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Daily Archives: July 4, 2019

Gbajabiamila names Doguwa, other principal officers for Reps

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has announced Alhassan Doguwa as the leader of the house.

Gbajabiamila made the announcement on Thursday during plenary.

Also appointed were Peter Akpatason as Deputy Leader, Tahir Monguno as Chief Whip and Nkeiruka Onyejeocha as Deputy Chief Whip.

Mr Doguwa who represents Doguwa/Tudun Wada federal constituency is the immediate past Chief Whip of the House.

Similar appointments were announced for minority leaders on Wednesday.

The Speaker, contrary to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) decision, had named Ndudi Elumelu as the House Minority Leader.

Elumelu from Delta State was named alongside Toby Okechukwu as Minority Leader, Gideon Gwani as Minority Whip and Adesegun Adekoya as Deputy Minority Whip.

The announcement was vehemently rejected by some lawmakers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The opposition party had in a letter announced Kingsley Chinda as its leader in the House.

The party also nominated Chukwuka Onyema as Deputy Minority Leader, Yakubu Barde as Minority Whip and Muraina Ajibola as Deputy Minority Whip.

Ahmed Lawan, the Senate president, had on Tuesday, also announced new principal officers for the Senate.

During plenary on Tuesday, Mr Lawan announced Yahaya Mustapha as Seante Leader and seven others as principal officers of the Senate.

Messrs Mustapha (Kebbi) and Doguwa (Kano) are both from the North-Western zone of the country.

Man rapes 89-year-old grandmother

Luck has run out of a 71-year-old man, Yap Chaiphak, after he was arrested by the police in Southern Thailand after confessing to have raped an 89-year-old neighbour.

However, before the police arrived, some measure of “justice” had already been given to Chaiphak.

A granddaughter of the victim, simply identified as Naphawan, affirmed that she whacked Yap four or five times with a broom handle for not being remorseful of his shameful act.

“I admit I lost my temper,” she said.

“Society is not safe anymore – for a neighbour to do this to my gran is just terrible”.

The victim, identified simply as Mia, was raped while out on a raised platform outside her house in the village of Ban Na, on Monday.

The suspect has been admitted and taken to hospital to treat a broken arm and damaged ribs which he got from the beating meted out to him.

Sen. Abbo assaulted womanhood, must be prosecuted – NCWS

National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) has described the physical assault of a woman by serving senator representing Adamawa North Senatorial District, Elisha Abbo, as assault on womanhood.

The National President of the council, Mrs Gloria Shoda, said this in a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja.

Abbo, in a video that went viral on social media platforms was seen attacking a woman after she pleaded with him not to assault a shop-owner.

The lawmaker, who had tendered apologies over the act, was caught on camera accusing the female salesperson at a shop in Abuja.

According to Shoda, the council seriously condemns such act, adding that the law must take its course.

She stated that “on behalf of NCWS, I thank the Inspector General of Police for calling for Sen. Abbo’s arrest.

“I also commend the Senate for setting up a committee to probe the senator and I pray it will not only end there.

“I want the IG to ensure that Abbo faces the law, he should not only be arrested but let him be charged to court and whatever the law says on assault, let him face it

“It is time we make people face the consequences of their actions. We should not allow people like this in leadership positions.

“Women have been suffering various forms of assault and we want the senator’s case to be used to get justice for them.”

Shoda, who noted that the apology tendered by the senator was accepted, emphasised that “apology was not enough, something must be done to deter others.”

Baru blames vandals for Ijegun pipeline explosion, orders immediate repairs

Maikanti Baru, group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has blamed vandals for the pipeline explosion at Ijegun, a suburb of Lagos state.

At least two persons were killed while 30 cars got razed in the incident which occurred on Thursday morning.

Speaking with NAN on Thursday, Ndu Ughamadu, corporation’s spokesman, said engineers Baru directed to redress the situation are already at the scene of the fire.

“The fire was ignited when some vandals were scooping fuel from the pipeline,” Ughamadu said.

“We urge everybody within the community to remain calm as the situation is under control. Our team of engineers have resumed at the site to bring the situation under control.”

Ibrahim Farinloye, south-west coordinator of NEMA, told NAN that the safety unit of the NNPC was asked to “immediately” shut down further supplies through the pipeline in a bid to suffocate the fire.

“It is noted that vandals are responsible for the incident and some of them were burnt to death in the inferno,” he said.

“Security agencies have also cordoned off the area and residents of Ijegun have been urged to remain calm. Pipeline fire is a specialised aspect of fire managem ent and not all firemen can handle it.The NNPC safety firemen are specially trained to handle such delicate incidents and that is why NEMA immediately asked the NNPC to mobilise its team to the scene.

“It will, however, take time before the inferno can be effectively tackled and supply to the pipeline is weakened and disabled.”

No going back on Oyo EFCC, says Makinde

Governor Seyi Makinde has assured that he will not renege on his plans to set up a state anti-graft agency to be christened Oyo state Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He also declared that not less than N60billion of the state monies are in wrong hands.

The governor solicited support of the judiciary to actualise the plans, promising he would not negotiate the independence of the third arm of Government in his administration of the state.

The Governor made the disclosure on Thursday when he paid a courtesy call on the judiciary at the State High Court, Moshood Abiola Way (former Ring Road), Ibadan.

He was received by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Munta Abimbola in the company of other judges, registrars, deputy registrars and other top officials of the state judiciary, as well as members of Judicial Service Commission.

Makinde said: “The independence of judiciary in the state is non-negotiable and I promise that my administration would be completely transparent in terms of finances of the state.

“I have asked that a committee be set up that will administer the funds coming to Oyo State and we will have a member of the judiciary to be a part of that committee.

“I need your support. During my inaugural address, I promised to set up Oyo State Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. It is not a joke.

“I am very serious about it. I am also serious about what I said regarding waving my immunity to come before that commission if I am found wanting in managing the resources of Oyo State.

“The bill has been prepared and it is going to Oyo State House of Assembly. Once it is passed, I want your support to implement and execute.

“We have on record, at least close to N50billion to N60billion of Oyo State money in wrong hands.

“Maybe we are being sensational, maybe we have a vendetta against our political opponents, I am sure very shortly the ball will be in your court to look at it dispassionately.

“I am saying before you that don’t listen to us if we send anybody to you that we want you to help us persecute this individual or that individual for political reasons. We want you to follow your mind.”

He added: “I said that Oyo State is technically bankrupt. I mean it. This state is bankrupt.

“This is our current situation, and it is our reality. However, it is not the end of the story. What we are getting from the Federation Account and the IGR, when you put them together and we net off salaries, not even the cost of administration, we are talking of roughly N500million available for every other thing.

“Also, we have verified at least N150billion in debt. This morning, I met with the pensioners. The retired primary school teachers, they were owed about N60billion in backward of pension arrears.

“Now, the good news is that Oyo State has the capacity to exit all of these debts. We have the capacity to be prosperous. In land mass, Oyo State is as big as Belgium.

“In terms of weather, from derived Savannah in the north of the state, or the way to the south of the state where we have rain forest, you can practically grow on every inch of land available in Oyo State.”

Speaking on the judgment obtained by local government chairmen his administration sacked in the state, Makinde said: “The judiciary is a very important arm of government and its independence is non-negotiable.

“So, what you should expect from us is a validation of that independence of the judiciary.

“Before we came in, if I take the issue of local government and local council development areas (LCDA) administration in Oyo State, I know they got a judgment, saying that the governor should not dissolve them. I am not a lawyer. I am actually a layman as far as legal issues are concerned.

“But I asked people to interpret to me and they said from all intents and purposes, it was an anticipatory judgment.

“I stand before you to say to you that as the executive governor of Oyo State, I will not interfere in how you go about carrying out your functions. You are free to go against us.

“If the people who have come before you are right, tell us. I give you the assurance that we will obey your judgment. You are the final hope of the common folks. They look up to you.”

Fatoyinbo didn’t wed Busola and I, Timi Dakolo says

Singer Timi Dakolo has said that pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, Biodun Fatoyinbo, did not preside over his wedding to Busola, as widely circulated.

Busola had, in an interview with Y!Naija last Friday, accused Fatoyinbo of raping her on two occasions 20 years ago.

The allegation, which generated a lot of controversies on social media, had thrown up some alleged rumours, which the singer addressed on his verified Instagram page on Thursday.

He said, “Desperate people do desperate things including ridiculous attempts at a smear campaign. So let me address this foolishness once and for all

“First, the ridiculous rumour that Biodun wedded us. Please watch the video yourself, does the Pastor look like Biodun Fatoyinbo? His name is Pastor Seyi of Global Impact church officiating the wedding and that is a statement from Yemi Davids, Pastor of Global impact church on this issue but nameless and faceless cyberbullies can’t read, can they?

“I have never met or been in the same space with Biodun Fatoyinbo nor do I ever want to be and have never been a member of COZA

“I guess that also answers the desperate attempt to say I was a music director in COZA. Funny as I have never been a music director in ANY church! A church can’t have an anonymous music director, can they? Foolishness!”

Our security strategy is working, military chiefs insist

 

Despite the widespread insecurity in the country, the service chiefs say their strategy is working.

They spoke after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, on Thursday.

Abubakar Sadique, chief of air staff, told reporters that the meeting was “all about the security of Nigerians and Nigeria”.

He said the security forces would continue to work harder to ensure that every Nigerian is secure and that the territorial integrity of Nigeria is not undermined by anybody.

“What we are going to do is to ensure that all hands are on deck and every Nigerian equally has a role to play by passing relevant intelligence to us,” he said.

“So far, the strategy that we have on ground is really working and that is the one we will continue to pursue.’’

Other service chiefs at the meeting were General Gabriel Olonisakin, chief of defence staff; Lt Gen.Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff; and Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe-Ibas, chief of naval staff.

Babagana Monguno, national security adviser; Ahmed Abubakar, director-general of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA); Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police, and Yusuf Bichi, director general of Department for State Service (DSS).

BREAKING: Senator Elisha Abbo arrives FCT police command for interrogation

Embattled Senator Elisha Abbo, who allegedly assaulted a nursing mother at an adult toy shop in Abuja, has arrived at the Federal Capital Territory Police Command for interrogation.

The Peoples Democratic Party lawmaker representing Adamawa North Senatorial District is currently being interrogated by detectives.

The FCT Police Commissioner, Bala Ciroma, confirmed that Abbo was presently interacting with operatives at the command.

“He is still with us,” Ciroma explained.

Our correspondent learnt that the senator earlier met with the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, at the Force headquarters before heading to the command for questioning.

Following the outrage over a trending video of the young lawmaker assaulting his victim, the IG had directed the CP to carry out an investigation into the incident.

The IG also asked Ciroma to undertake a forensic investigation of the footage which showed Abbo repeatedly slapping his victim over what appeared to be a minor disagreement while a police officer looked on.

Fidelity Bank partners PwC on SME funding

Fidelity Bank Plc is collaborating with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to provide funding for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) operating in Nigeria.

Nnamdi Okonkwo, Managing Director, Fidelity Bank, said in Lagos on Wednesday that the bank came up with the initiative tagged, ‘SME Funding Connect,’ to deepen funding, which remained the biggest headache of SMEs.

Okonkwo who was represented by Executive Director, Lagos & South West, Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, said the initiative was aimed at providing funding for SMES through the bank’s funding partners, venture capital and Angel investor, among others.

“Fidelity Bank is SME-friendly and we deemed it necessary to do something that directly affects our base as a bank.

“We have a lot of SME customers who we have worked with and some that we are still working with, and a lot of us know that the SMEs are the engine of any economy that is growing,” Okonkwo said.

He said there were over 40 million registered SMEs in Nigeria, noting that SMEs contributed 80 per cent of the workforce and could not be ignored.

Also speaking, Osaigbovo Omorogbe, Divisional Head, Managed SMEs, said events for the funding of the SMEs would be carried out in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and one other location to be determined by the bank.

Omorogbe said the Lagos event titled ‘Entreprenurship Meets Capital’ would take place on Aug. 7.

He said the funding partners would provide equity capital for SMEs to strengthen growth and development.

“We are not launching a fund, we are not looking to sell any fund to SMES on this paltform. We are creating a platform for everybody in SMEs’ ecosystem to participate,” Omorogbe stated.

He said the programme had six focus sectors: manufacturing, technology, entertainment, lifestyles, agriculture value chain among others.

He, however, said the funding would be anchored by PwC, stressing that Fidelity Bank was not a funding platform but creating a platform for every SME to meet funds providers.

The Fidelity Bank SMEs Funding Connect has 3,000 participants, 60 providers, 60 founders, N12 million in grant, six breakout sessions and three networking cocktails.

Omorogbe said the bank had disbursed N2.3 billion under the Central Bank of Nigeria N220bn SME fund programme.

On his part, Nigeria Chief Economist and Partner, PwC, Andrew Nevin, noted that the programme could develop more SMEs, which would in turn contribute to the development of the economy.

“For the past two years, the Nigerian economy has suffered and it has been difficult for banks to lend to the private sector but Fidelity Bank has risen up to the occassion and should be given credit for what they have done in the SME sector, which is the engine room of every economy.

“From the PwC perspective, we are proud to be part of the initiative and we would also want every state involved to be successful, and not only Lagos, so that they can contribute to the growth of Nigeria,” Nevin said.

Saudi simplifies visa for Nigerian pilgrims – NAHCON

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says the Saudi Arabian authorities has simplified visa processing for 2019 hajj season through its e-visa.

The Head of Public Affairs Division of NAHCON, Fatima Usara, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

Usara said the introduction of the new system of processing and obtaining e-Visa does not require intending pilgrims to undergo any physical screening in Saudi embassies which was in contrast to the 2018 hajj.

”Under this arrangement, the intending pilgrim’s visa will spontaneously be administered upon completion of Hajj fare payment on the e-portal.

”The next move is for the visa applicant to proceed to a café to print out the visa document and wait for his/her scheduled flight for the pilgrimage. With respect to Nigerian pilgrims, their respective state pilgrims’ boards print out the visas on behalf of their pilgrims,” the statement explained.

”This procedure has been stress-free thus far with a considerable number of visas already processed. Visas are administered within hours of making full payments therefore creating a leeway for one to pay and get his/her visa ready hours before closure of Hajj e-portal for 2019 Hajj, deadline for this being 15th of July 2019.”

She therefore cautioned intending pilgrims to safeguard their visa slips and other travel documents.

”NAHCON cautions intending pilgrims to safeguard their visa slips and other travel documents conscientiously to forestall anyone missing his/her chance of participating in 2019 Hajj. This is because Saudi Arabian authorities will not honour entry of anyone with incomplete travel documents into the Kingdom for any reason.

”The visa slip is in paper form, which may easily be destroyed by wetness. Therefore, the Commission recommends extra care in handling travel documents to Hajj 2019,” she said.

Obasanjo deceived, failed Afenifere, AD govs in second term – Osoba

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Olusegun Osoba, has stated that former President Olusegun Obasanjo promised to restructure Nigeria when he sought the support for his re-election for a second term from the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, and governors on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy.

Osoba stated this in his 341-page memoir: ‘Battlelines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics’ which was published by Diamond Publications Limited, and will be presented to the public next Monday as part of activities marking Osoba’s 80th birthday in Lagos.

The former Ogun State governor said there was no love lost between Obasanjo and governors in the South-West until there was an attempt to impeach him by the Ghali Umar Na’Abba-led House of Representatives in August 2002.

Osoba said the Afenifere and the AD governors opposed the impeachment plot despite their differences with Obasanjo because they felt it could truncate the nation’s re-nascent democracy.

He explained that after the impeachment plot failed, the former president used the opportunity to curry favour with Afenifere.

The AD chieftain said, “It was after this experience that Obasanjo began a frontal attempt to woo the AD governors. He came to Lagos to attend the convocation at the University of Lagos and then invited all the AD governors to a meeting later in the night same day.

“Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos was the contact between us and Obasanjo over the arrangements for the meeting. We met him in the old office of the head of state at Dodan Barracks. The only person who accompanied him to the meeting was the Director of the State Security Service, Col. Kayode Are.

“At the meeting, he directly requested support from all the six AD governors. He said he wanted an understanding between us and himself because he faced some serious challenges that were likely to create some upheaval in the political terrain and in the country at large. Therefore, he wanted an understanding and a working relationship with us.”

Osoba said the group wondered the basis for the collaboration since Obasanjo’s first term was coming to an end.

He noted that the governors said they needed to consult the AD leadership before making any decision.

He said the governor consulted the leader of the Afenifere, late Pa Abraham Adesanya. According to him, after the consultations a meeting was held among the members (Afenifere) in Lagos where conditions for negotiating with Obasanjo to support his second term were agreed upon.

Osoba said Pa Adesanya led a team with the Afenifere charter of demand to Ota, Ogun State, to discuss with Obasanjo.

“The Afenifere and the AD leadership were not going to give their heart and soul to support Obasanjo’s second term ambition without extracting some major political commitments from Obasanjo. A meeting was held in Lagos where the conditions for negotiating with Obasanjo were agreed upon. After the meeting at the home of Pa Adesanya, he led a team with Afenifere charter of demand to Ota to discuss with Obasanjo.

“The delegation to Ota included Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Senator Femi Okurounmu and Dr Cornelius Adebayo. Senator Okurounmu and Dr. Adebayo were mandated to speak on behalf of AD and Afenifere respectively at the meeting with Obasanjo. Chief Adesanya called me and asked me to join them at Obasanjo’s Ota Farm, from my station in Abeokuta

“The conditions presented to Obasanjo, among others were: the restructuring of the Nigerian federation, devolution of power, including moving some items from the exclusive to the concurrent list and ensuring fiscal federalism. Obasanjo was made to agree to organise a credible and transparent national census. We also demanded that the constitution must include merit as a condition that must be followed alongside federal character and quota system in the recruitment to federal positions across the country.

“When all these conditions were tabled before Obasanjo, he assured us that he was satisfied with them and that he clearly identified with them. He explained that he had even started implementing the issue of merit in federal appointments indirectly through the privatisation of many public enterprises which were run for many years without respect for merit.

“On the whole, Obasanjo sounded so eloquent and convincing. At the end of the meeting, we drove to the Gateway Hotel, Ota, where I had arranged dinner for the leaders. It was also the place to debrief ourselves of what we gained from meeting with Obasanjo. Chief Adebanjo was the major speaker.

“I sincerely cannot believe that Obasanjo has become such a changed man,” he said. ‘I am surprised, but happy that he is ready to take fundamental actions to restructure Nigeria in his second term in office.’

“That was the impression most of us took away from the meeting. Consequently, we agreed to support him for the 2003 presidential election. On our part, we decided not to present a presidential candidate for our party in spite of resistance from some Afenifere leaders.

It was later that we realised that we had been fooled. Obasanjo merely played along with us and ended up deceiving us by telling our leaders what he knew they wanted to hear, but which didn’t come from his heart.

Netflix acquires Kunle Afolayan’s ‘Mokalik’, others

Netflix, the America streaming giant, has acquired award-winning director and producer Kunle Afolayan’s new movie ‘Mokalik.’

Afolayan disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday on the sideline of the French-Nigerian Cinema Days holding from July 2-3 at the Alliance Francaise, Ikoyi, Lagos.

“I wish to inform you that Netflix has acquired “Mokalik” and some other of my films,” he said.

However, Afolayan did not disclose the value paid for the acquisition. He added that the company has not announced when the films would be released on the platform.

The acquisition represents Netflix’s ongoing aggressive interest in Africa content.

The company had reportedly signalled that it planned to get serious about ordering/acquiring original series and films from the African continent, created by Africans.

At the Toronto International Film Festival, the streamer acquired Nigerian drama “Lion heart,” the directorial debut of Nollywood veteran actress Genevieve Nnaji.

It was also picked as a Netflix Original movie and was released worldwide on January 4, 2019.

NAN reports that ‘Mokalik’ features singer Simisola Ogunleye, a.k.a Simi, in her debut acting role and Big Brother Naija ex-housemate, Tobi Bakre among other actors.

Mokalik’s plot follows the story of an 11-year-old boy, Jaiye, from the middle-class suburbs, who decides to find his path in life as an apprentice at a mechanic workshop.

When his father arrives to take him home, Jaiye has to make up his mind if he wants to return to school or take on his apprenticeship full time.

 

FG questions former ministers over alleged $2bn Atlas Mara’s Union Bank shares fraud

The Federal Government has begun interrogation of those implicated in the alleged fraud that left over 65,000 Nigerian shareholders losing $2 billion worth of shares.

Those invited for interrogation were former Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, and his counterpart in the Ministry of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah.

Mr Chukwuemeka Obasi , the legal representative of the whistle-blower disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.

Obasi said that the General Managing Director of Union Bank Nig Plc, Mr Emeka Emuwa, was also questioned.

According to him, the various representatives of all private and public institutions linked with the fraud were also invited and quizzed.

Obasi said the establishments mentioned in the petition included the Chapel Hill, National Security Exchange (NSE), Security Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The interrogation hinged on a petition reporting the alleged fraud submitted to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, dated April 3, 2019.

The petition is titled “Official corruption, misuse of FGN USD two billion, fraud and unjust enrichment of persons who dispossessed more than 65,000 Nigerians and conferred ownership of the Bank on few Nigerians and their foreign accomplices’’.

The petition did finger former Central Bank Governor, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi II, under whose watch the alleged fraud was perpetuated.
Also accused of alleged complexities in the transactions were the two former ministers.

Enelamah was particularly fingered as the mastermind of the transaction by allegedly leading Africa Capital Alliance to form the Mauritius shell company to house Nigerians pretending to be foreign investors.

The transactions allegedly dispossessed Nigerian shareholders and investors in order to transfer ownership of the bank to a few persons including insiders, chieftains of competitor banks and others who would not pass CBN’s “fit and proper’’ test for bank ownership.

The petition claimed that Enelamah allegedly organised the registration of the offshore shell company in Mauritius called Union Global Partners Limited for the purpose of disguising the true majority ownership of Union Bank shares concealed in the offshore company.

The petition also alleged that the transactions commenced under Udoma’s supervision as Chairman of Security and Exchange Commission and sealed up when he became the Chairman of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.

“The circumstances can best be described as official corruption and insider trading’’, the petition alleged.

The petition further alleged that Udoma and other officials illicitly granted a renewable five year waiver to Union Bank of Nigeria to remain listed on the exchange in spite of being owned by a few private equity firms till today.

According to the petition, the alleged unlawful action is to ensure the more than 65,000 Nigeria former shareholders whose shares were diluted from 85 per cent to less than 15 per cent of public float to still be listed on Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

“It is to be recalled that 49% shares of Union Bank of Nigeria plc is now majority owned and controlled by London listed Atlas Mara, the investment company led by Robert Diamond Jr.
“Mr Diamond is a former Chief Executive Officer of Barclays Bank who was sacked for his involvement in manipulating Libor.

“Not only is Mr Diamond not a fit and proper person to own a bank according to the rules of Nigeria, he had also been blacklisted by the Bank of England as a result of the Libor manipulation.

“One wonders how the former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi authorised the Union Bank change of ownership transaction and bridged it with USD two billion national patrimony, in spite of glaring evidence of fraud and the nature of the ultimate foreign owner who was already known and waiting in the wings.

“There are evidence that Atlas Mara has visions of owning 100% of Union Bank of Nigeria plc which they can only achieve by buying shares warehoused by the few privileged Nigerians that acquired the bank in apparently unwholesome circumstances.

“Those few privileged Nigerians are now cashing in on their loot in transactions with Atlas Mara, at the expense of dispossessed Nigerians,’’ the petition said.

The alleged fraud has international dimensions reaching United Kingdom, Canada, USA, Netherlands and Mauritius.
Official record has it that Atlas Mara controls 49 per cent control share of the bank which is in turn controlled by Fairfax Africa based in Canada and United States.

According to the petition, Mauritius equally has a significant control right, because the offshore shell company called Union Global Partners Limited (UGPL) is another significant owner that has sold and continues to offload its shares to Atlas Mara.

Nigerians who were former shareholders of Union Bank of Nigeria eagerly await the outcome of this investigation.
UGPL acquired 65 per cent of the bank in the odious transaction that dispossessed Nigerians.

The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) was also compelled to divest its 20 per cent shares to Atlas Mara which the UGPL consortium was unable to pay for.

JUST IN: Many feared killed as pipeline fire engulfs Lagos community

Fire broke out in the Ijegun area of Lagos State on Thursday after suspected hoodlums vandalised pipelines belonging to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation.

Although the details of the incident are still sketchy, our correspondent gathered that some of the hoodlums were caught up in the explosion and were feared dead.

An eyewitness, Babajide Lawal, said the noise of the explosion woke the residents, adding that casualties have been recorded.

Lawal said, “There is fire incident at Ijegun Last Bus Stop, in fact, no one can move near the place because the whole area is burning. What woke us up was the sound of the explosion and when we came out to observe what happened, we saw the fire burning everywhere.”

Firefighters from the National Emergency Management Agency and the Lagos State Fire Service were said to have responded to the incident.

The spokesperson for NEMA, South West zone, Ibrahim Farinloye, in a release said the agency had alerted the NNPC management to the development.

“NEMA has also called on the safety unit of the corporation to immediately shut down further supplies through pipeline in order to suffocate the fire.

“It is noted that vandals are responsible for the incident and some of them are affected in the inferno.

“Security agencies have cordoned off the area to restrict access of undesirable elements. People should remain calm,” he added.

An official of the Lagos State Fire Service, Amodu Shakiru, said firefighters were still battling the fire, adding that he could not make any comment yet.

More trouble for Senator Elisha Abbo as photojournalist accuses him of assault

 

Adamawa-North lawmaker, Senator Elisha Abbo, has been drawn into a fresh scandal as a photojournalist, Olumuyiwa Owolabi, has accused him of assault and breach of agreement in new social media posts now trending.

Owolabi said that Abbo not only assaulted him but got the police to lock him up in Adamawa.

He said he first met Abbo in 2014 during the run-up to the June 2014 Ekiti State governorship election which Ayodele Fayose won.

Owolabi, who was the official photographer of Fayose during the election, said he met Abbo in Ekiti State and Abbo told him that he would like him to do some jobs for him.

He said, “The viral video of Senator Elisha Abbo assaulting a young lady isn’t a new to me as I was one of his victims of assault years back.

“I met him during the campaign of former Governor Ayodele Fayose while I was the official photojournalist assigned to Fayose during the electioneering campaign and later head of photojournalists to his deputy after the election.”

The photojournalist said Abbo, who was contesting for senator on the platform of the All Progressives Congress at the time, entered into a contract with him to cover his political activities at the cost of N2.8m.

He said on August 13, 2014, he travelled with Abbo to Yola, Adamawa State, from Abuja by air and they lodged at Lelewa hotel for weeks while campaigning for the primaries which was eventually won by Senator Binta Garba.

The photojournalist said he travelled along with the senator from Adamawa to Mubi, Vintim Muchala to Mubi and later back to Yola after he lost the senatorial primary.

Owolabi said, “On approaching Senator Abbo to enforce the contract agreement we had, he refused to pay. He ignored several pleas for him to just give me part of my money.

“On the fateful day we wanted to travel together to Mubi for the last campaign, Boko Haram invaded the place prior to the day we ought to have travelled. Due to the attack by Boko Haram, I began to plead with him that I needed to leave the state.


Olumuyiwa Owolabi

“After several text messages and calls put through to him were ignored, I had no choice but to sit in front of his room where he was lodged at Dansoho Hotel, Yola. This was around 5pm.”

The photojournalist alleged that when Abbo saw him, he got so angry that he began to beat him, slapping him repeatedly.

Owolabi said Abbo quickly called a policeman and told the cop that he was a Boko Haram suspect and should be arrested immediately.

The photojournalist further stated, “As soon as he came out, I began to plead with him that I had to go. The next thing he said was that I was embarrassing him. He started beating and slapping me. He told his orderly to put me inside the pickup truck. He told them to point their guns at me and that he would kill me and tell people I was a member of Boko Haram.

“When I heard that statement, I was shocked because I didn’t know anybody there and I couldn’t speak their language fluently. No one could come to my rescue when he brutalised me, causing me to sprain my ankle.

“I began begging him to just leave me and let me go that I would leave the money for him because of his action.”

He alleged that Abbo’s police escort took him to Kaliwa Police Division around 2am with the instruction that he should be shot dead if he failed to comport himself.

Owolabi said Abbo had broken his phone at the time and so he was locked up in the police station without any means of contacting anyone.

The photojournalist added, “He had damaged my phone I couldn’t contact anybody; he tore my clothes and I was virtually naked.

“That very night, on getting to Kaliwa police station, I begged the investigating police officer to please let me use his phone to talk to one of my relatives. That was how I called one of my brothers that pleaded with the IPO to assist me out of the situation.

“The DPO came the following morning and begged him (Abbo) to give me transport fare to go back to meet my family. Till date, he hasn’t paid me the money.”

The photojournalist, who pleaded with Nigerians to help him, also shared photos of private chats he purportedly had with the senator.

Attempts to speak with the senator proved abortive as calls put through to his telephone indicated that it was switched off while a text message was not responded to as of 7am on Thursday.

PDP rejects Gbaja’s ‘attempt to impose leaders” on his colleagues

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the House of Representatives, of attempting to impose leaders on his colleagues.

Reacting to the fresh crisis rocking the lower legislative chamber of the national assembly over minority leadership position, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP spokesman, said it was improper for Gbajabiamila to go against the choice of the leadership of the party.

He said the PDP leadership had duly written to the speaker after consultations with other minority members, notifying him of members that had been selected for leadership positions in line with dictates of the rules and parliamentary practice.

“However, to our utter dismay, the PDP had discovered that the Speaker attempted to smuggle in names other than those recognized and forwarded to him as the leaders of the Minority in the House of Representatives,” Ologbondiyan said.

“The PDP, in the strongest terms, cautions against this abuse of rules, parliamentary practices and procedures as well as the convention and we urge the Speaker to respect the rules and read the list submitted to him by the leadership of the PDP.”

The leadership of the opposition party had chosen Kingsley Chinda as minority leader, Chukwuka Onyema as deputy minority leader; Yakubu Barde, minority whip and Muraina Ajibola, deputy minority whip.

But the speaker announced Ndidi Elumelu as minority leader, Toby Okechukwu as deputy minority leader, Gideon Gwani as minority whip and Adesegun Adekoya as deputy minority whip.

Badeh’s killing not political, says investigative panel

The joint investigative panel set up to probe the death of Alex Badeh, former chief of defence staff, says the killing has not political undertone.

Bamidele Shafa, leader of the panel, disclosed this while parading 15 suspects alleged to be involved in the crime, at the Mogadishu cantonment in Abuja, on Wednesday.

The panel was set up by Gabriel Olonisakin, chief of defence staff.

Badeh had died from gunshot wounds sustained in an attack while returning from his farm along Abuja-Keffi road in December 2018.

Shafa said after the panel’s investigation, 20 suspects were arrested in connection with the crime but 15 were being paraded for their “direct action” in the killing.

He said the suspects were grouped into key suspects, circumstantial suspects, and accomplices.


The suspects

He noted that the panel visited the scene of the incident, searched the homes of the suspects where one AK-47 rifle, one dane gun, and other weapons were recovered.

“The attack and killing of air chief marshal Alex Badeh on 18 December 2018, was criminal and does not have any political undertone,” Shafa said.

“The 15 suspects in custody confessed to their direct involvement in the crime. The suspects employed automatic weapons and locally-made guns in the attack and killing of air chief marshal Alex Badeh.

“This was buttressed by the result of the autopsy examination and weapons recovered from the residence of the suspects.”

He listed some of the arrested suspects as Aliyu Usman, “ring leader of the gang”; Shuaibu Rabo, second in command; Yahaya Nuhu and Alhaji Lamido Tahara, as third in command.

Shafa added that the suspects also admitted to having kidnapped one Joseph Okpetu, an engineer who was with the late Badeh, and received N2 million as ransom before his release.

Boeing sets aside $100m for 737 Max crash victims

Plane maker, Boeing Corporation, , has set aside $100 million to support families of those who died in two 737 Max crashes, according to CNN.

Boeing’s 737 Max jets were grounded worldwide after one of its aircraft flown by Ethiopian Airlines crashed shortly after takeoff in March.

Pius Adesanmi, renowned writer, and Biodun Bashua, a former UN and African Union (AU) deputy joint special representative in Darfur, Sudan, were the two Nigerians who died on the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines aircraft.

The incident occurred after a 737 Max flown Lion Air, an Indonesian airline, crashed in 2018.

The compensation is coming after families – including Adesanmi’s- sued the aircraft manufacturer over the crash in June.

Nomaan Husain, counsel to the Adesanmi’s, had said: “Our goal with these lawsuits is to obtain answers for our grieving clients and hold the Boeing Company accountable for creating this tragedy.”

Boeing said the money would be given to local nonprofits and community groups that will distribute the funds to the relatives of the 346 people who died in the crashes.

A spokesperson for the aircraft manufacturer was quoted as saying that people who accept funds from the $100 million compensation fund will not be required to give up the right to pursue legal action against the company.

Nigerian migrants killed in Libyan camp bombing raid

Nigerians were among those killed at a migrants camp that was bombed in Tripoli, capital of Libya, on Tuesday night.

At least 44 people were killed while as many as 130 were said to have sustained injuries in the incident which the United Nations said might amount to war crime.

Survivors said the attack occurred about 11:30pm and that they had regularly heard drones hovering over the detention compound in recent weeks.

“At the beginning we heard faraway clashes, then we heard this strong bomb,” VOA quoted Saddam, an 18-year-old from Sudan, as saying.

The survivor is said to have been detained for a year after being caught attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

“We were banging on the doors and the security people came and let us out and we saw the building on fire,” he said.

Tripoli officials attributed the attack to the forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, a strongman who leads the military in eastern Libya.

Haftar’s forces have been locked in battle for three months with the forces loyal to the internationally backed government in Tripoli. They are fighting for control of the city and the future of the Libyan government.

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the airstrike, describing it as “inhuman, wicked and callous”.

The Nigerian leader, who called for an international investigation, said those behind it must be made to face justice.

Buhari said the unfortunate attack is a wake-up call to the warring factions in Libya and the international community to quickly restore peace and stability in the country.

He prayed that God would comfort grieving families and grant speedy healing to the injured.
The federal government has repatriated thousands of Nigerians who were detained in Libya.