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Senator caught on camera assaulting woman at Abuja sex toy shop

Nigeria’s youngest senator has been caught on camera physically assaulting a woman at an adult toy shop in Abuja.

Elisha Abbo, representing Adamawa North Senatorial District, descended on the woman after she pleaded with him not to physically assault the shopowner whom the senator had accused of insulting him. He said the shopowner called him a drunk.

Premium Times said it obtained the video of the assault, which occurred on May 11 — nearly three months after Mr Abbo became a senator-elect and a month before he was sworn-in on June 11.

The attack happened as an armed mobile police officer looked on, and instead made attempt to arrest the victim.

The assault was reported on May 14 at the Maitama Area Command Headquarters on Nile Street, but the police told the victim to go look for Mr Abbo’s telephone number or they would not be able to do anything about it, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

The victim of the assault and the storeowner declined comments for this story, saying they were afraid there could be a violent backlash from the senator. The victim’s lawyer also declined comment.

But witnesses and other sources familiar with the matter recalled to the paper their accounts of what happened but all declined to be identified, citing fears for their safety.

Abbo, a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had entered the shop at about 6:00 p.m. on May 11, a Saturday. The senator walked in with three young women to purchase adult toys, the paper learnt.

But shortly after they began shopping for the toys, one of the three girls brought in by Abbo started throwing up. She vomited multiple times, prompting the shopowner to remark that the woman should have vomited outside and not inside her shop, especially since she was not a child.

Senator Abbo, who was said to be agitated by the sudden illness of one of his girls, was said to have accused the shopowner of poisoning the store’s airconditioner.

The shopowner’s argument that if the airconditioner had been contaminated others in the shop would have also taken ill further angered Mr Abbo, and the two began exchanging words over the matter.

In the first five minutes of the 10-minute video obtained by Premium Times , Abbo is seen sitting on a yellow power generator near the entrance of the shop. He could be heard within this time making calls and asking some people where they were and how close they were.

Just before the first-half of the video, an armed police officer walked in. Mr Abbo explained to the officer in Hausa that the woman insulted him and that he had called the assistant inspector-general (AIG) over the matter, who then assured him that he would call the police commissioner to call the Maitama Area Command. He also said he was disappointed in the shopowner, with whom he said he had been friends for five years.

Senator Elisha Abbo

Abbo, 41, said the police officer should take the shopowner away. The shopowner quickly called her father to inform him that Mr Abbo had called the police over the matter and that she was about to be taken away.

Abbo asked the shopowner to stop the call because he was talking to her, a demand the woman refused to accede to. Another man could be seen coming from behind the police officer to snatch the shopowner’s phone from her.

Next, the shopowner’s friend who had been standing nearby tried to intervene by pleading with the second man to take things easy.

“Oga, please take it easy now,” she said.

Mr Abbo switfly descended on the shopowner’s friend, saying she was “very stupid” and slapping her repeatedly, including directly on the eyes.

The senator then demanded that the two women should be taken to the police station. He repeatedly told the shopowner that he was disappointed in her for calling him a drunk, and that he would have harmed her more and closed down the shop but for their friendship.

Watch Video:

 

Source: Premium Times

It was learnt that the assaulted woman, who is nursing a child, was taken to a hospital, where she was treated for eye inflammation and other injuries she sustained during the attack.

Abbo did not cover the medical bill. Neither did he show sympathy or reach out to the woman to apologise.

Instead, he was said to have returned to the shop to see whether a CCTV footage of the incident existed.

It was learnt that Abbo was told that the CCTV in the shop was not functioning. He was said to have been very worried about the incident, threatening to deal with them if the footage of his violence ever surfaced.

The victim and her lawyer reported the matter at the Maitama Area Command since May 14, but the police have continued to stall, saying they did not know how to contact Abbo.

The victim and her lawyer were said to have demanded apology from Abbo. They also want him to settle the medical bill and desist from further threats of physical harm against the woman.

They also wanted a criminal investigation and possible prosecution of Abbo for his action.

Abbo did not respond to requests for comments. Two text messages and WhatsApp messages sent to him delivered, but he did not return them. He also did not take multiple calls to his telephone.

The police commissioner in charge of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Ciroma, said the matter had not been escalated to him as of Tuesday morning.

He said he would like to receive the victim at his office urgently to explore a resolution of the case.

Ruga is recipe for trouble , says Soyinka

Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, says the proposed Ruga settlement of the federal government is not the best approach to resolving the herders-farmers crisis.

The federal government had proposed the idea as a means of addressing the incessant clashes between cattle rearers and farmers.

However, many stakeholders, including the Niger Delta elders and some governors, have opposed it.

Lending his voice to discredit the initiative, Soyinka said if not well handled, Ruga could cause trouble in the country.

The literary icon said the federal government’s approach is not the way it is done in other climes.

Soyinka said President Muhammadu Buhari ought to have lost the presidential election owing to the way he handled the farmers-herders crisis.

He spoke at the launch of United Nations Solutions 17 SDG programme in Lagos on Tuesday.

“Ruga is going to be an explosion if not handled with care. But why do we not take our policies from good models?” he asked.

“This is not the way people and countries deal with issues of cattle. I travel everywhere. It has to be handled in a way that is logical, comprehensible to the environment. When a cow walks up to the window of my house in Abeokuta, a house which is located in a residential area, then there’s a problem.

“When a cow goes to Ijebu Ode and eat up their plant seedlings and so on and you expect people to be quiet? People have been killed in hundreds just because of the failure of leadership at a critical time.

“And the cattle herders have been given a sense of impunity. They kill without any compunction, they drive away the farmers who have been contributing to the food solutions in the country, the cattle eat their crops and then you come up with Ruga.

“I think that there is going to be trouble in this country if this Ruga thing is not handled imaginatively and with humanity as priority. Any country where cattle takes priority over human life is definitely at an elementary stage.”

AFCON 2019: INigeria faces Cameroon in round of 16

Nigeria will confront Cameroon in one of the Round of 16 matches of the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations finals ongoing in Egypt.

Nigeria who finished second will now meet second placed Ghana from Group F in Alexandria on Saturday by 5pm Nigeria time.

This fixture was accomplished on Tuesday evening after a 0-0 draw with Benin Republic, and Ghana’s 2-0 defeat of Guinea Bissau.

Cameroon defeated Nigeria in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 1984, 1988 and 2000, but most painful for the Super Eagles was that agonizing penalty shoot-out loss in front of home fans at the National Stadium, Lagos on February 13, 2000.

In 2004, Jay Jay Okocha spearheaded a sweet 2-1 defeat of then Cup holders (as they are now) Cameroon in a quarter final match at the Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet in Monastir, Tunisia.

In the 2018 FIFA World Cup African qualifying series, the Super Eagles lashed the Lions 4-0 in Uyo and were forced to a 1-1 draw in Yaounde.

Nigeria and Cameroon share eight African titles between them.

While the Indomitable Lions have won five times (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002 and 2017), Nigeria were champions in 1980, 1994 and 2013.

Saturday’s game is indeed a titanic battle, and the Super Eagles would be expected to pick themselves up from Sunday’s stunning defeat by Madagascar and battle the bitter rivals the way they should.

Sowore, Nnamdi Kanu meet in US … discuss how to fight Nigerian oppressors

Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 elections, met with Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in New York on Tuesday.

In a Facebook video, Sowore said the meeting, which is one of many to come would send “shock waves down the spine of the oppressors in Nigeria”.

“They know that the moment all the oppressed people get together, they are in trouble. We are calling on all our brothers and sisters, wherever you may be,” Sowore said.

“The colour of injustice is the same, whether it is affecting you in Biafra land, it’s affecting you in Yoruba land, it’s affecting you in Idoma land, or even in Zamfara, or even in Niger Republic and other places on the continent of Africa.

“It doesn’t matter where oppression is ruining your life, what you need is freedom and what we are determined to give you is that freedom.”

He said they talked about things they have both been passionate about but on a different plane and both respect those boundaries.

“Those of you out there who think we have big differences and that we can’t talk, know that when people have revolutionary minds, these minds meet and bodies eventually meet,” he said.

On his part, Kanu described Sowore, as his friend, saying their eventual meeting was a confirmation that people can come together.

“I met with my good friend Sowore and it has yielded today a confirmation that people can come together,” he said.

“There isn’t much of a difference for what we are fighting for because we are fighting for justice. We know and hope that the people that found themselves today trapped in that contraption called Nigeria will one day be free and it takes people to do it.

“I doubt it comes from heaven and we have to do it, we have decided to do it and it must be done.”

In a telephone conversation with TheCable, Sowore said they had three separate meetings, and the first was to hear him out on the matters of concern to his constituency.

The second was to discuss a possible collaboration and synergy, and the third was how to bring more young Nigerians desirous of total change.

“This was my plan had I become president, one of my duties would have been to bring all warring factions together and rewrite the constitution that is agreeable to all,” he said.

Kanu, who is facing trial alongside other Biafran activists for alleged treason, had gone into hiding months after his bail only to reappear in Israel after one year.

In April, he had described a warrant of arrest issued against him as “merely academic.”

Politicians want fuel subsidy to continue at all cost – Wale Tinubu

Wale Tinubu, Group Chief Executive  of Oando Plc, says politicians want the subsidy on crude oil products to continue at all cost.

Speaking on Tuesday at the ongoing Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja, Tinubu called for deregulation of the sector adding that the federal government needs to cease subsidy.

According to the Oando boss, $5 billion that could have been used to finance much-needed infrastructure was spent on fuel subsidy in 2018.

According to him, other critical sectors of the economy, like education and health among others, were in need of funding, adding that such amount expended on subsidy should have been directed to other critical sectors or towards infrastructure development.

“The government has chosen to effectively subsidise the price as a social palliative. Not that I support it, but we spent $5 billion last year on subsidy, which was even more than what we spent on education and housing combined.

“At a population growth rate of 3%, the question is what is the best – to invest in infrastructure or consumption? There is a big debate that has to be made around this and as stakeholders, we absolutely need to champion that debate with the federal government,” he said.

“The politicians want this to continue at all cost, but there is long-term damage we are doing to our country and industry.

“We need to ensure that these subsidies are altered and the downstream sector needs to be commercialised, the refineries need to function and the pipelines need to function

“There is no logic in is transporting our products by road which is extremely expensive.”

Tinubu said stakeholders in the petroleum industry should rise up to support the deregulation of the oil and gas sector to engender growth.

Commending the national assembly for passing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), he urged the federal government to reconsider its passage.

He also hailed the recent appointment of Mele Kyari as the new group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, describing him as an incredible and astute technocrat.

 

Man dared to eat gecko, dies 10 days after

Australian father-of-three David Dowell was in “absolute agony” before he died, suffering from a salmonella infection potentially caused by a Christmas party dare involving a gecko.

More than six months on, his family is still searching for answers after hearing conflicting accounts from those who were at the party and going without details from the coroner.

It would have been David’s 35th birthday last Tuesday, June 25, but instead of celebrating, his family held a vigil.

Beside the Logan River where he liked to go fishing, they placed paper boats in the water with messages they never got to tell him.

David left behind partner of 15 years Allira and three daughters – Alyssa, Claudia and Sage – as well as four siblings and nieces and nephews, one of whom was born four weeks after his death.

Hannah Dowell, David’s sister, said nobody had a bad word to say about her brother.

“He was one of a kind … just a great person and the kids have lost one of the best dads ever,” she said.

On Saturday, December 1, David went to a Christmas party. The next day he didn’t feel well but thought it was just a hangover.

“Then on Monday, it was coming out both ends and he was really sick and the moment he started throwing up and it was green, that’s when they rang the ambulance,” Hannah said.

“When they got there, the (paramedics) didn’t even want to take him (to hospital). They said he just had gastro and his partner said: ‘no, you’ve got to take him; it’s not just gastro’.”

On Tuesday, December 4, David was diagnosed at the Mater Hospital with a salmonella infection.

Salmonella is a foodborne pathogen, which can also be transmitted from person to person.

The bacteria attach to small intestine cells and start multiplying, causing a gut infection, but in severe cases, the bacteria can move into the bloodstream.

In most cases, it only causes diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever, but in compromised patients, those with health conditions or the young and old, it can be much more severe.

David’s family thought chicken was the cause of the salmonella.

Then on the Sunday, according to Hannah, David’s partner, Allira, was talking to one of his friends and remembered “Oh, David ate a gecko that night I’m pretty sure”.

“She [David’s partner] told the doctor and the doctor said ‘that could have been it’,” Hannah said.

“But there has been no evidence that he actually ate it because there was: ‘Oh yeah I saw him eat it’. And then: ‘No, I didn’t see him eat it’.

“It was a dare, so he might have intended to eat it and then thrown it away.

“At the end of the day, we don’t know whether he actually ate the gecko. David never mentioned it.”

University of Queensland school of agriculture and food sciences deputy head Mark Turner said the gecko theory was plausible.

Dr Turner said a wide range of warm- and cold-blooded animals carried salmonella, including turtles, snakes, frogs and geckos, which have the bacteria in their gut.

“It’s possible that if the gecko was eaten, as it was being digested, the salmonella was released, but I have never heard of anything like this before,” he said.

“It just goes to show that things as innocent as geckos can carry disease bacteria.”

In the Mater, David was not well and his symptoms were particularly confronting.

Hannah said he was very bloated, resembling someone six months pregnant. His urine was black, his vomit was green and after a few days he had fluid on his lungs.

“When I went up and saw him, he was just in absolute agony,” she said.

“Mum was asking them (doctors) because he had a blockage, ‘can’t you just operate?’ They said no.”

David’s mother, Michelle, said fluid leaked from his stomach.

“His testicles were swollen up to grapefruits and there was fluid leaking from them and they [doctors] said that was normal, it was just all of the fluid in his stomach cavity,” she said.

The Mater Hospital could not go into detail regarding David’s case because of patient confidentiality.

“Mater offers its deepest condolences to the family of Mr David Dowell. Mr Dowell’s case was referred to the Coroner, who determined Mater had provided appropriate care and no further action was required. Mater is unable to comment further on the case due to patient confidentiality.”

In a statement, the Coroners Court said: “After consideration of the hospital records, the coronial registrar finalised the investigation by authorising the cause of death certificate to issue without coronial autopsy.”

David was described as “a big kid” who loved gardening. He once wandered off at Oktoberfest to go to the toilet and his family found him in the smoking area talking to everyone.

“That was the kind of person he was … I’m so grateful that I got to spend time with him. I’m glad that he was my brother,” Hannah said.

“We went to the local pub and people who didn’t really know him [David] were coming up and saying how awesome he was.”

David’s family said they hoped another family would not have to go through what they had.

“Look out for the signs and realise how bad salmonella can be, so we can prevent it from happening to someone else,” Hannah said.
(www.newsnow.co.uk)

9th Assembly ‘ll consider state police – Doguwa

 

The All Progressives Congress endorsed candidate for the House of Representatives Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, has said the ninth National Assembly would strive to do things differently from the past in order to aid national development.

He indicated that the house under the leadership of Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila would aid reforms in the health, education and security sectors among other priorities.

Doguwa, who is representing Tudunwada/Doguwa federal constituency in the House of Representatives, spoke with journalists after a Thank-You visit to the APC National Working Committee where he was unveiled as the majority leader-designate.

He said, “On account of what to do differently, I want to assure you and Nigerians that there is little or nothing that we will not do differently in the ninth of House of Representatives. It will be different all through.

“We would be engaged very robustly without necessarily undermining the independence of a legislature which of course is paramount. We will be very friendly, of course, and we will sustain that institutional understanding between the legislature and the executive arm of government.

“We had a very embarrassing situation and circumstances last time but I want to believe, what we now have in the Ninth House of Representatives will be on different level unprecedentedly in terms of our engagement with the government especially in trying to support the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to deliver on the promises of his campaigns and the policies and programmes of the APC.”

Doguwa expressed confidence in the leadership of Gbajabiamila, whom he said was long overdue as Speaker, to engage all principal officers and other colleagues in the house to deliver.

He added, “I want to tell Nigerians that they should expect good health, they should expect quality education, they should also expect a robust engagement in terms of providing reviewed security strategy in order to exhibit and establish the fundamental role of government which is protection of lives and security of properties of our own people.

“The House of Representatives and by extension the National Assembly, of course will certainly concentrate on reviewing some of our security apparatus, some of our security legislations.

“We wouldn’t mind to even to begin to contemplate by considering the issues of State and community policing because there is a serious challenge in that sector and with the promise of the administration of this Speaker House of Representatives and even by extension, the commitment of an experienced Senate President in the person of Senator Ahmed Lawan, we will look at this aspect of our existence to see to rebuild of the challenges we have insecurity.

“Community and state policing is one very critical sector over our economy that we have to look at and address so that we can provide absolute security for our people.”

 

Herdsmen threatening staff, students – UNILORIN DVC

Bolaji Sule, deputy vice-chancellor, management services of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), has accused herdsmen of raiding farms within the university while threatening staff and students with weapons.

Speaking at a meeting with some security agencies in Kwara, Sule said the university had met its commitment towards the herdsmen but the issue of insecurity within its premises has continued.

He said the herdsmen posed serious threats to the university farms, dam site, hostels, academic environment and staff residence.

Sule accused some herdsmen of stealing farm products and building materials.

The DVC said the university authorities would not fail to take legal action against herdsmen and farmers trespassing on its land.

Sule said the institution had plans to use its land but could not do so due to security challenges, urging security personnel to be proactive.

Kameeludeen Azeez, an official of the faculty of agriculture, expressed worry over the “illegal activities of herdsmen” in the university in spite of efforts to appease them.

“It is rather so pathetic that the university has spent so much money on relocating the herders, given them all they requested and we are still encountering this,” he said.

He said the security agencies had been mandated to arrest trespassers in the university and to curb the threat, which some “unruly herdsmen posed to the institution”.

Yunus Alade-Saliu, a representative of the Department of State Services (DSS), assured the university of maximum security of staff and students in the area.

Alade-Saliu said illegal farming in the campus would no longer be treated with kid gloves.

TB Joshua raped and trapped me in his church for 14 years, says woman

A video of lady alleging she was raped by T.B Joshua, founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, is currently trending on social media.

Bisola Hephzi-bah Johnson, an activist, made the allegation when she joined protesters who marched to the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Lagos.

Busola, wife of Timi Dakolo, a singer, had accused Biodun Fatoyinbo, founder of COZA, of raping her when she was a teenager. Protesters had asked Fatoyinbo to step down until he is cleared of the allegations.

Johnson said she was trapped in Joshua’s church for 14 years before “the Lord set me free”.

“This is not the time for making up (stories), this is the time to address. I am talking on behalf of other girls that are still in the captivity of TB Joshua. 8 years old, 14 years old and 11 years old, they are still there,” she said.

“Yes. I can say it because they have money, connections, they can put people down. Enough is enough, if he thinks I am lying, he can contest it in court.”

“I was sexually molested by T.B Joshua. I was trapped in the synagogue for 14-years of my life. I spent my youth in the synagogue until God set me free. If not for God, I will not be here today and I have documented it in book form.”

When TheCable contacted the church via a telephone line on it website, the person who answered the call said Joshua was not available to speak.

Below is the video:

Meanwhile, a video of women saying good things about Joshua is also circulating on social media. The televangelist is known for philanthropy. Some of the women in the video narrated how they have benefitted from the generosity of Joshua.

Lawan: Cost of infrastructure projects in Nigeria highest in the world

Senate President Ahmad Lawan says the cost of executing projects in Nigeria is usually higher than any other country in the world.

Lawan, who spoke when he hosted Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) in Abuja, faulted the public procurement act which according to him, breeds corruption and slows the speed of project implementation in the country.

News reports had suggested that a 340km standard gauge railway line in Ghana will be constructed at $2.2 billion while the 156km railway line between Lagos and Ibadan in south-west Nigeria will cost the country $2 billion.

While it will cost Ghana $6.5 million per kilometre, Nigeria will spend $13.6 million per kilometer.

The number three citizen said the senate would carry out a “holistic review” of the act to address the loopholes therein, saying it is not the best in the world as it is presently.

“The public procurement in Nigeria as far as I can see is not the best in the world. The public procurement must be reviewed and amended. We must see how we can make it more practical and holistic within the shortest possible time,” Lawan said.

“From the stage of bidding to mobilization, the costing of any government contracts must be uniform in order to avoid imbalances and embarrassment in the processes.

“A situation where about twenty agencies of government buy the same brand of vehicles at grossly different prices is not good.

“Market prices must be determined and adhered strictly to ensure that Nigerians are not shortchanged through abuse of processes or over-invoicing.

“Even the 15% mobilisation fee specifies in the Act by realities on ground is more of demobilising contractors than mobilising them with attendant loopholes for fraudulent practices.”

Lawan said pending when the act will be reviewed, the senate will constitute a procurement committee made up of experts.

He added that a situation where different ministries buy the same property at varying prices must stop.

“Our Public Procurement committee will be a very strong committee this time around. The cost of projects in Nigeria is mostly the highest in the world. We cannot continue like this, not in the face of very scarce resources,” he said.

“So, we are going to insist that the public procurement particularly is considered better than before. If there should be purchase of buses by ten or twenty ministries, the cost must be uniform so that we don’t drag into crisis on what we buy.

“The Procurement Committee when in place will make sure we work towards achieving this set agenda in order to avoid putting the public at a disadvantaged position.”

GM of Petroleum Equalisation Fund arrested over ‘money laundering’

The special presidential investigation panel for the recovery of public property (SPIP) has arrested Goddy Nnadi, general manager (corporate services) of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management) Board.

It is understood  that Nnadi was taken into custody on Monday.

As presidency source confirmed Nnadi’s arrest saying he is being investigated for “breach of civil service rules, corrupt enrichment and abuse of office”.

He added that the entire PEF management team is also being investigated.

Media reports had it that Greatwood Hotels Limited established in Owerri, Imo state, in 2015, was traced to Nnadi. His bank verification number (BVN) was linked to the hotel’s account at Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB).

“He was arrested over allegations of corrupt enrichment, living beyond his legitimate earnings and abuse of office,” the official said.

The hotel linked to Nnadi

“So far investigation has revealed more than three (3) accounts in Standard Chartered Bank Limited where he has more nearly N2 billion as well as huge amounts in several foreign currencies in the same bank.”

“The panel has also discovered 49 companies which have been steadily transferring monies into his accounts.”

‘BREACH OF CIVIL SERVICE RULES’

The Public Service Rules, which guides the conduct of public officers in the country states that while these officers are not prohibited from holding shares in both public and private companies, “they must not be Directors in private companies.”

Its section four (030424) further states: “(b) A public Officer, whenever required to do so by his/her Permanent Secretary/Head of Extra-Ministerial Office, shall disclose within three working days, in confidence, full information about any investments held by him/her or his/her immediate family whether held in their own names or the names of other persons or otherwise.”

In subsection 030425, it adds that “in accordance with the provisions of the Regulated and other Professions Private Practice Prohibition Act, (Cap.390) Part II, no officer shall engage in private practice. However, exemptions shall be granted to private Medical Practitioners and Law Lecturers in the Universities.”

Corruption ruins FG’s N7bn Unity Schools’ security project (2)

In this concluding part of the investigation into the Federal Government’s multi-billion naira unity schools’ security infrastructure project, CHINWE AGBEZE, makes more startling revelations

Ebonyi State: Shoddy jobs everywhere

It was 9am on Thursday, May 9, 2019, when this reporter arrived at Federal Government Girls’ College, Ezzamgbo, in Ebonyi State. She spent the next 45 minutes checking out the security gadgets that were installed in the school.

First, the reporter noticed that the school’s perimeter fence and barbed wiring had been done. Close to the gate is a new solar streetlight and opposite the administration block, which was a short walk from the gate, was another solar streetlight.

Moving from the gate towards the ICT centre, kitchen, dining hall, college clinic, staff quarters and dormitories, the reporter counted 10 solar streetlights. But no CCTV camera was seen. Also, there was no project signpost anywhere around the school.

To get more details about the security project, the reporter approached Mrs. Ngozi Onyekwum, the school principal, but, she said she had no idea.

“I don’t know anything about the project,” Onyekwum said. “I was transferred here about two months ago. The principal that should know about the project has retired.”

Immediately, she rang the bursar to find out what he knew about the project, and in a few minutes he was in her office.

According to Mr. Dennis Ede, the bursar, the contractor reported to the school in late December 2018, when the school was on holiday.

Ede said: “By the time we resumed, they had roofed the gate house, installed solar streetlights, and put little barbed wire on the fence because part of our fence had barbed wire. They did the project in a hurry.”

The principal chipped in that she “noticed that one of the streetlights didn’t function last night.”

Then, the bursar volunteered to take the reporter around the school to check the level of work done.

Now on site, Ede said: “The school constructed part of the fence and put barbed wire on it. The contractor only did a little portion. But, I don’t know the exact length they covered. The wires on the fence mounted by the contractor were shabbily done.

“The workers used ordinary sand from the farmland without cement to hang the barbed wire. When the wind blew, the wires fell off,” the bursar said.

He added that “the length of the barbed wire was very small.” “They need to do something about it. But, we don’t have the contractor’s phone number.”

Mrs. Irene Ifejika, retired principal of the school, was contacted to garner more facts.

“The ministry asked us to write all we needed and forward to them through the Ministry of Works. One of the things we requested for was the completion of the fence and barbed wiring, which were done halfway. The fence was old and very low. We needed to raise it because the school was porous,” she explained, continuing: “For two years, perimeter fencing and barbed wiring of the school was awarded in the capital project, but it wasn’t completed. The third year, the fence did not show up in the budget. Then I heard the ministry sent a contractor. But when he came to the school, I was away on a workshop. I never met him.”

Ifejika referred the reporter to Benjamin Dawhare, the project officer of the school for official details.

According to the bill of quantities (BOQ) obtained by this reporter, N41,805,818.78 was awarded to Blue Anchor Agency Limited to provide 10 solar streetlights, complete the fence and barbed wire at FGGC, Ezzamgbo.

A Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) search on Blue Anchor Agency Limited showed that the company, which was incorporated on May 29, 1997, has seven directors: Agupusi Donatus, Agupusi Chioma, Agupusi Chizua, Agupusi Uzochukwu, Agupusi Chinenye, Okpala Nzubechukwu and Okpala Ogechi.

An analysis of the company’s registration details revealed that the company has absolutely no business with building or security.

According to details filed with the CAC, the main objective of the company is “to carry on business of general contractors, importers and exporters of general goods, general merchants, suppliers of general goods, buying agents, clearing and forwarding agents, licensed custom agents, international trade, commission agents, manufacturers’ representatives and merchandise of every description whether consumable items or not.”

Also, no invitation for bids from prospective contractors was published, thereby violating Section 25(2)(ii) of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) 2007.

The law says: “the invitation for bids shall be advertised on the notice board of the procuring entity, any official websites of the procuring entity, at least two national newspapers, and in the procurement journal not less than six weeks before the deadline for submission of the bids for the goods and works.”

Dawhare told Daily Sun: “The contractor hurriedly did the whole project in December 2018. Where we have an issue is in the number of solar streetlights. We complained about the number of streetlights, but the contractor said ours was 10.”

According to him, “we had an existing fence. The contractor raised 60 per cent of the fence and completed the barbed wire. He did the coping, but it fell off. I complained to him two months ago, and he said he would come.”

This reporter reached out to Michael Aikpitanyi, the contractor for the project, to know when he plans to fix the coping.

“I did my job according to the scope I was given. I finished the job over four months ago, and I have been paid,” he told this reporter on May 27. “There is a retention of 5 per cent and in a month or two from now, it will be due. When retention comes, we will fix it before anyone will issue me a letter to clear my retention.”

He also hinted that: “The deputy director in charge of procurement at the Federal Ministry of Education is my friend, my personal friend. I will be at the ministry later today or tomorrow.”

Federal Government College, Okposi

A stroll around the premises showed that the school was yet to benefit from the security infrastructure project. The fence was low and had no barbed wires. Also, there were no CCTV cameras anywhere in the school.

Solar streetlights were also nowhere in sight. All the school had was an LED lamp fastened to an electric pole.

The principal was not around when this reporter visited the school.

“We only have lights inside the hostels, and around the dining hall,” said a teacher who identified herself simply as Mrs. Obi. “We heard the ministry gave some schools lights and cameras. Maybe they are doing it batch by batch. I believe they’ll get to our school soon.”

Another teacher said: “The problem is from the headquarters. After bidding, they will stay in Abuja and award the contract to another person. All the contracts are indirectly awarded to the directors and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.”

Federal Ministry of Education, Abakaliki

Leaving FGC Okposi, this reporter headed to Federal Ministry of Education in Abakaliki for more details on the school security project.

On getting to the derelict building that served as the ministry, the reporter was told that the “madam” was in Nasarawa for a seminar.

When Mrs. Patricia Okpalanze, the person in charge, was contacted on phone, she could not hide her irritation.

She said: “Any information you want to get about that project, you’ll get it from our office in Abuja or you go to the schools. I don’t think there is any need to come here and start asking me such questions.”

According to one of the staff, Okpalanze was furious because the “ministry neglected us and does not involve us in their activities.”

“You can see the kind of building they kept us in. We don’t know if they have released money to crush this building down,” the staff said.

Imo State: Same old story

On Monday, May 13, 2019, this reporter made a stopover at Federal Government Girls’ College, Owerri, Imo State. Like other schools, the fence there also needed to be fortified. In a walk round the school, the reporter counted about 20 solar streetlights, and spotted seven CCTV cameras. But no project signpost or worker was anywhere in sight.

The principal, Mrs. Stella Azike, said 25 streetlights and 10 CCTV cameras were mounted. But Azike was not satisfied with the project.

She said: “One of the cameras was focused on the road. I told them to remove it because it was of no use there. They removed another one, and put it in the classroom.”

“We told them to change the position of this camera,” Azike said, pointing at one of the cameras on the monitor in her officer. “And we showed them where to install it, but they ran away.”

The vice principal, special duties, who introduced herself as Mrs. Ogueri, offered to take the reporter around the school to inspect the projects.

“They have just finished the installation of 25 solar streetlights,” said Ogueri, during the tour. “But we noticed that the light has one bulb per pole. We thought it would be two bulbs per pole so it could illuminate more areas.”

Documents seen by this reporter showed that 50 units of 12W, 12V polycrystalline solar panel modules with supporting frame (two numbers per pole) were billed at N4.5 million, 50 numbers 12V 300Ah deep life cycle batteries at N7.5m, and 50 pieces of lockable battery cubicle (two numbers per pole) at N4.75m.

“The lights are all working, but centred on one area. The illumination does not go beyond the place it is installed,” the vice principal said, with a worried look on her face.

Ten cameras were installed with the control room in three places — the principal’s office, matron’s office and the gatehouse.

The monitor inside the principal’s office covered six locations, the matron’s focused on two places — the road leading inside the dormitory and in front of her office; and the monitor at the gatehouse captured the road immediately inside the gate and the road outside the gate.

“Someone from the procurement department in Abuja came here with one Kehinde to tell us they had a project to do,” Mrs. Ogueri added.

When Daily Sun contacted Kehinde, the engineer in charge of the project, he said they had concluded the work.

“We finished the work on April 5, and the school is satisfied with the work done,” said Kehinde. “We have done what is on the paper.”

He then referred the reporter to Adeola Amodu, the manager, for more information.

“We installed 24 CCTV cameras, according to what we have in the bill, 25 poles of solar streetlight, 3KVA inverter and one 1.5KVA. What you see in the BOQ is what we have done,” Amodu said. “The school is satisfied with the work because it’s the principal that gave our workers where they fixed the lights and cameras.”

According to the BOQ obtained by this reporter, the sum of N39,662,437.50 was awarded for the provision of 25 solar streetlights, 24 CCTV cameras, 3.5KVA inverters, complete with six batteries, and 1.5KVA inverter, with four batteries.

When asked the name of the company that secured the contract, Amodu said: “Dips XL Plus Limited.”

Again, a CAC search on Dips XL Plus Limited showed that the company had nothing to do with building and construction.

Its registration details revealed the objectives for which the company was established were “to carry out all catering services and event management, including but not limited to supply at event centres, corporate organisation that includes hotels, NGOs, hospitals, public offices and clubs.”

The company, which was incorporated on August 6, 2018, has Maude Nafiu, Sabo Hamisu Yunusa, Ahmed Aliyu Hamza, Garba Saifullahi Dawaki, and Bala Jibrin Sani as its directors.

Also, no invitation to tender was advertised for the projects, and this flouts Section 25(2)(ii) of the Public Procurement Act of 2007.

“They went to the Ministry of Works and told them to certify the project. I told them that they were wasting their time because I have not accepted. They said I should sign, I said, I won’t,” said Mrs. Azike. “I have not certified them o! As we are here now, they said they have finished and they have gone, but I have not certified. We are waiting for them to come back.”

The bursar chipped in: “One morning, some people from the Ministry of Works came here. They told us they were here for certification so that our previous principal could sign. The principal said she won’t sign because the work, according to her, hadn’t been completed.”

When asked how much out of the N39,662,437.50 awarded for the project had been paid, he said he would get the information from the contractor.

The reporter requested for the contractor’s contact details but Amodu refused to give it.

“I handle this project and other education projects he has in Lagos and Ibadan. So, I’ll answer on his behalf,” Amodu said. “His name is Alhaji. That’s what we call him. I’ll ask him if he has received money and call you back.”

Amodu never called back as promised and he refused to pick calls when contacted again.

No security project in FGC, Okigwe

At the Federal Government College, Okigwe, Daily Sun realised that the security infrastructure train was yet to arrive at the school. The principal, Anastasia Opara, was not around when this reporter visited.

After waiting for over an hour, the reporter opted to see the vice principal, special duties, who identified herself as Mrs. Ajoku.

“The ministry said we should give them quotation of the security infrastructure that we wanted government to do for us and submit to them before April 30, 2019,” she explained. “The ministry told us to get in touch with the Ministry of Works so they’ll give us the cost and drawing, if need be. We did all that and submitted before the deadline. But, nothing has been done.”

According to Mrs. Ajoku, the principal and ex-students have been responsible for the facelifts in the school.

“The principal has been renovating everywhere in the school. During our inter-house sports, she painted the school just to make the event colourful,” she said. “The solar streetlights were done by ex-students who graduated in 2014. Our principal also installed floodlights around the classrooms, and the lights shine bright at night.”

She stated further that: “Before we came to this school, no capital project was going on here. It was when the principal was transferred last year that these projects started.”

Pointing at renovated green roofs, which were surrounded by rusty roofs, she said: “Look at the roofs and see the difference. All the renovated roofs were done in 2018. From 2017 backwards, nothing was done in this school.”

 

Culled from Daily Sun

This investigation was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting

Investigation: Corruption ruins FG’s N7bn Unity Schools’ security project— Part 1

In this report, Chinwe AGBEZE, uncovers massive corruption by education ministry officials in the implementation of the Federal Government’s multi-billion naira project to secure unity schools.

In November 2018, the immediate past Education Minister, Mallam Adamu Adamu, disclosed that the federal government reserved over N7billion between 2017 and 2018, to provide basic security facilities in 104 unity schools across the country.

According to the Minister, the decision to provide security infrastructure in the schools arose as a result of the “insecurity in the northeast, occasioned by Boko Haram as well as incidents of kidnapping in parts of the country.”

Adamu explained that the funds were being used “to provide perimeter fences for the schools that have none, CCTV cameras, solar-powered streetlights, and modern security gates.”

In the 2017 budget, N5bn was proposed for the security gadgets. Also, in the 2018 appropriation bill, N2bn was set aside to provide “perimeter fencing, solar streetlights, solar-powered motorized borehole and CCTV in 104 colleges.”

Investigations in nine unity schools in four Southeast states of the federation, however, reveal that the colleges grossly lack the basic security apparatus listed.

 

FGGC Lejja

Enugu State

On Monday, May 6, 2019, this reporter arrived at Federal Government Girls College, Lejja in Nsukka area of Enugu State. The time was around 8.29am.

By the school gate was a signboard indicating that the security infrastructure project is awarded to IQ International Services Ltd, and supervised by the controller, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in Enugu.

Lifting her eyes off the signpost, it rested on the fence. The reporter observed that the walls of the fence were weak, and some blocks were gradually falling off giving room for lizards to play hide-and-seek in the partitioned walls. Sitting on the weak fence were newly installed barbed wires.

“When the contractor arrived, I told him that we are not sure of our fence, and asked what would happen if the fence collapse after the wires were installed,” explains Jude Ezeogwu, vice principal, special duties at the school. “The contractor admitted that the fence is weak, but he said the job is to install wires not to build a fence.”

So, the wires were installed, but the coping was poorly done. A touch and the wires fell off.

“I mentioned that to Daniel, the contractor. I also told him about the opening the villagers created on the wall,” says the project officer at the school, who identified himself simply as Mr. Umahi.

Continuing, he says: “The worker requested for five bags of cement. Daniel promised to send the money for the cement and planks to me, but he hasn’t sent it. The worker is supposed to resume work today, but he hasn’t and I cannot reach Daniel.”

Ezeogwu refused to disclose the contents of the bill or how much was awarded for the project.

“What the contractor executed is almost in line with what he was asked to do. If he was asked to knock down the fence and erect new one before putting the spiral wires, he would have done that,” he says.

He adds: “So, I pass the blame back to those that awarded the contract without coming to investigate, to check out the state of the fence first. The contractor has done something, but let them come and see.”

Going round the school, this reporter counted on the total, twenty-five solar streetlights. The streetlight by the SS3 classroom block is tilted, probably indicating a weak tightening at the base. Some of the lights which were installed in March are not functional.

“I went around in the night and spotted nine that were not lighting,” Umahi says. “The streetlight at the gate is not working, but it worked when it was installed. At a point, the light became faint and was not giving out the proper illumination. Then, it stopped lighting.”

Corroborating, Abui Audu, vice principal administration at the school, says: “The light close to the gate is no longer working. That’s the one I’m sure of.”

Also, four CCTV cameras were installed around the administration block, dining hall, gate and computer room.

“There are still some areas we want the contractor to address, like the fencing. Also, a portion of land outside the gate needs to be fenced, but it’s still under controversy,” says Ezeogwu.

He adds: “I called the contractor on Friday (May 3), and he promised to be here this week. We have not seen him, but we are still expecting him.”

Daily Sun reached out to Daniel Asekhamen, the contractor in charge of the project.

He says: “We finished the work about a month ago. We did all we were supposed to do, and the school can attest to that. We installed 11 cameras, 25 solar streetlights and put barb wires around the fence. That is what we have on the bill.”

When asked how much was awarded for the project and how much has been paid to them, Daniel said he would confirm and get back to the reporter.

“I can’t recall now until I check the account,” he said on May 17. “I can’t really give you the figure now until I get to the office.”

Daniel never got back to the reporter, and he failed to pick frequent calls made to his line.

Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC search on IQ International Limited, shows that the company which was incorporated on August 20, 2013, is owned by Adedeji Adesola Oluwastosin and Olatubosun Olanrewaju.

The company removed the relatives—Akinola Martins, Akinola Adesola Dorcas, Akinola Oluwafemi Samuel, Akinola Folakemi from its board on January 12, 2017, and on January 26, 2017, it re-appointed Adedeji Adesola Oluwastosin and Olatubosun Olanrewaju, as directors.

An analysis of the company’s registration details showed that the company has no business in building and construction.

The company was set up to “carry on the business as assemblers, manufacturers, importers, exporters, suppliers and dealers in automobile vehicles whether classified as cars, lorries, buses, vans, motorcycles, or otherwise, to import and export cars of all descriptions,” details filed with the CAC stated.

Snakes, scorpions on the prowl

Leaving Lejja, this reporter shifted her attention to Federal Government College, Enugu.

But, arriving at this school, the reporter observed that no security facility was provided. There was neither a project signpost nor workers on the site.

There are quite a number of solar streetlights in this school, but none is functional.

“When I was admitted to this school in JSS1, the lights close to the gate were the only ones working,” says Godwin Okeke (not real name), a JSS3 student at the school. “Before the end of my JSS1, it stopped working. Now, the school is dark at nights.”

The perpetual darkness in this school is putting the lives of the students in danger.

“We suffer from snakes and scorpion bites especially at nights,” he says.

According to Okeke, two students almost lost their lives recently to snake bites.

“Senior students usually wake junior students up to run errands or punish them at nights. So, we stay outside the hostel until the seniors go to bed. One night, we did not see the snake coming because it was dark and the birds were chirping,” he narrates.

Continuing, Okeke says: “Two students were bitten, and immediately rushed to the school clinic where they were given first-aid. The next day, their parents were called to pick them up and give them proper treatment.”

The school was fumigated and students were mandated to move around with torchlights.

“Torchlight is compulsory and any student not seen with one is thoroughly punished,” Okeke adds.

Apart from the faulty streetlights, the fence is another major source of concern. Right at the back of the staff quarters, and on the wall of the fence, is a huge opening, big enough for a chubby adult to comfortably pass through.

“Students sneak out at night through the hole,” says Chijioke Nwankwo (not real name), an SS1 student. “When students are late for school, they enter the school through the hole to avoid punishment.”

This is not the only avenue to gain access inside the school unnoticed. The fence close to the kitchen is another route.

“Some time ago, fight broke out between our school and Command Secondary School. The students tried to come in through the gate, but when they were denied access, they jumped in through the fence and attacked us,” Nwankwo says.

This reporter spotted CCTV cameras on the administration block, which the students said were installed over three years ago. But, the cameras are broken.

“It’s no longer working,” says Okeke, when he found the reporter looking at the cameras. “From my JS1, our principal kept telling us they would install CCTV cameras round the school, and rebuild the fence to prevent students from going out. He said that until he left our school.”

The school principal was not on seat when Daily Sun stopped by his office.

“The principal is busy somewhere around the school. You know we just resumed today,” says a staff of the school, who this reporter met around the principal’s office.

After a long wait, this reporter took her leave, but returned to the school around 8.45pm to ascertain if indeed all the streetlights were faulty as claimed.

On getting to the school, the entire premises was enveloped in darkness. There were two poorly lit bulbs in front of the gate. The light notwithstanding, one could not make out the faces of people walking briskly in and out of the school. Some had torchlights, but many didn’t.

“They are used to the environment,” says Jude, the security guard at the school. “The streetlights have been bad in more than two years.”

Inside the school was covered in darkness. Not a single streetlight was functional.

“If not for the chemical the school often applies to drive away snakes, you would have seen snakes,” Jude says.

He adds: “Snake bit my colleague one night, and we rushed him to ParkLane Hospital. After that, snake bit a student. If the streetlights were working, that wouldn’t have happened.”

Opening on the wall of the fence at FGC Enugu..
Opening on the wall of the fence at FGC Enugu..

Supervisor reacts, defends contractor

To obtain more information about the security projects investigated, Daily Suncontacted the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in Enugu.

In a meeting with the controller of Housing, Godwin Emesue, he says: “The contractor came here with a contract document that directed the school authority to liaise with us for supervision. We deployed our men to supervise.

“The project was supervised to the satisfaction of the school. When they finished, the school authority confirmed that the jobs have been done and the school signed the document.”

He, however, said one item on the bill was not done.

“The contractor wanted to fence a building, but, the community said the land belongs to them. We said, instead of waiting, cut that one off,” Emesue says.

“I’m sure the contractor has not been paid because before payment is done, they will send audit supervisors to the site to check everything using the contract document. But, if they have paid him, I’m not aware,” he says.

About FGC Enugu, he said, “We don’t work there. If we receive any information that there is a contract, and that a job has been awarded in FGC Enugu, and that we should come and supervise, we will go and supervise.”

FSTC, Awka
FSTC, Awka

ANAMBRA STATE

On Thursday, May 9, 2019, this reporter journeyed to Anambra State. The plan was to check out the security infrastructure projects in three Unity Schools — Federal Science and Technical College, Awka; Federal Government College, Nise; and Federal Government Girls’ College, Onitsha.

 

Director of finance implicated

Competent sources allege that Nwokoye Edwin, the Director of Finance and Accounts at the Federal Ministry of Education owns the company that secured the contract at Federal Science and Technical College, Awka.

According to insiders, the director has made frequent visits to Awka in connection with the job.

“He has been trying to get the project supervisor and school to certify that the work has been completed so he can access the fund for the project since he is retiring soon. He succeeded and was in Awka on Friday, May 17 to pick up the signed document,” one source disclosed.

On arriving Federal Science and Technical College, Awka in Anambra State on May 10, 2019, at 7.32am, this reporter noticed that some security work had commenced.

At the site, the perimeter fencing was abandoned midway, creating an avenue for people to walk in and out of the school unchecked. But, no worker or signpost was seen on site.

This reporter learnt that the workers resumed work on the fence in January 2019 and disappeared only to reappear briefly on April 14.

“The principal kept calling them to come and finish the fence they abandoned since January. The workers resumed work on April 14, the day we went on holiday. When we resumed on May 6, we met the fence in a similar state,” said Sharon, a staff of the school.

Speaking about the fence, Mrs. Nyah Margaret, the school principal says: “The school had fence before, but it was weak and falling off. So, the workers are fixing the parts that fell off. Nevertheless, they are not fast. Since we resumed school, they have not come to work.”

Daily Sun gathered that N59 million was awarded for 1,000 square meters perimeter fencing, 25 solar streetlights and 10 CCTV cameras in the school.

Touring the school, the reporter counted on the total twenty-five solar streetlights which was mounted in February, and the school confirmed that the lights are working perfectly.

The cameras were installed at the gate, administration block and hostel. But, the principal is not pleased with the work done.

“The cameras are concentrated in the administration block. Apart from the two cameras at the gate, the other locations are not useful to us. I complained to the man that installed the cameras, but he said the money does not cover cables,” says Mrs. Nyah.

“I need the camera installed at the fence so I can see when the students are breaking bounds, and another in the dining. Now, they captured the conference room and bursary. What am I doing in the bursary? They are paying to TSA or are they going to steal money?” she queries.

In his defense, Kelechi Ibe, who installed the CCTV cameras, when contacted says: “We were instructed to meet the bursar for locations to fix the cameras. It was the bursar that picked the locations, not me.”

Daily Sun obtained the phone number of Frank Ezeh, the engineer-in-charge of the project, and he was contacted to get the name of the company that secured the contract and also finds out why the fence was abandoned halfway.

“We have done the main fencing. We are plastering now. By the end of May, we will be through with the painting, and in June, we will finish the fence,” said Ezeh on May 20. “The name of the company is AE & E Nigeria Limited.”

Shortly after, Ezeh hung up and, Christian Chinweuba called and introduced himself as the general manager of AE&E Nigeria Limited.

He says: “We are handling the fencing now. What is remaining is plastering and the barbwire. In two days, we will complete the fence.”

When asked the name of the company that obtained the contract, Chinweuba, says: “AE & E Nigeria Limited.”

When the school was contacted on May 27, 2019, this reporter was told that the workers were yet to resume work since they were last seen on April 14, 2019.

A CAC search on AE & E Nigeria Limited shows that the company is not registered.

 

Abandoned fence at FSTC, Awka
Abandoned fence at FSTC, Awka

Director denies involvement

Daily Sun reached out to Nwokoye Edwin Ementa, Director of Finance and Accounts at the Federal Ministry of Education, via telephone to know why he has not completed the security project at Federal Science and Technical College, Awka.

“You said you are calling from the Sun?” Nwokoye said after a pause, and this reporter replied in the affirmative.

Then he blurted out, “What do you mean? Am I the contractor? Who told you I’m the contractor? Abi I’m the one who is facilitating it?”

“Your engineer,” this reporter responds, and asks again, “Why have you not completed the project?”

“Who is my engineer?” he asks but got no reply. “My friend, I’m the Director of Finance, Federal Ministry of Education. I cannot be a contractor. I’m not the contractor. So, why are you saying ‘why have I not completed the project?’

Nwokoye continues: “Because I’m facilitating it because that project is around my side. I want to make sure that they do it. So, I’m forcing them to do it, and they are doing it. They will complete it,” he pauses and says, ‘according to their promise’.

Unsure if he has convinced the reporter, he says persuasively: “They will complete it. The guy said he is on the ground there, he will complete it. So, please I’m not the contractor. Maybe the person gave you my number as the person who has been making sure that that project is completed. Okay?”

“Alright, sir,” the reporter replies.

The director adds: “Maybe when you come next, you can check and you will discover that they must have completed it.”

Two minutes after the telephone conversation, Christian Chinweuba, the general manager, rang this reporter.

“Please, somebody gave me your number. Are you Chinwe?” he asks.

In response, this reporter requested to know who he is referring to.

Rather than give the name, he tries to describe.

He says: “Eh? Someone you called and you were asking him eh…if he is the engineer handling the project at FSTC Awka.”

In reply, the reporter says: “Someone I called? I’ve called a lot of people. Who are you talking about?”

“Eh? Okay,” Chinweuba says. Hesitantly, he stammers: “You called em em, Nwokoye, and addressed him as the contractor handling the project at Awka. He told you that he is not the one, and he called me. He asked me if I’m the one that gave you his number, and I said, no. I am the engineer handling the project”

“Who is the contractor?” the reporter queries, and he replies: “I am the one.”

“You won the contract?” the reporter asks. In response he says: “Yes”

Without being asked, Chinweuba went ahead to explain why the project is yet to be completed.

He says: “I started work in February because I had em em a health challenge. You know, yes, I have heart problem. I had to stop my project in Bayelsa, and other places because of my health challenge. The project is going on. We are just completing the fence. Just about 5 or 2 percent near completion.”

On how much has been released out of the N59million allotted for the project, he says: “They have never released any money. We have been using our money to do the project.”

 

Weak wall at FGGC Lejja 2

Procurement laws violated

The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) Act specifies that every contracting firm must be registered and must have been in existence and paying tax for the last three years before being offered a job by the Federal Government.

However, AE&E Nigeria Limited, obtained the contract at Federal Science and Technical College, Awka, and it is not registered.

Also, section 25(2)(ii) of the Public Procurement Act (2007) demands that requests for bids must be advertised in at least two widely circulated national newspapers, official websites of the procuring entity and the Bureau as well as the Tenders Journal.

The law states: “the invitation for bids shall be advertised on the notice board of the procuring entity, any official web sites of the procuring entity, at least two national newspapers, and in the procurement journal not less than six weeks before the deadline for submission of the bids for the goods and works.”

Then again, the Public Procurement Act was flouted as no invitation to tender was published for the projects.

To uphold the principles of honesty, accountability, transparency, fairness and equity in procurement processes, sections 57 and 58 of the Public Procurement Act prohibits public officers from partaking in contracts.

According to Section 57(9), “Every public officer involved directly or indirectly in matters of public procurement and disposal of assets shall not engage or participate in any commercial transaction involving the federal government, its ministries, extra-ministerial departments, corporations where his capacity as public officer is likely to confer any unfair advantage – pecuniary or otherwise on him or any person directly related to him.”

But, Nwokoye Edwin Ementa, Director of Finance and Accounts at the Federal Ministry of Education, allegedly secured the contract at Federal Science and Technical College, Awka. In his defense, he said he is “facilitating and forcing” the workers to complete the project.

But then, Subsection 12, disallows public officers from possessing “direct or indirect interest in or relationship with a bidder, supplier, contractor or service provider.”

 

No security project

Still in Anambra State, on Friday May 10, 2019, this reporter made a stopover at Federal Government College, Nise.

She observed that no security project was in place. The school fence is in dire need of attention.

According to Comrade Onyekwere, vice principal special duties, the Federal Ministry of Education proposed to repair the fence, but the school is yet to see the contractor.

He says: “The Ministry sent a quantity surveyor over a month ago to measure our fence. He came and went back to prepare the BOQ (bill of quantity), but we have not seen the contractor. We have fallen fences that has exposed the school to security dangers.”

From the gate to the dormitories and round the school, no CCTV cameras or newly installed solar streetlights was sighted.

“Nothing has been done here,” says Mrs. Ijeoma Ekumankama, the school principal.

 

FGGC, Onitsha

The story is the same at Federal Government Girls’ College, Onitsha. A tour round the premises showed that the school is yet to benefit from the security infrastructure project.

Like previous school visited, the fence here is weak and begging for attention.

“The fence has been falling down. Before we went on holiday in April, rain fell part of the fence. I fixed it, and yesterday (May 9), it fell again. Now, the fence near the hostel is down too,” Aghedo Osamudiame, the school principal, told this reporter on May 10.

The old solar streetlights are not working perfectly well.

“Everywhere is dark, the electrician just left here now. I told him that when I was coming from church, everywhere was so dark,” the principal says. “Some of the lights are working, but I just told him to get some bulbs. Everywhere from the gate is just dark.”

Aghedo said she notified the procurement director at the Federal Ministry of Education of the security challenges, but there has been no response.

She adds: “I even called the procurement director that there is no intervention here, and I sent my bursar to him. I wrote a letter saying they are not doing anything here. There is no security work here.”

Culled from Daily Sun

 This investigation was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR.

Lawan announces principal officers for ninth Senate

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, announced the list of principal officers sent to him by the leaderships of the All Progressives Party and the Peoples Democratic Party.

Lawan, at the resumption of plenary, named Senator Abdullahi Yahaya as Senate Leader and Ajayi Boroffice as his deputy.

Similarly, the Senate President announced Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe as the Minority Leader and Phillip Aduda as Minority Whip.

He listed Senator Emmanuel Bwacha as the Deputy Leader and Senator Shabi Yau as the Deputy Whip.

The lawmakers would form the Body of Principal Officers also known as Selection Committee.

They are expected to assign senators to committees based on interest earlier shown by them.

In their separate acceptance speeches, Yahaya and Abaribe promised to discharge their duties effectively.

Kidnapped father-in-law of Buhari’s ADC regains freedom

Musa Umar, the district head of Daura in Katsina state and father-in-law of President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide de camp (ADC), has been rescued from kidnappers.

Channels TV reports that Umar, who was kidnapped in May, was rescued in Kano.

Umar, a former customs officer, is reported to be the father of Fatima Musa, wife of Mohammed Abubakar, Buhari’s aide de camp (ADC).

Witnesses had said that the kidnappers stormed his residence at 7pm on Wednesday and sporadically shot into the air, scaring the hell out of bystanders, who scampered for safety.

Umar had just returned from the mosque where he took part in the evening prayer when the incident happened.

He was sitting in front of his house with some people when the gun-toting men came.

A witness reported that the kidnappers came in a Peugeot 406 saloon car.

US seeks Gani Adams’ view on Nigeria’s insecurity

The United States of America has sought the views of the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, on the security situation in the country.

A two-man team of officials from the US Embassy in Lagos, led by the Political Officer, Shashank Iyer, met with Adams on Monday in his Lagos home on the issue.

Accompanied by the Embassy’s Political Specialist, Arnold Abulime, Iyer told Adams and some members of the Aare-in-Council who joined him in receiving them, that the US was concerned about the tension in the country, especially now heightened with the introduction of Ruga.

Ruga is the policy of the Federal Government establishing settlements for herders in the States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Iyer said the concern of the US is how all ethnic groups in the country can live peacefully.

He said it has been observed that the people of the country have the capacity to pull through hard times economically, but some touchy issues such as Ruga have the tendency to make them drift apart.

He added that “It is tricky getting all to live together, so that is why there is the need to meet and share perspectives.

“We need to be able to move the needle forward together in Nigeria, deal with ethnic issues capable of destabilising the country.

“Nigerians will always find a way around economic issues, but ethnic issues have a way of destabilising the country.”

In his response, Adams said the solution to all the crises bedevilling the country lies in restructuring the polity.

He said he believes that the country’s numerous problems will be resolved within four years if the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration agrees to restructuring.

The Aare Onakakanfo said: “It is not in the world’s interest for Nigeria to go to war. The world will be affected. With a population of over 200 million, every part of the world will feel the disintegration of Nigeria.

“So what we are seeking for is for your government to prevail on Nigeria’s government to restructure. Most of our problems will be solved in four years once restructuring takes place.

“Our system is going to a state of collapse, especially with the Buhari Government in the last four years. And it can only get worse. If Buhari does not restructure, it will get worse.

“To save this country, the only way is to accept the report of the Constitutional Conference of 2014 or revert to the 1963 Constitution. As it now, no zone is peaceful anymore. Even in Katsina, the President’s state, two traditional rulers were kidnapped without trace till today.”

Aare Adams said the US had indeed helped Nigeria before now with the restoration of democratic rule in 1999, hailing the former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, for the role he played.

He said without such intervention now, a revolution is imminent in Nigeria, adding: “Lessons from Ilorin and Lokoja in the past when the Fulanis came to require for land for their cattle are imperative.

“They gradually took the place over. The same happened in Plateau and Southern Kaduna. The history and antecedents of the Fulanis do not make it possible for any sane Yoruba man to accept Ruga.”

Adams also presented some documents, which he said contained part of his position, to the team from the Embassy before the closed door meeting began.

Others present at the meeting included a former Minister of Defence, Dupe Adelaja; Dr. Akin Sonaiya; former Political Adviser to the President, Akin Osuntokun; Publicity Secretary of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Yinka Oguntimehin; and prominent businessman and politician, Kole Omololu.

They all spoke in support of the restructuring of the country and opposed the Ruga policy of the Federal Government.

They also questioned the spending of money on the Ruga initiative when several other Nigerians running their private businesses have not benefitted in any form from the Federal Government and with many going hungry.

Barkindo re-elected as OPEC’s Secretary General

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC ) on Monday night announced the re-election of Nigeria’s Mohammed Barkindo as Secretary General for a three-year tenure.

Barkindo, who is an accomplished oil technocrat with a wealth of experience in the oil and gas sector, was first elected as Secretary General of the bloc in 2016.

Addressing newsmen at the end of the 176th meeting Of OPEC member nations, Mr Salvador Fernandez, President of the conference, also announced a nine- month extension of the global oil production cut under the “ Declaration of Cooperation “ among member states.

The “Declaration of Cooperation”, an outcome of the Joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Producing Countries’ Ministerial Meeting held on Dec. 10, 2016,  was effective for an initial period of six months.

The declaration constitutes an unprecedented milestone in the history of the OPEC because, for the first time ever, the member countries of the organization coordinated with 11 non-members in a concerted effort to accelerate the stabilization of the global oil market through voluntary production adjustments, which amounted to approximately 1.8 million barrels per day.

The Second Joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Producing Countries’ Ministerial Meeting, which was held on May 25, 2017 decided to extend the voluntary production adjustments for another nine months beginning July 1, 2017.

According to the bloc, the sustainable oil market stability sought by the declaration is in the interests of producers, consumers, investors, and the global economy at large.

Similarly at the third joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Producing Countries’ Ministerial Meeting on Nov. 30, 2017, it was agreed to amend the Declaration of Cooperation so that it will take effect for the entirety of 2018.

The core principles of transparency, equity and fairness which have underpinned the Declaration of Cooperation infused all aspects of OPEC’s interactions with its non-OPEC oil producing partners, including cooperation at a research and technical level.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two-day conference will continue on Tuesday with the 6th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial meeting.

Uproar as UK agency says Nigerians respect wealthy prostitutes

The Home Office, a UK ministerial department responsible for immigration, says trafficked women from Nigeria who get wealthy from prostitution are held in high esteem upon their return to the country.

In the June edition of its country policy on the trafficking of women in Nigeria, it said: “Nigeria is a source, transit and destination country for the trafficking of women and girls for forced labour and sexual exploitation”.

Making reference to the 2018 UK annual report on modern slavery published by the Home Office, it said Nigeria is the 5th most common country of origin of potential victims of modern slavery.

It said while the victims are subjected to reprisals when they return home, those who get wealthy “enjoy high social-economic status”.

The statement irked members of parliament and anti-trafficking/anti-slavery activists in the UK who berated the department, asking it to tender an apology.

“Some female victims of trafficking who return to Nigeria may be subject to reprisals or re-trafficking, particularly those who have been trafficked for sexual exploitation and have an outstanding debt to traffickers,” the report read.

“The person’s family may also be subject to intimidation, threats and attacks. In some cases, a person’s family or community may have been complicit in the trafficking or put pressure on them to pay any outstanding debt or provide an income, which may raise the risk of her being re-trafficked. A person may also be shunned by her family and experience societal discrimination and stigmatisation.

“However trafficked women who return from Europe, wealthy from prostitution, enjoy high social-economic status and in general are not subject to negative social attitudes on return. They are often held in high regard because they have improved income prospects.”

But Charlotte Proudman, a human rights lawyer, said home office’s report is different from what she has seen while defending women in immigration courts.

According to her, most of the women are destitute and are often rejected by their family, while asking home office to issue an apology.

“The Home Office’s deplorable policy on the trafficking of women in Nigeria shows the hostility that women victims face in claiming asylum in the UK. Suggesting that trafficked women are wealthy and enjoy a [high] socioeconomic status is fundamentally wrong,” The Guardian quoted her as saying.

“The women that I represent in immigration courts often suffer from PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] and are always destitute. They have usually been raped repeatedly and beaten and their family have disowned them. Some even face the risk of violent reprisals on return home. The abuse they experience is akin to slavery.

“The picture painted by the Home Office is far from reality and serves only to further myths about prostitution and sex trafficking. The policy will no doubt encourage decision-makers on behalf of the home secretary to refuse even more asylum claims.

“The Home Office needs to issue an apology and immediately amend the policy.”

Labour threatens strike over delay in implementation of new minimum wage

The Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council and the eight unions in the public service across the country on Monday said its members would embark on industrial action over what they perceived as Federal Government’s persistent effort to derail the implementation of the new national minimum wage of N30,000.

In statement signed by the Acting Chairman of the JNPSNC, Anchaver Solomon, and the Secretary, Alade Lawal, the council said it had begun the process of mobilising its members nationwide for a showdown with the government.

The statement read, “Operating under the aegis of the Trade Union Side of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, the eight unions in the public service of the federation and 36 states have alerted Nigerians that labour may have to embark on industrial action if the current state of affairs as regards the issue of consequential adjustment arising from the new national minimum wage of N30,000.00 per month remains the same.

“Since the committee set up early this month by the government to work out the consequential adjustments arising from the new national minimum wage of N30,000.00 started to meet, government has been coming up with one strange proposal or the other, all with the intent of scuttling the implementation of the new national minimum wage signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, April 18, 2019. As things are right now, the government’s side is only prepared to pay peanuts to workers as adjustment under the pretext that it will soon be undertaking general salary review in the public service.”

The statement added, “Labour leaders had initially proposed that since the minimum wage was increased by 66.66 per cent, i.e. from N18,000.000 to N30,000.00, salaries for officers on grade levels 01-17 should be adjusted accordingly to maintain the relativity that exists in the salary structure in the public service.

“But when the government side argued that such increase across board would raise the total wage bill too high, the Trade Union side reviewed its demand downward and eventually settled for 30 per cent for officers on grade levels 07-14 and 25 per cent for those on grade levels 15-17. The government side on its part was insisting on 9.5 per cent salary raise for employees on grade levels 07-14 and five per cent for those on grade levels 15-17.

“We received a rude shock at the last meeting of the technical committee when the government side began to hold on to a non-existent position that the technical committee’s terms of reference was to base its assignment in respect of salary adjustment on what was provided for the subject in the 2019 budget. This is very incorrect and unfortunate.”

The workers also accused politicians of frustrating their efforts to receive an improved pay package, saying the only way to avoid possible nationwide strike was for government to be sincere and open in its negotiation.

“This is why the eight trade unions in the public service have resolved that enough is enough and that if the FG fails to caution its officials and direct them to negotiate openly, millions of workers at the federal and 36 states will have no other alternative but to take some necessary trade union actions to seek redress.”

Finally, Buhari sacks controversial NHIS boss, dissolves board

President Muhammadu Buhari has finally sacked the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof Usman Yusuf, seven months after he was recommended for dismissal.

A panel set up by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation had last December recommended Yusuf for dismissal for alleged fraud and other misdemeanours.

Similarly, a panel set up by the Federal Ministry of Health had in 2017 recommended his dismissal following findings that he allegedly mismanaged N919m.

The Director, Media, Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs Boade Akinola, said in a statement that the President had appointed Prof Mohammed Sambo, as the new head of the NHIS.

The statement read in part, “Following the recommendations of report by an independent fact-finding panel on the NHIS, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the termination of appointment of the Executive Secretary, Prof. Usman Yusuf, who has been on administrative leave and has approved the appointment of Prof. Mohammed Sambo as the new executive secretary

“Similarly, the President also approved the dissolution of the governing board of the NHIS and directed the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health to exercise full powers of the council pending the constitution of a new board.

“President Buhari has also approved the appointment of Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu as the Director –General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. The appointment is in line with the provisions of Section 11(1)(3) of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(Establishment) Act, 2018.”