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FG owes pensioners over ₦400bn – Senator

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, Ibrahim Shekarau, has claimed that the federal government currently owes retirees over ₦400 billion in accrued pension, Punch newspaper reported.

Mr Shekarau said this at the second annual National Assembly retreat with the Pension Funds Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) held in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State on Monday.

He said the committee would work with the federal government to offset all the arrears, “even if it would be the only achievement that the 9th National Assembly would be remembered for.

“Government owes the accrued pension funds of over ₦400 billion,” Punch newspaper quoted Mr Shekarau to have said.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari “might not be aware of the huge debt” but pledged to make him address the situation.

“The committee has written a seriously worded letter to the Senate President, insisting that the Senate should take this up with Mr President to make sure this matter is addressed, otherwise it is one step forward, 10 steps backwards.”

Mr Shekarau said his committee would meet with key relevant government officials and agencies and pension operators.

He also decried the indebtedness of state and local governments to their retirees which he said is due to “lack of political will”.

To address this, he said, “We will initiate appropriate amendments. This is very important; otherwise, the pensioners will be suffering.”

In her address, the President of PenOp, Aderonke Adedeji, called for a working pension system to take the hand of corruption off pension funds.

“So, it is evident that a well-functioning, transparent and efficient pension system is critical for all groups of Nigerians and our nation at large. A well-functioning pension industry will reduce the menace of corruption; because individuals will be assured that they have funds they can fall back on during their retirement years.”

UNIBEN alumni honours UBA’s Uzoka;, Giwa-Osagie, others

The University of Benin Alumni Association, Lagos Chapter has honoured the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of United Bank for Africa(UBA), Mr. Kennedy Uzoka.

The honour which was conferred at an impressive Dinner held at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja-Lagos at the weekend  was in appreciation of Uzoka’s ‘hardwork, diligence and continuous commitment to the values of excellence’ as a banker and head of the Pan-African financial institution with presence in 20 African countries.

Honoured along with Uzoka were Emeritus Professor, Osato Giwa-Osagie, a renowned professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Founder of OMNI Medical Clinic, Dr (Mrs) Rametu Omamegbe Momodu, Deputy Director, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), among others.

Responding to the honour, Uzoka expressed his delight at being honoured by the university he holds in high esteem, saying, “I am very proud of this great university which was very instrumental in moulding me to what I have become today, driving a financial institution with strong commitment to the development of the African continent,” Uzoka said.

He reiterated his personal commitment and that of the bank to continue to support the development of UNIBEN, adding that UBA has been showing deep interest and support to the institution, for instance, it recently built an ultra-modern ICT Centre at the Ugbowo Campus through the UBA Foundation among other things.

The Chairman of Occasion, Gen. Felix Edafioghor, who spoke at the occasion, said the dinner was in honour of the Alumni of the university who have contributed immensely to the development of the society and that of the university. He encouraged the alumni to show deep interest in the affairs of their alma-matter by giving back to the university that contributed to their  successes.

Also speaking, Mr. Stephen Onojomete, Chairman, UNIBEN Alumni Association, Lagos Chapter, noted that the award provides an “opportunity to showcase and celebrate our great mean and women who by hardwork, diligence and a continuous commitment to the values of excellence; have recorded major strides in their chosen profession thus contributing to national growth and development in general and projecting the good image of UNIBEN.”

Kennedy Uzoka is a distinguished African business executive, with vast experience in banking, business development, financial and business advisory, strategic planning and execution as well as human resource management. He is an advocate of disruptive technology and has led many game-changing innovations in the African banking industry over the past two decades of his career.

Uzoka holds a BSc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Benin is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria (CIBN). He is an alumnus of the Advanced Management Program (AMP) of the Harvard Business School, Boston USA, the International Institute of Management Development (IMS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the London Business School, United Kingdom.

DSS ‘uncovers plot’ to destabilise polity

 

The Department of State Services (DSS) said it has uncovered syndicated plots by some undesirable groups to cause a breakdown of law and order in various parts of the country including Abuja.

According to the secret police, the arrangement is to instigate protests, mass action and violence with a view to causing anarchy and destabilizing the country.

DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, in a statement issued on Tuesday said: “These predetermined actions have been designed to take place simultaneously in the major cities across the geopolitical zones in the coming weeks. This is more so that the plotters are also targeting the yuletide seasons to accomplish their sinister motives.

“Considering the implications of these on public safety and national security, the Service wishes to warn the anti-democratic elements responsible for these heinous plots to desist forthwith from their inglorious acts.

“Consequently, parents are advised to rein in their wards and enjoin them not to allow themselves to be used to foment trouble. Similarly, Heads of academic and public institutions are to warn their students and employees respectively from engaging in any untoward activity against public order.

The statement said that the service and other sister agencies are at alert and will ensure that peace and security are maintained in all parts of the country before, during and after the festive periods. Law abiding citizens are equally encouraged to go about their normal businesses without fear but report any suspected persons or breach of peace to the nearest security office to them.

 

Immigrations stops 1,044 Nigerians from travelling, generates N39bn

No fewer than 1,044 Nigerians were stopped by the Federal Government from departing the country in 2018, The Punch is reporting.

The reason for the decision by the government could not be ascertained, but it was learnt that the affected persons might have been placed on the security watchlist for various criminal offences.

The action which was carried out under the Nigeria Immigration Service migration control and compliance also affected 22,889 foreigners who were refused entry into the country.

In 2017, 31,672 Nigerians who were placed on the watch list of the Nigeria Immigration Service were prevented from travelling out of the country.

Preliminary information from the NIS Annual Report, 2018, obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday, also indicated that the NIS granted 15,186 temporary work permit visas to foreigners and generated over N39 billion.

The report further indicated that 17,616 Nigerians were deported from other countries last year while 339 others were repatriated from various countries.

“Thirty-three cases of stowaways were recorded in the same period,” it stated.

Meanwhile, the immigration service issued 1,227,158 passports and 63,816 residence permits in 2018.

The agency also issued 4,466 ECOWAS residence cards while 177,168 visas were issued at various Nigerian foreign missions.

About 4,529,158 international travellers crossed the nation’s borders, an increase of 22 per cent over the 2017 figure.

A breakdown shows that 78 per cent of the travellers came in by air, 21 per cent by land and one per cent by sea.

Police declare Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer, others wanted

The Anambra State Police Command has declared Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lawyer to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu wanted.

The Commissioner of Police, John Abang, made the declaration on Tuesday in Awka, the Anambra State capital.

Abang said the declaration of the lawyer and other IPOB members wanted, was in connection with the alleged murder of two police officers in Oraifite, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of the state on Monday.

He said, “I’ll like Nigerians to know that Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, a member of the proscribed IPOB, has been declared wanted.

“I’ll seek the cooperation of law-abiding Nigerians, East, West, North, and South that wherever they find this individual, they should report to the nearest police station for possible arrest and prosecution based on the rules and laws of Nigeria.”

The command’s Police Public Relations Officer, Haruna Mohammed, had in a statement said two police officers were killed by the suspected IPOB members while others were inflicted with machete cuts in the incident.

IPOB had on Tuesday accused the police of setting fire on the home of Ejiofor in Oraifite, Anambra State.

In a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, the group wondered why the Police would go further to raze the lawyer’s home even after killing two unarmed and innocent civilians.

It maintained that the carelessness of the police in handling the petrol they used to drench Ejiofor’s home and nearby businesses before setting them on fire led to the fire that gutted a police van.

The statement read in part, “The unprovoked Nigeria police and army invasion of the home of our lawyer, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, barely four days after the painful burial of his elder brother is proof that those running Nigeria have descended into the abyss of iniquity from which they may never recover.

“Not even during the darkest days of Abacha’s dictatorship did anyone witness such brazen intimidation of a legal counsel or the attempted assassination of a defence counsel in a high profile case.

“It is the golden rule of every legal system under the sun that defence counsel are not harassed, intimidated or killed but it seems nothing is sacrosanct in the present circumstance.

“We don’t expect the roundly docile and cowardly Nigeria Bar Association or their impotent and subdued National Judicial Council to rise up in condemnation of this contemptuous behaviour by Aso Rock in this latest attempt to kill Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor.

“This level of dictatorial impunity against the rule of law, judicial process and natural justice must not be condoned by any right-thinking person.

FG’s request for our transfer to prison, frivolous —Sowore, Bakare

Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-detainee, Adebayo Bakare, on Tuesday, described the Federal Government’s application for their transfer from the custody of the Department of State Service to prison as frivolous, vexatious and unarguable.

They said the fresh application filed by the government before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja was meant to frustrate the court’s order for their release from DSS custody.

They also described the application filed on behalf of the Federal Government by the prosecuting counsel, Hassan Liman (SAN), as contemptuous for being a contravention of the order directing the DSS to release them from custody.

This is contained in their notice of preliminary objection filed before the court to challenge the Federal Government’s fresh application.

Sowore and Bakare are being prosecuted before the court by the Federal Government on charges of treasonable felony instituted against them in the wake of their call for #RevolutionNow protests across the country to demand better governance.

The DSS continues to hold them in custody since August when they were arrested, despite separate court orders directing their release from custody.

The latest of the court orders was the one issued by Justice Ojukwu on meeting the bail conditions imposed on them after their arraignment.

They argued, through their legal team led by Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), that the application for their transfer from the DSS custody to prison, showed that there was no genuine interest to prosecute them.

Grounds of the application read, “The application was filed by the Complainant/Applicant to frustrate the execution of the order of release of the 1st and 2nd defendants/objectors from the custody of the State Security Service made by this Honourable Court on November 6, 2019.

“There is no genuine intention to prosecute the 1st and 2nd defendants by the complainant/applicant as the statement of witnesses this Honourable Court ordered to be availed the defence team is yet to be issued and served.

 

Buhari commissions military made-in-Nigeria war vehicle in Kaduna

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Kaduna State inaugurated the first-ever made in Nigeria military war vehicle otherwise known as ‘Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles.’

The vehicle is to be used for military operations in the North-East.

The war vehicle code-named ‘Ezugwu’ was manufactured by the Defence Industrial Corporation of Nigeria, Kaduna.

Apart from the commissioning of the war vehicle, the President also commissioned the ultra-modern Army Reference Hospital.

Buhari, who commissioned the war vehicle as well as the hospital at the opening of the 2019 Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference, commended the Nigerian military for defending the territorial integrity of the country.

He also called on them to always respect human rights and international humanitarian laws in the conduct of their operations across the country.

The President said his administration would continue to support the military in its modernisation quest.

Buhari said, “This government is aware that activities of the army come with key consequences, with some personnel who have sustained various injuries.

“I once again send my condolences to those who have paid the supreme sacrifices in an effort to secure this country. May their souls rest in peace.

“I urge our soldiers to continue to abide by their ethics and keep to the rules of engagement and code of conduct while ensuring that human rights and international humanitarian laws are promoted and respected in the conduct of military operations,” he said.

“There is no doubt that a lot has been achieved by the Army since my assumption as the president.”

N2.5bn libel suit: Atiku files deposition against Buhari’s aide, Lauretta Onochie

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday, appeared at the registry of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Maitama, Abuja, to sign and file his deposition in support of the N2.5bn libel suit which he instituted against President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, earlier in June this year.

Pictures of the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate in the last presidential election with his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), and others in the legal team were sent to journalists on Tuesday.

In one of the pictures, Atiku was seen seated while holding a pen above a white paper with Ozekhome bent over the table beside him.

In the caption accompanying the pictures, Ozekhome stated, “Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, today, at the Central Registry of the FCT, High Court, Maitama, Abuja, with his client, His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Waziri Adamawa.

“The former Vice President was physically at the Registry to sign his witness deposition (on oath) before the Commissioner for Oaths, on the case he instituted against Lauretta Onochie.

“The Waziri is claiming amongst others, the sum of N2.5 bn only, from the Presidential Assistant on Social Media, as general, aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages against her.

“Atiku is claiming this sum from her for her defamatory story published on her twitter handle and Facebook page, in which she stated that Atiku was on the UAE watch list, as a wanted man, asking, ‘shopping for terrorists?’”

Atiku had, on June 26, 2019, instituted the suit against Onochie for her alleged libelous tweet against him via her twitter handle on May 7, 2019.

The tweet allegedly suggested that Atiku was on the watch list of security operatives in the United Arab Emirates and had travelled to shop for terrorists in the Middle East.

Buhari commissions military made-in-Nigeria war vehicle in Kaduna
He prayed the court in the suit marked CV/2287/19, to order Onochie to pay him the N2.5bn as “general, aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages over the untold embarrassment, derision, public ridicule, odium, obloquy, marital disharmony, mental agony and psychological trauma which the defendant’s publications have caused the claimant.”

Denying the allegations in the said tweet, Atiku said it was “politically orchestrated” “solely to cause maximum damage” to his “high reputation” while challenging “the purported victory” of Onochie’s boss, President Buhari in the last presidential election at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

The presidential candidate of the PDP in the February 23, 2019 poll had, through a May 14, 2019 letter signed by Ozekhome, demanded from Onochie an apology, a retraction of the said post and a payment of N500m compensation to him “to assuage” the damage allegedly done to him by her social media post.

He also threatened to sue her should she fail to accede to the demand “within 48 hours”.

Justifying his suit, Atiku stated in his statement of claim accompanying his suit, that rather than show “remorse by retracting her earlier publication”, she further, on May 20, made “another derogatory publication and also published same online in the social and other print media” against his person.”

Police: IPOB members killed two of our men in Anambra

The Anambra state police command has accused members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) of killing two of its officers.

In a statement on Monday, Haruna Mohammed, the command’s spokesman, said the officers were attacked while attempting to arrest one Ifeanyi Ejiofor, a lawyer, in Oraifite community in the state.

According to Mohammed, when the officers arrived at Ejiofor’s house, armed men descended on them and set a patrol vehicle ablaze.

“At about 11:30 am, there was a formal complaint against One Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor ‘m’ (a member of the proscribed IPOB) in Oraifite on alleged case of abduction, assault occasioning harm and malicious damage to property,” he said.

“Following the report, Police Patrol teams led by the Area Commander, Oraifite ACP Oliver Abbey mobilised and rushed to the scene in order to arrest the suspect who declined Police invitation.

“However, as soon as Police arrived the house, armed men suspected to be IPOB members descended on the Police, set ablaze one Patrol vehicle and attacked them with rifles and machetes. As a result of the attack, two Police officers whose identities are being withheld, were killed by the suspected IPOB members while others were inflicted with machete cuts. The injured personnel were rushed to the Hospital for medical attention and are presently receiving treatment.

“Consequently, the Command deployed reinforcements from the State Headquarters comprising of PMF, SARS and Special Anti Cult Units in conjunction with the Army/other Sister agencies who cordoned off the area in order to fish out the culprits, while Joint patrol are still ongoing in the town to prevent further breakdown of law and order.

“Meanwhile, some arrests were made and the Commissioner of Police John B. Abang, who is on his way to the scene has vowed to bring perpetrators of this dastardly act to justice.”

Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB leader who is currently on exile, had earlier accused the police of killing three persons in Anambra.

Hate Speech bill impressive – US Embassy

Political Officer of the Embassy of the United States of America, Jerry Howard, on Tuesday described the Hate Speech bill before the National Assembly as an “impressive” piece of legislation needed to address issues of discrimination, hostility and violence in Nigeria.

Howard stated this during a meeting with the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate and sponsor of the Hate Speech bill, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, at the National Assembly, Abuja.

According to the United States Embassy official, the visit was intended to engage the sponsor of the Hate Speech bill and to seek an understanding into the proposed legislation under consideration by the Senate.

Following explanations by Senator Sabi Abdullahi on the bill, Mr. Howard described the response of the media as “misleading” and “hysterical” of the contents of the bill and what it actually seeks to achieve.

He, therefore, advised the sponsor of the bill to engage and educate Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations in the country on its proposed contents so as to muster support for the bill.

Speaking on the decision of the US Embassy to engage the National Assembly on the Hate Speech bill, Howard said, “We want Nigeria to succeed and we think a prerequisite for Nigeria’s success is successful democracy.

“For democracy to succeed, the people must have a house, the people must have a place where their representatives can argue and complain, come up with new ideas and come up with solutions to guide the executive branch and lead the country forward.”

He commended the lawmaker for the level of work and research carried out on the bill.

“I’m very impressed with the research you’ve done on the bill. The media has had a field day with this, really.

“You’ve thought it through. I was depending on the media for my education, and it was very misleading. You’ve done your research and it is very interesting.

“But you have a difficult job selling this to the NGOs, CSOs. You need to talk to them. You’ll need to talk to Civil Society Organizations, you need to educate them. You’ve educated me,” Howard said after Senator Abdullahi explained the contents of the bill.

Earlier, speaking on why he decided to introduce the bill, the lawmaker said, “Part of the reasons why violence takes place is attributable to discriminatory practices.

“It is discrimination that creates the socio-political imbalance that you see leading to a group feeling shortchanged and marginalised.

“Discrimination is also another very serious matter why I sponsored the bill. This bill basically is about preventing discrimination, and prohibiting people who incite violence,” he explained.

Abdullahi further stated that the bill’s introduction by the National Assembly has the backing of Section 45 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

The Section states: “Nothing in Sections 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 of this Constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society; in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom or other persons.”

On measures in place to ensure that the bill is not abused by politicians, Senator Sabi explained that “an Independent Commission shall be constituted and whose membership will be restricted to persons without any history of promoting ethnic or religious causes, or anyone with political affiliations.”

He added that the passage of the Bill by the National Assembly into law will address all forms of discrimination, hostility and violence which are on the rise in the country.

 

NASS grants full autonomy to LGs, INEC to conduct council polls

 

The National Assembly on Tuesday, granted full financial and administrative autonomy to all the 774 local council authorities across Nigeria by amending section 124 of the nation’s constitution.

The section provides a consequential provision for the making of the local councils, a full third tier government without undue interference from the state governments.

The ammendment was one of the 22 others approved by the House of Representatives last week and ratified by the Senate on Tuesday.

Both chambers had through a conference committee harmonised versions of the ammendments into the constitution carried out by each of them last month.

By the development, the National Assembly had ratified all the 23 clauses and sections that had been ammended by both chambers.

The newly ammended document which would be sent to States Houses of Assembly, for approval, also approved the creation of the Office of Auditor General of the Local Government as well as the State Local Government Service Commission.

The section equally deleted the State
Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) from the constitution thereby vesting the powers to conduct council elections on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

It however, retained the immunity clause in the constitution for the President and Governors by adopting the Senate version of the ammendments on the issue and rejected the House of Representatives version which removed the immunity clause.

The National Assembly also made provisions for Independent Candidacy in future elections in Nigeria by ammending sections 65 and 106 of the 1999 constitution.

NEWSSam Nda-Isaiah makes revelations about Buhari, Jonathan, Daura, TY Danjuma

The publisher of Leadership Newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah, has made some revelations about President Muhammadu Buhari, his nephew, Mamman Daura. among others.

In his latest article, Nda-Isaiah, stated that Daura anointed former minister of defense, TY Danjuma, to be President Goodluck Jonathan’s deputy, following uncertainties over the health of late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

He also said Daura only nominated one junior minister for Buhari in 2015 and that the minister was not re-appointed by the president in 2019.

The publisher also disclosed that Namadi Sambo had lobbied for his predecessor, Ahmed Makarfi, to be appointed vice president but Jonathan instead chose him, following recommendation of Danjuma.

Sam Nda-Isaiah further revealed that Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, was personally chosen by the president not Daura as widely speculated.
He said Danjuma interviewed and recommended former governors of Niger, Kaduna and Katsina, Babangida Aliyu, Namadi Sambo and Ibrahim Shema respectively.

The publisher recalled that Jonathan, however, dropped the Aliyu because the then Senate President David Mark was also from the North Central.

Sam Nda-Isaiah wrote: “When President Umaru Yar’Adua got terminally ill and it became apparent that the worst might happen, and fearing that the North was in disarray, and to avoid making the mistake of choosing a vice president without capacity when the inevitable finally happened, Abba Kyari and I decided to meet General TY Danjuma to convince him to chair a meeting of a select group of serious senior northerners to shortlist names of a possible vice president.

“M. Abba went to Kaduna to inform GMB, M. Mamman, Dr Tukur, M. Ahmed Joda and a few others. While in Kaduna, he informed M. Mamman first about the proposed meeting. Almost without thinking, M. Mamman said there was no need for such a meeting. The best thing that could happen to the North was for Gen. Danjuma himself to agree to be vice president. Dr. Tukur also said exactly the same thing. Except that he added that the only problem was that TY would say “rainin ya yi yawa!” — roughly translated, it means that TY would say the insult was too much to ask him to be vice president to Jonathan.

“GMB was to visit M. Mamman in the evening of that day, so M. Abba decided to wait for him to give him the message. When he came in, without knowing what M. Mamman and Dr. Tukur had said, he simply said that the only person he trusted to be vice president at that time was TY himself. M. Abba laughed and called me. He said something funny was happening and that he would give me details when he arrived in Abuja. M. Ahmed Joda also said the same thing.

“M. Ahmed Joda, another great mind who had operated at the highest levels with perpendicularity virtually all his life – in the civil service, in journalism and in the private sector — took it upon himself to make arrangements for the meeting in his house. But this time with TY as the proposed vice president. I didn’t hear anyone raise the issue that what we were discussing was in fact a Christian-Christian presidency. I was intrigued by what I was seeing and hopeful that there was nothing wrong with Nigeria that could not be solved with what was right with Nigeria.

“I was in fact the only one in that meeting that drew the attention of the house to the fact that what we were discussing was a Christian-Christian presidency which could pose a problem in a complex polity like Nigeria. I was told clearly that it didn’t matter and that “we all know TY very well”. At this point I knew that these people whom some people had fondly called “Kaduna mafia” had in fact earned their stripes. They represent what is good and what is right with Nigeria.

“The story eventually leaked in ThisDay. TY himself showed me the story and quickly said he was sick himself. I laughed and told him people who were discussing this didn’t think he was that sick. That discussion continued until our greatest fear crystallized, at which time the now President Jonathan himself invited TY to help him choose a vice president from among the serving governors.

“After interviewing a few of the governors, he gave Jonathan three names: Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Namadi Sambo of Kaduna State and Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State in that order. Babangida Aliyu was disqualified on grounds of zoning, as Senate president David Mark and himself were from the north-central zone.

That was how Namadi Sambo, who was at that time mobilizing support for his predecessor Ahmed Makarfi to get the job, received a call from TY to see him. The rest, as they say, is now history.

“Now some home truths. Let me knock out the bottom out of some “received” opinions or rumours. First, M. Mamman does not control the president. That is not his style. Even if that were his style, it would be silly for anyone to assume that the president could be controlled. And, in fact, anyone who thinks PMB could be controlled does not know the first thing about him. One of the adjectives freely used to describe PMB for decades is “stubborn”. If M. Mamman had that kind of hold on the president, Sambo Dasuki would not be in detention today. Sambo Dasuki is M. Mamman’s brother-in-law and they are close.

“Another thing: M. Mamman did not appoint or recommend Abba Kyari to the president for chief of staff in 2015. The president called M. Abba and told him, and he in turn informed M. Mamman just about the same time the appointment was announced. I know this because I should know. In the entire first-term cabinet of PMB, M. Mamman had a hand in the appointment of only one junior minister, who is in fact no longer a minister in the current cabinet.

“Yes, the president and M. Mamman are close — in fact very, very close — and they have been so since they were children growing up together. They are a family but most importantly they are friends and confidants. The president is three years younger than him — he, the president, is the uncle; the older one is the nephew. And because of that, the president enjoys bullying him as his uncle, probably to leave no one in doubt as to who is the uncle. They have a complicated relationship and they are inseparable. Somehow, the president has come to depend on M. Mamman’s vast brain power over time.”

Fantastic! Trump praises Nigerian-born artist who drew his portrait

President Donald Trump has expressed delight at his portrait drawn by a Nigerian-born artist, creative_doks.

The artist had tweeted the American president’s portrait via his Twitter handle @Doks_Art on Sunday.

The artist did not hide his ambition: “This is my second portrait of President Trump. This time, I really want him to see it,” he confessed.

Doks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explaining the details, the artist said the portrait was done in ballpoint, and that he spent about 70 hours to complete it.

The size is 24×21 inches, he added; and then begged his Twitter followers to retweet his tweet until it catches the attention of the American president.

On Monday, the tweet caught the attention of the president, who commended it, also via a tweet;and advised the artist to never give up his dream.

President Donald had tweeted:

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Not only did I see it @Doks_Art, I think it is fantastic. You are a wonderful artist, never give up your dream! https://twitter.com/doks_art/status/1201216057924558848 

creative_doks@Doks_Art

This is my second portrait of President Trump. This time I really want him to see it. All done in ballpoint, took up to 70hours, ’24×21′ inches.
Please RT till the president sees this🙏🏽@realDonaldTrump @DonaldJTrumpJr @POTUS

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Alleged N424.3m tax evasion: Contractor urges FIRS to investigate oil firm

The Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) has been charged to investigate an allegation of tax evasion by an oil company, Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited (HEOSL), running into several millions of naira.

Sounding the alarm in a petition addressed to the Chairman of the FIRS, a service-provider company to HEOSL, Eraskorp Nigeria Limited, alleged that the oil company had been deducting with-holding taxes meant for the company since 2017 to 2019, but had failed to remit same to the FIRS.

According to the petition, signed by a Director in Eraskorp, Richard Ogugu, a total sum of N169,986,341.55 and USD $706,680.00 had been deducted by HEOSL between 20th Jan, 2018 and 27th Mar, 2019 from the company’s paid, it however added that the oil company had since refused make prove of payments to the FIRS available to it.

Eraskorp, according to the petition, did a facility protection contract for HEOSL between January 2018 and March 2019, on the OML 30 facilities in Delta state, adding that it complied with statutory demands that it remits it’s with-holding taxes, which it did by allowing the oil company to deduct the taxes at source, with the understanding that same would be remitted to the federal government’s coffers through the FIRS.

It, however lamented that the failure of HEOSL to remit the taxes it had deduct from its payments at source, had impeded its chances of obtaining its tax clearance certificate, which is making it difficult for it to continue in business.

“Eraskorp Nigeria Limited had a facilities protection contract with HEOSL covering OML 30 between 2017 and 2019. In line with the statutory requirement that withholding tax is deducted at source, HEOSL deducted same from all payments made to us under the contract, but failed to remit same on our behalf to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

“It might interest you to note that the outstanding withholding taxes of N169, 986,341.55 (One Hundred and Sixty Nine Million, Nine Hundred and Eighty Six Thousand, Three Hundred and Forty One Naira, Fifty Five Kobo) and USD $706,680.00 (Seven Hundred and Six Thousand, Six Hundred and Eighty Dollars) deducted from our paid invoices between 20th Jan, 2018 and 27th Mar, 2019 are yet to be remitted on our behalf to FIRS by HEOSL.

“We have made several demands that they furnish us with the evidence of payments in our favour but all our efforts have been unfruitful. Please see attached the schedule of invoices upon which the deductions were made.

“Due to the failure of HEOSL to remit the said withholding taxes on our behalf, we have been unable to obtain our current tax clearance certificate which is a required document to conduct our business.

“In view of the foregoing, we urge you to most respectfully investigate our claims as contained in this petition as a matter of urgency, as the non-payment has caused us severe hardship, including our inability to participate on tenders. We thank you for your kind attention and do accept the assurance of our highest regards.

However, responding to the allegation in a telephone chat with The Nation on Monday admitted that the company had issues with its with-holding tax records, but also noted that the matter was already being sorted out with revenue authorities, adding that an agreeable term had been reached with revenue authorities to defray the alleged anomaly.

“I haven’t got all the facts to hand and I probably need may be about fifteen minutes to speak our finance person to get the latest, but what I can tell you is that there were some issues raised about our with-holding tax by the revenue so we had to go sort that out with the EFCC and our tax consultants and we entered a payment plan to clear the with-holding tax over a period of months.

“We captured a plan that is acceptable with the authorities. The settlement has been agreed with the revenue and it can be discharged over an agreed period of time,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu visits slain LASTMA officer’s family, vows to prosecute perpetrators

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Monday issued a strong warning to those bent on attacking law enforcement agents.

Harsh punishment, Sanwo-Olu vowed, awaits anyone who attacks men of the State’s law enforcement agencies in the line of duty.

The Governor sent the warning on Monday at the residence of the late Ola Ganiyu Oyeshina – the slain officer of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), who died last Saturday after an attack on him by two trailer drivers in Sifax-Iganmu area of Apapa.

The late Oyeshina, 33, hailed from Osun State. He was said to be an orphan.

Sanwo-Olu led a delegation comprising his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and members of the State Executive Council, on a condolence visit to the late Oyeshina’s family house on Oni Street in Surulere.

The Governor described the attack on the LASTMA officer as “mindless and callous”, saying the Government would “thoroughly prosecute” the arrested culprits to send a clear signal to those taking penchant in attacking law enforcement agents in the line of duty.

He wondered why some members of the public would take pride in brutalising those working to make the society better and safe. He vowed to make Lagos inhabitable for those inclined to disobey the State’s traffic laws.

He said: “This is a very sad development. We have lost a fine officer and gentleman, who was a victim of unnecessary attack in the line of duty. It is sad that our society has got to a level where people that commit their lives lawfully to helping us to live in a better society become victims of mindless brutality.

“As a Government, we are sending a strong signal to say enough is enough. In the last 48 hours, there has been heavy brutality on LASTMA officers while carrying out tasks assigned to them by the Government. We will not stop implementing our laws. We will do everything to ensure the perpetrators of this evil act are brought to book and get harsh punishment.”

The Governor advised residents to be law-abiding and engage security operatives with respect. He said the death of the LASTMA officer would not deter the State’s officials in carrying out their statutory duties.

Sanwo-Olu and his deputy personally met with the victim’s aged foster parents, Pa Oyewole Fashola and Mrs. Muslimat Fashola, and the rest of the family members.

Mrs. Fashola, who raised the deceased since he was 10 years old, said the death of late Oyeshina had put the family in shame, pleading with the Governor punish the perpetrators.

She thanked the Governor and his entourage for visiting the family, describing the gesture as act of responsibility.

Commissioner for Special Duties, Hon. Wale Ahmed, led a short prayer session held for the deceased at his family house.

Navy Capt Labinjo gets N10m bail after one year in underground cell

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday granted N10m bail to a naval captain, Dada Labinjo, said to have been in a naval underground detention for over a year.

Justice Muslim Hassan ordered Labinjo to produce one surety who must own a landed property in Lagos and must show evidence of three-year tax payment.

However, the judge ordered that Labinjo be released to his lawyer, Jerry Omoregie, pending when he would meet the bail conditions within 15 days.

The lawyer was directed to submit his Certificate of Call to Bar to the court’s registrar as a guarantee that he would produce his client for trial.

The bail followed Labinjo’s arraignment alongside others on two counts of dealing in petroleum products without lawful authority.

Among the other defendants was Labinjo’s wife, Bola Labinjo, a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission told the court that the defendants conspired among themselves between August and October 2018 to deal in Automobile Gas Oil (diesel), without the appropriate licence.

According to the EFCC, the defendants committed the offence “within the Nigerian maritime domain and the Gulf of Guinea.”

The prosecution said they acted contrary to sections 3(6) and 1((19)(a)(b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap. M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Revised Edition) 2004, and were liable to be punished under Section 1(17) of the same Act.

But they pleaded not guilty.

The other defendants were admitted to bail in terms similar to Labinjo’s.

El-Rufai signs N259bn Kaduna budget for 2020 into law

Nasir el Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, has signed the state’s 2020 budget of N259.25 billion into law.

Hadiza Balarabe, deputy governor of the state, had submitted the draft budget of N257.9 billion to the state assembly on October 15 but it was later increased to N259.25 billion.

El-Rufai said N184.1bn (71%) was earmarked for capital expenditure while N75.14 billion is for recurrent expenditure.

Capital expenditure on education and health constitute N75.44bn of the entire N184.1bn capital budget, while capital spending on infrastructure and housing will take N68.5bn

The governor described the budget as “reinforcing the government’s governance agenda to build human capital and promote equal opportunity”.

He said his administration has successfully aligned the fiscal and calendar years in the state for five consecutive years.

The governor commended the state house of assembly for cooperating with the executive arm of government to realise the administration’s policies and programmes.

He described the assembly as “the most productive in the history of the state”, saying that they had passed over 80 bills into law.

He also commended Aminu Shagali, speaker of the house, for working across party lines to improve the fortunes of the state.

He also thanked the deputy governor for working tirelessly to produce the draft budget estimates and for presenting the document to the assembly.

El-Rufai said his deputy is “the first woman and indeed the first deputy governor to present a draft budget in the history of the country.”

Court orders forfeiture of two houses belonging to Saraki in Kwara

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday secured an order of the Federal High Court in Lagos for the forfeiture of two houses in Ilorin, Kwara State belonging to a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

The EFCC told the court it uncovered monumental fraud perpetrated in the treasury of the Kwara State Government between 2003 and 2011, when Saraki was the governor of the state.

Saraki has denied the allegations and insisted he was a victim of an on going with hunt by the Buhari administration.

However, based on an ex parte application filed by the EFCC pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006, Justice Rilwan Aikawa ordered the temporary forfeiture of Saraki’s two properties designated as Plots No. 10 and No. 11 Abdulkadir Road, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara State.

An operative of the EFCC, Olamide Sadiq, said in an affidavit filed in support of the ex parte application that the move for the forfeiture of the houses followed the findings of the EFCC after investigation and “the report of a committee set up to review sales of Kwara State Government during the reign of the Governor of Kwara State in the year 2003 and 2011.”

He said the EFCC also received “a damning intelligence report, showing monumental fraud perpetrated in the treasury of the Kwara State Government between 2003 and 2011.”

Sadiq said, “Whilst the investigation was ongoing several fraudulent transactions were discovered.

“I know for a fact and verily believe that our investigation has revealed the following mind-boggling findings, among others:

“That between 2003 and 2011, Dr Olubukola Abubakar Saraki was the Executive Governor of Kwara State.

“That whilst he held the aforementioned position, the common pattern was that after payment of monthly allocation by the Federal Government to the Kwara State Government, a cumulative sum of not less than N100m will be deposited into the Kwara Government House account.

“That upon the payment of the said N100m, same will, in turn, be withdrawn in cash by one Mr Afeez Yusuf from the Kwara State Government House, Ilorin’s account in bits and brought to the Government House.”

The EFCC said it believed that Saraki developed the two properties with proceeds of unlawful activities.

Counsel for the commission, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, urged Justice Aikawa to order their temporary forfeiture to the Federal Government.

After granting the order as prayed, Justice Aikawa directed the EFCC to publish the temporary forfeiture order in a national newspaper and adjourned till December 17 for anyone interested in the properties to appear before him to show cause why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

No regrets siting transportation varsity in Daura – Amaechi

The Minister for Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has said that he has no regrets siting the transportation university in Daura.

Amaechi said this at the commissioning of the Transportation University in Daura, Katsina State on Monday.

“When we sited the factory at Kajola, there was no noise, nobody debated about it, nobody abused us for it unlike the site for the university.

“Daura is in Nigeria, it is not in any other part of the world. It is not in Niger Republic, Biafra or Mali, it is in Nigeria. So, what is wrong in siting the university of transportation in Daura?

“I have no regret siting this university where I have sited it, it is not because I want to get any gain,” Amaechi said.

According to him, the establishment of the university was an attempt to respond to the question of how Nigeria will maintain infrastructure in the country.

He said, “It is my attempt at responding to the question of how to maintain and manage all the infrastructure we are building and realise that education is key.

“I engaged the companies, the first engagement was when they were constructing Lagos-Ibadan.

“They were not so keen at spending their funds to build a university in Nigeria until I refused to sign the contract for the Lagos to Ibadan railway.

“I insisted that I will only sign if three things were done.

“The first thing is to take our children to China and train them by giving them a first degree in railway technology.

“Today as I speak, 60 of our children are in their second year and we thank CCECC and 90 are on their way to China this week, making it 150.

“The second is that, if we must sign the purchase of locomotives in China, they must build a factory where we can construct coaches, locomotives and wagon and today at Kajola that factory is being constructed.

“Finally, I insisted on the university of transportation and today we are here for the groundbreaking of the university and for all we are grateful to CCECC and the Chinese government. (sic).”

The Minister commended the Governor of Katsina for the speed with which he donated the land for the project.

He said the land which is about 413 hectares was donated by the Katsina government and it has promised to increase it.

(NAN)

ICPC queries N5.6bn constituency projects budgets of justice, foreign affairs

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says it will probe the allocation of N5.6 billion to the ministries of foreign affairs and justice for the execution of zonal intervention projects.

The anti-graft agency said while N2.7 billion was allocated to the ministry of justice, N2.9 billion was allocated to the ministry of foreign affairs for constituency projects.

Speaking at a media roundtable in Abuja, Bolaji Owasanoye, ICPC chairman, said the alleged allocations showed some of the anomalies surrounding the implementation of constituency projects across the country.

He said projects designed to bring development to rural communities in the country have been included in the budgets of non-relevant ministries and agencies.

“What is constituency project doing in Foreign Affairs? We will ask questions with this kind of allocation,” Rasheedat Okoduwa, ICPC spokesperson, quoted the chairman as saying in a statement.

He said only about 60 percent of the constituency projects have been completed and that a lot of them were executed in shoddy ways “due to poor technical designs, impositions and other sundry irregularities”.

Owasanoye asked for the handover of zonal intervention projects to local government authorities upon completion for effective maintenance and sustainability of the projects.

“If somebody had nominated a project and succeeded in getting the project to the community, it is not the duty of the person to maintain it,” he said.

“Communities need to understand that it was public funds that were used. They need to take ownership. We recommend that the project needs to be handed over to the local government for the community to take over.”

Also speaking at the event, Garba Abari, director-general of National Orientation Agency (NOA), said the involvement of communities in the planning and execution of constituency projects will remove the issues of corruption and abuse.

Abari said this will ensure that the contractors do not use substandard materials for the projects.