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Daily Archives: October 7, 2019

Fear of EFCC stopping govs from organising extravagant parties —Magu

Mr Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crime Commission has alleged that some state governors are afraid of organising flamboyant parties because of the commission.

Magu, said on Monday during his working visit to the commission’s zonal office in Makurdi that some of the governors were now maintaining a low profile.

He said that the development was due to the fact that whenever the governors contravened the law, EFCC would come after them, as they were always on the commission’s radar, both within and outside the country.

“EFCC is all eyes and ears, wherever and whenever they organise such ostentatious parties, they will be fished out and prosecuted, be it within or outside the country.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s population, a liability —Emir Sanusi

The acting EFCC chairman stressed that the commission would not relent in its efforts at curbing their excesses, stressing that necessary strategic plans had been put in place and were expected to yield results in the fight against corruption.

According to Magu, even though corruption is deep-rooted in the country, the anti-corruption war of the Federal Government is yielding results.

He said that the task of fighting corruption was very complex and sophisticated, as organised criminal gangs were daily devising new high-tech means of perpetrating fraud and other criminal activities.

Magu said that the agency, in its quest for success, was always ahead of the fraudsters and criminals in their activities.

(NAN)

Dangote laments low manufacturing sector contribution to Nigeria’s GDP

Foremost entrepreneur, Aliko Dangote, has flayed the paltry contributions of the manufacturing sector to the country’s GDP and advocated urgent steps to reverse the trend if the economy is to make appreciable industrial growth.

Dangote described as unacceptable the contribution of the manufacturing sector which currently stood at 9%, unlike in the Asian countries which presently stand at about 30%.

Therefore, “to achieve a significant level of industrialization and general economic growth, this trend must be reversed,” he said.

Dangote, who was represented by the company’s Group Executive Director, Government and Stakeholder Relations, Ahmed Mansur, during a panel session at the on-going National Economic Summit Group (NESG), which opened in Abuja on Monday, said the private sector is key to the much touted industrial revolution.

He disclosed that his conglomerate is already leading Nigeria into the new epoch through massive investments in the manufacturing sector and skill development because Nigeria and indeed Africa must take bold steps to change the narrative of industrial backwardness of the continent.

Dangote was of the opinion that where there is will, there is way, adding that with the right policy framework, consistency and infrastructural development, the goal can be achieved.

Said he: “Dangote is in the business of producing and distributing cement, foods etc. However, we have found ourselves engaged in power generation, road construction e.t.c as these are critical foundations for our businesses,” he added.

While speaking during the panel discussion on “Competing with the Giant: Achieving Rapid Industrialization, Transforming Education”, Dangote explained that the theme for this year’s Economic Summit, “Nigeria 2050: Shifting Gears” is apt, as Nigeria has to drive on the fast lane of industrialisation.

He said his company was already leading Nigeria into the 4th industrial revolution, adding that: “Once we catch up with 2nd industrial revolution, our entrepreneurial youth can help us leapfrog to the 3rd and 4th. This is what happened with the IT revolution in India.”

According to him, “The 4th industrial revolution is global in nature. Solutions are being developed by global companies for a global market. Skilled people from all over the world are participating in the development of these solutions.”

He urged government to encourage more investments from local entrepreneurs, saying the country can learn from the Korean experience where they supported a number of conglomerates.

Dangote also said the government must, among other things: decongest the ports, expand rail network, tackle smuggling, implement gas masterplan and entrenching responsive bureaucracy.

“At Dangote, we set up Training Academy several years ago primarily to provide a talent pipeline to our group. Plans are ongoing to take our passion for talent development a step further by setting up a world class university within the next few years”.

Speaking also, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council, Dr. Doyin Salami, the country will require innovation and the private sector must play a central role for the radical transformation of the Nigerian economy.

Another member of the panel of discussion, Chairman of First Bank Plc, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, said inclusiveness and the right educational system are required for rapid development.

Speaking earlier, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, rolled out an 11-point priority plan for economic development. These are: macroeconomic stability, anti-corruption, improved health, availability of energy, sufficiency in petroleum products, improved transportation, industrialization and development of small scale industries, security, agricultural development, social inclusiveness and mass housing.

The chairman of the NESG, Asue Igbodalo, said the partnership between the private and the public sector is key to the economic development of the country

Father tortures six-year-old son to death

Niger State Police Command has arrested a 40-year-old man, Samaila Shuaibu, for allegedly torturing his six year-old son, Habibu, to death.

Alhaji Adamu Usman, the Commissioner of Police in Niger, confirmed the arrest in Minna on Monday.

Usman said that a good Nigerian from Unguwar Tunga Maje in Suleja Local Government Area of Niger, where the suspect resides, reported the matter to the police.

The commissioner alleged that Shuaibu was giving his late son extra mural at home but beat him to death because the deceased did not perform well.

He said that the suspect had admitted that he tortured the son and never knew it would lead to his death.

“We have since commenced investigation into the case and the suspect will be charged to court,” the commissioner said.

The commissioner urged parents to desist from giving unnecessary punishment to children as those found doing that would be arrested and prosecuted.

FG begins sale of two, three-year savings bonds at 11.244%, 12. 244% for October

The Federal Government, on Monday, offered for subscription two-year savings bond at 11.244 per cent and three-year savings bond at 12.244 per cent per annum, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has said.

According to the offer circular obtained from the DMO website, the two-year bond will be due in October 2021 while the three-year bond will be due in October 2022.

It, however, did not state how much was offered, but added that the maximum subscription was N50 million at N1,000 per unit, subject to minimum subscription of N5,000 and in multiples of N1,000.

The website said that the bond was fully backed by the full faith and credit of the Federal Government, with quarterly coupon payments to bondholders.

The savings bond issuance is expected to help finance the nation’s budget deficit.

It is also part of the Federal Government’s programme targeted at the lower income earners, to encourage savings and also earn more income (interest), compared to their savings accounts with banks.

The circular also said that the offer would close on Friday.

Sanwo-Olu honours DPO who used personal resources to save robbery victim

An act of kindness rendered to a robbery victim by the Divisional Police Office (DPO) of Ogudu Police Station in Lagos was on Monday rewarded by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who personally invited the kind-hearted police officer to the State House for an honour.

Sanwo-Olu described Mrs. Celestina Kalu, a Superintendent of Police (SP), as “a humane police officer”, saying her decision to save the life of an orphan, Friday Ajabor, shot by a two-man robbery gang in Ojota, was a “matchless trait of compassion”.

Ajabor, a 25-year-old orphan from Edo State, was at the Ojota with his friend about 8pm on September 19 when two men of the underworld waylaid them, attempting to dispossess them of their valuables. They struggled with the robbers, until the assailants overpowered them.

Ajabor’s friend managed to escape from the scene with their personal effects, leaving him at the mercy of the robbers armed with a local pistol. For struggling with them, the robbers shot Ajabor in the bowel at a close range and disappeared from the scene.

A team of policemen from Ogudu Police Station led by Mrs. Kalu arrived at the scene about 30 minutes later, meeting the hapless victim in a pool of his blood. The policemen, it was learnt, rushed the victim to two hospitals where he was rejected for lack of bed space.

About 90 minutes after, the victim was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) in Ikeja, where he underwent a series of surgery, the cost of which was personally defrayed by Mrs. Kalu.

This extra effort by the police officer saved the life of the orphan whose relatives could not be reached at the time he was admitted into the ICU.

The DPO’s act of kindness caught Gov. Sanwo-Olu’s attention after it went viral in the social media, prompting the Governor to reach out to the policewoman and the victim.

While honouring the DPO, Sanwo-Olu said Mrs. Kalu went beyond the limit of her official duty to save the life of the robbery victim, stressing that the policewoman’s effort was “the essence of public service” and “a true spirit of Lagos”.

The Governor said the policewoman demonstrated a rare example that should be emulated by every Lagosian, urging security operatives not to fall short of such act of kindness in the discharge of their duties to the citizens.

Sanwo-Olu said: “I am personally amazed by this rare act of kindness displayed by Mrs. Celestina Kalu, who went beyond the official call of duty to save the life of a citizen using her personal resources. This is one of the essences of governance and public service when you have public officers going beyond the call of duty to render a helping hand to a fellow citizen.

“This is a rare trait of compassion by the DPO. We usually don’t get to witness such act of kindness, because everyone of us is too overwhelmed by myriad of personal challenges. When we see law enforcement officers giving us reasons to be kind, we need to appreciate and recognise such action. This is why we are honouring Mrs. Kalu this morning as our role model. This will encourage others to emulate this act of kindness.

“Not only that she stopped to help the victim at the point of death, she also went ahead to make financial commitment that ensured immediate treatment of the victim at the hospital. We are happy that this effort paid off, because the victim is alive and he is recuperating well.”

Sanwo-Olu presented a special plaque bearing the official seal of the Lagos State Government to honour the DPO, while also taking over the cost of Ajabor’s surgery.

The Governor urged security agencies to scale up their surveillance across the State, urging inter-agency collaboration to rid Lagos of robbers and criminals.

Commissioner for Information, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, said the honour done to the DPO was the prize of her compassion, pointing out that such act of kindness was in tune with spirit agenda of ‘Greater Lagos’ campaign of the present administration.

Omotoso urged Lagos residents to emulate the act, saying the State would improve in its social index when people show their fellow citizens unsolicited kindness.

Woman tells court how she paid back N1.1m loan ‘in kind on three occasions in hotel’

Lagos-based businesswoman, Ejioma Ahibafu, 49, on Monday told an Ojo Magistrates’ Court how she paid back “in kind” part of a N1.1 million loan she allegedly took from a man.

The defendant, a trader who sells bags of rice, pleaded not guilty to a two-count charge of obtaining money by false pretence and stealing brought against her.

The defendant, who spoke in pidgin, told the court that the said loan was obtained after a friend introduced her to the complainant.

She said that although she was given the loan, she also delivered some bags of rice to the complainant with an understanding to pay up the balance.
Besides, the defendant informed the court that even before she was given the loan by the complainant, she had to pay him in “kind” on three occasions in a hotel.

The prosecutor, Mr Simon Uche, had earlier told the court that the defendant obtained a loan of N1.1 million for rice business from one Emma, a businessman, with a promise to pay back the money in six months.

The prosecutor said that the woman refused to pay up the loan and had been evasive since then.

He said that the offences contravened Sections 287 and 314 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The Magistrate, Mr A.A Adesanya, granted the defendant N250,000 bail with two sureties in like sum.
He adjourned the case until December 9 for mention.

Fowler: Court Dismisses ‘Vacate Office Order Plea’

Justice Lewis Allagoa of the Federal High Court Kano, on Monday, struck out a plea that the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Mr. Tunde Fowler be asked to vacate his office on account of claims that his tenure has expired.

Justice Allagoa made the order in Kano following a request by   JohnMary C. Jideobi, counsel to the plaintiff, Stanley Okwara. Fowler’s lawyer Paul Erokoro (SAN), who was supported by FIRS Director of Legal Services, Ike Odume; and counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation (the  second  defendant in the  suit), T. A. Ghazalli,  in a preliminary objection, asked the court to strike out Okwara’s suit
Citing copious legal authorities, Erokoro and Ghazalli told the court that

Okwara has no locus standi to file the suit and that it should should be struck out as the court has no jurisdiction to entertain it.

The appropriate court to entertain the suit, argued the defendants’ lawyers, is the National Industrial Court. They submitted that Okwara is wasting the time of the Federal High Court by filing the suit before it.

But Okwara maintained that as a legal practitioner, he has the right to file the suit and he has a duty under the Legal Privileges Act to uphold the rule of law.
Okwara, an Abuja-based lawyer, in the suit (No FHC/KN/CS/141/2019), had asked a Federal High Court sitting in Kano to order Fowler to vacate his office, which he claimed expired on August 18, 2019.

The plaintiff had claimed that Fowler was appointed on the 20 August, 2015, arguing that his tenure as FIRS Chairman lapsed after the 20th August, 2019.
He cited Sections 3(2) (a), Section 4(a) and Section 11
(a)” of the FIRS Establishment Act 2007 and the decision of the Supreme Court in Ogbuinyinya & Ors. vs. Obi Okudo & Ors. (1979) All N.L.R. 105, Okwara, which he said made Fowler’s continued stay in office illegal unless he is reappointed by President Muhammadu Buhari. He also asked the court to order Fowler to return to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) all salaries. Emoluments and other monetary benefits he has enjoyed since the perceived cessation of his tenure.
But Erokoro countered the claims of the plaintiff’s lawyer.

In a notice of preliminary objection dated 30 September and filed on the same day, Erokoro noted that Okwara failed to disclose any special interest.

Given Okwara’s failure to establish  his locus standi to commence the suit and for failing to abide by Section 55 of the FIRS Establishment Act by filing a pre-action notice on the FIRS Chairman, for failing to present any  reasonable cause of action, Erokoro asked the court to strike out the suit.

“When a plaintiff has not disclosed   his standing to sue as in the instant case the question of whether other issues in the case deserve to be decided does not arise,” he argued. Erokoro also told the court that the adjudicatory machinery of the court cannot be activated, as such powers can only be invoked by a litigant whose action is for the “determination of the civil rights and obligations of that person. That is the letter and the spirit of Sections 6 (6) b of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
Citing Senator Abraham Adesanya Vs the President of Nigeria, (1986) 5 SC 112, Erokoro said Okwara needs to have actual and real interest in the suit before he can sue.

In this case,” Erokoro told the court, “the plaintiff’s alleged cause of action is that he is an unemployed legal practitioner. He alleges that the tenure of office of the Fist defendant (Fowler) has expired. How the purported expiration of the tenure of the first defendant affect him is not disclosed. The case of Ogbuiniya and Ors  Vs Obi Okudo & Ors (1979) ALL NWLR 105 heavily relied on by the plaintiff is distinguishable from the instant case. In that case, the plaintiff’s case were affected because a judge gave a judgment against the plaintiff at a time he had ceased to be a judge of that court.

Other authorities cited by Erokoro to puncture Okwarra’s claim that he has a locus to institute the  suit include:  Re-Ijelu Vs LSPDC (1192) NWLR (Pt 266) 414 at 422-432, Olorode V Oyebi (1981) in 1 SCNLR 390 at 400, 1984  5 SC P 1 at 16,  Sunday Adegbite Taiwo V Serak Adegboro & Ors (2011) LPELR 3155 ( SC) at page  15 B  and Nyesom V Peterside (2016 LPELR -40036 (SC); Barbus & Co Nig Ltd V Okafor-Udeji (2018) 11 NWLR (PT1630) 298 at 311-321, H-A and  Emechebe V CETO Int Nig Ltd (2018 11 NWLR (pt 1631 520 at 537-538, C-A
Barry Chukwu, a lawyer with the FIRS, in an affidavit dated 30 September, also told the court that the President forwarded Fowler’s name for appointment as the substantive Executive Chairman of the FIRS on 21 August 2015 for confirmation by the Senate.
“Following a meeting by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 9th December, 2015, Fowler was confirmed as the substantive Executive Chairman of the FIRS.

“The following day, 10th December 2019, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, informed President Muhammadu Buhari of Fowler’s suitability for confirmation as substantive Executive Chairman of the FIRS,
“Based on this, Fowler’s appointment as Executive Chairman did not take effect on 20 August, 2015 when he was appointed as the acting FIRS Chairman,” he said.

In support of his position, he quoted from a letter by Saraki.
“Your Excellency may, therefore, wish to formally appoint the confirmed nominee as Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service,” Saraki’s letter, dated 15 December 2015, read in part.
Monday’s court proceedings lasted for over three hours, with Jideobi  initially asking Justice Allagoa to throw out all the processes filed by the by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation as they were not filed within time.

Ghazalli countered him, citing the Independence Day public holiday as a reason. Justice Allagoa allowed the counsel to the Attorney-General to orally move his motion to file out of time. He stood the court down for about seven minutes to enable the counsel serve the other.

When Erokoro and Ghazalli were done, Jideobi told the court that Section 18 (1) of the Interpretations Act places a duty on him, as a legal practitioner to uphold the rule of law. He further maintained that a Supreme Court ruling gives precedence to the African Charter of Human Rights provisions over all local statutes.  To this Justice Allagoa queried: “Änd also the constitution?

Justice Allagoa fixed Friday 11th October 2019 for a ruling on preliminary objection.

Kukah: Sanusi fighting for his life because he says unpopular things

Rev. Matthew Kukah, Catholic bishop of Sokoto diocese, says Muhammadu Sanusi II, the emir of Kano, is fighting to keep the throne because of his blunt remarks.

The cleric made this remark on Monday while speaking on a panel at the ongoing 25th edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) conference.

“The emir is here, he is still fighting for his life because of the position that he has taken and all of you sitting here know that it has literally become a matter to a particular course because the things he is saying are not popular,” he said.

Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano state, had whittled down Sanusi’s powers by creating four emirates.

TheCable had reported that the monarch’s problem with Ganduje was linked to his critical comments in 2017 on the award of contracts to Chinese companies by the state government and on the governor’s foreign trips.

Commenting on the state of educational facilities in states, Kukah said governors spent money on pilgrimages and building religious centres rather than on education.

“The money that comes from the centre to our states, who is it meant for?

“When you say education is on the concurrent list, I worry that many of our states are providing opportunities for incubators of hatred to grow. If you take northern Nigeria where there is no single Christian or woman in the state assembly; women are lucky if they become commissioners for women affairs.

“When the federal government says that it doesn’t have a voice in what happens in distant states where governors have taken a license to behave irresponsibly in terms of issues of education.”

Kukah, who claims to have five secondary schools, said 60% of the students in his schools are Muslims.

“I have five secondary schools and I have to rely on the little collection that I receive in my church to send children to school and in many of the schools, 60% of the children are Muslims. Can we have a conversation with the state governments, the answer is almost no.

“The point I am making is that I think Northern Nigeria is a big culprit in a lot of the things that are wrong with Nigeria and I say this with all sense of responsibility.”

The cleric said Nigeria has to learn to manage its diversity before it can begin to plan the development of its future.

 

Court seizes convicted NIMASA acting DG’s N35m, 22-room hotel

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government the N35 million and a 22-room hotel seized from a convicted former acting Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Calistus Obi.

Justice Saliu Saidu made the order sequel to a motion filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against La Diva Hotel and Obi, who are the first and second respondents in the suit.

On June 3, 2019, another Federal High Court convicted and sentenced Obi to seven years imprisonment for a N136 million fraud, but with an option of N42 million fine.

At Monday’s proceedings, EFCC’s counsel Mr Rotimi Oyedepo said the motion was brought pursuant to Section 17 of the Advanced Free Fraud and other related Offences Act, 2006 and under Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution.

He described the La Diva Hotel as consisting of “22 rooms, lobby, bar, restaurant, kitchen, swimming pool, 350-seater hall, gymnasium and parking lot sitting on 3000 square metres.”

Oyedepo said it was located at Block V, Phase V, Plot No 11 Core Area, Asaba, Delta State.

He told the judge that the N35 million consisted of N7.5million in Zenith Bank and three N10 million deposits in Diamond Bank.

According to him, “The property sought to be attached is reasonably suspected to be acquired and built using proceeds of unlawful activities diverted from the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“The respondent’s known and provable income is far less than the property sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

The lawyer sought an interim order forfeiting the properties and the sum to the government.

“This Honourable Court has the requisite power and jurisdiction to grant this application. If this application is not granted, the property sought to be forfeited may be sold and dissipated,” Oyedepo said.

He added that the EFCC undertook “to publish in any national dailies, the interim order of this Honourable Court if this application is granted to enable the Respondent or any person who is interested in the property sought to be forfeited to appear before this Honourable Court and show cause why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

In a bench ruling, Justice Saidu granted the application.

The judge adjourned further proceedings till November 4, 2019.

FCMB’S profit sinks in half year

With the recession in its revenue growth, First City Monument Bank [FCMB] closed half year operations for 2019 with profit slowing down from 40 percent growth in the first quarter to 31 percent year-on-year. The slowdown is expected to continue in the second half towards a likely moderate improvement at full year.

There is however a little gain in momentum in the second quarter that has improved full year profit growth expectation from flat to moderate. The bank had raised net profit by 74 percent last year, from which a sharp slowdown is forecast for the current financial year. The bank’s profit growth records follow random up and down turns from year to year.

Inability to grow revenue has been the problem for the bank since 2016 but some strength was added in the second quarter ended June 2019. That has stepped up gross earnings from a 4 percent improvement in the first quarter to a year-on-year increase of 7 percent at half year. The improved growth rate looks likely to follow the bank to full year, indicating good prospects for seeing the best revenue growth record in three years.

Rising interest expenses remain a challenge in the current financial year. A change of direction from a decline in cost of funds last year to growing ahead of interest income was recorded in the first quarter. The development was reinforced in the second quarter with interest expenses accelerating from 6 per cent increase in the first quarter to over 9 percent at the end of June 2019.

A major drop in loan impairment losses on risk assets last year was the big cost saving centre that spurred the big profit lifting in 2018. The loan loss expenses continue to decline so far in the current year but the cost saving isn’t going to be as much as was realised in the preceding years.

Half year operations ended with gross earnings of close to N90 billion for FCMB, an increase of 7 percent year-on-year. This is an accelerated growth from the 4 percent improvement recorded in the first quarter.

Net trading income, that was driving revenue growth as at the end of the first quarter, lost momentum from a 23 percent leap in the first quarter to a 9.5 percent drop at half year. On the other hand, interest and discount income, took over the lead in revenue improvement in the second quarter with an increase of 9.4 percent to N70.4 billion.

Based on the accelerated growth rate in the second quarter, gross earnings outlook for the full year has improved from the earlier indicated flat growth to 7 percent improvement at full year. Gross income is forecast to be in the region of N190 billion for FCMB at the end of 2019. It is therefore expected to step up from 4 percent increase last year to mark the best revenue growth record in three years.

Interest expenses are growing virtually at par with interest income, slightly moderating the incursion into interest income that happened in the first quarter. That enabled net interest income to almost double its growth rate from 5 percent in the first quarter to almost 10 percent to N38.7 billion at the end of half year operations in June 2019.

This is a further strengthening of net interest income from a marginal increase of 2.9 percent at the end of 2018. Net interest income, an equivalent of gross profit, has remained either flat or moderately improved since 2017. It is however likely to grow at the highest rate in five years in 2019.

Net impairment loss on financial assets dropped by 25 percent to N5.5 billion at the end of June 2019. This is a continuing decline for the third year running, having dropped by 38 percent in 2018 and 36 percent in 2017. The lowest loan loss expense for the bank in many years is expected at the end of 2019.

FCMB ended the first quarter with an after tax profit of N7.53 billion, an increase of 31 percent year-on-year. Management continues to keep a tight control over operating cost, which improved net profit margin from 6.8 percent in the same period last year to 8.4 percent at the end of June 2019.

The profit outlook for the bank has improved slightly from the earlier projection of N15 billion to N16 billion for FCMB at the end of 2019. That will be an increase of 7 percent against the earlier forecast of flat growth. The bank has experienced fluctuating growth and slowdown in profit performance for several years and this year so far is set for a slowdown.

The bank earned 38 kobo per share at the end of half year trading in 2019, up from 29 kobo in the same period last year. The full year expectation is 80 kobo per share for the bank in 2019. It closed last year’s operations with earnings per share of 76 kobo and gave out a cash dividend of 14 kobo per share to shareholders.

Inside Business 

#SexForGrades: UNILAG students speak on experience with randy lecturer

Some students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) have narrated their encounter with the randy lecturer exposed in a BBC video demanding sex from an undercover reporter posing as a 17-year-old admission seeker.

Boniface Igbeneghu was exposed in a BBC undercover documentary.

The video emanated from an investigation into the sex-for-grades menace in two popular West African universities – University of Ghana and UNILAG.

Igbeneghu is a former sub-dean of Faculty of Art and head pastor of a local Foursquare Gospel Church.

Igbeneghu also described a ‘cold room’ in the university’s staff club where lecturers regularly “touch students’ breasts.”

Several Nigerians online have reacted to the video and are calling for punishment of the lecturer.

Meanwhile, some students of the university, who spoke with the paper on Monday, said they had similar experiences.

Premium Times said has not been able to independently verify the claims, but the students spoke in separate interviews and at different times. They asked not to be named for fear of victimisation.

A 400 level student of Mass Communication said she was once a victim of Mr Igbenegbu’s harassment.

“I knew every day is for the thief but there is a day for the owner. We are not surprised that this is happening to him. He cannot give you a lift without asking for your number,” she said.

The student said she once rejected an invitation by the lecturer to visit him at UNILAG staff club where the cold room is located.

Another student, who is in her third year studying Law, said Igbeneghu is a mere “scapegoat” as the menace is prevalent in the university.

“The cold room story is stale. The first time he invited me to the place was in 100 level. That’s two years ago,” she said.

A 300-level student of English said the faculty is filled with sex for mark lecturers, recalling the scandal involving a former Vice-Chancellor of Tai Solarin University of Education, Olusegun Awonusi, who is yet to be sanctioned a year after he was exposed.

She said some students went to Mr Igbeneghu’s office on Monday but met his door locked.

UNILAG has since suspended Mr Igbeneghu. Foursquare church, where he is a pastor, has also asked that he should relieve himself of the position.

I won’t be pressured to speak —Alleged sex-for-grade UNILAG lecturer

A senior lecturer at the University of Lagos, Akoka, Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu, has said he would not be pressurised to speak on the allegations of sexual harassment leveled against him.

He spoke on Monday to The PUNCH when asked to react to the allegations against him.

Igbeneghu, a pastor with the Foursquare Gospel Church, was filmed making sexual advances at a ‘student’ who sought his help for admission.

His church and the University of Lagos have suspended him over the allegation.

When our Correspondent contacted him on Monday over the backlash trailing the clip, he said, “I work for the University of Lagos; if you want any reaction, talk to the university.”

“Contact the information unit and they will tell you the correct position.

“If I talk, I will be running foul of the varsity law. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on me to say beyond what I have said,” Igbeneghu added.

Nigeria’s population is a liability, says Sanusi

The Emir of Kano, Mohammadu Sanusi (II) on Monday said that Nigeria’s huge population is currently a liability to the country.

He said this during a panel session of the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit currently holding in Abuja.

The session was attended by the Founder of the Kukah Centre, Bishop Mathew Kukah and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi.

The session focussed on how demographic realities can be transformed into social and business opportunities and what the implications are on internal migration, sustainable peace and security.

The Emir said that the potentials of the country’s huge population had yet to be tapped as the right policies to harness the future of the young people are still lacking.

Sanusi attributed the spate of kidnapping, armed robbery, insurgency, farmers-herders crisis to the level of population growth.

He said, “People talk that our population is an asset but we are yet to get there. Nigeria’s population is currently a liability because most of the root cause of problems such as kidnapping, armed robbery, Boko Haram, drug addiction are all tied to the population that we have and the question is how do you turn that into a productive one.”

$11m cyber fraud: Lagos court orders Invictus Obi’s N280m forfeited

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered the forfeiture of N280,555,010.65 “warehoused” in the bank accounts of Invictus Oil and Gas Limited and Invictus Investment Limited.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission told the court that the two firms were owned by Obinwanne Okeke, “a strong leader of a cyber crime syndicate that specialised in business e-mail compromise.”

Okeke, popularly known as Invictus, is currently standing trial in the United States of America over an alleged $11m cyber fraud.

The 31-year-old Nigerian was, in 2016, celebrated by Forbes as one of Africa’s “most outstanding 30 entrepreneurs under the age of 30.”

He was described by the magazine as “proof that there is hope for Africa.”

Obi was, however, arrested last August by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, implicated as the ringleader of a cyber crime syndicate that had defrauded a number of American citizens to the tune of $11m “through fraudulent wire transfer instructions in a massive, coordinated, business e-mail compromise scheme.”

Following an ex parte application by the EFCC on Monday, Justice Rilwan Aikawa made an order for the temporary forfeiture of the sums of N240,250,904.46 and N40,304,106.19, which the anti-graft agency said it found warehoused in the Nigerian bank accounts of Invictus Oil and Gas Limited and Invictus Investment Limited, respectively.

EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the funds were “reasonably suspected” to be proceeds of cyber crime and urged the judge to order its forfeiture to the Federal Government to prevent Okeke from dissipating same.

In an affidavit filed in support of the application, EFCC investigator, Ariyo Muritala, said the Commission assigned him and others to investigate a request for information on Okeke and three others by the United States Department of Justice, Office of the Legal Attache, US Consulate-General.

“I know as a fact and verily believe that our investigation has revealed the following ear-aching and mind-boggling findings:

(a) That the Obinwanne George Okeke is a strong leader of a cyber crime syndicate that specialised in business e-mail compromise.

(b) That the said syndicate has defrauded many innocent and unsuspecting victims.

(c) That the said Obiwanne George Okeke has been arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States of America for cyber crime-related offences.

(d) That if these funds are not forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria, Obiwanne George Okeke and his cronies will dissipate same,” Muritala said in the affidavit.

Oyedepo argued that Justice Aikawa had the power to make the interim forfeiture order by virtue of Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related Fraud Offence Act No. 14, 2006.

The judge agreed with him and ordered the temporary forfeiture of the funds.

Kaduna: Kidnappers demand N80m ransom for pupils, staff

Abductors of Kaduna female pupils and staff of the Engravers College, Kakau Daji, in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Monday insisted on N10m per head for the pupils and the two staff of the school as ransom.

Some gunmen in the early hours of Thursday lat week stormed the college and took away six female pupils and two other staff resident in the school to an unknown destination.

The spokesman for the Kaduna State Police Command, DSP Yakubu Sabo, confirmed the incident.

On Friday, the kidnappers were said to have contacted the management of the college where they demanded N50m as ransom after jettisoning their earlier demand of N30m per head for the pupils.

The abductors later settled for N50m for the six female pupils and the two staff.

However, on Monday, a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity told PUNCH on the telephone that the abductors declined on the earlier collective bargain they started “which was N50m per student and the two staff of the college.”

The source added that the abductors were furious over media reports and that the college should seek assistance from the state government on settling the ransom.

He added that the abductors again called that each parent of the six female pupils should pay N10m ransom while the two staff should pay the same amount, bringing the total amount to N80 million

“They(kidnappers) are insisting on N10 million per head from the parent and the two staff. They said they wanted the money today(Monday),” he said.

The source added, “We are praying and still negotiating with them.”

Meanwhile, Special forces drawn from the Nigerian Army, Department of State Services as well as the Police were on Sunday, deployed to rescue the Engravers College pupils and teachers from their kidnappers unhurt.

It was also gathered that the security operatives were close on the kidnappers and the abductees, PUNCH has learnt.

The forces, it was gathered were being careful in the operation as according to the source, the kidnappers might be “using the pupils and teachers as human shields.”

“Pressure is being mounted on the kidnappers and victims but we have to take into consideration the lives of the victims,” the source added.

#SexForGrades: UNILAG shuts down ‘Cold Room’, where lecturers ‘sexually harass’ students

The University of Lagos has announced the shut down of the ‘Cold Room’, where lecturers allegedly sexually harass students.

This was disclosed by Taiwo Oloyede, the Principal Assistant Registrar (Communication Unit) of the university.

The ‘Cold Room’ was mentioned by a lecturer of the school, Boniface Igbeneghu, who was caught on video sexually harassing an undercover journalist who posed as an admission seeker.

Mr Igbeneghu, in the BBC undercover documentary, described the secret place where lecturers meet to “touch students breast” at the staff club of the university.

Read also: #SexForGrades: Foursquare Church tells embattled Nigerian lecturer to step down as pastor

“They call the place cold room,” he said. He then explained that female students must pay to have good grades.

“The so called ‘Cold Room’ is a Functions Room that may have been abused because this is a deviation from the purpose for which it was created (meetings, seminars, events, etc)” the university spokesperson said.

Mr Oloyede also confirmed reports that Mr Igbeneghu had been suspended.

TETFUND received N1 trillion in five years but lacks accounting, operational guidelines – Report

The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) wants the federal government to immediately carry out a comprehensive audit of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

NEITI said the agency received N993.3billion from the Federation Account between 2012 and 2016 but “does not have a comprehensive accounting and operational manual.”

The immediate audit of the agency was one of the key recommendations in a report based on the NEITI Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement (FASD) Audit for the period 2012 to 2016 published a fortnight ago.

NEITI said the recommendation followed the finding by its audit team that the agency lacked comprehensive accounting and operational manual to guide its accounting and operations processes.

In its reaction to the report, TETFUND denied the possibility of not having guidelines for the financial and other aspects of its operations. It made reference to its annual report, which it said contains information on all its operations.

TETFUND Mandate

The TETFUND is an educational fund established with the mandate to administer the two per cent education tax imposed on profit-making taxable companies registered and doing business in Nigeria.

A Board of Trustees constituted to manage the Fund was charged with the responsibility of utilizing the oil and gas and non-oil and gas revenues from companies to rehabilitate, develop and improve the quality of tertiary education in the country.

The beneficiaries of the funds are the educational institutions in the country, including universities, colleges of education, polytechnics, monotechnics, federal and state ministries of education, commissions, state primary and secondary education boards.

Others are staff training and development agencies, libraries, ICT, capacity building, sports, book development, research, vocational training, police and paramilitary agencies.

NEITI Audit

The Executive Council of the Federation in December 2012 approved an audit of revenue receipts and disbursements from the Federation Account to relevant agencies including TETFUND.

Between the 2012 and 2016, NEITI said total revenues received by the TETFUND from the Federation Account for its operations was about N993.3billion. About N804.9 billion came from mineral revenue sources and N188.5 billion from non-mineral sources.

Details of the revenues showed in 2012, the Fund got N188.4 billion. The amount received in 2013 increased by 48 per cent to N279.2 billion, while the figure following year (2014) dropped by a similar percentage margin to N189.6 billion.

In 2015, NEITI said the revenue allocated to the Fund increased by 8 per cent to N206 billion and then reduced to about N130 billion in 2016, a 37 per cent reduction.

NEITI findings

NEITI findings showed Board of Trustees of the Fund utilized the allocations for the provision of essential physical infrastructure for teaching and learning, instructional materials and equipment a as well as researches and publications.

Also, the funds were also used for academic staff training and development, in addition to other needs that the agency considered critical and essential for the improvement of quality and maintenance of standards in the higher educational institutions.

However, NEITI said its audit team was unable to verify the populated templates submitted to TETFUND because its top officials were uncooperative.

“Letters of introduction by NEITI were not honoured by the agency on two different occasions,” the consultants involved in the audit said in the final report.

“A letter dated 10 April 2016, and another letter acknowledged as received on 8 June 2018 from NEITI were delivered to TETFUND.

“In both cases, we were informed the Executive Secretary had not yet given his permission for us to come and review the submitted templates, and so we were not granted permission to validate the templates,” the consultant said.

Recommendations

In its final report published a fortnight ago, NEITI said one of its key findings during the audit was that the “Fund does not have a comprehensive accounting and operational manual. Hence, there is insufficient guide for accounting and operations’ processes.”

Following the uncooperative attitude of its top officials, NEITI said its audit team was “unable to verify the income received from the various sources by the agency, and unable to evaluate the utilization of the funds.”

Consequently, the transparency agency recommended a comprehensive audit of the Fund to be carried out by the federal government without delay.

The agency also called on the government to tackle the issue of undue political control and interference by state governors in the execution of the Education Trust Fund-funded projects in their respective states.

“There is need to educate the governors on ETF intervention policies, which are rooted in accountability and standards and are performance-driven.

“Intervention, beneficiaries with accumulated un-accessed funds should be allowed to merge all their outstanding allocations and propose projects to be funded with the backlog of funds,” the NEITI report said.

The other recommendations included the need to explore the possibility of developing prototypes for adoption by beneficiaries, to maintain standards and uniformity in projects they execute, and to minimize the challenges posed by un-accessed funds.

In addition, it called for the re-examination of the Fund’s intervention policies, and to modify them where necessary.

TETFUND reacts

In a response to Premium Times inquiry, TETFUND spokesperson, Gbenga Arolasafe, denied the report.

“I want you to know that we (TETFUND) have our Annual Reports up to date. Even the 2018 Annual Report is already being published.

“So, it will be difficult to understand how any entity will claim our financial records, which are in the Annual Report, were not available,” Mr Arolasafe said in a text message in response to our reporter’s inquiry on Sunday.

Apart from the income and expenditure of the Fund and other financials, Mr Arolasafe said the annual report covers all information the NEITI audit team would have wanted on other aspects of its operations from the beginning to the end of the year.

On the report that the Fund did not honour two requests from the audit team, he requested for time to confirm the information with the director finance of the Fund. He was yet to do so at the time of this report.

He, however, denied that the Fund receives any allocation from the Federation Account, saying it is the Federal Inland Revenue Service, which collects the education tax on its behalf.

“For the record, we do not have anything to do with the federation account. It is also not possible for TETFUND not to have guidelines for its financial operations, particularly with our annual report always up-to-date, including the 2018 edition, which is currently in print,” he said.

 

Premium Times

Few Nigerians holding most of the country’s wealth, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari says a significant proportion of Nigeria’s prosperity is concentrated in the hands of a few people.

Speaking at the opening session of the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, the president said those few people are currently living in four or five states and the federal capital territory.

He said while only five states had most of the wealthy people, the remaining 31 states have about 150 million people waiting for better opportunities to thrive.

The president said a prosperous society is one where the majority of its citizens have an acceptable standard of living and a decent quality of life.

‘‘Today, many mistake prosperity with wealth. They are not necessarily the same. Experts and analysts explain economic trends by making references to indicators of wealth,” he said.

‘‘Wealth, however, in its simplistic form, is money or other assets. In recent years, global events have shown that when a society and its leaders are driven and motivated by these alone, the ultimate outcome is a divided state of severe inequalities.

“Nigeria is a country with close to 200 million people living in 36 states and the FCT. A significant proportion of Nigeria’s prosperity today is concentrated in the hands of a few people living primarily in four or five states and the FCT. Some of the most prosperous Nigerians are here in this room.

“This leaves the remaining 31 States with close to 150 million people in a state of expectancy and hope for better opportunity to thrive. This, in the most basic form, drives the migratory and security trends we are seeing today both in Nigeria and across the region.”

Marafa asks Matawalle to review Sharia law…says Zamfarans have been decieved

Kabir Marafa, a former senator, is demanding a review of Sharia law in Zamfara state.

Sani Yerima, a former governor of the state, introduced the law in 1999.

But Marafa said the Sharia practised in the state is not based on the teachings of Islam, alleging that some persons introduced it to hold on to power.

Marafa spoke when he met with Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara, at the government house in Gusau, the state capital, on Sunday.

“For long, the people of Zamfara are being deceived with Shariah (Islamic legal system) in the state,” he said.

“Your Excellency, it is high time that you looked at the system with a view of reviewing it to meet up with the standard stipulated in the glorious Quran and Hadith of our prophet, Mohammed (SAW).

“The Sharia being practiced in Zamfara is not based on the teachings of Islam. Our sharia courts in Zamfara are not practicing Sharia system. Magistrate courts have been phased out.

“Sharia is not an agenda of any party, I was in the ANPP and I’m an APC member.”

Marafa also said he is still a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“I want to use this opportunity to reaffirm to the people of Zamfara and other Nigerians that I remain an APC member. I want to inform Nigerians that APC in Zamfara remain divided,” he said.

“My faction is still intact and no going back.”

Marafa said he wants Matawale to succeed because of the role he played in his emergence as governor.

“This is because of the role I played in your emergence,” he said.

“Before now, people thought we were playing politics with our reservations on the past administration but today, to the glory of Allah, we are experiencing peace again in Zamfara.”

On his part, Matawale said his government would work with everyone, irrespective of party affiliation.

 

Ghanaian lecturer to sue BBC over sex-for-grade video

Yaw Gyampo, a professor of political science at the University of Ghana, has vowed to sue the BBC over its sex-for-mark video documentary.

Gyampo was implicated in a 13-minute video documentary released by the BBC Africa Eye on Monday.

The professor described the documentary as an entrapment, insisting that he was never involved in the act.

He said the documentary could not establish anything against him.

“I have been counseled to be silent on a matter of entrapment masterminded by a certain unscrupulous people, with the aid of BBC (African Eye) against me,” he said.

“I have a lot to say about this matter. But I am suing the BBC for defamation tomorrow, so I will keep some of the facts to myself for now.

“Let me state however, that I have not involved myself in the BBC’s so-called sex for grades and will never do so. Their own video documentary evidence could not establish this. I am aware of my University’s Sexual Harassment Policy and I have always adhered to its dogmas.

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lecturer in class after video

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“The lady involved in my informal conversation, was not my student and she wasn’t also a student from the University of Ghana where I teach. I therefore cannot decipher how I could manipulate the grade of a non-student.

“The BBC ignored all her contributions to our conversation. They ignored all her messages she sent to me. They ignored my objections and letters written to refute their allegations. They also edited the video to suit their purpose.

“While I prepare to sue the BBC for carrying out the most bogus and unprofessional piece of documentary in the world so far, I wish to remind them that Ghana and for that matter, Africa, has long thrown out the yoke of colonialism.

“I have not engaged in any so-called sex for grades and I will stay true to my calling in doing my best for God, students and country.”