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Mompha, Lebanese friend’s arrest remains a landmark achievement —Magu

The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, says alleged Internet fraudster and social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha aka Mompha; and his Lebanese accomplice, Hamza Koudeih, laundered a combined N33bn.

Magu further stated that the two belonged to an international crime syndicate that did money laundering, especially in Dubai.

The EFCC boss said this at a Press conference in Lagos on Thursday.

He said, “The recent arrest of a social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha; and his Lebanese collaborator, Hamza Koudeih, for their alleged involvement in internet-related fraud and money laundering, remains a landmark achievement of the EFCC.

“I make bold to tell you that these arrests have further confirmed our commitment to the anti-graft war, while also sending a red alert to potential internet fraudsters.

“I am sure you will be greatly shocked to know that five wristwatches valued at over N60m were recovered from the suspect.

“Investigation has also revealed that he operates 51 bank accounts in Nigeria, with which he acquired properties in Dubai; and had allegedly laundered about N14bn through a firm known as Ismalob Global Investments Limited.

“His accomplice, Koudeih, also has two firms namely, THK Services Limited and CHK properties Limited with which he has allegedly laundered about N19bn.”

He said Koudeih lived in a $5m per annum suite at the Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Magu said actionable intelligence received from local and international law enforcement agencies had revealed that the suspects, alongside their collaborators, were high-valued targets in Organised Cyber Syndicate Network.

The EFCC chair also stated that the Commission had begun forensic analysis of the phones, documents and “strange” items recovered from both suspects.

“They will be charged to court accordingly as soon as investigation is concluded,” he added.

Magu also emphasised the fact that the commission, prior to the arrests of both Mompha and Koudeih, had independently launched intensive investigative actions against the Internet fraudsters, popularly known as Yahoo Boys, culminating in various strategic raids on their hideouts.

He further stated that the Commission had embarked on the raids even before the recently concluded collaborative operation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, tagged Operation Rewired — an international operation targeted at the Business Email Compromise, suspects across the world.

The EFCC boss said from January to date, the Lagos office of the Commission had made over 300 arrests, secured 207 convictions and recovered a good number of exotic cars.

In addition, several properties suspected to have been acquired through the proceeds of crime were sealed.

He, therefore, charged the media to join hands with the Commission in sensitising members of the public about the evil of internet frauds as well as economic and financial crimes.

Magu said the EFCC would commence the auctioning of recovered items soon, adding that it wants to ensure there is transparency in the auction process.

Prison safest place for Nnamdi Kanu – Justice Nyako

Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, on Thursday, told the Federal High Court, Abuja, that he was ready to face trial if his safety would be guaranteed by the court.

Kanu told the presiding judge, Justice Binta Nyako, through his counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor.

Ejiofor told the court that the application to restore the IPOB leader’s bail so that he could face his trial was filed on April 1.

“We have an application for bail filed on April 1, 2019, the application was served on the prosecution and it is ripe for hearing.

“We urge the court to restore his bail on the grounds that the court will guarantee his safety when he comes back to the country to continue his trial,” he said.

On his part, counsel for the Federal Government, Labaran Shuaibu, who told the court that he was just seeing the process, opposed to the application.

Shuaibu urged the court to adjourn the matter to enable them file the necessary processes.

Delivering the ruling, Justice Nyako, who adjourned the matter till Jan. 16, said the only way he could guarantee Kanu’s safety was to keep him in the prison.

She said even judges no longer safe in the country.

“Even judges are being abducted in the country. So prison is the only safest place for him,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Justice Nyako had ordered the re-arrest of the self-proclaimed leader of IPOB, Kanu.

The judge gave the order in a ruling after revoking the bail granted to Kanu.

She explained that the court gave the order because Kanu had failed to appear in court after his bail was granted in April 2017.

The judge also ordered that trial would continue in the absence of the IPOB leader and directed that a bench warrant be issued for his arrest.

NAN reports that Justice Nyako had granted Kanu bail on health grounds on April 25, 2017, and asked him to present three sureties, one of whom must be a serving senator, a Jewish religious leader and a highly respected person who must own a landed property in Abuja.

The judge warned the IPOB leader against granting press interviews, holding rallies or being in a gathering of more than 10 persons while on bail.

She had also warned him that the bail would be revoked if he flouted any of the conditions.

(NAN)

Falana sues army, asks court to stop positive identification operation

Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has sued the Nigerian Army, it’s Chief of Army Staff and the Attorney-General of the Federation, praying for an order stopping the planned Operation Positive Identification by the army.

The suit marked FHC/L/CS/1939/2019 was filed before the Federal High Court in Lagos on October 25.

According to Falana, the planned nationwide operation scheduled for November 1, to December 23, 2019, by which Nigerian citizens would be required to move about with means of identification is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

He argued that the planned operation violates his right and that of other Nigerian citizens to liberty, “as encapsulated in Section 35 respectively of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as Amended and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, (Cap A10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”

He filed along with the suit an order seeking an interim injunction restraining the three defendants from going on with the plan pending the hearing of the substantive suit.

In a supporting affidavit filed along with the suit, Falana recalled that on October 8, 2019 the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai disclosed that the Operation Positive Identification, said to be ongoing in the North East theatre of Boko Haram insurgency would be extended to cover the entire nation.

He said the operation required Nigerian citizens to move about with legitimate means of identification such as the National Identification Card, Voters Registration Card, Drivers’ Licence and passports or other valid official identification.

He noted that the increase in deployment of security forces nationwide would be with potential of movement disruption, and the army had thus advised Nigerians to ensure that they always carry valid means of identification.

Falana argued, through his lawyers, Mrs. Funmi Falana and Taiwo Olawanle, who filed the suit on his behalf, that by virtue of Section 215 (3) of the Constitution, the Nigeria police force “has the exclusive power to maintain law and order and secure public safety and public order in the country” and not the army.

He contended that going by section 217(1) of the Constitution, the Nigerian President of could only deploy the armed forces for the suppression of insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore law and order.

But he said, “There is no insurrection in every part of the country which the Nigeria police cannot contain to warrant the deployment of armed troops all over the country from November 1, 2019 to December 23, 2019.

“Neither the Constitution nor the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 LFN, 2004 has empowered the Nigeria Army to arrest any citizen who is not subject to service law.

“The 1st respondent (the Nigerian Army) under the leadership of the 2nd respondent is not empowered to take over police duties and the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces lacks the power to deploy members of the armed forces in the maintenance of internal security in any part of the country by virtue of Section 217 (a) (b) and (c) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.”

JUST IN: 12 rescued, pastor arrested from Lagos ‘torture centre’

A pastor, Joesph Ojo, has been arrested for allegedly using his church as a rehabilitation centre for mentally ill people, including people suffering from various ailments and those involved in different forms of social vices.

It was gathered that Ojo was arrested after 12 allegedly ill people, who were chained in a dilapidated building close to his church, were rescued when men of the Lagos State Police Command stormed the church’s premises on Wednesday following a tip-off by Samuel Adam, the president of a nongovernment organisation, Eagle Crime Awareness and Prevention Initiative.

When our correspondent visited the church on Thursday, no fewer than four victims were seen in chains in the dilapidated building.

Ojo, while speaking to our correspondent, said the victims were chained because of their condition, adding that their parents brought them to the church for healing.

READ ALSO: Falana sues army, asks court to stop positive identification operation

He said, “The people are chained because of their condition. If I did not chain them, they will run. Many of them have put me into trouble and that is why I do chain them, but when I see that they are ok, I will loosen the chains. I have loosened the chains on those, who are healed but the ones who are still in chains are not yet healed.”

One of the victims, Adewale Adetana, said he was allegedly kidnapped and brought to the church, adding that he was not happy staying in the church.

The Oyo State indigene said, “One early morning, they kidnapped me from where I was sleeping and took me to the church and I have been staying there since then till the police came to pack everybody from the church. I am not happy staying in the church because I have my own life to live. I’m just here, I can’t live my normal life and do what I want to do, I can do normal day-to-day activities, so how can I be happy staying there?”

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said the command had commenced an investigation into the case, adding that 12 victims had been rescued from the church.

“We have rescued 12 victims so far. They are 15 victims in number, but three couldn’t move when we got there. We are bringing the remaining three. Some of them were chained. We have commenced an investigation.”

Drama as minister, Israeli professor clash over terrorism

There was drama on Thursday at the Musa Yar’ Adua Centre as Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and an Israeli professor expressed divergent views on the best option in the fight against extremism in Nigeria.

While the government insisted that avenues for venting fake news and hate speeches in the cyberspace should be closed to agents of extremism, the scholar explained that government had been engaging too much in what he described “kinetic efforts”, instead of tackling the matter from ideological point of view.

“Clearly, government policies and initiatives have failed to address extremism and sectarianism that fuels this violence, which in turn threatens our diversity, national unity and co-existence as a people”, the Israeli Professor stated.

Both the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and senior lecturer in the Faculty of Social Science, Haifa University, Isreal, Prof. Leonard Kursim Fua, stated these in Abuja during the annual lecture series organised by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, with the theme: “Extremism: A threat to national unity.”

Mohammed said, “We are moving ahead to inject sanity into our broadcasting space. The power of radio and television means that we should not allow them to be used as catalysts to cause conflict. Web televisions and online radio are now to be licenced and regulated. We have set up an implementation committee on online broadcasting.

“We will now move on to injecting sanity into the social media space. We are aware that since announcing our plans to sanitise the social media space, there have been reactions which are welcome. We are not against criticism; we are committed to the ethical use of our airspace. Responsible, ethical journalists have nothing to fear.”

But Fua, also a scholar at the Directorate of Research, National Institute For Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru, Jos disagreed with the Minister.

According to him, extremism regardless of its manifestations had a mind and connotation of war.

He said, “Indeed, the death and destruction experienced over the past two decades in Nigeria has demonstrated the inability of even the most technologically and advanced militaries to suppress, much less defeat, the fervent beliefs underpinning extremism.

“The inescapable conclusion is that violence driven by ideology can be effectively countered only by more powerful ideological arguments. Yet, the counter-extremism spending priorities of government throughout has continued to reflect an overwhelming reliance on kinetic efforts rather than ideological prowess.

First Lagos governor, Mobolaji Johnson dies at 83

The first military governor of Lagos State, Brig-Gen. Mobolaji Olufunso Johnson, is dead.

His son, Deji, confirmed that the retired soldier passed on few hours ago.

The late Johnson was appointed as the military Administrator by the military Head of State, Major Gen. Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi, and later, governor of Lagos State by his successor, Gen. Yakubu Gowon.

He served in that capacity between 1966 and 1975 when he was compulsory retired by former Head of State, Gen. Murtala Mohammed.

However, he and the military governor of Western State were separated from the pack of colleagues who were indicted for corruption.

In retirement, he ventured into business, becoming a director of Julius Berger, the giant construction.

Johnson was born on February 9, 1936. His administration supervised the unpopular demolition of Ajele Cemetery in the early 1970s.

His tenure saw the building of major infrastructure in Lagos State.

He was first appointed by Aguiyi-Ironsi as the administrator of the Federal Capital Territory of Lagos in 1966. He was involved in developing the civil service.

Johnson was initially assisted in running the state by some key civil servants, including Administrative Secretary, Adeyemi-Bero, Finance Secretary, Folarin Coker, and the acting secretary to the Military Government, Howson Wright and waited until April 1968 before appointing his commissioners.

In 1975, at the inception of the Gen Murtala Mohammed administration Johnson was one of the two governors (along with the Brig Oluwole Rotimi) found not guilty of corruption by the three-man panel set up to investigate the various allegations of corruption amongst the State Governors.

He retired from the Nigerian Army in 1975 and went into private business.

A road, an avenue, and a sports complex in Mobalaji’s home state bear his name as well as a Housing Scheme at Lekki both in Lagos.

Gunmen kidnap Appeal Court judge, kill police orderly

 

Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers on Wednesday abducted Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme of the Federal Court of Appeal, Benin Division.

The gunmen also killed her police orderly before taking Justice Nwosu-Iheme away to an unknown destination.

Justice Nkechi Nwosu-Iheme is the chairman of the three-man panel sitting on the appeals arising from the 2019 State and National Assembly elections in Edo State.

An eyewitness said she was in her car when she was abducted at Benin-Agbor road near Christ Chosen Church.

It was gathered that the four gunmen in a Toyota vehicle suddenly overtook Nwosu-Iheme’s car and immediately opened fire, killing her police orderly on the spot.

The suspected kidnappers then shot one of the tyres of the jeep forcing the driver to stop while the Justice was hurriedly whisked into the hoodlums’ vehicle to an unknown destination.

Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Danmallam Mohammed who confirmed the incident said attempts are on by the police to rescue her.

“A Justice was kidnapped today in Benin City but security measures are in place to rescue her and bring the hoodlums to book by the power of the Almighty God.”

The kidnap of Justice Nwosu-Iheme is coming barely weeks after gunmen kidnapped the Chief Medical Director of Irrua Specialist Hospital, Prof. Sylvanus Okogbeini, the wife of Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC Director, Mrs. Francisca Okhiria and a school principal who sustained injuries and whose orderly was also killed in a foiled kidnap attempt.

Both the CMD of Irua Specialist Teaching Hospital and the wife of the Director of Nigeria Railway Corporation have been released.

 

Pregnancy claim: Keep my family name out of your mouth, Davido warns Ogundamisi

Singer, Davido and public commentator, Kayode Ogundamisi have been embroiled in a war of words on Twitter over the video showing the arrest of two ladies, Susan and Helen, who had last week claimed that Davido had got one of them pregnant.

Reacting to the video of the arrest of the ladies, Ogundamisi had on Tuesday tweeted, “Imagine @iam_Davido as first Cousin in @StateofOsun with his Uncle @IsiakaAdeleke1 as Governor. And @MBuhari is meant to be the tyrant o!”

In response, Davido bashed Ogundamisi and asked him to keep his family’s name out of his lips. Davido quoted Ogundamisi’s tweet and wrote, “It pains you that someone half your age that you can give birth to is greater than you. Now keep my family name out (of) your mouth! Your whole life earnings no reach 30 per cent of my show money and it hurts I know.”

In the video, the two ladies were seen handcuffed to each other and trying to hide their faces, even as Davido’s hypeman, Spesh, threatened to slap one of them and also listed the allegations against the ladies.

The Lagos police on Tuesday had condemned the ‘parade’ of the ladies, saying it was wrong for a citizen to parade a fellow citizen. He added that the ladies could sue Davido and Spesh over the ‘parade.’

It would be recalled that in 2018, Davido’s uncle, Senator Ademola Adeleke had contested for the office of the governor of Osun State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. He lost to Governor Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress.

See tweets:

Davido

@iam_Davido

It pains you that someone half ur age that you can give birth too is Greater than you will ever be … U are a loser , a disappointment…… ur are useless ! Now keep my family name out ur mouth ! Ur whole life earnings no reach 30 percent of my show money and it hurts I know https://twitter.com/ogundamisi/status/1189265994293895171 

Kayode Ogundamisi

@ogundamisi

Imagine @iam_Davido as first Cousin in @StateofOsun with his Uncle @IsiakaAdeleke1 as Governor.

And @MBuhari is meant to be the tyrant o! https://twitter.com/JackObinyan/status/1189252511716257794 

3,722 people are talking about this

Kayode Ogundamisi

@ogundamisi

Imagine @iam_Davido as first Cousin in @StateofOsun with his Uncle @IsiakaAdeleke1 as Governor.

And @MBuhari is meant to be the tyrant o! https://twitter.com/JackObinyan/status/1189252511716257794 

Jack Obinyan-Buhari 🇳🇬@JackObinyan

After the public apology, why will the girls be handcuffed and dehumanized in that manner? Davido is crap! who arrested him for all the nonsense he said during the Osun elections?…Men I dislike this guy now…Mtcheeew!

Embedded video

711 people are talking about this

Atiku rejects supreme court judgement…says judiciary sabotaged

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has faulted the supreme court judgement dismissing his appeal against President Muhammadu Buhari’s election victory.

Reacting to the judgement on Wednesday, Atiku said the judiciary has been sabotaged “like every estate of our realm”.

A seven-man panel of the apex court dismissed the appeal filed by the PDP candidate on the grounds that it lacked merit.

Like the presidential election petition tribunal, the panel held that there was nothing to prove Atiku’s argument that Buhari was not qualified to contest in the last election.

In a statement, the former vice-president cried foul over the judgement and accused the “cabal” of disrupting Nigeria’s democratic progress.

“The Nigerian judiciary, just like every estate of our realm, has been sabotaged and undermined by an overreaching and dictatorial cabal, who have undone almost all the democratic progress the Peoples Democratic Party and its administrations nurtured for sixteen years, up until 2015,” he said.

“Can Nigeria continue like this? Recently, former United States Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, averred that Nigeria had rolled back the democratic gains she made in 2015. When democracy is rolled back, the economy, the society and the judiciary will not be far behind.

“Today, the nail has been put on the coffin and the gains we collectively made since 1999 are evaporating, and a requiem is at hand.”

He said a democracy should constitute a strong judiciary, a free press and an impartial electoral umpire, adding that “Nigeria has none of those three elements as at today”.

Atiku added that he will keep on “fighting for Nigeria and for democracy, and also for justice”.

“To those who think they have broken my spirit, I am sorry to disappoint you,” he said.

“I am too focused on Nigeria to think about myself. I gave up that luxury twenty years ago. The question is not if I am broken. The question is if Nigeria is whole?

“This is not a time for too many words. It will suffice for me to remind Nigeria of this – we are an independent nation and we are the architects of our fate. If we do not build a free Nigeria, we may end up destroying her, and God forbid that that should be the case.”

Arik Air not suitable for national carrier – Hadi Sirika

Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, says the federal government has no intentions to convert Arik Air into a national carrier.

Fielding questions from journalists at the end of the federal executive council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, the minister said Arik Air will not be suitable for the carrier that the ministry is planning.

Ahmed Kuru, the managing director of the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), had urged the federal government to use the airline as a stepping stone in its quest to own a national carrier.

“The carrier that I intend to bring is such a carrier that will support the national economy, with $450 million GDP for 200million people, very equipped to compete favourably,” he said.

“The international airlines that have dominated Africa, 80% of those airlines are non-African. In view of the AU Agenda 2063, the Single African Aviation Market, we thought that there will be an airline that will take up that challenge; that will take advantage of it and be able to provide services to our people.

“Nigeria, being the first country to kick-start the declaration in 1999, to establish a one common market in Africa; at the time, we wanted to take advantage of the Nigeria Airways which was the strongest airline on the continent, and we thought that we could take advantage of that and it would pay Nigeria very well. Tables turned, decisions were reversed and now, Nigeria was unlucky to have an airline that can participate in that manner.

“So, the answer to your question is that Arik, as presently constituted, is not in line with the thinking of the ministry. It will not be able to give us that airline that we need. However, Arik as an entity, since it is private-sector driven, can either buy shares in the new ventures or invest in any manner in the business as presently approved.

“We are not saying once we have a national carrier, every other airline goes down. No. It is our duty to continue to support businesses.”

The federal government had unveiled the national carrier’s name and logo at the Farnborough International Airshow in London in July 2018 and plans for the airline was suspended in September of the same year.

Allow us export rice, Vietnamese government lobbies Nigeria

Vuong Dinh Hue, the Vietnamese deputy prime minister, has requested that his country be allowed to increase rice exports to Nigeria.

Speaking on Tuesday during a meeting with Adams Oshiomhole, chairman of the All Progressives Congress, the diplomat said his country would like to increase trade cooperation with Nigeria.

Soha, a Vietnamese news platform, quoted Vuong Dinh Hue as saying both countries have to strengthen their relations by cultural and sports exchanges.

Other agricultural items that the Vietnamese made a case for were cashew, seafood, leather shoes and textile.

Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting, Oshiomhole said he told the delegation that the government’s decision to restrict forex for rice importation will not be reversed.

“Nigerians should unanimously back the decision of the federal government to close the border until our neighbours try to respect the laws of fair and free trade. Nigeria must not and can’t be a dumping ground for imported food, imported rice and other smuggled chemicals and drugs from other countries,” he said.

“I think this is one policy that Nigerians across the party divide, across primordial sentiments, should salute the courage of President Muhammadu Buhari in closing down the borders.

“For too long, Nigeria has been a big brother to our neighbours. Now, that big brother is hurting and hurting very, very badly. We must secure ourselves as in the way you board an aircraft that if oxygen fails, and they drop the mask, you help yourself before helping others. This is the moment. We must close the borders even if we do it for two, three years, it doesn’t matter. So that our neighbours will begin to respect the rules of international engagement and trade.

“What has happened is that people relocate out of Nigeria, target Nigerian market, use our neighbours to compromise our own trade policies.”

 

JUST IN: Supreme Court dismisses Atiku’s appeal, affirms Buhari’s election

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23, 2019 presidential election.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, who led six other members of the apex court’s panel, delivered a three-sentence judgement which put paid to the legal dispute over the poll.

The CJN, who said the reasons for the decision of the court would be made known on a date to be announced, disclosed that he and members of the panel had read all the documents and exhibits filed in the case for two weeks and found the appeal to be lacking in merit.

The judgement which was unanimously consented to by the other six members of the panel came less than an hour after the court took arguments on the appeal

Two million jobs coming as CBN plans N100bn textile funding

About two million jobs are to be created in the textile industry with the expected injection of massive cash to revive the comatose sector

Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, said that the apex bank is looking at injecting N100 billion as its intervention in the Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) value chain.

The bankers’ bank has already disbursed about N50 billion to the cotton and ginning components.

Also on Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari said he had directed the CBN to pump money into the sector for the local production of textiles and garments

The President said the cotton, textile and garment sector had the capacity to transform Nigeria’s economy and refine the sector to bring about an industry capable of creating more than two million jobs.

While the President delivered his message at the 31st National Education Conference of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) in Abuja, Emefiele spoke after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN), Ginning Companies and Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association and Armed Forces of Nigeria, Nigeria Police, Paramilitary Institutions & National Youth Service Corps also in Abuja.

The CBN governor said the bank’s intention was to ensure that local players took control of the cotton, textile and garment industry and get it revived to facilitate its job creation capacity.

Emefiele said already, “approval to a tune of N19.18billion has been granted to finance nine ginneries with a view to retooling their processing plants, while providing them with improved access to finance at single digit interest rate.”

The same support he said will be extended to the textile and garment firms, adding that the apex bank had invested heavily in local textile and garment factories “to retool and produce assorted uniforms for our uniformed services that meet international standards.”

According to him, “the CBN is improving the linkage between cotton farmers and ginneries, by ensuring that ginneries are able to off-take the high-quality cotton produced by cotton farmers.”

Emefiele also promised to work with the security agencies, to ensure that the finished uniformed for service personnel and the wastes generated “are treated as currency,” adding that the “highest level of security until they are delivered to the right clients or disposed accordingly.”

Emefiele noted that “production of uniform wears especially for the armed forces calls for high level security concerns in handling, transportation and storage.”

This he added “is to help sustain their operations and improve their production capacity.”

The CBN governor lamented that “smuggling of textiles goods alone is estimated to have cost the nation an import bill of over $4billion annually on textiles and apparel leading to a situation where most of the textile factories, all stopped operations and the workforce in Nigeria’s textile industry stands at less than 20,000 people today from about 2 million in the boom years.”

He was concerned that a large proportion of our clothing materials are imported from Asia and countries in Europe. But going forward, he said “there will be dedicated and carefully planned actions that are holistic and will encompass every node of the CTG value chain.”

The governor explained that the CBN  had constituted a Textile Revival Implementation Committee (TRIC) whose members include the CBN, Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development; Water Resources; Industry, Trade and Investment; and the Governments of Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Gombe and Zamfara States.

“This Committee is driving the initiative to achieve self-sufficiency in cotton production and textile materials within a span of three years.”

President Buhari, who was represented by the Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, called on the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to facilitate training of textile workers to sustain current efforts at improving local garments production in the country.He noted that the administration was committed to improving the industries in the country with the signing of the Executive Order 003.

The president noted that the order mandates all “’procuring authorities to give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act 2007.”

He explained that the CBN had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian military and paramilitary outfits, as part of efforts to revive the Cotton, Textiles and Garment (CTG) sector in Nigeria.

Buhari said: “In recent time, the CBN has taken a number of commendable efforts to encourage patronage of local fabrics towards driving economic policy.

“I am glad to report to you that this is already yielding positive fruits. The existing 40,000 garments and textile workers must be trained and retrained, I will use this opportunity to call on the CBN to collaborate with your union and the ITF to come in and encourage the union to provide funds towards this end.”

General-Secretary of NUTGTWN, Issa Aremu, commended the federal government for closing Nigeria’s borders to end smuggling of goods into the country.

Aremu said the move was imperative as it was aiding production and consumption of local goods in the country.

National President of the union, John Adaji, noted that the Administration had shown commitment to revamping the textile industry with the introduction of a comprehensive Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) Policy.

Adaji said that the policy, if implemented, would help to meet federal government’s target of creating 100 million jobs in ten years, adding that the union had the capacity to create no fewer than 2.5 million jobs.

BUA Group consolidates entire cement business

 

In its bid to deepen the Nigerian capital market and enhance the growth of the cement industry, BUA Group, one of Africa’s largest conglomerates, on  Wednesday, announced the consolidation of its cement business comprising the publicly listed two million Mtpa Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc (CCNN) and  six million mtpa Obu Cement Company Plc.

This disclosure was made in a filing to regulators.

BUA also announced that its newest three million metric tonnes cement plant which it started constructing in 2018 – the $450m Sokoto Kalambaina II plant, is scheduled for completion in H2, 2020.

With the consolidation and addition of the Sokoto Kalambaina II plant, this will bring BUA Cement’s total installed capacity across all its cement holdings to 11 million MTPA.

Commenting, Abdul Samad Rabiu, Founder & Executive Chairman of BUA Group, said that this consolidation marks the culmination of the first phase of the BUA mid-term strategic plan for its cement businesses, which currently include four cement plants spread across Obu Cement Company and the Cement Company of Northern Nigeria. A new $450million Sokoto Kalambaina II Plant is scheduled to come on stream in the second half of 2020 alongside another 48MW power plant to complement the existing assets and take advantage of a growing cement market in Northern Nigeria and the West African region, Rabiu added.

“This consolidation will cement BUA’s position as the second largest cement producer in Nigeria whilst also positioning it to take advantage of the combined synergies to effectively serve Northern and Southern Nigeria based on the strategic locations of these plants – as well as a sizeable export market.

“We intend to continue creating value for the benefit of shareholders of the consolidated company by maintaining our focus on outperforming the Nigerian cement industry across key indices through a laserlike commitment to excellent products and service delivery, operational efficiency as well as maintaining our leadership positon in our home markets,” Rabiu said.

Analysts predict that this will put BUA Cement in a stronger position to compete even better and explore export opportunities in neighboring countries.

 

Border closure: There’s room for talks, says Ghanaian president

Ghanaian president, Nana Akufo-Addo on Tuesday said he was still hopeful that talks between his country and Nigeria over the closure of the Nigerian land borders would yield a positive result.

Akufo-Addo said this while addressing the delegation of a commercial bank from Nigeria.

He said, “There’s a lot of room for continuing talks between Nigeria and Ghana in order for a breakthrough to be reached,” reports MyJoyonline.

In a separate report, Akufo-Addo was said to have lamented how the border closure would affect regional integration.

Daily Trust reports him as saying, “We are about to enter a delicate period in the ECOWAS journey looking ahead of the possibility of a single currency and trying to forge greater integration among our economies and at the same time have important security and other issues which confront us.

“We have this business of the closure of the Benin border, which seems to some people to be a big blow to the ECOWAS project.”

Nigeria had closed her land borders in August and it had affected the activities of businessmen in Nigeria and Ghana. Ghanaian traders had asked their government to retaliate, however, Ghanaian government officials have been interfacing with their Nigerian counterparts to resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday said that Nigeria would only open its borders if her neighbours would agree to stop the smuggling of banned goods.

Reps, NBA urge Buhari to stop Army’s Positive Identification operation

The House of Representatives on Tuesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend Operation Positive Identification being planned by the Nigerian Army.

Several members of the House, who spoke on a motion by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, condemned the operation as anti-people which allegedly posed threats to human rights.

Besides the lawmakers, Nigerian Bar Associations and other groups including Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, faulted the excercise.

The Army had last month said it planned Operation Positive Identification in the North-East to flush out Boko Haram insurgents

But later on September 25, it said the exercise would be extended to other parts of the country. It stated the exercise would enable soldiers to accost citizens on the streets or roads and ask them to produce a means of identification.

It said the exercise would check bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, ethnic militia, cattle rustlers, as well as other sundry criminals across the various regions of the country.

But in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, lawmakers unanimously resolved that that the Nigerian Army should develop “a pro-people strategy in confronting our security challenges instead of measures that would further victimise the people.”

They also urged the President, being the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, to “review the situation and stop the Army from commencing the planned operation scheduled to begin on November 1, 2019, to make way for further consultations.”

The House also directed the Committee on Army to liaise with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai, to develop “a pro-people strategy in combating crimes before commencing same.”

Moving the motion, Elumelu said the OPI would “downgrade Nigerians to suspects and in fact conquered persons in their country, thereby stripping them of their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of movement.”

According to the Minority Leader, the operation is a recipe for possible militarisation of Nigeria.

He warned that the nationwide operation would also amount to an “indirect imposition of a state of emergency across the country by the Army.

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Elumelu said military operations that had direct contact and regulation of civilians could result in “abuses and serious safety issues, especially at this time the nation is battling with the scourge of victimisation and extrajudicial killings.”

He said the planned implementation of OPI across the nation would rather worsen the security situation in the country.

Quit if you lack ideas, lawmaker urges security chiefs

A member, Ahmadu Jaha, criticised the security chiefs for the multiple code-named military operations across the country.

Jaha said, “I will like to emphasise that if our security chiefs are out of ideas, they should let Nigerians know about that so that they can voluntarily give way for other people who have new ideas on how to fight insecurity in this country.

“Travelling from Abuja to Maiduguri (Borno State capital), before linking the various local government areas, it takes not less 14 hours. That is under normal circumstances. In the event whereby you (military) have to ask them (commuters) to identify themselves at different military checkpoints before they proceed, for God’s sake, how many days will take them to move from Abuja to Maiduguri or from Maiduguri to Chibok or from Maiduguri to Damboa or Maiduguri to Gwoza?

“So, this is basically not the work of the military but the work of the Nigeria Immigration Service. How do you tell a common man from my village that he must have an identity card before he moves around? This is a violation of fundamental human rights.”

Besides members of the House of Representatives, prominent lawyers and human rights groups condemned the exercise.

It is the height of insanity – SAN

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the entire National Assembly should throw its weight behind the call to suspend the Operation Positive Identification, which he described as “the height of insanity and madness”.

“They should withdraw that policy as urgently as possible,” Ozekhome told one of our correspondents on the telephone.

He said, “It should not just be the House of Representatives, it should be the entire National Assembly that should descend on this policy heavily, to show that it’s not a rubber-stamp National Assembly people were saying it would be.

“They should not just shout it, they should put it in their votes and proceedings, pass the resolutions, pass motions, and stop this maddening government from going madder and madder.

“It is the height of insanity for citizens to be told to produce their identity card or driving licence, or passport when they are on the streets of their country.

“I have never heard of that. Even the United States of America does not tell foreigners to produce their passports or driving licences when they go about their normal duties. That is why I said this policy is the height of insanity and madness.

“What it simply means is that on the day you forget your identity card or other means of recognition, at home, it means you are an illegal immigrant and will be deported immediately. The more we tend to excuse this government, the more it delves more and more into infamy.”

He called on the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to “remind itself that we are not in despotism, we are not in military dictatorship, we are not in absolutism, we are not in fascism; this is supposed to be a democracy not government for the few by the cabal and by the dictators.”

CJN, Rhodes-Vivour on panel to hear Atiku’s appeal

Ibrahim Mohammed, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Bode Rhodes-Vivour and five other justices of the Supreme Court are on the panel hearing Atiku Abubakar’s appeal against the judgement of the tribunal affirming the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Sylvester Ngwuta and Mary Odili, both senior justices, are not on the panel.

The constitution of the panel has been a subject of controversy.

A caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the house of representatives had asked that Odili, Ngwuta and Rhodes-Vivour be appointed to the panel to hear the appeal.

Atiku, PDP presidential candidate in the last election, had filed an appeal at the apex court to challenge Buhari’s victory at the election petition tribunal.

It is a tradition at the supreme court for senior justices, including the CJN, to preside over presidential election appeals.

Odili, a senior justice, is the wife of Peter Odili, former Rivers state governor and founding member of the PDP.

Ngwuta, a senior justice, resumed duties at the Supreme Court in September after being prosecuted for alleged corruption by the Buhari administration.

Besides the CJN and Rhodes-Vivour, the other justices currently hearing the appeal are Olukayode Ariwoola, Amiru Sanusi, John Okoro, Ejembi Eko and Uwani Abba-ji.

 

Army General leading Boko Haram war redeployed

Lt-Gen.Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, has approved the immediate redeployment of nine senior officers to new formations nationwide.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Sagir Musa, army spokesman, said the posting was a routine exercise to improve the system for greater efficiency.

Among those redeployed are four brigadier-generals and five major-generals including Chikezie Ude (pictured), the general in charge of the multinational joint-task force in Chad spearheading the fight against Boko Haram.

He said F.O Agugo, a major-general and erstwhile chief of army transformation and innovation, has been appointed as the general officer commanding 6 division Port Harcourt while Jamil Sarham, former general officer commanding 6 division has been appointed as the commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna.

“Maj.-Gen. Chikezie Ude was redeployed from Headquarters Multinational Joint Task Force, Ndjamena, Chad to Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Abuja and appointed Director Nigerian Army Consult,” he added.

“Others include; Maj.-Gen I.M Yusuf from Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Abuja to Headquarters Multinational Joint Task Force Ndajamena, Chad as Commander.

“Maj.-Gen. E.N Njoku has been redeployed from Defence Headquarters to Army Headquarters Department of Transformation and Innovation as the Chief of Transformation and Innovation (Army),” he said.

Musa also said EJ Amadasun, a brigadier-general, as been redeployed from the headquarters of Nigerian army corps of artillery, Kontagora, and now takes over as commander of 35 brigade, Abeokuta.

He said: “Brig.-Gen. A.M Adetayo had been moved from Department of Army Transformation and appointed as the Chief of Staff Nigerian Army Corps of Artillery.

“Brig.-Gen. L.M Zakari was posted from Defence Headquarters Abuja to Nigerian Army Institute of Science, Education and Technology, Ilorin, as Acting Commandant.

“Brig.-Gen. E.E. Ekpenyong is posted from Nigerian Army Ordnance School, Ojo, Lagos to Headquarters Nigerian Army Ordnance Corps Yaba, Lagos as Director of Land Service Ammunition.”

He quoted the chief of army staff as asking the officers to take their new responsibilities seriously and to “discharge all duties professionally with utmost loyalty to service and the nation”.

Customs seizes expired N2.7bn rice

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Tin Can Island Command has seized 54 containers laden with various contrabands, including expired rice and banned drugs.

Thirty-three of the containers were loaded with foreign rice.

The NCS put the value of the seizure at N2.713 billion. The containers comprise 15 40ft containers and 39 20ft containers.

The rice consignment, for instance, Master Rice has its date of packaging and expiration as May 2016 and March 2019 respectively; Fragrant rice, packaged in October, 2018, with an expiration date on October, 2019, where both imported from Thailand; while Jasmine rice which was packaged on September, 2018, with expiration date on September, 2020, was imported from China.

The impounded rice, bagged in 50kg sacks, had the labels of Nigerian companies.

The Master Rice bags have the label of Masters Energy Commodities Trading Limited, with its address as 31A, Remi Fani Kayode Street, GRA, Ikeja.

Another consignment tagged: ‘Jasmine Rice’, had the inscription “packed for Yumfei International Trading Company Limited, with address as 103, Ebittu Ukiwe Street, Jabi, Abuja.

It was observed that one of the 40ft containers was loaded with fresh, empty 50kg bags with new dates inscribed on it. The implication is that these empty bags were to be used in re-bagging of the expired rice.

Customs Comptroller-General Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali, who briefed reporters at the Customs Examination Ground of the Tin Can Island Port, listed other seized items as: one container of rice concealed with spare parts, 11 containers of unregistered pharmaceutical products, two containers of used tyres, one container of used clothing and four containers of refined vegetable oil in retail packs.

He said the containers were seized in line with the provisions of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap C45 LFN 2004 sections 46 and 161. The Customs boss added that efforts are on to arrest the persons behind the smuggling going by the various addresses on the bags of rice and contacts on importation documents.

Col Ali said: “One significant thing about this seizure is that all the rice has expired or about to expire. Also remarkable is the seizure of variants and unregistered performance enhancing drugs among the pharmaceutical.

“No doubt, those who imported these dangerous items do not wish us well. Imagine if they had succeeded in getting the expired rice in, re-bagged and changed the expiration date for Nigerians to consume.”

The Customs boss, revealed that since the inception of the border closure operation code-named: “Operation Ex Swift”, remarkable seizures have been recorded across the various facets of its operations.

He explained that the Service is aware that the partial closure of the land border has resulted in the diversion of some cargoes back to the nation’s seaports.

Following the continued closure of the land borders, consignments meant for the Nigerian markets are being routed through the seaports.

“Realising that there may be possible backslash to the closure of the land borders, I directed all seaports and airports to beef up their surveillance and intercept any illicit and prohibited consignment for which attempt for their smuggling may be made through these entry points.

“This decision was made considering that those consignments may have been paid for and the importers will devise means to ensure they are delivered to their warehouses in Nigeria,”Ali said.

Juju Scam: Court remands fake native doctor, two others in prison

Justice Patricia Ajoku of the Federal High Court 1, sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State has ordered the remand of a fake native doctor, Fatai Olalere Alli (a.k.a. Baba Abore, Baba Oshun), and two others – Adigun Fatai Olusegun and Olufemi Kolawole – in prison custody pending the filing, hearing and determination of their bail applications.

The accused persons were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibadan zonal office, on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, on criminal charges bordering on conspiracy, money laundering and obtaining money by false pretense.

The court had earlier granted the Commission’s prayer for an order of interim forfeiture of properties traced to Alli as well as freezing of accounts he allegedly used to received proceeds of crime.

According to the count-one of the charges, Olusegun and Kolawole conspired with Alli to obtain money under false pretenses from one Attiogbe, Daniel Babatunde.

The charges against the trio contravene Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, Section 1 (10 (a) and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.

Fake native doctor
Fake native doctor

Before their arrest, the Commission had received several intelligence reports linking Alli to series of fraud allegations involving large sums of money.

Details on the intelligence alleged that he engages in money doubling through which he swindled and collected money from his victims with the promise of using his ‘spiritual powers’ to multiply the sums for them, but would instead divert same to his personal use.

He was arrested on July 9, 2019. His confessions later led to the arrest of his conspirators.

The Commission thereafter filed an application seeking an interim forfeiture order of the properties and accounts of the suspects.

The application is pursuant to Sections 28, 29, and 34(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Co mission (Establishment) Act, 2004, Sections 333 and 337 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, Section 44 (1)2)(k) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) and under the Interim Jurisdiction of the Honourable Court.

Justice Ajoku granted the application of the EFCC and ordered that the properties of the suspects be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

She also ordered the freezing of their bank accounts pending the conclusion of the investigation, prosecution and final determination of the cases against them.

The properties include five buildings, three cars and hectares of farm land.

At the hearing, the accused persons were called upon to take their plea. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.

Alli pleaded not guilty to 22-count charges, Olusegun pleaded not guilty to 32-count charges, while Kolawole pleaded not guilty to his one-count charge of conspiracy.

Due to the not-guilty plea, prosecution counsel, Oluwatinuwe Daramola, prayed the court for a trial date and an order to remand the accused persons in prison custody.
However. counsels to the accused persons prayed the court for a short date to hear the applications of their respective clients.

Bala Yakubu represented Alli, Babatunde Ajibola stood in for Olusegun, while Oluwole Adeosun advocated for Kolawole.

The presiding judge, however, refused their prayers stating that their applications were not yet before the court.

She said the court registrar would communicate the date for bail argument to the parties once the applications are properly brought before the court.

Justice Ajoku then ordered that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody as she adjourned the matter to November 22, 2019 for trial.