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Daily Archives: August 20, 2019

FULL LIST: Sanwo-Olu’s commissioners and Special Advisers

COMMISSIONERS: 

Mr. Rabiu Olowo Onaolapo (Finance)

Mr. Tunji Bello (Water Resources and Environment)

Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo (Education)

Prof. Akin Abayomi (Health)

Dr. Idris Salako (Physical Planning and Urban Development)

Mr. Gbenga Omotoso (Information and Strategy)

Mrs. Bolaji Dada (Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation)

Mr. Lere Odusote (Energy and Natural Resources)

Dr. Frederic Oladeinde (Transportation)

Mr. Gbolahan Lawal (Agriculture)

Moruf Akinderu Fatai (Housing)

Mr. Moyo Onigbanjo (SAN) (Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice)

Mr. Hakeem Fahm (Science and Technology)

Mrs. Ajibola Ponnle (Establishment, Training and Pension)

Engr. Aramide Adeyoye (Works and Infrastructure)

Mr. Segun Dawodu (Youth and Social Development)

Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf (Home Affairs)

Mrs. Yetunde Arobieke (Local Government and Community Affairs)

Mrs. Lola Akande (Commerce and Industry)

Mrs. Olufunke Adebolu (Tourism Arts and Culture)

Mr. Sam Egube (Economy Planning and Budget)

SPECIAL ADVISERS:

Dr. Wale Ahmed on Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations

Ms Ruth Bisola Olusanya  (Special Adviser on Agriculture)

Princess Aderemi Adebowale (Special Adviser on Civic Engagement)

Mr. Afolabi Ayantayo (Special Adviser on Political and Legislative Affairs)

Mrs. Toke Benson-Awoyinka (Special Adviser on Housing)

Joe Igbokwe (Special Adviser for Drainage and Water Resources)

Olatunbosun Alake (Special Adviser for Innovation and Technology)

Arc. Kabiru Ahmed Abdullahi (Special Adviser on Urban Development)

Anofi Olanrewaju Elegushi (Special Adviser on Central Business Districts)

Bonu Solomon Saanu (Special Adviser on Arts and Culture)

Oluwatoyin Fayinka (Special Adviser on Transportation)

Oladele Ajayi (Special Adviser on Commerce and Industry)

Tokunbo Wahab (Special Adviser on Education)

Solape Hammond (Special Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals)

Customs blame shipping lines, port operators, clearing agents for delay in cargo release

The Nigeria Customs Service has said that it was wrong for stakeholders to blame the Customs officers for every delay encountered in the cargo clearance processes, saying that cargo clearance is a chain process and everybody has a role to play.

Uche Ejesieme, spokesperson of the Tin Can Island Command of customs, said the command had identified certain delays in cargo clearance caused by terminal operators, shipping companies, government agencies and the licensed customs agent.

He said as a way of correcting the lapses, the Customs Area Controllers, Musa Baba Abdullahi, recently called a ‘no holds barred” meeting where the critical stakeholders were represented to discuss on restoring supply chain integrity.

Part of the resolutions at the meeting, according to him, is that Customs officers must henceforth resume work at 8am, while terminal operators must have positioned all containers for examination of cargoes to commence by 10am.

Ejesieme said “Sometimes if the agents don’t mention Customs, they find it difficult even to communicate with their principals, the importers, so we are used to leaking our wounds in Customs,meanwhile we are only limited to just two roles; examination and release of cargo”

“Most importers and agents are not ready to declare what they have, by the time we go for physical examination, you would see contradiction, this is why alerts will continue to come, if you don’t want alerts to come, and then you must be ready to be compliant”

“We are happy that over time, people are beginning to align and comply with fiscal policies of government in terms of trade”

“We have actually tried to bring all the critical stakeholders together on one platform to be in sync with the expectations and directives of Ease of Doing Business”

“We started mobilising the stakeholders because we reviewed and saw that there was need for us to improve on our supply chain integrity and management, we discovered that there were gaps which are not peculiar or synonymous with customs”

“We discovered there were gaps with the shipping companies and terminal operators, gaps with some of our operatives in the field, gaps among other sister security agencies, regulatory agencies, importers and their agents,” he said.

Huawei founder explains ‘battle mode’ plan to beat U.S. crisis

China’s Huawei will spend more on production equipment this year to ensure supply continuity, cut redundant roles and demote inefficient managers as its grapples with a “live-or-die moment” in the wake of U.S. export curbs, founder Ren Zhengfei said.

His remarks come as the United States said this week it will extend by 90 days a reprieve that permits Huawei Technologies to buy components from U.S. companies to supply existing customers, but it also moved to add more than 40 of Huawei’s units to its economic blacklist.

In a memo sent to employees on Monday loaded with military metaphors, 74-year-old Ren asked staff to work aggressively towards sales targets as the firm goes into “battle mode” to survive the crisis.

“The company is facing a live-or-die moment,” Ren, a former Chinese army officer, said in the memo, which was seen by Reuters. Huawei confirmed the contents of the memo.

“If you cannot do the job, then make way for our tank to roll; And if you want to come on the battlefield, you can tie a rope around the ‘tank’ to pull it along, everyone needs this sort of determination!”

Huawei is a key theme in a broader, year-long U.S.-China trade war, with Washington slapping it with the trade ban in May citing national security risks. Huawei, however, posted a 23% revenue jump in the first half, helped by strong smartphone sales in its home market.

Ren said in the memo, “In the first half, our results looked good, it is likely because our Chinese clients were sympathetic and made payments in time, the big volume made cash flow look good, this doesn’t represent the real situation.”

Ex-INEC boss, Maurice Iwu narrates EFCC ordeal

Professor Maurice Iwu, former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, has finally spoken about his recent ordeal in the hands of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC.

According to Iwu, “The journey I have found myself on began brewing on February 23rd, 2019 when I was deprived of my civic duty of voting in the Presidential Election as a result of EFCC “investigations”. From the seizure of my international passport that February till this recent ordeal with actual charges and detention, God’s goodness has remained manifest as I recite “Te Deum” in Thanksgiving.”

The Former INEC chairman thanked “Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora for their enormous show of concern, support and the spiritual discipline (for not crucifying me before my day in the court of law). My gratitude to Ndi Igbo, umu Imo, Okigwe indigenes (both at home and abroad), clergy from various denominations, especially of the Catholic faith, which I belong to. The support were not just in words of encouragement, but more in actions of prayers, for in it all the glory of God was made manifest. Though I ask the same question Ps. 4:2a stated “How long, Oh men will you turn my glory into shame?”

“Whenever persecution comes my way, I become more aware that God does not forsake His own indeed, and I’m encouraged by Ps. 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.”

He said “Despite the challenges, I bow in honour and humility the Grace God has offered and continues to afford me and my family.

“Even with a spirit charged by the timeless words of Rudyard Kipling in his timeless poem “If” (1943).

“More than ever before, with what I have passed through within the last months, I embrace the ever reassuring grace and presence of the Holy spirit, which affords my soul to appreciate the professionalism and dignity of many of the staff and persons at the EFCC detention centre, Judiciary and the Ikoyi prisons. It could only be God.

“With a humble spirit, I plead for well meaning Nigerians to await the court trial and due process in this matter that would allow me to share my side of the story and equally bring to light the testimonies of this journey of immense grace and revelation.

“It is noteworthy, that none of the charges against me has to do with my tenure as Chairman of INEC. And to the scientific community, please be assured that this would not negatively affect the several ongoing work by Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION) in contributing to the discovery and development of phytomedicines for tropical and emergent diseases, and the use of our world-class research facility for the standardization of African Medicinal Plants.

“I would like to acknowledge my beloved family, friends and my legal team for their support, hard work, solidarity and prayers. God heard all of you and never left me. The darkness that has enveloped the day is not yet over, please remain steadfast.

Iwu was released from Ikoyi Prisons after meeting the stringent N1bn bail granted him by the Federal High Court, Lagos, last week.

The court granted him bail after he was docked last week Thursday before Justice Chuka Obiozor by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a four-count charge bordering on money laundering although Realnews found out that there are other reasons for his trial which may be inherently politically motivated.

Realnews suggested in a report that prosecution of Iwu was because of the ongoing case at the Presidential Election Tribunal where Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is challenging the victory of President Muhammad Buhari at the presidential election in February 23. His traducers believed that he is the one advising Atiku on how to wage his case on the transmission of results of the February 23, presidential election through the INEC server. Although INEC has denied the existence of such server, it is believed that it was installed during the time Iwu presided over the commission as its chairman. It is alleged that he employed and trained all the staff manning the department who may have provided him information which he passed on to the Atiku Campaign Organisation.

Another grudge his traducers have against him is the alleged role he played in influencing the Ohaneze to support Peter Obi as the vice presidential candidate of PDP.

Also, Realnews gathered that the money Iwu was alleged to have laundered was the fund the federal government gave for research on prevention of Ebola during the outbreak of the disease in the country in 2014. Sources told Realnews that the disease was quickly contained in Nigeria because the fund was deployed to achieve the objective of the federal government to contain the spread of the disease in the country. As at the time of his arrest, there was no money relating to the fund found in Iwu’s account or that of his company, Bioresources, the source said.

According to the source, who craved anonymity, the prosecutors are also urging Iwu to implicate former President Goodluck Jonathan in order for him to be set free. The insistence of the prosecutors on this line of action led to an angry altercation between the EFCC official and Iwu during his interrogation. Iwu was said to have asked the EFCC official how he expected him at his age and background to implicate somebody who committed no offence and for what gain.

Realnews reports that Iwu’s travails with the EFCC started early this year during the elections when he was invited for questioning but was released to go on self recognition and directed to report regularly to the commission until his current arrest and prosecution. It was then rumoured that his arrest was to prevent him from influencing the outcome of elections in Imo, his home state, where the indigenes were battling to ensure that Rochas Okorocha, former governor, did not return his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu as the governor of the state.

Buhari appoints heads of federal agencies

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved replacements for heads of Federal Government agencies that were recently appointed as ministers.

A statement by the president’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Tuesday, said Sen. Basheer Garba Mohammed was appointed Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.

Mohammed replaces Sadiya Umar Farouk, a minister-designate from Zamfara.

According to the statement, Dr Chioma Ejikeme has been appointed Executive Secretary, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, replacing Sharon O. Ikeazor, while Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi is now Director General/CEO, National Information Technology Development Agency.

“For Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), President Buhari has forwarded Adeleke Moronfolu Adewolu’s name to the Senate for confirmation as replacement for Sunday Akin Dare.

“The appointments take immediate effect,’’ the statement added.(NAN)

How soldiers killed police officers, set me free — Taraba kidnap kingpin

Hamisu Wadume, a suspected kidnap kingpin in Taraba State, has implicated Nigerian soldiers in his deadly escape two weeks ago.

Mr Wadume was re-arrested on Monday night and taken to the Force Headquarters on Tuesday afternoon, where he had been making statements to the police.

The suspect was first arrested on August 6 by a team of anti-crime police officers in Taraba. He was being taken to Jalingo, the state capital, when soldiers manning a checkpoint opened fire on the police team, killing three officers and a civilian.

An expansive investigation has been launched to unravel the culprits behind the violence, amidst claims that soldiers of 93 Batallion and top local police officers had connived to thwart Mr Wadume’s arrest.

At a short appearance before police camera on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Wadume corroborated police’s suspicion that Nigerian Army personnel were involved in the conspiracy that led to the killing of four persons and wounding of others.

He said he was arrested in Ibi, Taraba State, but “on our way out of Ibi, some soldiers open fire on the vehicle I was being transported in and killed some police officers, “ he said.

“The soldiers then took me to their headquarters and cut off the handcuff from my hands and set me free.

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“I have been hiding since then until now that the police arrested me again,” he said.

Mr Wadume was arrested in Kano State, police said.

Inspector-General Muhammad Adamu said the arrest would potentially lead to the smashing of other kidnap rings across Nigeria.

The police confirmation came after Thenewsmatrics reported that Wadume had been arrested and taken to the Force Headquarters for interrogation, citing other media sources.

A spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, Sagir Musa, is yet to comment about Wadume’s implication of soldiers.

Although the Nigerian Army confirmed soldiers were responsible for the attack on the police team, it denied that it was deliberate, blaming it on a communication gap that was largely avoidable.

Report: How UK govt makes millions weekly from cutthroat visa outsourcing services

*Nigerians spend N4.4bn yearly on UK visa applications

The Home Office has increased its profit on UK visas by millions of pounds a week since outsourcing visa operations to a Dubai-based firm that has been deluged with complaints and accused of exploiting vulnerable applicants for profit, The Independent has reported

VFS, which has its headquarters in the UAE but is owned through holding companies in Jersey, the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg, faces claims of “gross maladministration” and “aggressive” selling of optional services since taking the UK government contract in 2014.

During that time, the Home Office has made £1.6bn from applicants looking to visit, study or be reunited with their families – a nine-fold increase on the five years prior to the start of the contract.

Nigerian UK visa applicants appear top of the list of such vulnerable groups being a first choice travels, study and tourism destination given the country’s  long lasting colonial ties with Britain.

A joint investigation by The Independent and Finance Uncovered found the amount the department makes on average per visa application has increased from £28.73 to £122.56 or N55,000 for Nigerians.

Despite the cutthroat charges, Nigerian applicants, many desperate to relocate to the UK to access better quality of life, are often confronted with rude and haughty security personnel some of whom accept “tips” to ‘facilitate’ skipping long queues even though an online appointment andcall up system has been emplaced.

Thenewsmatrics reports that the UK High Commission to Nigeria said recently that it received about 80,000 visa applications yearly with 80 being successful. Of this figure 90 per cent are for student visas.

This implies that Nigerians spend N4.4bn each year on UK visa applications.

VFS, which is contracted to process visas from all countries outside Europe and Africa, handles applications to work, study and live in the UK, as well as visit.

People applying through VFS – the majority of whom are from lower-income countries, with a quarter from south Asia – have said they missed flights and were wrongly denied visas due to delays and administrative errors, including apparent failure to scan vital documents.

Others said they had faced a barrage of “optional” services on the VFS website, ranging from document checking for around £5, to a “super priority” visa service costing as much as £1,000, which some said failed to deliver on the fast-tracked service promised. Lawyers said these additional services could exploit vulnerable migrants who may feel pressured to spend more to secure visas.

Meanwhile, VFS has increased its average revenue per applicant by 38 per cent between 2016 and 2018 by selling more premium services, according to an analysis of group accounts filed in Luxembourg.

‘WHAT YOU GET FOR YOUR EXTRA MONEY’
Email service (per query): £5.48

Telephone helpline (per minute): £1.37

Form filling assistance via phone £61.72

Round trip courier service: £115.20

On demand mobile visa: £1,641

Gold premium package (includes super priority visa, walk-in without appointment, form filling assistance and health concierge): £1,564

Settlement premium package (includes priority visa for settlement or migration service, form filling assistance, application and document checks, courier service): £1,645

* All figures for US residents travelling to the UK

Prior to the contract, the majority of UK visa applicants could submit their applications in British embassies or consulates, where their documents would be processed and decisions would be made, and where there was no system of offering priority or “added value” services.

But when the service was outsourced in 2014, decision-making was concentrated in larger hubs run by VFS, which the Home Office said at the time would “improve the efficiency and consistency” of decision-making.

Fees have increased since then, with the cost of applying for a standard visit visa – the most popular type – rising by 14 per cent, from £83 in 2014 to £95 in 2019. Applications for settlement have increased from £885 to £1,523, a rise of 72 per cent.

However, analysis of Home Office annual accounts shows that the department’s surplus from visa applications has increased at an even higher rate. The figure stood at £178.6m for the five years before 2014, but over the past five years, the department has made £1.6bn, (N720bn) £438.1m last year alone – equating to £8.4m (N3.7bn) each week.

The contract handed to VFS made it mandatory for contractors to provide certain “premium services”, including premium lounges and priority visa services, some costing in excess of £1,500. The Home Office said that when the contract was renewed in 2018, premium lounges were removed as a mandated service.

Fees were also introduced for applicants wishing to make a query about their application, at £5.48 per query for the email service and £1.37 per minute for the phone helpline.

Contract documents released under freedom of information laws to Finance Uncovered show the Home Office takes a cut of the revenues these premium services, but the department refused to state how much it has received.

The Home Office insisted it did not make a profit from visa applications and said income generated from visa fees funded the wider immigration system – an apparatus which includes the controversial immigration detention estate, on which the department spent £523.5m between April 2013 and March 2017.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the scale of the charges was “truly shocking”, adding: “These are people who we have welcomed here, for work, for business, for study. The Home Office should not be ripping people off, and profiteering by private companies has no place in public services.”

Nicole Francis, chief executive of Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, said the organisation was concerned about the “poor level of service” provided by VFS and the Home Office benefiting from the offer of premium services. She added: “The information collected as part of this article suggests that we were right to be worried.”

She expressed concern that the premium services being offered “may exploit vulnerable and less well-informed migrants,who may feel pressured to purchase an expensive service which will not provide them with any benefit”.

John Vassiliou, partner at McGill and Co solicitors, said VFS had “been allowed to flourish despite this lack of competence” and claimed the Home Office did not exert enough control over outsourced visa services.

“It’s gross maladministration,” he said. “Our clients have had to endure stress, hassle, disruption to their lives, and significant legal expenses in order to resolve what ultimately was a very simple yet significant failure on the part of VFS: scanning essential documents.”

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration is investigating the outsourced visa system, with a report due later this year looking at customer experience and whether the contract had delivered on the promised benefits.

The figures come following widespread concern over the privatisation of the Home Office’s in-country visa system, which was outsourced to French firm Sopra Steria in November and has since, according to lawyers, offered a “substandard” service for “inflated” prices. A Sopra Steria spokesperson said at the time that its service was experiencing “higher than anticipated demand” and that it would be increasing the availability of free appointments at its core centres.

A Home Office spokesperson said it demanded the highest standards from service providers. A VFS spokesperson said optional services were “developed in response to specific demands from applicants for greater accessibility, personalisation and convenience in visa services – they are determined in consultation with, and agreed by, the respective governments”. They added that the services were clearly labelled as optional, while visa decisions were “the sole prerogative of the concerned embassy/consulate”.

Pass all requests for meetings with me through Abba Kyari, Buhari tells ministers

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday told incoming ministers that all requests for meetings with him should pass through his chief of staff, Abba Kyari.

Buhari said this in his closing remark at a presidential retreat for minister’s designate in Abuja.

“In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channelled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation,” Buhari said,

Kyari has been criticised by some Nigerians including members of the ruling party, APC, for his influence over the president.

The First Lady, Aisha Buhari, is one of those who have complained about the powers Mr Kyari wields in the presidency.

After Mr Buhari’s re-election in February, some APC members protested against the re-appointment of Mr Kyari, a longtime ally of the president.

The president, however, reappointed him to the position.

 

Read Buhari’s full speech to the ministers-designate below:

Protocols

After two days, we have come to the end of a successful retreat. However, you will agree that our work is just beginning.

2. These last two days have been very instructive for me personally, because I have had the opportunity to know many of you new Ministers-Designate better. I was also pleased to see that you have all equally enjoyed debating and deliberating on the various challenges before us over the next 4 years.

3. Ladies & Gentlemen, majority of our people are poor and are anxiously hoping for a better life. A Nigeria in which they do not have to worry about what they will eat, where they will live or if they can afford to pay for their children’s education or healthcare.

4. Our responsibility as leaders of this great country is to meet these basic needs for our people. As I mentioned yesterday, this Administration inherited many challenges from our predecessors to mention a few:

· A country in which 18 local governments in the Northeast were under the control of Boko Haram;

· Decayed infrastructure in which our rail lines and roads had severely deteriorated;

· A rent seeking economy that depended largely on oil revenues and imports;

· Significant unpaid pensions, subsidy debts, legacy contractor debts. I can go on and on.

5. In our first term, we laid the foundation to rebuild our country. We recaptured those 18 Local Governments previously held by Boko Haram, whose activities are now limited to sporadic attacks against soft targets. Our investments in road and rail infrastructure are without precedent, and many of you can attest to this. We also focused on diversifying the economy from oil towards agriculture and industrialization. Despite reduced revenues from oil and gas compared to past governments, we have broadly addressed many of the legacy debts they left behind.

6. Whilst we have obvious successes to celebrate, the challenges ahead are significant as you would have observed in detail over these two days. Nevertheless, from the quality of the deliberations, it is clear that solutions to our problems are well researched and have been well articulated.

7. We have discussed solutions relating to addressing Insecurity; Macroeconomic Stability; Agriculture and Food Security; Energy Security for Petroleum products and Electricity; Transportation and Critical Infrastructure; Industrialization and SME Development; Human Capital Development; Social Inclusion; Anti-Corruption; Housing Financing and Consumer Credit.

8. Public service is not easy work, and at times it can be thankless. I am therefore charging you all to see this opportunity to serve as an honour, to give your best to deliver on this mandate, for a more prosperous Nigeria, not for some, but for all Nigerians.

9. You will find that working collaboratively and purposefully will enable us to achieve quicker results, recognizing that four years is not a very long time. For the new Ministers, make sure you engage and benefit from the experience of the older Ministers and former Governors in the cabinet.

10. In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channeled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

11. I would like to thank the Office of the SGF for coordinating this successful Presidential Retreat. I would also like to thank the National Assembly leadership, the Party Chairman, Chairman of the Governors Forum, and resource firms, for the active engagements and contributions.

12. Once again, the challenges that lie ahead of us as a country are significant. But I have no doubt in your individual capacities and our collective patriotic commitment to deliver a better Nigeria for us, our children and a brighter future for all.

Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

EFCC tried to plant evidence on Ambode – Epe lawyers

 

Some young legal practitioners have claimed that officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission attempted to plant implicating evidence during a search of the Ikoyi home of former Lagos governor,  Akinwunmi Ambode earlier on Tuesday.

In a statement issued on Tuesday,  th he lawyers gave a detailed account of what transpired at Ambode’s Park View apartment.

 

Below is the full statement:

At early hours of today, we were duly briefed that some officers of the EFCC invaded the apartment of the Former Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Akinwunmi Ambode with the intention to search the premises.

We got to the scene and met with the officials of the EFCC to inquire whether they have a search warrant to search the premises of the Ex Governor.

Having confirmed the Search Warrant, the EFCC officials told us that nobody will follow them in as they will only go in alone. We resisted as young Lawyers and stated expressly that the principle of search is that the owner of the premises of his representatives must be present to observe the search.

They succumbed to our superior argument and allowed us and the people who has the key to the Ex Governor’s house into the apartment with them. Before they entered, we searched all the officials of the EFCC who intended to go in to effect the search.

There was a blue bag which they were holding with them, we requested to see the content of the bag before they could take it in. They got angry and said we cannot see the content. Having said that, we strongly resisted them to take it in since they cant allow us to see it, which they later agreed. We later got to know that the bag contained foreign currency which they brought to plant in the house of the Ex Governor to incriminate him.

It is important to inform the public that before the entered the house, we all submitted our phones to them as they requested that the only person required to go in with phone is one of them who will record the whole process.

All documents, including the State Executive Exco Meetings Vol 1 – 16 in the personal study of the Ex Governor and His Luggage room which they intended to take along with them for further investigation was resisted by us as we told them that failure to take records of all the documents from A-Z, they cannot go out with anything and they agreed with us.

Flowing from the aforesaid, they searched the nooks and crannies of the Ex Governor’s house and they couldn’t find any incriminating documents or materials. We authoritatively assert that, they did find anything in the house and they didn’t leave the house with anything.

We followed them as they entered from one place to the other, when our presence was intimidating them, they said we should sit down while they will do the search. We resisted that we must follow them to observe every of their activities in the premises.

To our greatest consternation, the officials of EFCC led by Rotimi Oyedepo, Esq held on to our phones and told us to follow them to their office in Ikoyi to get our phones. All efforts to get back our phones was abortive as the EFCC officials led by Rotimi Oyedepo, Esq rushed into their white Hiace Bus with our phones and instructed that since we have resisted their efforts to take “the said blue bag” into the main premises of the Ex Governor, they will hold on to the phone. Thus, almost six (6) phones were forcefully taken away, iPhones inclusive.

It is our happiness as Young Lawyers in Epe to be part of the process to legally and successfully resist the EFCC from incriminating the Ex Governor with the blue bag they brought with them from an unknown destination, and we also compelled them to conduct the search within the ambit of the law. Hence, the success.

We are sincerely elated that our presence really helped a long way to legally and successfully expose the intention of the EFCC to incriminate the Ex Governor. To this end, we are ready to challenge the search as they have gone beyond standard and the search warrant in this regard successfully whisking our phones away.

Thank you for listening and God bless you.

Signed.

Fatai A. Adebanjo, Esq.

Busari M. Olanrewaju, Esq.

Samson K. Okuneye, Esq.

APC reacts to EFCC raid on Ambode’s home

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has reacted to the search conducted by the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) at the Epe home of a former governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode.

Ambode left office on May 29 after serving a single four-year term and is believed to be under investigation for alleged corruption.

The former governor’s residence in his hometown, Epe was searched around 9:35 a.m.

The residence of his former chief of staff was also searched in the same Epe town of Lagos State.

Two weeks earlier, multiple bank accounts holding billions of naira and linked to Ambode were frozen as part of the probe.

While Ambode has denied links to both the accounts and any allegations of corruption while in office, the EFCC said whatever it was doing with regards to the investigation “is in line with its mandate and the rule of law.”

Reacting to this development, the APC spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said “there are no sacred cows”

He said this in a telephone interview on Tuesday afternoon.

“It is about time we knew that the APC government is not joking with its commitment to fight corruption in whatever form it is. This government has demonstrated that there are no sacred cows”, he said.

“The naysayer can continue to say what they like but they must be ashamed of themselves by now, knowing that on daily basis, the anti-corruption agencies are proving them wrong,” Mr Issa-Onilu said.

When asked if the party was in support of the move against Mr Ambode, he said: “We are not specific about any issue. The fight against corruption is our own policy and there are no sacred cows. We just hope that the allegation against former governor Ambode is not true. If true, this APC government will not bend the rule for any personalities.”

He maintained that corruption fight is the “cardinal principle of the APC.”

Davido, Coldstone, Obasanjo Farms… FIRS publishes 19,901 accounts owing taxes

Bank accounts belonging to Obasanjo Farms, Iyiola Omisore and Davido are some of the accounts that have been placed under lien for owing taxes.

In a list published on Monday, the Federal Inland Service (FIRS) listed 19,901 accounts that were yet to regularise their tax status.

Some of the accounts published include:

  • Citiroof Aluminium Co. Ltd
  • Coldstone Creamery Limited (Yaba)
  • Davido Music Worldwide Ltd
  • Grand Square Supermarket and Stores Ltd
  • Iyiola Omisore & Par
  • Open Heavens Bliss Enterprises
  • The Assemblies of God Nigeria
  • X3M Music Limited
  • Tiger Foods Limited
  • Slot Enterprises
  • Payporte Technology Limited
  • Visionscape Sanitation Solutions Limited
  • Erisco Foods Limited Milk Cube account
  • God is Good Motors (Vehicle sales account)
  • Hubmart Stores Limited
  • Obasanjo Farms Nig. Ltd (Feedmill)
  • United Capital Plc

29 DAYS COUNTDOWN…

In a newspaper advertorial, the FIRS said it would enforce the payment of whatever outstanding each company had.

“This is to notify all Companies, which had their Bank Accounts placed under Lien by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) pursuant to Section 31 of the FIRSE Act, but are yet to regularise their tax status with the FIRS, that if they fail, refuse or neglect to pay the tax due within 30 days of this Notice, the FIRS shall in accordance with Section 49 (2) (a- d) of the FIRSE Act proceed and enforce the payment of the said tax against all the Directors, Managers, Secretaries and every other person concerned in the management of the Companies and recover the said tax from such persons without further notice,” it said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the above Section authorises the FIRS to proceed against and punish every officer, Manager, Director, Secretary or any person concerned with the management of the Company in like manner as if he/she had committed the offence.”

Under lien gives the FIRS the power to hold on to the accounts and deduct whatever the customer owes. 

Ambode reacts to EFCC search, says no cause for alarm

 

Former governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Tuesday urged his supporters and the general public to remain calm and law-abiding as there was no cause for alarm.

Ambode, in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Habib Aruna, spoke on the backdrop of a search by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on his Epe Country home and Parkview Ikoyi residence, where the anti-graft agency conducted the exercise without any incident.

He said the Commission, till date, has not opened any direct communication with him on any issue, adding that he was ready and willing to respond if or when they do so.

The statement reads: “This morning, operatives of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission visited the Epe Country home and Parkview Ikoyi residence of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, former Governor of Lagos State, with warrants to conduct a search. These searches were carried out extensively and at the end of the exercise the operatives left without any incident.

“The former Governor reiterates that the EFCC has till date not had any direct communication with him on any subject matter whatsoever and if or when it occurs he is ready and willing to respond.

“The former governor wishes to assure his supporters and the generality of Lagosians to continue to remain calm and law-abiding as there is no cause for alarm.”

The former governor reiterated his belief in the rule of law and due process and remains grateful for the opportunity to have served Lagos State diligently and conscientiously.

It would be recalled that Ambode, in an earlier response to allegations by the EFCC that it had frozen certain accounts linked to him, insisted that no account of his contained N9.9bn let alone being frozen by the Commission as those accounts were opened and operated by the Lagos State Government.

 

BREAKING: Suspected Taraba kidnap kingpin Wadume arrested

Hamisu Wadume, a suspected kidnap lord in Taraba State, has been re-arrested, official sources have confirmed.

It was not immediately clear when and where Mr Wadume was taken into custody, but Premium Times said the   development came to light on Tuesday, citing sources.

Wadume was sighted at the Force Headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.

The police are expected to release a statement on his arrest later.

Wadume was the ‘high profile’ kidnapping suspectarrested by the police on August 6. He was being driven to Jalingo by the police team when soldiers opened fire on them along Ibi-Wukari Road, killing three police officers and a civilian.

The attack immediatelysparked friction between police and the Nigerian Army, as well as a nationwide apprehension, prompting President Muhammadu Buhari to order an investigation. The investigation panel, which includes persons with police and military background, was initially scheduled to conclude its findings last week, but the team sought additional two weeks to wrap up.

JUST IN: EFCC raids Ambode’s residence

Agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) raided the residence of Akinwunmi Ambode, former governor of Lagos state, in Epe area of the state, on Tuesday.

Tony Orilade, EFCC spokesman, confirmed this to TheCable.

He said the anti-graft agency had received petitions against the governor, and that it was investigating his administration.

”Yes, we received petitions regarding the governor, and we are investigating,” he said on Tuesday.

When asked if agents of the commission were at the residence of the former governor, he said: ” Yes, that is part of the investigation.”

A federal high court in Lagos had ordered the freezing of three bank accounts allegedly linked to the former governor over a N9.9 billion fraud following an ex parte application by the EFCC.

The accounts are domiciled in First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Access Bank, and Zenith Bank with numbers 5617984012, 0060949275 and 1011691254 respectively

The EFCC had prayed the court to freeze the accounts pending the conclusion of an investigation and possible prosecution of Adewale Adesanya, permanent secretary in the office of the chief of staff to the governor of the state, for money laundering.

Kungmi Daniel, a member of the EFCC investigating team, said the anti-graft agency discovered “a huge inflow of N9,927,714,443.29” from the state accounts into an FCMB bank account opened on September 17, 2018 during the administration of Ambode.

He said the account was operated by Adesanya.

Ambode denied operating those accounts, saying he had no personal links to them.

“Those accounts were opened in the course of normal operations by the Lagos state government for its administrative purposes and not for the former governor’s personal transactions as was being wrongly insinuated and have been operated to ensure smooth operations of government activities by previous and present administrations,” he had said in a statement issued by Habib Aruna, his media aide.

“The former governor was not and will never be involved in any unauthorised use of government property and resources.”

Military invasion: Court orders CBN to pay N8bn to Benue communities

The Federal High Court, on Monday, ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately pay the sum of N8 billion to Tiv communities in Benue invaded by soldiers sometime in year 2001.

The money was awarded in favour of the communities in Logo, Ukum, Kwande and Katsina-Ala Local Government Areas of the state for the loss of lives and property they suffered during the invasion by soldiers of the Nigerian Army in 2001.

Justice Nyang Ekwo gave the order following the garnishee application by the communities for the enforcement of the consent judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal in Enugu on Feb. 2, 2015.

The judge, who had earlier granted the preliminary “garnishee nisi”, made the garnishee order “absolute” on Monday by ordering the CBN to pay the sum of N8 billion into an interest yielding account to be domiciled with First Bank of Nigeria Plc administered by the Chief Registrar of the court.

The judge added that he would subsequently make an order for the disbursement of the money after the CBN complies with the order for the payment.

‎He said the terms of disbursement would have to be signed by first class chiefs of Jukun, Logo, Kwande, Katsina-Ala Local Government Areas on behalf of the Tiv Traditional Council.

He ruled: “The garnishee (CBN) is hereby ordered to pay the garnishee sum into an interest yielding account to be opened and maintained by the Chief Registrar of this court in First Bank of Nigeria Plc.

“The order authorising the disbursement of the money, shall be made upon being satisfied with the terms of disbursement including the legal fees jointly signed by Ocha Ulegede Esq, and J.K Gadzama, SAN, for the ganishors and endorsed by first class chiefs of Jukun, Logo, Kwande, Katsina-Ala local government areas on behalf of the Tiv Traditional Council.”

The plaintiffs in the suit are 14 persons from the Benue communities, who were victims of the military invasion which occurred about 18 years ago.

Those who instituted the suit were late Dr. Alexander Gaadi, Peter Orngu, Terfa Akaagba, Anongo Unishigh, Ngunengen Adula, Demelu Adula, Zaki Mazan, Mbakesen Ayatse, Mbayemen Maswuan, Anande Agashia, Azenda Igo, Elizabeth Aoughakaa, and Andrew Juntu.

They instituted two separate suits which were later consolidated against the then Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Olusegun Obasanjo, the then Minister of Defence, Chief of Army Staff and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

In their consolidated suits, which were filed at the Federal High Court in Markurdi but later transferred to Enugu Division of the court, the 14 plaintiffs alleged that the Army was used against the Tiv communities under the pretext of settling communal conflicts.

They, therefore, urged the court to declare the deployment of the army as genocidal, and the continued occupation of the communities by soldiers as undemocratic and unconstitutional.

In one of the two suits, marked FHC/MKD/CS/6/2002, they sought N60 billion as damages against the respondents for “brutally and untimely terminating the lives” of the plaintiffs’ parents, daughters and brothers” as well as for “permanently depriving” some of the plaintiffs their body parts such as manhood and hands of some of them thereby subjecting them “to mental and psychological pains and anguish”.

The plaintiffs sought about N32 billion as damages in the suit FHC/MKD/CS/41/2001.

They also sought a public apology, among other prayers.

Delivering judgment on the consolidated suits on July 5, 2007, the Enugu Division of the Federal High Court presided over by then Justice A.L Allagoa, awarded N10 billion in favour of the plaintiffs and against the respondents.

None of the defendants had filed any papers to defend the suit at the trial court but they appealed against the judgment.

At the Court of Appeal in Enugu, the parties agreed on N8 billion damages which the court awarded in favour of the the Benue communities in a consent judgment delivered on Feb. 2, 2015.

Ruling on the plaintiffs’ garnishee application on Monday, Justice Ekwo held that there was nothing standing as impediment to the payment of the N8 billion since the respondents had consented to it at the Court of Appeal.

He held: “It is my opinion that the judgment debtors/appellants entered into terms entered by the Court of Appeal in appeal number CA/E/410/2008 as judgment of Feb. 2, 2015 was a clear and unambiguous expression and readiness of the judgment debtors to pay the sum agreed therein to the ganishors.

“Upon studying the averments in the six-paragraph affidavit to show cause deposed to on March 28, 2017, by one Huseini Sani Kagai, and three-paragraph further affidavit showing cause deposed to on May 8, 2017, by the same Huseini Sani Kagai, I am unable to see any contrary issue or impediment established by the garnishee that would constitute a cause shown by the garnishee why the order nisi proceedings ought not to be made absolute and I so hold.”

Why Lagos Assembly dropped three commissioner-nominees

The three commissioner-nominees, who were not confirmed on Monday by the Lagos State House of Assembly, were victims of high-wire politics, it was learnt.

Three nominees are: Prince Olanrewaju Sanusi, Obafemi George and Ms Adekemi Ajayi-Bembe.

A party source said the Assembly could not resist the pressure to deny them clearance, owning to the weight of allegations against them.

According to the source, the politics of confirmation overwhelmed the Assembly, adding that “the matter was beyond the control of the lawmakers”.

“It is now evident that nominations and screening were not final. Post-screening hurdles may arise from familiar and strange quarters,” the source stressed.

The source, who sympathised with the dropped nominees, said the governor may still represent them, if they overcome their challenges.

Asked to shed light on what he described as “high-wire politics”, the source said: “I suspected that the outcry against them arose from their people; from their constituencies where leaders and critical stakeholders, who cannot be ignored, kicked.

“I don’t think it was due to poor performance at the screening, although we heard that a particular nominee did not measure up during the exercise and the House Committee that screened them noted the non-display of competence.

“They were not confirmed because of politics of preference and rejection. The influence of powerful people, who didn’t want them, dwarfed those of their supporters in their respective constituencies. They did not play their cards well at home. It can happen because it is politics.”

But, the Speaker of the Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, also said the governor was at liberty to represent them to the House.

The Assembly, however, at plenary, confirmed 35 of 38 persons Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu nominated as commissioners and special advisers after the final screening by the whole House.

The nominees were cleared after the adoption of the recommendations of the ad hoc committee constituted by the lawmakers on the screening.

The committee’s report, which was read by the chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Chief Whip, Rotimi Abiru, recommended that the nominees be confirmed by the whole House, according to section 192 (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Obasa, however, cautioned those confirmed that the House would not hesitate to pass a vote of no confidence on any member of the state exco found wanting after they assume office.

The 38 nominees had before yesterday been screened by a 16-man ad hoc committee set up by the Assembly for the exercise.

They were, however, called individually on Monday to appear before the whole House at plenary to introduce themselves fully.

The speaker told the nominees that the House would not fail in its oversight to ensure that each performed his or her responsibility to the people.

The Speaker added that the House was not concerned about the academic qualifications and oratory prowess of any of the nominees, but readiness and commitment to serve the state.

“Even after the confirmation, we will continue to monitor whatever offices you are assigned to ensure value for public fund. We will continue to oversight your activities.

“We will not hesitate to pass vote of no confidence any time anyone is found wanting,” the Speaker said.

Those cleared as commissioners and special advisers are: Mr. Oladele Ajayi, Mr. Oluwatoyin Fayinka, Mrs. Yetunde Arobieke, Mr. Kabiru Abdullahi and Mr. Joe Igbokwe.

Others are Bonu Solomon Saanu, Lola Akande, Prince Anofi Elegushi, Solape Hammond, Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, Shulamite Adebolu, Tokunbo Wahab., Rabiu Olowo Onaolapo, Folashade Adefisayo, Prof. Akin Abayomi, Dr. Idris Salako, Tunji Bello, Gbenga Omotoso, Toke Benson-Awoyinka and Mrs. Bolaji Dada

Included are: Lere Odusote, Dr. Frederick Oladeinde, Gbolahan Lawal, Dr. Wale Ahmed, Moyo Onigbanjo (SAN), Hakeem Fahm and Ajibola Ponle.

Also confirmed are Aramide Adeyoye, Segun Dawodu, Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, Sam Egube, Ms Ruth Bisola Olusanya, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, Mr. Tunbosun Alake and Mr. Afolabi Ayantayo.

The rejection and confirmation were done through a voice vote supervised by the Speaker.

However, the swearing-in and inauguration of the cleared nominees has been fixed for today at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium in Alausa, Ikeja by 10a.m.

MTN Nigeria overtakes Dangote Cement as NSE’s largest company

MTN Nigeria has become the largest company by market capitalisation on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

At the end of trading on Monday, MTN Nigeria’s shares closed at N138.70 per share bringing the company’s market capitalisation to N2.82 trillion as against Dangote Cement’s N2.81 trillion.

Shares belonging to Dangote Cement closed at N164.5 per share.

In May when MTN Nigeria listed on the NSE, the company’s market capitalisation was N1.3 trillion leaving N782 billion margin between Dangote Cement.

The All-Share Index inched 190.60 points to 27,115.89 compared with 26,925.29 achieved on Friday.

Also, the market capitalisation which opened at N13.121 trillion rose by N93 billion to close at N13.214 trillion.

Courteville Business Solutions recorded the highest price gain of 10%, to close at 22k per share.

UACN came second with a growth of 6.67% to close at N4.80, while FCMB Group appreciated by five per cent to close at N1.68 per share.

AIICO Insurance rose by 4.92 per cent to close at 64k, while Oando appreciated by 4.48% to close at N3.50 per share.

MTN’s listing on the NSE was part of negotiations with Nigerian authorities to reduce a fine of N5.3 trillion by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for misdeeds with sim card registrations by MTN.

It listed a total of 20,354,513,050 ordinary shares of MTN Nigeria at a listing price of N90.00 per share.

MTN Nigeria is the first telecommunications network provider to be listed on the NSE Premium Board.