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N80bn fraud: No hidden place for Yahaya Bello as FG places ex-Kogi gov on watchlist

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School writes EFCC, seeks to refund $760k of Yahaya Bello’s children fees

The Federal Government on Thursday put the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, on its watchlist to prevent him from escaping from the country.

The Nigerian Immigration Service, in a circular dated April 18, 2024 and signed by Assistant Comptroller of Immigration DS Umar, for the Comptroller-General, Kemi Nandap, alerted the police and the Department of State Services to effect the former governor’s arrest.

This came hours after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission declared Bello wanted in connection to an alleged case of money laundering to the tune of N80.2bn.The EFCC declared Bello wanted on its official Facebook page after failed attempts to arrest him on Wednesday in Abuja.

Also, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and Abdulwahab Mohammed (SAN), Bello, on Thursday, disagreed over the foiled attempt by the EFCC to arrest the former governor.

But the NIS, in its circular, copies of which were sent to the DSS and the police, detailed the name, nationality and passport number of the former Governor (B50083321).

The circular sighted by The PUNCH, was signed by Assistant Comptroller of Immigration DS Umar, for the Comptroller-General, Kemi Nandap.

Nanadap stated, “I am directed to inform you that the above-named person has been placed on the watch list.

“Suffice to mention that the subject is being prosecuted before the Federal High Court Abuja for Conspiracy, Breach of Trust and Money Laundering vide letter Ref; CR; 3000/EFCC/LS/EGCS.1/ TE/Vide/1/279 dated April 18, 2024.

“If seen at any entry or exit point, he should be arrested and referred to the Director of Investigation or contact 08036226329/07039617304 for further action.”

Bello declared wanted

On its part, the EFCC in its Facebook post, stated, “The public is hereby notified that Yahaya Adoza Bello (former Governor of Kogi State), whose photograph appears above, is wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in connection with an alleged case of Money Laundering to the tune of N80,246,470,089.88

“Bello, a 48-year-old Ebira man, is a native of the Okenne Local Government of Kogi State. His last known address is: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.”

The notice asked anybody with useful information about the former governor’s whereabouts to contact any of the commission’s offices across the country.

The latest development followed Bello’s absence from the Federal High Court in Abuja, where he was scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday.

Bello’s altercation with the EFCC began on Wednesday when the operatives of the anti-graft commission laid siege to his Benghazi street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja residence in a bid to arrest him ahead of his planned arraignment for money laundering on Thursday.

The EFCC operatives barricaded the street, preventing vehicular traffic in the area.

But the ex-governor refused to grant the operatives access to his residence or give himself up, leading to a stand-off which lasted for several hours.

Amidst the tense situation, the governor of Kogi State, Usman Ododo, drove to his predecessor’s compound with heavy security operatives.

About two hours later, he drove away with Bello in his car, thus helping him to evade arrest.

About 10 minutes after the governor and Bello left, the EFCC operatives retreated and went back to their office empty-handed.

Miffed by the development, the EFCC in a statement warned that it would no longer condone the obstruction of its operatives in the course of their duties.

In a Wednesday statement signed by the spokesperson for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, the commission said, “The EFCC wishes to warn members of the public that it is a criminal offence to obstruct officers of the commission from carrying out their lawful duties.”

While quoting the provisions of the law, Oyewale noted that culprits were liable to a jail term of not less than five years.

In his reaction to Bello’s refusal to surrender to the EFCC, the AGF condemned in strong terms the trend where citizens ganged up to obstruct officials of the EFCC while on lawful duty.

The AGF in a statement described the situation as bizarre, saying it would not be tolerated.

Fagbemi said, “The bizarre drama confronting the EFCC in the course of its efforts to perform its statutory duty has come to my notice as a matter of very grave concern.

“It is now beyond doubt that the EFCC is given power by the law to invite any person of interest to interact with them in the course of their investigation into any matter regardless of status.

“Therefore, the least that we can all do when invited, is not to put any obstruction in the way of the EFCC but to honourably answer their invitation.

“A situation where public officials who are themselves subject to protection by law enforcement agents will set up a stratagem of obstruction to the civil and commendable efforts of the EFCC to perform its duty is, to say the least, insufferably disquieting.”

The AGF maintained that he would not hesitate to rein in any law enforcement agency violating the citizens’ fundamental human rights.

Warning Bello against his flight from the law, Fagbemi noted, “A flight from the law does not resolve issues at stake but only exacerbates it.

‘’I state unequivocally that I stand for the rule of law and will promptly caution the EFCC and indeed any other agency when there is an indication of any transgression of the fundamental rights of any Nigerian by any of the agencies but I also tenaciously hold the view that institutions of State should be allowed to function effectively and efficiently.”

But defending his client’s action, Mohammed explained that the ex-governor had on February 9 secured an order from a Kogi State High Court, restraining the EFCC from inviting, arresting or prosecuting him over the subject matter of the instant charge against him.

He added that the EFCC had appealed against the order which was still pending.

Addressing Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Abuja, who was meant to preside over the money laundering charge slammed against the ex-governor during the proceeding on Thursday, the ex-governor’s lawyer, Mohammed, said his client had already filed a preliminary objection to challenge the legal propriety of his planned arraignment and trial.

The arraignment of the ex-governor could not go on as he did not show up in court.

Addressing the court, Bello’s lawyer said, “What they are trying to do is to bring this court in collision with the Court of Appeal by rushing to this court to obtain an ex parte warrant of arrest for someone that is already a defendant.

“Our position is that this court has no jurisdiction to do any other thing than to take our motion challenging its jurisdiction to entertain this charge.

“What happened at Zone 4 Abuja yesterday (Wednesday), where they laid siege to the house of the former governor while he was in Lokoja waiting for judgment in his fundamental right enforcement suit, was unfortunate.

“A bloodbath was avoided. You don’t issue a warrant against a defendant who is already before the court and who has also briefed lawyers to defend him.

“They wanted the Court of Appeal to vacate the restraining order but the Appeal Court refused.”

Bello’s lawyer then urged Nwite to vacate the arrest warrant issued against his client, insisting that the court was misled.

Speaking earlier, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), threatened that the anti-graft agency might enlist the help of the military to arrest and bring Bello before the court for his arraignment.

He said, “My Lord, what happened yesterday (Wednesday) was that a person with immunity came to whisk the defendant away. But what they forgot was that immunity does not attach to a building, but to an individual.

“However, we know what to do. If it will take inviting the military to bring him (Bello) here, we will do that because section 287 of the Constitution cannot be ridiculed.

“If he wants to play games, we will show him that the constitution is above every individual and you cannot fight the constitution.

“A former president of the United States was charged to court and he has been appearing for his trial. He did not file all sorts of things to frustrate the case.

“If the defendant believes that he is innocent, he should come and defend it here instead of filing frivolous applications to delay his trial.”

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Finally, Obasanjo writes President Tinubu on state of economy

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has publicly voiced his thoughts on the policies implemented by President Bola Tinubu

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has publicly voiced his thoughts on the policies implemented by President Bola Tinubu.

Obasanjo stated that policies on fuel subsidy removal and exchange rates were necessary but wrongly implemented.”

He emphasized on three decisions of the administration which include fuel subsidy, exchange rates and the dealing with military coup in Niger Republic.

The erstwhile nation’s leader position is coming against the backdrop of Tinubu’s one year anniversary in office.

Speaking via a statement on Sunday by his media adie, Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo lashed out at Tinubu’s government, saying “the present Administration has not found the right way to handle the economy to engender confidence and trust for investors to start trooping in.”

He said, “Today, the government has taken three decisions, two of which are necessary but wrongly implemented and have led to impoverization of the economy and of Nigerians. These are removal of subsidy, closing the gap between black market and official rates of exchange and the third is dealing with a military coup in Niger Republic.

“The way forward is production and productivity which belief and trust in government leadership will engender. No shortcut to economic progress but hard work and sweat.”

“To him, “Economy does not obey orders, not even military orders. I know that. If we get it right, in two years, we will begin to see the light beyond the tunnel. It requires a change of characteristics, attributes and attitude by the leadership at all levels to gain the confidence and trust of investors who have alternatives.

“Total Energy has gone to invest 6 billion dollars in Angola instead of Nigeria. If the truth must be stated, the present Administration has not found the right way to handle the economy to engender confidence and trust for investors to start trooping in.

“They know us more than we know ourselves. And now they are laughing at us, not taking us seriously. We have to present ourselves in such a way that we will be taken seriously. If the existing investors are disinvesting and going out of our country, how do we persuade new investors to rush in. We can be serious if we choose to be but we need to change from transactional leadership in government to transformational and genuine servant leadership.

“With change by us, the investors will give us the benefit of doubt, and security being taken care of on a sustainable long-term basis, they will start to test the water. With the right economic policies, attributes of integrity and honesty of purpose, all should be well with all hands on deck and the government becoming a catalyst for development, growth and progress.

“To conclude on the economy, “tinkering with the exchange rate is not the answer. The answer is consistency and continuity in policy to ensure stability and predictability. That way, we will be sure of incentivizing domestic and foreign investment. There must be honesty and transparency in government dealings and contracts and not lying with deception about these issues. When the government is seen as pursuing the right policy, the private sector will go for production and productivity.”

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Tinubu inaugurates 25.735 km Ogbia-Nembe road in Bayelsa

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Tinubu appeals to governors’ for unity of purpose to ‘make Nigeria greater’

As part of the activities to mark the first anniversary of his administration in office, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has inaugurated the 25.735 km Ogbia-Nembe road with seven bridges connecting 14 communities in Ogbia and Nembe local government areas of Bayelsa State.

The project was conceived and completed by the Federal Government through the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in collaboration with the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and joint ventures as well as the Bayelsa state government which donated N3bn when the project was allegedly stalled for six years.

The inauguration was a great milestone and a big relief for the benefitting communities in the state that had been waiting for the completion of the road that was first initiated in 1940 but work commenced in 2005 during former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration when the then Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Ndutimi Alaibe, initiated it.

The benefitting communities include Ogbia, Emakalakala, Akipelai, Etiama, Nembe Bassambiri and Ogbolomabiri, among others.

The president, represented by the Minister of Niger Delta Development, Abubakar Momoh, at the opening, expressed regret for being unable to attend due to international engagements.

Stressing the significance of the project, Tinubu stated: “This important road will alleviate many issues and hardships in the region by facilitating the free movement of goods and services. This is a project everyone would want to be associated with.

“The NDDC deserves a lot of commendation for this accomplishment. This demonstrates Mr. President’s commitment through the release of funds for the timely completion of the project.

“This project is a clear example of what good partnerships can achieve. I call on other international oil companies (IOCs) to follow suit. Chevron, for instance, has undertaken similar projects in the region, and I urge them to complement the NDDC’s efforts so that we can witness more success stories like this.”

He also acknowledged the role of the National Assembly in the project, noting that “for the NDDC to initiate this project in partnership with Shell, the National Assembly must be commended for their support.”

Regarding the call by Alaibe for the Federal Government to remove the NDDC from the single treasury account, the President said the government had moved beyond that because the Presidency had directed the NDDC to capture all legacy projects in the nine states of the region.

He said in the 2024 budget, a special arrangement would be put in place to execute the region’s projects.

He thanked Shell for partnering with the NDDC, stressing that the huge project which gulped over N30bn would have been difficult for any single entity to achieve alone.

“I encourage the IOCs and the governors of the nine states to collaborate with the NDDC to accomplish more. It is my honour and privilege to open this project,” Tinubu said.

In his opening remarks, the Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, described the completion of the project as a significant milestone, particularly for the Ogbia and Nembe people.

He called on all stakeholders to cooperate with the Commission in its efforts to develop the Niger Delta region.

Also, the Chairman of the NDDC Governing Board, Mr. Ehiedu Ebie, remarked, “It was a great day for Niger Deltans.

“This impactful project underscores the potential for collaboration with SPDC and other IOCs such as Shell.

He also stressed the importance of continuity, noting that the project began during the tenure of Timi Alaibe as the MD/CEO of the commission.

“As a board, we strengthened the public-private partnership department, and our efforts are coming to light,” Ebie stated

Also speaking, Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri described as unfair, deliberate efforts being made in some quarters to undermine the significant contributions of the state government towards the completion of the 25.7km road project.

Diri, represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, stressed that no story about the project would be complete without a mention of the role the state government played.

He pointed out that it was necessary to correct the wrong impression that the state government did not contribute to the execution of the road project.

According to him, the Bayelsa State Government under former Governor Seriake Dickson disbursed N3 billion to the contractor, Setraco, in 2013 to restart the NDDC/Shell joint venture project after it was stalled for about six years due to funding challenges.

Diri, however, commended the NDDC, SPDC and their development partners for delivering on the project to open up the state.

He called on the NDDC, Shell and other well-meaning corporate giants to collaborate with his administration in completing the ongoing Akaba-Okodi Road, Nembe-Brass Road, Ekeremor-Agge Road, and the Opume-Okoroba Road among others.

Top-ranking senators, led by Senate Committee Chairman on Niger Delta, Senator Ekpenyong Asuquo, stressed the need for continuity in administration, citing Lagos State as an example of sustained development initiated by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“If the NDDC continues from where they left off, they will lead the region and align with the 10th Senate. As you continue in the spirit of continuity, you will rise in the annals of time. I urge the IOCs to continue partnering with the NDDC to develop the region,” Senator Asuquo said.

Source: The Nation

 

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Kano Emirate tussle: Northern youths urge Tinubu, int’l bodies to intervene

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President Bola Tinubu has relieved Prof. Aliyu Jauro and Dr. Adeniyi Aremu of their appointments as director-general of the National

The Northern Youth Assembly, Majalisar Matasan Arewa, has written to President Bola Tinubu, bringing his attention to the recent tension in Kano State.

The youth assembly raised concerns about certain individuals within Tinubu’s administration, who might be trying to incite disorder in the State.

The letter, dated May 25, 2024, was also sent to the United Nations Office in Abuja, the European Union Embassy, Economic Community of West African State, ECOWAS, in Abuja, the US Embassy in Abuja, the British High Commission in Abuja, the US Congress, and the European Union.

Signed by the President and the Secretary General, Dr. Ali Idris and Dr. Garba Abdulhafiz, respectively, the letter expressed worries about the recent changes to Kano State’s emirate law, which some are exploiting to create unrest.

They warned that any federal interference could lead to unrest.

“As representatives of the Northern Youth Assembly, with chapters in the Nineteen Northern States and Abuja, we feel compelled to inform you of the developments regarding the Kano Emirate,” the letter stated.

They emphasized Nigeria’s federal structure, which grants state assemblies the authority to legislate for their states’ welfare, citing the 2019 amendment to Kano’s Emirate Councils Laws and the recent repeal of the same law by the current assembly.

The youths also accused certain officials, including National Security Adviser Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, of plotting to forcibly reinstate the ousted Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, using federal security forces under the guise of a court order.

“This blatant encroachment on constitutional democratic practices undermines sub-national authority and constitutes interference in their constitutional powers,” they said.

The youths warned that such actions could damage Tinubu’s reputation as a democrat and provoke unrest among Kano’s 20 million residents, potentially affecting the entire Northern region.

“We urge you to maintain peace and respect democratic institutions, as any attempt to disrupt Kano’s stability could reflect poorly on your administration and invite animosity from the people of Kano and Northern Nigeria,” the letter concluded.

 

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Hajj 2024: Sanwo-Olu resolves BTA differentials for pilgrims

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Full List: Sanwo-Olu orders indefinite closure of markets in Lagos

 governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has approved the payment of the $100 shortfall in the Basic Travel Allowance (BTA) of intending pilgrims.

Some intending pilgrims had protested alleged irregularities in the BTA after they were given $400 BTA as against the $500 announced by the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON).

NAHCON had used the N1,252.01 to $1 exchange rate to calculate hajj fares and subsequent $500 BTA to each pilgrim, but the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released BTA at N1,530.86 to $1, which gave each pilgrim $415 instead of $500

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ibrahim Layode, while addressing reporters during the departure of the fifth and final batch of 256 pilgrims, said Governor Sanwo-Olu approved payment of the $100 shortfall for each pilgrim pending the resolution of the matter by NAHCON and CBN.

Layode hailed Sanwo-Olu for the timely intervention and kindheartedness which, according to him, would help to ease the affairs of pilgrims.

The commissioner assured the pilgrims that the governor would keep his promise of paying for their sacrificial rams, Ihram clothes, and Ziyyarah (visitation) to historical sites both in Makkah and Madinah.

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Layode also admonished them to be cautious of their conduct in the holy land, and avoid anything that could bring the state and county to disrepute.

The airlifting of pilgrims started on May 17, with 425 pilgrims. The second batch of 425 pilgrims was airlifted on May 18, the third batch of 428 pilgrims was airlifted on May 22, and the fourth batch of 312 was airlifted on May 24.

 

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Kano crisis: Atiku says Tinubu’s action breaches constitution

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Atiku accuses Tinubu of awarding Lagos-Calabar coastal highway contract to his ally

A former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has said that the action of the Federal Government in deploying soldiers in Kano in the tussle over the throne of the ancient city is an upset to the peace and security of the state, and also in breach of the 1999 Constitution as Amended.

In performing their constitutional duties of law making, Mr Abubakar said, the Kano State House of Assembly passed the amended Kano State Emirate Council (Repeal) Bill 2024 in consonance with the provision of Section 4 of the Constitution 1999 as Amended whereas the Governor of Kano State, Abba Yusuf subsequently signed into law the said bill.

Mr Abubakar said the law therefore repealed the 2019 version which balkanized the ancient Kano Emirate into five.

“The foregoing circumstances happened within the confines of the law and in compliance with the powers conferred on the Governor as provided by Section 5(2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended; and also in consultation with the Kingmakers of Kano, reappointed Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (also known as Muhammadu Sanusi II) as the 16th Emir of Kano State and accordingly handed him a letter of appointment.

“It is surprising that in the early hours of today, exactly at about 5:30 am the former Emir of Kano, His Majesty Aminu Ado Bayero backed by Federal might made their way into the Nasarawa Palace of the Kano Emirate while the reappointed Emir, Muhammadu Sanusi II was at the Gidan Dabo, which is the main residence of the Emir of Kano.

“In this wise, the former Emir could not have made his way into the Nasarawa Palace without the support of the Federal Government having done so with the support of the Army and other security personnel in his company. The deployment of soldiers in extra constitutional matters such as this undermines the integrity of the Nigerian military.

“We need to remind the Tinubu administration that Kano State is known for peace and harmony spanning thousands of years and any attempt to destablise the peace of the Land of Commerce shall be resisted. Recall that Muhammadu Sanusi II was dethroned on 9th March, 2020 dethroned, Kano forged on in peace without any fracas.

“We wish to state unequivocally that if for any reason, law and order breaks down in Kano State, particularly Kano Municipal, the Federal Government should be held responsible as the act of providing security cover to the former Emir, Aminu Ado Bayero to come back to Kano is an invitation to anarchy,” the former vice president said.

Source: Daily nigeria

 

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Tinubu kick off inauguration of Lagos-Calabar highway, others

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Ahead of the first anniversary of his administration on 29 May, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu today departed Abuja for Lagos

Ahead of the first anniversary of his administration on 29 May, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu today departed Abuja for Lagos to begin a commissioning spree of projects completed under his administration.

In Lagos on Sunday, the President will inaugurate the concrete-paved road to the nation’s major ports in Apapa and Tin Can Island. The reconstructed road which began under the Muhammadu Buhari Administration was financed by the Dangote Group, using its tax credits.

On the same day, President Tinubu will formally inaugurate, by virtual means, the refurbished Third Mainland Bridge, which has drawn public acclaim for its excellent finishing and aesthetic furnishing. He will also commission, virtually, the rehabilitation of 330 roads and bridges across the country.

The highpoint of the President’s engagements on Sunday will be the inauguration of the iconic Lagos-Calabar Superhighway, estimated to cost about N15 trillion. Work has begun on the legacy project that will connect nine coastal states, with Section Two already awarded to Hitech Construction Limited.

President Tinubu will return to Abuja on Tuesday to begin another round of commissioning. He will first inaugurate the Southern Parkway, which the Nyesom Wike-led FCT Administration named after him.

On Wednesday, the President will attend the National Assembly Dialogue Series, after which he will unveil the National Assembly Complex, named after him.

President Tinubu will leave the National Assembly to relaunch the commercialisation of Abuja Light Rail, also known as Abuja Metro. He will symbolically join a train ride to the city centre.

The Abuja Metro was completed in 2018 by the Buhari Administration. It was put into commercial use up till 2020. But with the onset of COVID-19, the train service was abandoned. Vandals descended on the facility, putting it out of use.

FCT Minister Wike, after spending $15 million and building access roads to the various stations, has refurbished it for commercial service.

After the train ride, President Tinubu will also inaugurate the Wuye Flyover-Link Bridge and the Defence Intelligence Agency Headquarters.

On Friday 31 May, President Tinubu will commission the NASENI-Portland Compressed Natural Gas(CNG) Reverse Engineering Centre at Utako.

 

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