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Probe of Emefiele’s N30tn Ways and Means loan not abandoned – Senate

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Probe of Emefiele’s N30tn Ways and Means loan not abandoned – Senate

Senator Isah Jibrin, Chairman of the Senate panel investigating the N30tn Ways and Means loans secured from the Godwin Emefiele-led Central Bank of Nigeria by the Federal Government, has confirmed that the probe is ongoing and has not been abandoned.

Senator Jibrin clarified to our correspondent that reports of an abandoned probe are entirely false.

On Tuesday, February 20, the Senate resolved to investigate the N30tn loan, citing that the alleged reckless spending of the overdraft from the CBN largely contributed to the current food and security crises in the country.

After its inauguration, the panel identified 13 infractions in the process of obtaining the loan from the CBN. Responding to a media report, Senator Jibrin emphasised that the figures under investigation are not in dispute, as the Ways and Means advances given to former President Muhammadu Buhari by Emefiele are already public knowledge.

The panel chair stated, “We received some preliminary documents and decided to delve deeper after our interface with the CBN governor, Olayemi Cardoso, the Minister of Finance, some CBN directors, and others. Following leads from our interface, we realized the need for a detailed, step-by-step breakdown of how the money was spent.

“We have written to the Accountant-General requesting additional documents on the Ways and Means loan, and we believe the delay is due to efforts to compile accurate information to avoid misleading us and Nigerians,” he added.

Senator Jibrin reiterated, “We have not gone into limbo; we only needed additional documents from the Accountant-General’s office to continue the interface. The amount under probe is N30tn. I don’t know why people are spreading falsehood to achieve a selfish purpose.”

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He added that although the committee has elapsed the time frame given to it, but the delay was necessary to get the job done.

He said, ” The committee was given a time frame that has elapsed but we cannot because of that submit a job done haphazardly. We have written reminders to the Accountant General Office and once we have the document, we move to the next phase of the probe.”

The PUNCH reports that during the Ninth Assembly, President Buhari, in a letter dated December 20, 2022, requested the restructuring of the accumulated N22.7 trillion Ways and Means loans, alongside an additional N1 trillion primarily for funding the N819.5 billion 2022 supplementary budget, totaling N23.7 trillion.

In his request, President Buhari explained, “The Ways and Means are advances from the Central Bank of Nigeria to the federal government for emergency funding due to delayed fiscal deficits. As of December 19, 2022, the balance of Ways and Means was N22.7 trillion.

“I have approved the securitization of these balances under the following terms: Amount, N23.7 trillion; Tenure, 40 years; Moratorium on principal repayment, three years; Interest rate, 9 per cent. Your concurrence and approval are sought to allow for the implementation of the same.”

After the Ahmad-Lawan-led Ninth Senate passed the N23.7 trillion, the Tenth Senate, on December 30, 2023, also approved the securitization of the outstanding debit balance of N7.3 trillion of the Ways and Means Advance in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government.

Source: The Punch

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Tinubu names National Theatre after Wole Soyinka

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Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka has questioned Peter Obi's fitness to lead Nigeria, citing the Labour Party candidate's handling of

President Bola Tinubu has named the National Arts Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, after Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka.

Tinubu announced this in a tribute he wrote to celebrate Soyinka in commemoration of his 90th birthday.

The tribute dated “Professor Wole Soyinka at 90: Tribute to a national treasure and global icon,” was personally signed by the President and made available to journalists on Friday.

Tinubu expressed his delight to join admirers around the world in celebrating Soyinka, adding that July 13 would be the climax of the series of local and international activities held in his honour.

Tinubu wrote, “Professor Soyinka, the first African to win the Nobel Literature Prize in 1986, deserves all the accolades as he marks the milestone of 90 years on earth. Having beaten prostate cancer, this milestone is a fitting testament to his ruggedness as a person and the significance of his work.

“It is also fitting we celebrate this national treasure while he is still with us. I am, accordingly, delighted to announce the decision of the Federal Government to rename the National Theatre in Iganmu, Surulere, as the Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts.”

Tinubu stated that Nigeria not only celebrates Soyinka’s remarkable literary achievements, but also his unwavering dedication to the values of human dignity and justice.

“When he turned 80, I struggled to find words to encapsulate his achievements because they were simply too vast. Since then, he has added to his corpus with his series of Interventions, which have been published in many volumes.

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“Professor Soyinka is a colossus, a true renaissance person blessed with innumerable talents. He is a playwright, actor, poet, human rights and political activist, composer, and singer.

“He is a giant best riding not just the literary world but our nation, Africa, and the world,” he averred.

According to the President, Soyinka is one Nigerian whose influence transcends the Nigerian space and who inspires people around the world, explaining that since his youth, he has been a vocal critic of oppression and injustice wherever it exists, from apartheid in South Africa to racism in the United States.

“Beginning from his 20s, he took personal risks for the sake of our nation. His courage was evident when he attempted to broker peace at the start of the civil war in 1967. Detained for two years for his bravery, he narrated his experience in his prison memoir, ‘The Man Died.’

“Despite deprivation and solitary confinement, his resolve to speak truth to power and fight for the marginalised was further strengthened.

“Our paths crossed during our struggle for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election,” Tinubu stated.

Source: The Punch

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Tinubu, Shettima, governors in closed-door meeting

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Tinubu, Shettima, governors in closed-door meeting

President Bola Tinubu is currently meeting with some state governors at the State House, Abuja.

The meeting comes after the president met with the leaders of organised labour over minimum wage negotiations.

Vice-President Kashim Shettima is also attending the meeting.

Earlier, the representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) had a meeting with Tinubu at the presidential villa.

Though labour leaders and government representatives at the meeting said they discussed the minimum wage, they are to reconvene in seven days.

Over the past few months, labour unions, federal and state governments, and the private sector have been deliberating on a new minimum wage for workers.

On June 3, labour unions embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike over the failure of the government to yield to their demand for the minimum wage.

The NLC and TUC had proposed N494,000 as the new national minimum wage, citing inflation and the prevailing economic hardship in the country, while rejecting the federal government’s N60,000 minimum wage offer.

On June 7, state governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) said a N60,000 minimum wage would prove unsustainable.

At the last meeting of the tripartite committee, organised labour rejected the N62,000 proposed by the government and lowered its demand to N250,000.

The federal government had asked labour unions to demand a more realistic and sustainable wage.

Tinubu had also directed Wale Edun, minister of finance, to present the cost implications for a new minimum wage.

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Mohammed Idris, minister of information and national orientation, said the presentation would form the basis of further negotiations.

Source: The Cable

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Minimum Wage consultations between Organised Labour, Tinubu inconclusive

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

Minimum Wage consultations between the Organised Labour and President Bola Tinubu have again adjourned without a conclusive agreement.

The meeting called at the instance of the President, Bola Tinubu has just ended with no meaningful resolutions reached.

The Labour leaders who emerged from the meeting, however, told reporters that their consultations with the Presidency will continue next week as they also have to go back to their organs to relay what the President discussed with them.

President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero said the positions of N250,000 for Labour and N62,000 for the Federal Government still stands.

Recall that Nigerians, especially the nation’s workforce have been expecting a new minimum wage from the government.

 

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Ganduje, wife to appear in court over alleged bribery on Thursday

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The Forum of All Progressives Congress State Chairmen on Tuesday passed a vote of confidence on the National Chairman of the party,

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Ganduje, his wife Hafsat, and six others are expected to appear in court on Thursday over charges related to alleged bribery, diversion, and misappropriation of funds.

This development comes after a notice of trial served on the respondents through substituted means by order of the court.

A Kano State High Court granted the order on June 5, 2024, allowing the state to serve the seven respondents through substituted service, which was subsequently executed via advertisements in two national newspapers on June 6, 2024.

The respondents in the case include Abdullahi Ganduje (1st respondent), his wife Hafsat (2nd respondent), Abubakar Bawuro (3rd respondent), Umar Abdullahi Umar (4th respondent), Jibrilla Muhammad (5th respondent), Safari Textiles Ltd (7th respondent), and Lesage General Enterprises (8th respondent).

Justice Amina Adamu, who presided over the case, granted the order following an application by Zahradeen Kofar-Mata, counsel for the state government, representing the lead prosecution counsel, Ya’u Adamu.

“This court grants the application for substituted service because it is necessary to ensure the respondents are duly notified of the proceedings,” stated Justice Adamu during the court session.

“The matter is adjourned till July 11, 2024, for hearing, and all parties involved are ordered to present their fiat to the court.”

The hearing is expected to commence at 10am at the Kano State High Court on Thursday.

Source: Vanguard

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Tinubu relives fond memories of mum at play presentation

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Tinubu relives fond memories of mum at play presentation

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu went emotional yesterday as he relived memories of his late mum Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji.

It was at the preview of a stage play titled: “Abibatu Mogaji: The Play,” written by a renowned playwright Prof. Ahmed Yarima and produced by Ola Awakan.

The President recounted how his mother’s breasts served as his first restaurant.

“Mama’s grandson (Seyi) didn’t partake in my first breakfast with Mama because my first restaurant was her breast, my first toilet was her lap and my first-ever bedroom was her back.

“There is no way I could have been this old without that care,” Tinubu said.

The President praised Awakan for his thorough research and thoughtful presentation of the life of his mum, a prominent businesswoman, who was the Iyaloja-General of Nigeria.

Alhaja Mogaji died on June 15, 2013. She was 96.

Tinubu pledged to invest in Nigeria’s Arts and Culture sector.

Sharing the fond memories of his childhood and the values instilled in him by his mother, Tinubu thanked the cast and crew for their hard work and dedication.

He promised to support the arts and culture sector because of its importance in the preservation of Nigeria’s heritage and promoting its rich cultural diversity.

The President left the State House Conference Centre midway into the presentation, pleading for the understanding of guests as he had another meeting with leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

According to him, the sub-regional leaders had been waiting for the meeting for three days.

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He mandated Vice President Kashim Shettima to stand in for him.

He said: “I thank Ola Awakan. He’s a very great researcher, producer and thoughtful person to have come up with this and I can see some faces of Mama’s children – Tunji Alausa and the rest of the people are here.

“I will invest in the play; nothing could have been better than rewarding a very thorough research.

“I can see Adams Oshiomhole there, they knew her – many of you here knew her.

“Tough, she was a disciplinarian and I thank God for the gift that I got from her and that gift is an enduring one – character, determination, and never to give up.

“I’m so grateful to all of you in large numbers, I would have enjoyed the audience more with you. I’ll find another opportunity to do that, but I asked for this assignment. Through your exercise and commitment, you gave it to me.

“Only 48 hours ago, they renewed my mandate as the Chairman of ECOWAS. So, if they now give me an assignment, I don’t have a choice, but to do it.

“Seyi, you didn’t partake in my breastfeeding, I enjoyed it better than you. So, enjoy the play. I thank all of you immensely from the bottom of my heart.

“Ola Awakan, Yerima and the members of the cast, I say thank you. We will invest in Nigeria’s culture and art for the education of our children and for the benefit of mankind and all of you.

“I thank you for sparing your evening to celebrate my mother, a great woman. Thank you,” he said.

READ ALSO  Tinubu names National Theatre after Wole Soyinka

The event was attended by notable figures.

Oshiomhole and Alausa attested to the late Alhaja Mogaji’s legacy.

Seyi thanked the managers and crew for putting up a brilliant performance.

Awakan thanked the President for the opportunity and support to stage the play at the Presidential Villa.

Source: The Nation

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 Lagos court orders final forfeiture of $16.5 million, N127 million diverted from NIMASA

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The Federal High Court has issued an interim order, restraining the chairman of Lagos State Environmental Sanitation and Special Offence

Justice Kehinde Ogundare of the Lagos Federal High Court, Ikoyi has ordered the final forfeiture of $16.5 million and N127 million which were fraudulently diverted from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to the federal government of Nigeria.

Justice Ogundare finally forfeited the monies, while granting an application for such orders, which was filed and moved by an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lawyer, Sulaiman I. Sulaiman, today.

The monies, according to the EFCC, were said to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

The judge had on May 23, 2024, ordered the interim forfeiture of the monies, while granting an Exparte motion, brought before the court pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14. 2006; and Section 44 (2)(B) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended)

The court after forfeiting the monies in the interim on May 23, 2024, had directed the EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper, to show cause why the monies should not be finally forfeited.

However, at the resumed hearing of the final forfeiture of the money today, counsel to the EFCC, Suleiman Suleiman, informed the court that pursuant to your lordship’s order made on May 23, 2024, that the order be published, the publication of the order was made on June 6, 2024, on a national daily.

“The said application is supported by 22 paragraphs deposed to by Oghare Ogbole, an investigator with the EFCC.

“The application is accompanied with two exhibits, the Interim order of the court and Punch publication of June 26, 2024. And It’s supported with the written address.

“We most respectively adopt same and urge the court to grant the relief sought.”

Justice Ogundare after listening to the EFCC lawyer held that “order granted as prayed.”

The EFCC in the affidavit support of the application made the followings: “That on the 2nd October, 2013, the management of NIMASA under the leadership of Dr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi vide letter referenced: NIMASA 2007/DG/NSA/2013/006 dated 2/10/13, requested for the release of the sum of N1,123,400 billion, for the implementation of International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) projects.

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“That on the 4th day of November 2013, the then President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, through the National Security Adviser (NSA) approved the requested sum of N1,123,400 billion. And that upon the release of the first tranche in the sum of N1, 123, 400 billion, an account No. 0060559139, domiciled in Access Bank was opened on 03/1/14, in which Captain Bala Ezekiel Agaba, the Chairman of the ISPS Committee/Executive Director, NIMASA, Mr. Victor I. Onuzurike and Mr. Dele T, Ejekukor are signatories.

“That no sooner had the money hit the Committee’s account, one Mr. Uche Obilor, a close associate of the chairman of the committee, Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba received that total sum of N437,726,666.66 million, through his company known as Seabulk Offshore Operator Limited with account number 005326440 domiciled in Access Bank.

“That the said Mr. Uche Obilor equally received another whopping sum of N402,480 million, through his company Southern Offshore Limited with Zenith Bank Plc., account number 1013224100. And that also, the said Mr. Uche Obilor used his company known as Ace Prothesis Limited to receive the total sum of N66,800 million, through its account number 1012583949, domiciled in Zenith Bank Pic.,

“That out of the N437,726,666.66 million, paid to Seabulk Offshore Operator Limited, the total sum of N187 million, was transferred to Usaini Sabo on 06/03/2014, 10/06/2014, 12/06/2014 and 09/07/2014, who in turn converted same to US Dollars and handed them over to Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba.

“That from the said sum paid to Seabulk Offshore Operator Limited, the total sum of N67 million, was on the 23rd July, 2014, paid to Kofar Fada Limited, who also converted the money to US Dollars and handed over same to Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba. And that the sum of N66,800 million, received by Uche Obilor through his company Ace Prothesis Limited from NIMASA was equally converted to personal use without rendering any service to the agency.

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“That from the sum of N402,480 million, received by Uche Obilor through his company Southern Offshore Limited from NIMASA, the total sum of N268 million, was paid to one Usaini Sabo, who said sum to US Dollars and handed same over to Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba.

“That from the sum of N402,480 million, received from NIMASA by Mr. Uche Obilor through his company Southern Offshore Limited, the total sum of N103,100 million, was equally transferred to Haji Kawu Investment Bureau De Change and Lekay Leads Ventures Limited, which sums were equally converted to US Dollars and handed over to Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba.

“That the various sums of money transferred to the companies of Mr. Uche Obilor from the treasury of NIMASA were fraudulent in that these companies neither rendered any service nor supply goods to the agency. Rather, the funds were largely converted to Dollars for personal use and the remaining retained by Mr. Uche Obilor.

“That during the course of investigation, the total sum of $16,500 USD cash, was recovered by the Commission, part of the funds diverted from the treasury of NIMASA. And that for using his companies as mentioned above, Mr. Uche Obilor, upon invitation to the Commission during the course of investigation agreed to return the sum of N118 million, admittedly received and retained by his companies from the funds fraudulently converted from the treasury of NIMASA.

“That Mr. Uche Obilor voluntarily raised drafts through First City Monument Bank in the name of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which sums are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.

“That the funds sought to be forfeited are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of an unlawful act of diversion of funds from the treasury of NIMASA, through Mr. Uche Obilor, his companies and other cronies.

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“That I know as a fact that Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, the then Executive Director, Maritime Safety and Shipping Development of NIMASA was convicted, sentenced by this Honourable Court, per Buba, J (rtd) and subsequently granted pardon by the Council of State.

“That in view of the findings in preceding paragraphs and upon a thorough analysis of the evidence on record, this Honourable Court on the 23 day of May 2024 made an interim order of forfeiture to the Federal Government of Nigeria in favour of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) the assets sought to be forfeited.

“That I know as a fact and verily believe that this Honourable Court on the said 23 day of May, 2024 also directed the Applicant herein to publish in any national daily the said interim order of forfeiture to enable any interested party to appear before the Court to show cause why the assets should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria, in favour of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

“That in compliance with the order of this Honourable Court, the Applicant herein published in The Punch newspaper of 6th June, 2024, the interim order of this Honourable Court.

“That I also know as a fact and verily believe that notwithstanding the Order of this Honourable Court directing any interested party to appear and show cause why the assets sought to be forfeited should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria in favour of NIMASA, no person or party had served any affidavit showing cause on the Applicant herein.

“That this Honourable Court has the requisite power and jurisdiction to grant this application. And that it is in the best interest of Justice to hear and determine this application.”

Source: The Nation

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