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Daily Archives: November 3, 2019

FRSC investigates ‘CHIP WHIP’ licence plate

The Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Commission, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, has ordered investigation into a particular vehicle number plate allegedly circulating in Kano.

The number plate has the inscription ‘Chip Whip,’ purportedly for a member of the Kano State House of Assembly.

Oyeyemi directed the Sector Commander of Kano State to investigate the origin of the number plate in the state.

The Corps Public Education Officer, Mr. Bisi Kazeem, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

“The Corps Marshal has directed all field commands across the country to be on vigilance and clamp down on producers and issuers of fake number plates.

“We wish to state categorically that the said number plate did not originate from any of the FRSC Number Plate production centres, neither was it issued by the Corps.

“We are therefore making it abundantly clear to members of the public that FRSC as the lead agency in road traffic management and safety administration in the country has nothing to do with the said number plate.

“For the avoidance of doubt, FRSC with its International Quality Management certification (ISO 9001: 2008) has rigorous quality procedures for producing and issuing any of its security documents which makes the possibility of such obvious grammatical errors on any of its licences an impossibility,” he said.

Oyeyemi said that a careful assessment of the said number plate revealed that the characters of the dye were not the same with that of the FRSC production plants.

He added that the colour of the graphics (Nigeria Map) on the plate is brown, instead of green that FRSC uses.

“All blanking and screen printing for such plates are done at the Gwagwalada production plant to ensure quality, uniformity and standards in line with quality procedures of the FRSC in all its produced number plates in contrast to this one.

“So, we can confirm with certainty that this number plate was neither produced nor issued by the FRSC,” he said.

Army to court martial 20 officers for cowardice, negligence

The Commander Operation Lafiya Dole on Friday inaugurated two special court martial to instil discipline within the theatre, trial of six officers and 14 other found wanting in the discharge of their duties.

Theatre Commander, Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, while inaugurating the courts at the Maimalanri Cantonment on Friday, said that the safety and well-being of Nigerians depends considerably on the willingness and readiness of men and women to defend against threats.

He said, “It is worrisome to observe the increasing cases of negligence, lackadaisical and cowardly activities of many of our personnel during Boko Haram terrorists’ offensive actions across the theatre today.

“The reason for the two court martial was to fast track the trial of the accused persons, as justice delayed is justice denied.

“As we all know, the court martial trial is a regimental and judicial exercise that may review, reduce or remove the right and privileges of any convicted service personnel.

“It is unique to the military and a tributary of a criminal trial that flows in the sea of Nigerian criminal justice system.

“These unprofessional and disgraceful habits have led to the death of many of our gallant colleagues and these attitudes must not be allowed to continue if we must retain our national pride.

“Breaches of military discipline must be dealt with speedily and frequently punished more severely than would be the case if civilian is engaged in such conduct.

“The military has its code of service discipline to allow it meet its peculiar disciplinary needs, therefore recourse to the ordinary criminal court would as a general rule, be inadequate to serve the disciplinary needs of the military.”

London Met Police reinstates BBNaija’s Khafi

The London Metropolitan Police has reinstated Big Brother Naija housemate Khafi Kareem, who defied her superiors to feature on the reality show.

The Mirror newspaper reported that Khafi, who clocks 30 today said she has been asked to return to work. She returned to the UK two weeks ago and met with her superiors to discuss her conduct.

There were reports she had been a subject of probe by Scotland Yard.

The Mirror of London quoted Khafi as saying she is returning to her beat.

“Work has been really great, we’ve been speaking and communicating, they asked me when I’d be coming back to work,” she said.

“I’m not sure when I’m going to go back yet – I want to get back as soon as possible, I’m passionate about keeping London safer.”

Kareem, 29, had caused outrage among senior officers by appearing on BBN without permission.

The Met confirmed that Kareem had asked for permission to appear on the show but was denied and that she had chosen to accept a place in the house “without authority”.

Top brass at the force were to face further embarrassment when the Londoner was shown appearing to have sex on screen with fellow contestant, Ekpata Gedoni, 31.

Defending her decision to accept the place on the show without a final answer from the Met, Kareem said she tried to get an answer out of her bosses, but they didn’t get back to her.

She said: “I started to ask what the procedure is, what would I do, I thought I might actually get into the show.

“I wanted to do everything by the book even though I didn’t know if I was in the show or not.

“I spoke to as many people as I was told to. I was told to go to my commander; I explained the situation, I told him I wanted time off – three months off of work and the reason was because I might get on Big Brother.”

Addressing her controversial romp under the sheets with Gedoni, Kareem denies they slept together, but confirmed the two are still in a relationship, adding: “We are still together now – I met someone in there and fell in love with him.

“I hope we will be together for a very long time.”

Kareem said she attended an audition for the show in Nigeria in February in order to film content for her YouTube blog, A Cup of Khafi, which has more than 19k subscribers.

N140m official car lands federal agency’s MD in trouble

The Managing Director of an agency of the Federal Government is running from pillar to post, having drawn the ire of the Presidency for acquiring a N140 million bullet proof Toyota SUV as his official car.

The Presidency is said to be miffed that the head of a federal agency would spend that amount of money on official car in a regime that is waging war against corruption and striving to arrest the culture of official profligacy.

It was gathered that many heads may roll over the matter as investigation was already being conducted into how approval was secured for the said sum in spite of the serious scrutiny of financial requests by ministries and agencies.

The MD in question is running helter-skelter for an audience with those that matter in President Muhammadu Buhari’s kitchen cabinet as petitions are flying in from the agency.

Pius Adesanmi’s family tackles widow over ‘unauthorised’ burial in Canada

Mike Oyelude, a relative of Pius Adesanmi, the late Nigerian-born Canadian professor, says the academic was buried in Canada without the consent of his family.

The remains of Adesanmi were buried in Ottawa, Canada, last Saturday. He was among the passengers on the ill-fated Ethiopian Airline flight which crashed on its way to Nairobi, Kenya, on a Sunday morning in March.

The aircraft, a Boeing 737 MAX 8, which carried 149 passengers and eight crew members, lost contact with air traffic controllers six minutes after taking off.

In an article entitled, ‘Re: Pius Adesanmi’s Burial’ on Sunday, Oyelude said the burial is contrary to the wish of the deceased who wanted to be buried in Isanlu, Kogi state.

“Saturday November 2, 2019 made it exactly one week since we read on social media about the purported burial of our son, the late Prof. Pius Adebola Adesanmi. This burial reportedly took place in Ottawa on October 26, 2019. Since the so-called burial, we have waited for confirmation and used established channels to find out what really happened,” he said.

“It is now evident, that our late son’s remains were interred in Ottawa without family consent and contrary to the wish of the deceased to be buried in his place of birth, Isanlu. To our shock and chagrin, this interment was carried out without the knowledge or consent of Prof. Adesanmi’s aged mother and his eldest daughter.

“Since the death of our son in the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines crash, we have been subjected to unspeakable disrespect, deceit and discourtesy by Boeing, Ethiopian Airlines and Prof Adesanmi’s widow in Ottawa. We want to place on record that neither Boeing, Ethiopian Airlines nor Prof. Adesanmi’s widow Olumuyiwa Balogun has done right by the family. We have not been called nor informed about the accident till date.

“Prof. Adesanmi was born in Isanlu, in Kogi State to the Adesanmi family. We raised our son in the best custom of our ancestors and the Christian faith. Although his father, Pa Adesanmi passed before his son in relative old age, he is survived by his aged mother Mama Lois Adesanmi and two young daughters Oluwadamilare and Oluwatise. It is public knowledge in official and private circles that both children were born to Prof. Adesanmi in Ottawa to different mothers, in lawful wedlock .

“Oluwadamilare ‘Dammy’ Adesanmi was born in wedlock to Pius and Oluwatosin in Ottawa. That makes Dammy a bona-fide Canadian citizen. It is disdainful to make it appear as if Pius is survived by one child. In our culture and before the law, children born in lawful wedlock have equal status before the law and society.”

Oyelude said since his death, neither Boeing, Ethiopian Airlines nor Adesanmi’s widow has contacted the family in an official capacity over the burial.

“Indeed since our world crashed with Pius last March, nobody has deemed it fit to officially contact his family in any official capacity,” he said.

“If the airlines whose negligence led to the untimely death of our son has made contact with anyone on our behalf, it was incumbent on them to ensure that we were duly carried along by way of official information and that our consent is sought as to how our son’s remains would be interred.

“We would like to place it on record that neither the airline nor anyone else bothered to seek our consent or approval before the purported ceremony in Ottawa.”

He said the “shambolic funeral” of Adesanmi coincided with his mum’s 78th birthday.

“We refuse to believe that this was not done deliberately to maximise the pain, the suffering and the agony of our matriarch,” he said.

Pay new minimum wage or get impeached, NLC tells governor

Organised labour has asked state house of assemblies to impeach governors who fail to pay the new minimum wage.

Emmanuel Ugboaja, general-secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), made the appeal while speaking to journalists on Sunday in Lagos.

In April, President Muhammadu Buhari approved N30,000 as the minimum wage.

After a series of meetings between the federal government and labour leaders, there was an agreement on the implementation of the new minimum wage.

Subsequently, the federal executive council (FEC) directed Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, to effect the payment of N30,000 new minimum wage before December.

The governors, however, said the agreement between the federal government and labour is not binding on them.

But the union said some of the governors fly on private jets, and asked why they cannot pay the new wage.

“It is criminal to say you cannot pay the new minimum wage,” Ugboaja said.

“Some of these leaders ride in private jet, so they can pay.”

He said the organised labour was in support of the return of the labour advisory council, which would help to mediate between the government and workers.

He asked the federal government to take actions against employers who will not pay the new wage.

Border closure has helped in checking arms smuggling, says DSS DG

Yusuf Bichi, Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), says the closure of Nigeria’s land borders has helped to check the smuggling of arms into the country.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the executive intelligence management course of the National Institute for Security Studies in Abuja, Bichi said the closure has also helped security agencies monitor the movement of “people that are likely to undermine the security of this country”.

In October, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) banned the import and export of all products through the country’s land borders in a bid to inhibit smuggling activities.

“The recent closure of our borders attest to what we intend to achieve despite the criticism, the closure of our borders so far, have succeeded in checkmating not only smuggling of goods that are illegally brought into the country, even firearms and then checkmating the movement of people that are likely to undermine the security of this country,” Bichi said.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), had also said extended closure of the borders will put an end to Nigeria’s security challenges.

According to him, the borders will remain closed until neighbouring countries reach agreements on mutual anti-smuggling policies.

ICPC arrests SIP officials for ‘diverting’ N68m meant for school feeding in Kogi

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission says it arrested two officials of the national social investment programme (N-SIP) in Kogi state over alleged N68 million fraud.

The suspects are Khadijat Karibo, the state programme manager for the national home-grown school feeding programme, and Adoga Ibrahim, a former focal person for the programme in the state.

In a statement, Rasheedat Okoduwa, the commission’s spokesperson, said ICPC made the arrest in collaboration with the national social investment office.

Okoduwa said the commission received a petition which alleged that the two officials were involved in diversion of funds meant for the school feeding programme.

“A petition alleging that the erstwhile State Focal Person and the Programme Manager had connived and diverted large sums of money meant for payments to cooks in the national school feeding programme in Kogi State was received by ICPC,” the statement read.

“The petition alleged that the duo had perpetrated unlawful and unethical deductions from the accounts of cooks by the use of letters purportedly signed by them conveying their consent that a blanket and unspecified amount be moved to 10 different business accounts from the cooks’ accounts for sundry aggregated commodity supplies.”

The spokesperson said an approval, which ought to have been granted for some items was missing, adding that the officials could not provide evidence.

“The petition further alleged that the massive fraudulent actions were pulled off by the officials acting in concert with some banks in the state. Preliminary findings from ICPC investigations indicate that for the programme to aggregate food items, the request must come from a state governor clearly stating the names and details of suppliers to the National Coordinator of the NHGSFP for approval,” it read.

“This approval was lacking in the case under investigation as Ibrahim only submitted a request in September 2018 but could not present evidence of approval, hence money was paid directly by the programme to the cooks’ accounts.”

 

One killed, scores injured as robbers invade Ibadan community

A yet to be identified night-watchman was allegedly killed by armed robbers in Oju-irin, Akobo area of Ibadan on Saturday when robbers numbered about 15 invaded the area around 2 am.

The robbers were said to have operated for hours without police intervention.

The landlords in idi-isin and the leader of the security guard in the area simply identified as Mr. Fagbenro insisted that a security guard was shot dead at Oju Irin on the arrival of the robbers at 1:am before moving to other areas while some of his boys are on danger list at various hospitals.

Our correspondent gathered that among the people who were injured are a couple, 12-night guards who were working in Yawiri, Idi-isin, Tella, Anifalaje, Apata, Iyana Akanni, and Oju-Irin, where the robbers operated for several hours.

One of the executives of the landlord association in Idi-isin area who doesn’t want his name in print for security reasons said the robbers arrived the area in a Micra Nissan car and raided houses in Yawiri area before proceeded to other areas of the community.

He confirmed to our correspondent that one night guard was killed around Oju-Irin and two security guard who were instructed to man a transformer at idi-isin were injured for preventing the robbers from carting away electrical wires from the transformer.

According to him, the residents alerted police officers on duty at Akobo police station when they noticed the arrival of the robbers but there was no response from the police until 6 am.

“It is true that the robbers killed one night guard at Oju Irin but here, they macheted our night guard. I am also aware that a couple was macheted at Yawiri up there and about 12 other night guards were also macheted.

“In our investigations, we heard they arrived this area 2 am in a Micra Nisan car and three motorcycles. Our night guards were just returning from patrol when they attacked them at the point of the transformer. The guardsmen are in the hospital recuperating now,” he said.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Gbenga Fadeyi confirmed that some night guards were attacked.

He, however, denied that a security officer was killed in the attack.

Sale of N14.4bn Diezani jewellery: Auctioneers attack Magu over plans to engage foreign firms

The Nigeria Association of Auctioneers has chided the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, over his announcement that the commission would engage foreign auctioneers to sell the jewellery and houses seized from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The association noted that it was an insult for the commission to attempt to boycott the over 170 million Nigerians to hunt for auctioneers abroad to dispose of the properties that the former minister allegedly bought illegally with their commonwealth.

“It’s a serious insult to Nigerians and it is the most unfortunate thing any government can do at this critical point in our economy. We kick against it,” he said.

Magu had at the EFCC stakeholders’ conference on crusade against cybercrime fraudsters, which held on Thursday, said the commission had contacted internationally certified auctioneers overseas to auction the $40m (about N14.4bn) jewellery recovered from Alison-Madueke.

He noted that the presence of internationally certified auctioneers would make the process transparent.

He added that the auctioneers would also sell off the luxury houses recovered from the former minister and other suspects.

Alison-Madueke served as a minister during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Magu noted that 242 trailers and tankers from Internet scammers would also be auctioned.

The Federal High Court in Lagos had on September 10, 2019 ordered that the 2,149 pieces of jewellery and a customised gold iPhone, valued at $40m and recovered from the Abuja home of Alison-Madueke be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

In a ruling, Justice Nicholas Oweibo held that Diezani, through her lawyer, Awa Kalu (SAN), failed to show cause why the items should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

Meanwhile, on October 10, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed that he had instructed relevant agencies that all forfeited assets be sold and the money be put in the Treasury Single Account.

But, responding to EFCC’s decision to engage foreign auctioneers, the General Secretary, NAA, Isibor Benjamin Abhulimen, who spoke on behalf of the association, said in an interview with our correspondent on Saturday that it was wrong for the EFCC to bring in foreigners to do a job that many Nigerians are competent to do.

He said, “When the President made the pronouncement that all forfeited assets should be disposed, we were all excited and we felt it was a good move.

“We felt there would be transparency because if you invite auctioneers in Nigeria, you have involved the Nigerian public.

“We were therefore surprised to see that Magu invited foreigners to come and do the work we were licenced to do here. Does he want Nigerians to be out of jobs? Members of our association are very angry with that decision and we won’t allow it.”

He said it was ironical for the government to close the borders with the hope of helping Nigerian businesses to grow and then turn around to give jobs to foreigners.

Abhulimen said, “The government closed the borders because they said they wanted local companies to grow, but in the same breath, you are bringing foreigners to come and take over our job. How do you explain that contradiction? Many Nigerians are even better than the foreigners he is talking about.

“Given that we do not have the technical expertise to drill our crude oil, we get foreigners to come and do that for us. But something as common as jewellery, you still call foreigners? That is unacceptable. How do you sell jewellery than leverage the contacts of people who have interest in such items. It seems to us that Magu has an ulterior motive for doing that. We are angry and bitter about it.”

Abhulimen said the association had been discussing the matter since the story broke and that they see it as an insult to the sensibility of every Nigerian. “Does it mean we are incompetent to even help ourselves in this country?” he queried.

He added, “We have very competent auctioneers in all parts of this country. They have online portals where they can synchronise their disposals across the world. We go as far as the United States to connect with auctioneers there to dispose of items.

“Is the EFCC chairman saying we do not have competent people that can sell jewellery in the whole of this country? One good way to sell jewellery is to connect with those who are interested in such items and we know the biggest collectors of jewellery in the world today.

“It seems the EFCC chairman lacks good advisers or he doesn’t know the right thing to do, because what he said and planned to do is an insult to Nigerians and members of our association.

“Let’s even look at the revenue angle; is Magu saying government would rather pay the commission on the sale of those items to foreigners? What then happens to Nigerian firms? It’s a wrong practice. It’s very painful to our association.”

When asked the membership strength of the association, he said, “We have chapters in every state and the Federal Capital Territory. There is no state where we have less than 150 members. And active auctioneers per state is not less than 100. If you do the calculation you would see that we are a large body of professionals.

“Does a foreigner even understand our terrain to come and sell a property here? The properties belong to Nigerians, so it’s an insult to our sensibilities and we won’t allow it. It’s offensive.”

In the case against Diezani, the EFCC had told the judge that the jewellery and the gold iPhone seized from the former minister were reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of fraud.

According to the schedule attached to an application filed by the EFCC, the jewellery, categorised into 33 sets, include “419 expensive bangles; 315 expensive rings; 304 expensive earrings; 267 expensive necklaces; 189 expensive wristwatches; 174 expensive necklaces and earrings; 78 expensive bracelets; 77 expensive brooches and 74 expensive pendants.”

In an affidavit deposed to by Rufai Zaki, an investigator, the EFCC insisted that the items were beyond Diezani’s “known and provable lawful income.”

Meanwhile, in responding to the issues raised by the auctioneers, the spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren in a response to Sunday PUNCH’s enquiry, simply said, “The process will be duly advertised and the requirements for all participants specified.”

FG to reopen borders January 31, 2020

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension of the closure of Nigeria’s border with neighbouring countries to January 31, next year.

The exercise code-named operation Exercise Swift Response had resulted in joint border operations by a combined team of security agencies.

The Deputy Comptroller of Customs in charge of Enforcement, Investigation and Inspectorate, Victor Dimka, conveyed the Presidential directive in a memo to the Sector Coordinators.

The memo with reference number NCS/ENF/ABJ/221/S.45, and marked “Restricted” was dated November 1, 2019.

The memo which was obtained by our correspondent on Sunday said that despite the overwhelming success of the operation, particularly the security and economic benefits to the nation, a few strategic objectives are yet to be achieved.

It said the need to achieve the strategic objectives of the exercise informed the extension of this phase by the President.

It assured operatives that are involved in the joint operations that their allowances would be paid.

When contacted, the Public Relations Officer, NCS, Mr Joseph Attah confirmed the development in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Sunday.

The memo reads in part, “I am directed to inform you that it is observed that despite the overwhelming success of the operation, particularly the security and economic benefits to the nation, a few strategic objectives are you to be achieved.

”Against this background, Mr President has approved the extension of the exercise to January 31, 2020.