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Lagos not Igboland, we’re visitors —Iwuanyanwu

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President General of apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, is in Lagos for a three-day visit during which he will meet with Igbo leaders and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to address issues affecting Igbo in the economic capital of the country.

In an interview after one of the engagements with Igbo leaders in Ikoyi, on Wednesday, he spoke on issues around his emergence as Ohanaeze leader, his agenda for Igbo, the blowing wind of insecurity in the South-East and how the Federal Government can arrest it among others.

On issues surrounding his election as
Ohanaeze leader

Some months ago I was elected leader of all Igbo, which is the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. Frankly speaking, at over 80 years, it was a very difficult thing for me to accept, although I saw that my people were very passionate about having me serve them. All the leaders came to me expressing their support and confidence in me. All the five governors of the South-East also came to me saying they were with me.

All the seven presidents of Ohanaeze in the various states – Rivers, Delta, Imo, Abia, Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi came too. All these made me realise that I had no choice. It is my belief that any gift possessed by an individual is from God. Therefore, if your people call you to serve them at any time and you fail, you are not fair to God the creator who has given you the gift.

Opposition from his nuclear family

My wife and children didn’t want me to accept it. However, I had to convince them. Some said I would die, but I told them that if I die at 80 it is not too early.

First official tour of South-West

Where am I today? I am on my first official tour to South-West Nigeria. I have come to meet Igbo in the South-West. I met the elders last night (Tuesday) in what we call Ime-obi, which is where we meet in Igbo culture to make far-reaching decisions. We had a meeting in the house of one of our elders, Cmdr. Ebitu Ukiwe, retd. It was a very successful meeting.

As I arrived at the airport, my people gave me a wonderful reception. All the Ezes and town union presidents lined up. I have just finished a meeting with the Ezes because we have a system that demands that we organise ourselves wherever we are. Every success that Igbo have achieved over the years is because we have the capacity to come together at a short notice. The town union is part of our structure,
The people I have met here today are very important people in the lives of Igbo. Wherever I go, I meet with these people, and they whisper the condition of things to me. I am here essentially on my first official tour to South-West and I have been very well-received. I am very happy because my people have shown a lot of trust and confidence in me. I have made up my mind and I pray to God Almighty to give me the capacity to serve them and to help me so that I do not fall below their expectations.

What are your plans for the Igbo?

I have studied the map of Igboland and I have carried out a very comprehensive study on agriculture, our mineral resources or natural endowment and intellectual capacity. Based on these things, I am quite convinced that we have a lot of prospects. I am bent on transforming Igboland; I believe that by the plan that I am making, I will transform agriculture, the industrial base and commerce because our people are trade-inclined, which is a major part of our wealth.

Without fear of contradictions, when you talk about Gross Domestic Product, GDP, in Nigeria today, I think Igbo contribute more to the GDP than any other group because we are there in every local government. There is no local government in Nigeria today where you won’t see Igbo. Wherever they are, they carry out their businesses which could be trading in one commodity or the other, even farming. Whatever they do, they pay taxes, build houses and live peacefully with the people there. I believe they are doing well for Nigeria.

We are very proud that our people are contributing positively to Nigeria. Many patriotic Nigerians appreciate it.

There is a lack of clarity on the President of Ohanaeze in Lagos State. Is Chief Sunday Ossai the president?

We have our constitution. Professor George Obiozor was the chairman before he died. Ambassador Okey Emuchay is the Secretary General. They handed over Sunday Ossai to me as the President of Lagos branch without informing me of any dispute. The report I had was that the former man, Solomon, who I don’t know and I have never met, had completed his four-year tenure. This man, because he probably believes that some powerful people are going to support him, wants to destabilise Ohanaeze. This is the impression that I get from people. I want to make it clear that the former President General of Ohanaeze handed over Sunday Ossai to me as the President of Lagos branch.

We have had a very unfortunate experience recently. Out of personal interest, some people are doing everything to undermine Ohanaeze, which is the hope of Igbo. It is our hope of development and unity. You see a small boy jump up to say he is the Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. The Secretary General is Okey Emuchay, who has served Nigeria in various capacities. He is a man with impeccable academic credentials and civil service credentials. Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo cannot just pick anyone as its Secretary General. For Publicity Secretary, you have Dr Alex Ogbonnia. All these scoundrels who mislead the public should be reported to the police for fraud.

Are the Ezes in Lagos recognised?

The concept is part of Igbo culture. Igbo have always believed in leadership. We believe that if you don’t come together with a leader, the problems of life cannot be fought. The problems could arise from humans, society and the economy. What has saved Igbo wherever they live either in Nigeria or outside is that wherever they go they come together. It has helped us in many areas. As President General, the Ezes are part of the people who have supported me and they have confidence in me. Their position is unchallengeable because we need their leadership, we need their position.

As the President General, how do you intend to ensure that the Igbo are well-protected in Lagos?

Before 1914 when Nigeria was amalgamated, Igbo had started coming to Lagos. When Igbo started coming to Lagos, there was no Ikoyi, most of Ikoyi was riverine. There was no Victoria Island, there was no Lekki.

Igbo are part of the development in Africa and Lagos. Right from the time the first railway lines were built, Igbo were here. There is no way anybody can talk about the development of Lagos with all honesty and exclude Igbo.

When you talk about Lagos, some Igbo have lived in Lagos since their grandparents began living here, which is as far back as 1914. The truth about this thing is that we have a character in Igboland which makes us different. We know that we have a home and our home is in Eastern Nigeria. Wherever we go, we know we are visitors, and we have never gone anywhere to claim their land. Every Igbo man who owns a property in Lagos does so legitimately.

We have not come to preach a sermon that God gave us the land in Lagos. We paid for it. People from Igboland have not only developed lands, they have built houses. If you go to Lekki, Victoria Island, Lekki, everywhere, these things were built by humans. Lagos is Lagos because people, like the Igbo, came and invested. They include northerners and those from other tribes. Igbo came, invested and developed the place without forgetting the fact that they are visitors. Every Igbo man is told from home to obey the law of his host community and Igbo have done that all through history.

Recently, we started hearing all these stories, I think we can solve the problem and we are only appealing to them because asking people to leave is a new phenomenon. We are not worried about it because I have discussed with top indigenes of Lagos. Leaders in Lagos are not in support of this view. I want to let you know that Ohanaeze under my leadership is working with the five South-East governors on this issue. Hope Uzodimma told me that South-East governors would meet with their colleague (Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu). I was pleased that they had a good meeting with the governor of Lagos State where they came up with a communiqué. Lagos State governor did very well. In fact, people are happy.

During the election, Ohanaeze Ndigbo supported Peter Obi in the election because we believed that it was our turn based on the zoning arrangement. We have nothing against Tinubu as a person. We supported Peter Obi because we believed that it was our turn and we believed that he is capable. Today, Tinubu has been sworn in as the President and we have many Igbo in the All Progressives Congress, APC, who cannot be stopped.

Peter Obi is in court and the decision isn’t ours to take but the judiciary. I learned that the governor is in Abuja, I will try to see him, but even if I don’t see him, I am quite satisfied that Governor Uzodimma has seen him. What we don’t want is the demolition of properties belonging to the Igbo or to inflate taxation against them.

A lot of rumours are flying all over the place but I don’t believe these things are true because I don’t believe any right thinking government can do that. I can tell you that at the moment, we have no problem. I have told the Igbo that I have discussed with top Lagosians. I have also told the Igbo that they are safe and they have no problem in Lagos State, Igbos are happy and they are going to stay.

What programme do you have for other tribes who live or intend to move to the South-East?

I have a programme. I am going to create more towns, business centres in Igboland. We want other tribes to come and invest in Igboland. We have helped to develop Lagos and other parts of Nigeria. During my tenure as President General and the leader of Igbo, I am calling on other people to come and reciprocate. They should come and develop Igboland. If they have any problem, they should report to Ohanaeze. We will intervene and ensure that entrepreneurs interested in investing are given land and encouraged to invest.
Don’t you think insecurity and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s issue will be a hindrance to potential investors?

We don’t have security problems in the South-East. We have said ‘release Nnamdi’ because the young people are supporters of Nnamdi Kanu, which is an excuse that they give.

When we look at it seriously, we have not seen any offence committed by Kanu. In fact, the court has said he should be released. As Igbo leaders, we do not see the reason he is being kept in detention. These people are giving it as an excuse for their sit-at-home. We believe that keeping Nnamdi Kanu in prison is an effort to collaborate with some elements who want to destroy the economy of states in the South-East. We are appealing to the Federal Government to release Kanu because if he is released, we can now know those who are proper criminals and agitators.

I believe that President Tinubu will be able to release Nnamdi because we have not been told he committed any offence. He is being detained even though he was not caught carrying AK-47. Nnamdi Kanu is sick and if he dies in prison, it will create a lot of problems for us. Every Igbo leader has talked about his release including the five South-East governors.

I think if any Nigerian leader has respect for the Igbo, he will release Kanu because once he is released the security problem will be reduced. I want to tell you that South-East or Igboland is not worse than other places.

Security is bad all over the country but release Nnamdi Kanu, let him be free and let us attack our own insecurity. There are people causing insecurity in the North and they have even gone to the prison in Abuja to release everybody, yet nobody has put anyone on trial.

They had even kidnapped people in the train and they negotiated with them. Nnamdi Kanu has never been involved in any of these things.

Culled from the Vanguard Nigeria

 

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Keyamo inaugurates, Anosike, others as members of National Executive Safety Council (NESC)

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The Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Professor Charles Anosike, and aviation

The Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Professor Charles Anosike, and aviation sector stakeholders, were on Tuesday, 23rd April, 2024, in compliance with ICAO annex 19, inaugurated as members of the National Executive Safety Council (NESC), by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo.

Performing the inauguration, the Minister informed the members of their terms of reference. According to the Minister, the National Executive Safety Council (NESC) shall meet once every quarter or as emergencies require and its activities shall ensure the SSP remains relevant and appropriate to Nigeria.

The Terms of Reference of the NESC are; Endorse the priorities and ensure that appropriate resources are allocated to drive the desired improvements in safety performance, based on risk assessment, and give strategic direction to the Safety Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC). Ensure the development, periodic review and decision and policy making pertaining to SP activities, such as safety policy, safety indicators, enforcement policy, safety data protection and sharing, SMS regulatory requirements, and internal SSP review and findings, are carried out in an integrated and coordinated manner.

Monitor safety performance against the Nigeria’s safety policies and objectives. Assess and accept the picture of the aggregate risk within the aviation industry. Identify new and emerging strategic safety risks. Direct and monitor the effectiveness of the SIAC.

Ensure the effectiveness of the safety oversight of regulated organisations and personnel. Review and sign off major policies, rules and interpretation changes. Handle escalated issues identified by the SIAC. Approve Terms of Reference as recommended by the SIAC for projects, new entities and other safety activities as determined by the SIAC. Ensure the effectiveness of the organisation’s safety management processes.

The NESC comprises key aviation sector stakeholders, including the Director of Air Safety Administration, NSIB Director General, and heads of FAAN, NAMA, NiMET, NCAT, NCAA, representative of Nigeria Air Force (NAF), and technical advisers. The SSP Coordinator will serve as the National Executive Safety Committee Secretary.

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Record-breaker Tunde Onakoya returns to heroic welcome

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Nigerian chess master Tunde Onakoya is leveraging his skills to raise $1 million for Chess in Slums Africa (CISA), an initiative he

Chess-in-Slums Founder, Tunde Onakoya, was on Wednesday warmly welcomed back to Nigeria after breaking the record for the longest-ever chess marathon with a time of 60 hours.

He was greeted with a heartwarming reception, singing and dancing at the airport.

Onakoya broke the record of Norwegian players, Hallvard Haug Flatebø and Sjur Ferkingstad, who played for 56-hour, 9-minute in 2018.

The Nigerian Chess Master on April 17 began his attempt to set a 58-hour chess marathon record at Times Square in New York, United States.

The new record holder said he attempted to raise funds and awareness for providing educational opportunities to underprivileged children across Africa.

 

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Buhari’s minister, Sirika to be arraigned for alleged N8 billion fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it will prosecute a former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, over alleged money

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it will prosecute a former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, over alleged money laundering, contract fraud in the ministry and Nigeria Air debacle.

The EFCC Spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, disclosed this on Wednesday in a phone conversation with Nairametrics.

When asked if the anti-graft plans prosecuting the former minister, he responded in the affirmative.

“He (Sirika) is going to be charged to court, but it may not be able to be either now or…but definitely, he is going to be sued. He may be arraigned very very soon. That is the information I’ve got,” he said.

Sirika served under former president Muhammadu Buhari as Minister of Aviation.

Another source familiar with developments within the commission but chose not to be named also told Nairametrics that the anti-graft agency’s ongoing probe would lead to prosecution.

“The EFCC is planning to prosecute him, but I don’t know the details except that he was arrested,” the source said.
Several media outlets claim the ex-minister is being interrogated over alleged contract scam under his purview and knowledge.

A reliable source said the arrest is also linked to the botched Nigeria Air. Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, had cancelled the Nigeria Air deal on August 31, 2023. He had revealed on January 31, 2024, that “the whole composition and totality of the deal is merely Ethiopian Air flying the Nigerian flag.” He also admitted that the EFCC was investigating the whole deal.

Backstory
Three months ago, the EFCC said its operatives arrested Abubakar Ahmad Sirika, the brother of Hadi Sirika, over an alleged contract fraud in the aviation ministry.

Abubakar was picked up by the anti-graft agency on Sunday, February 4, following an investigation in the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development.

During his tenure as minister, Sirika faced allegations including conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, contract inflation, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering totaling N8,069,176,864.

The commission had revealed that the funds in dispute related to four aviation contracts awarded by the former minister to a company called Engirios Nigeria Limited, which is owned by his younger brother.

The EFCC is empowered by law to track financial crimes.

Every accused person remains innocent until found guilty by a competent court.

Sirika served as Aviation Minister from 22 August 2019 to 29 May 2023.

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Tinubu approves 20% palliative for traditional, religious institutions

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Vice-President Kashim Shettima has disclosed that President Bola Tinubu has approved that 20 per cent of palliative in terms of food

Vice-President Kashim Shettima has disclosed that President Bola Tinubu has approved that 20 per cent of palliative in terms of food intervention be routed through religious and traditional institutions.

Mr Shettima made this known while delivering the keynote address at a High-Level Dialogue of Faith Leaders on Nutrition in Nigeria, held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.

“The Imam of Bayero University (BUK) mentioned about the exclusion of the traditional and religious leaders in the distribution of palliatives.

”The President has approved that 20 per cent of the palliative in terms of food intervention be routed through our religious organisations and the traditional institutions.

“The Tsangaya schools, the mission schools will be specially targeted for such intervention,” Mr Shettima said.

The Vice-President said that government was working out logistics through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to ensure smooth implementation of the intervention programme.

“This intervention will be anchored in the office of the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Sen. Abubakar Bagudu, and he is going to anchor the programme.

“We are going to provide the overall supervision towards the implementation of the programme.

“Also 20 per cent of the funds for the School Feeding Programme is going to be channeled through the office of the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning to the religious bodies.”

Mr Shettima stated that government had already commenced engagement and working out modalities for the intervention to ensure a very transparent disbursement, taken into cognisance of all tendencies in our system.

He added that the intervention would include Tsangaya and Mission schools.

NAN

 

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 Chinese supermarket where Nigerians are not allowed to shop sealed

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has sealed the Abuja-based Chinese supermarket located within the China General

On Monday, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) sealed a Chinese supermarket located within the China General Chamber of Commerce in Abuja, following allegations of discriminatory practices against Nigerians.

The FCCPC officials interrogated Nigerian workers at the supermarket before sealing up the premises.

According to facilities workers at the store, the owner of the supermarket, Cindy Liu Bei, fled the premises with her family on Monday at 8:26 am, as captured on Closed-Circuit Television camera footage.

The workers, who are mostly Nigerians, disclosed this information to the FCCPC officials when they stormed the supermarket. As a result, the commission shut down the supermarket in question.

According to The PUNCH, the supermarket had implemented a controversial policy restricting entry solely to Chinese nationals, excluding Nigerians from patronising the establishment.

This policy sparked widespread condemnation across various social media platforms, as Nigerians voiced their concerns over the discriminatory treatment.

But visiting the premises on Monday, the commission officials led by the Director for Surveillance and Investigation, Boladale Adeyinka, said the mission of the commission is in response to the viral video when Nigerians were allegedly being discriminated against and denied access to a supermarket located in Abuja.

Speaking at the end of the enforcement exercise, Adeyinka affirmed that the owner of the supermarket, Cindy Liu Bei, fled on Monday at 8:26 am with her family as confirmed on the Closed-Circuit Television camera.

She said, “The essence of the surveillance and investigation that we conducted today is to verify the allegations and the content of that viral video.

“On arrival, we noticed that the supermarket which is right behind me, was sealed and padlocked externally. Inquiries have shown that yes, as this morning this supermarket was open and people were here.

“CCTV footage also shows that in the morning, two vehicles departed from these very premises allegedly containing the owner of the supermarket, whom we have been able to identify by name and we have her contact details.”

She further directed that the owner appear before the commission tribunal or the compound will remain sealed.

“Now the summons of course since she’s not around and the place is locked, is to serve notice on her to appear before the federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission by Wednesday

“There are other regulatory tools to be deployed, if she fails to attend to this summon. The summons means that on entering into these premises they must see the summon because that is how they gain access to it”, she said.

She added that if the Chinese owner fails to attend to the summon which is a lawful inquiry, the mandate of the commission under its powers will seal the premises until she comes to the commission, meaning that the place will remain locked until she appears before the commission.

The FCCPC officials subsequently sealed the supermarket.

 

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‘We have found him’- Kenyan police arrest Binance executive who escaped from Nigeria

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The Kenya Police Service has arrested fleeing Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, as the International Criminal Police Organisation moves

The Kenya Police Service has arrested fleeing Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, as the International Criminal Police Organisation moves to extradite him to Nigeria within the week.

Government sources familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak on the matter confirmed the development to our correspondent on Sunday night.

One of the sources said, “Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, has been arrested by the Kenya Police Service, and he would be extradited to Nigeria this week by INTERPOL.”

Another source noted, “As we had said before that Anjarwalla would be extradited, he has been arrested in Kenya, and he’ll be extradited to Nigeria this week.”

The PUNCH had exclusively reported that the Federal Government had traced Anjarwalla to Kenya, following his escape from lawful custody in Nigeria.

Following the development, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the International Criminal Police, the Nigeria Police Force, and the Kenyan Police Service have deepened talks to quicken Anjarwalla’s extradition.

In the earlier report, Saturday PUNCH reported that Anjarwalla, whose cover has now been blown, went into hiding immediately after he landed in Kenya.

“We have found him. We know where he is; he is in Kenya, and we’re working with the authorities to bring him back to Nigeria.

“All hands are on the deck, the government and all the security agencies are working hard in conjunction with the Kenyan authorities and INTERPOL, to ensure his return to Nigeria to face the charges brought against him,” the report had quoted a source as saying.

Meanwhile, the EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, had in the March edition of its bulletin titled, “EFCC Alert,” onfirmed that the commission was working in conjunction with the International Criminal Police Organisation, the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation, the governments of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, and Kenya to extradite Anjarwalla.

Olukoyed said, “The takeover of the prosecution of Binance chiefs by the commission is no less a strong message in the direction of EFCC’s resolve to hedge in distortions and disruptions in the country’s forex market.

“Tax evasion, currency speculation, and money laundering to the tune of $35,400,000 and are at the foundation of the Commission’s five counts against Binance Holdings Limited, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, the company’s chief executives.

“While Gambaryan is currently in the Commission’s net, the process of extraditing the fleeing Anjarwalla is revving in full swing. Involved in partnership with the EFCC to nick Anjarwalla in flight are the International Criminal Police Organisation, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, the governments of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, and Kenya as the clock winds down to his arraignment in absentia alongside the company and Gambaryan.”

 

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