing account numbers belonging to the suspects.

Between 8 and 13 January 2015, approximately £1.3 million was transferred into three accounts, one of which belonged to Muttiyan.

He made a series of further transfers in an effort to mask the money.

Detectives managed to identify each suspect through the examination of banking, phone and computer records. Over the course of several months, they pieced together key evidence of the money trail, patterns of communication and the ownership of individual devices linked to the offences.

Officers carried out searches on the home addresses of each suspect. They seized more than 50 electronic items including computers, mobile phones and digital storage devices.

Examination of the devices revealed messages between Oshodi and Siddique discussing the stolen money and Siddique and Islam exchanged instructions on how to launder the money and evade law enforcement.

The investigation revealed Oshodi’s links to the hacking of the victim’s e-mail account and his outsourcing of the laundering of £600,000 of the funds to Siddique.

He was linked to additional laundering offences. Two envelopes were seized from his address during the search – one containing five stolen cheques, the largest of the three being worth £51,000 – and the other containing five stolen bankcards, one with a balance of £28,000.

His computer also contained copies of 1000 third party passports and bank cards which were used to create false identities.

Muttiyan acted as a primary money mule, transferring cash through the bank accounts of a petrol station, an insurance claims company, and a computer business owned by the group. Siddique organised the distribution of £600,000 and was found to be involved in two separate money-laundering offences.

Muttiyan was also linked to additional money laundering offences and was found in possession of a fraudulent £28,000 cheque.

Rafeek had led the process of receiving and distributing more than £250,000 while Islam sourced accounts to receive the stolen funds, and facilitated the transfers to evade detection.

Detective Constable Barry Steel from the Met’s Cyber Crime Unit said: “This was a complicated and protracted investigation which uncovered a network of apparently legitimate businessmen involved in large scale laundering of the proceeds of online criminality.

“This case should demonstrate how determined the Met is in identifying, disrupting and prosecuting those intent on committing crime online and protecting people and businesses across the city.

“Officers on this case spent years tracing the actions of this group in order to bring them before the courts. They trawled through thousands of pieces of evidence and linked each suspect to this fraud.

“Oshodi fled three weeks into this trial, but due to the level of evidence produced against him, the jury was able to convict in his absence. We will continue to pursue Oshodi and bring him to justice for his part in this crime. I would ask anyone with information regarding his whereabouts to contact the Cyber Crime Unit directly on 0207 230 8475. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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Protest Against Buhari’s Delayed Cabinet Appointment Was Sponsored –Presidency

mar, 2019-06-25 10:31


The Presidency last night reacted to the protest by Concerned APC National Stakeholders (CANS) who called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack some of his trusted allies described as “cabal). Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu described what happened as a “sponsored protest”. 

“You are going to see more of such sponsored protests. In one of the hotels here in the federal capital, there is a shop that sells packages of protests. At a given fee, they will write the protest speech, the placards and give you the marchers, men, and women as well as the lead speaker who in many cases is a lawyer. 

“So we are not surprised at all. Very soon, reporters and photographers will be buying this service to attack editors they don’t like.
“One thing to note is that this President is not the kind that can be swayed by this chicanery. He has a mind of his own and he alone will decide who he will work with and who he will send away. In effect, this demo(stration) will change nothing,” he said.

On Monday, the stakeholders under the aegis of APC concerned national stakeholders forum defied the rain and gathered at the Defence headquarters. They displayed placards with various inscriptions to make their demands known.

Part of their demands is that President Muhammadu Buhari should ensure that he appoints people who worked for him in various capacity during the 2019 general elections as he forms his cabinet.

The stakeholders also said President Buhari should not appoint people who have stayed in government for over 40 years.

They stressed that the nation is in dire need of fresh ideas.

“By now, we expect that a real cabinet and primary appointment independently formed by the President based on merit and constitutional criteria would have been made public.

“This is the time for compensation but now it has gone back to the old ways where a few people take the compensation to themselves and their cronies,” Symeon Chilagorom, who led the protesters said.

The group also decried the delay in President Buhari’s appointment of his new cabinet, alleging that the delay could give some political influencers to handpick their allies for the appointment, leaving behind those who risked their necks to ensure President Buhari’s victory at the 2019 elections.

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Buhari Government Refuses To Release Federal Civil Service Results Almost One Year After Exams

mar, 2019-06-25 09:55


Top federal civil servants are grumbling over the delay in the release of the result of the promotion examination they sat in last July.

The promotion examination was conducted for both professional and administrative cadres in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for them to be promoted to the next level.

It was gathered that some senior staff of the Foreign Service who are due to be appointed as ambassadors also sat the exam.

Eleven months after the exam was conducted by the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), the result has not been released, thus stagnating the career progression of the affected top civil servants.

The exam was written by three categories of civil servants, Chief Administration officers who want to be promoted to assistant directors (level 14 to 15), assistant directors to deputy director (level 15 to 16) and deputy directors to directors (level 16 to 17). It was also gathered that while the result of the 2018 batch is being awaited, the time for the conduct of the 2019 examination was just a few weeks away.

The exam scripts, our correspondent gathered was marked at the office of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) office, Abuja, months ago, as against the usual venue, the Public Service Institute (PSI), Kubwa, Abuja.

Some of the affected civil servants lamented the delay, calling for the immediate release of the result.

One of them said the development has negatively affected their morale and created bad blood in the federal civil service.

“The prayer of everybody is to attain the peak of his career. Over the years, we have put in our best and now when we are about to attain the pinnacle of our career, this obstacle is being created.

“We sat for the exams in July and traditionally the result was to be released in November last year but almost a year after we sat for it, the result has not been released. It is worrisome that nobody is saying anything,” he said.

An assistant director who is also affected said the delay in the release of the result was not portraying the FCSC in a good light.

“What’s the justification for the delay? Nothing. Any further delay in the release of our result will create a serious problem in the system." 

However, a source close to the FCSC said the delay was initially as a result of lack of quorum by the commissioners.

The spokesperson for the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), Mrs. Felicia Eniola Babaoye, told Daily Trust in Abuja that the issues would soon be addressed.

According to her, the new management of the commission has been working, holding a series of meetings, to ensure that that the issues were worked out. She said the management would soon come public on the outcome of the development.

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I Was Quoted Out Of Context, Claims Nigerian Army Chief Buratai Over Troops' Lack Of Commitment Statement

mar, 2019-06-25 09:44


Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has denied indicting commanders and soldiers of lack of commitment to ongoing counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in the North-East.

He claimed that he was quoted out of context.

Buratai had at a leadership transformational workshop for middle cadre officers and soldiers in Abuja on June 18 said that some setbacks in operations in recent times stemmed from “insufficient commitment’’ by those at the frontlines.

“It is unfortunate, but the truth is that almost every setback the Nigeria army has had in our operations in recent times can be traced to insufficient willingness to perform assigned tasks. See Also Sahara Reporters Nigerian Army Chief Buratai Blames Troops For Fresh Boko Haram Attacks 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

“Or simply, insufficient commitment to a common national/military course by those at the frontlines.

“Many of those on whom the responsibility for physical actions against the adversary squarely falls are yet to fully take ownership of our common national or Service course,’’ he had said.

But, responding to a question when he visited Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno in Maiduguri on Monday, Buratai said: “Let me categorically say that I never said in my remarks that the troops lack commitment.

“It was completely wrong and I want to believe that somehow, I was quoted out of context and probably with an element of mischief.

“If you read that remark which was published on our website, you will see that there is nothing like lack of commitment.

“Some have even gone beyond that and quoted me as saying that the troops are cowards. This is far, far from the truth,’’ he said.

The army chief said it was unfortunate that some journalists and indeed, newspaper houses went to the extent of distorting fact.

He recalled that the statement was made at a training workshop to re-assess operations and find solutions to the challenges being faced in order to do better.

“Counter-insurgency is a complex operation; it is quite fluid,’’ he said, adding that in such operation, “you deal with an enemy that you cannot easily identify.’’

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We've Arrested Three Notorious Bandits In Sokoto -Nigerian Army

mar, 2019-06-25 09:35


The Nigerian Army has arrested three suspects in Sokoto State it described as notorious bandits.

The army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, in a statement on Monday named one of them as Malam Ibrahim.

He said the suspect was a notorious bandits’ informant and collaborator renowned for collecting ransom on their behalf.

He said the second, Ashiru Goni, was the bandits’ courier agent who specialized in transporting logistics for them within and outside Sokoto State.

Musa said the third, Mamman Taratse, was ”logistician for the criminals” and specialized in the sale of rustled cattle at various markets within and outside the state.

Similarly, he said troops raided bandits’ location at Magira village and after fierce battle killed scores while several others escaped with gunshot injuries.

“Unfortunately, one soldier paid the supreme price during the encounter,” he said.

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