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Lai Mohammed to appear in court in fraud case

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The immediate past Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has been scheduled to appear before a Federal High Court, Abuja, to explain his role in the alleged misapplication of N2.5 billion Federal Government Digital Switch-Over (DSO) program.

The planned appearance of Mohammed was revealed by the Independent Corrupt Practice and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), who is prosecuting the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, over alleged abuse of office and money laundering.

ICPC had filed a 12-count charge before Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa, against Kawu, Lucky Omoluwa and Dipo Onifade and other, saying that the NBC director general misled the former Minister into approving government funds to a private company.

“The former minister’s involvement had come under questioning following the discovery by ICPC during investigations, that a government White Paper that governs the execution of the DSO program was allegedly flouted by the head of NBC”, ICPC states in a statement Wednesday.

“Mohammed had however admitted in a statement to the Commission that he was misled by Kawu, as opined in court by a witness from ICPC, Osanato Olugbemi.”

Olugbemi, led in evidence by counsel to ICPC, Henry Emore, also told the court that the payment of N2.5 billion from NBC to Pinnacle Communications Limited, as seed grant was suspicious because ICPC found out through its investigations that only government-owned company was approved to benefit from the grant according to the White Paper.

The court also heard that the processes that led to the final payment of the fund to the private company were shrouded in secrecy as revealed by the minute from an NBC emergency board management meeting where issues of carriage fees owed Pinnacle and not seed grant was discussed.

He told the court that 47 suspicious transactions were originated by the Chairman of Pinnacle Communications, Omoluwa, immediately after the receipt of the funds on June 2, 2017.

The transactions include payments of N363 million to one Idowu Olatunde, N274.4 million to one James Segun and N127 million to Dipo Onifade, the Chief Operating Officer of the company.

He informed the court that Omoluwa refused to explain the reasons for the payments to Olatunde and James when asked by ICPC, but Onifade explained that he received the N127 million as legal fees he rendered to Pinnacle Communications Limited.

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Buhari says critics are not patriotic

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Those politicizing insecurities are unpatriotic, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday. The President’s remark came hours after former President Goodluck Jonathan said the security situation in the land was getting worse.

President Buhari at the Commonwealth Business Forum

It also came after former President Olusegun Obasanjo gave Buhari a wake-up call on the security challenges to avert a looming calamity.

But, receiving representatives of the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO) in the State House, Abuja, yesterday, the President branded those politicizing the isolated cases of insecurity as unpatriotic Nigerians.
According to him, every country faces one security challenge or the other. He identified banditry and kidnapping as new security challenges in Nigeria.

Buhari said: “Your contribution during the election is commendable. Let me use this medium to assure you that you would not be disappointed because of this second term, I intend to renew efforts in securing the country, fighting corruption and strengthening the economy.

“Every country has security challenges. While we have made significant progress in fighting against terrorism, we acknowledge that there are new and emerging challenges of kidnapping and banditry.

“I assure you that we will not relent in our efforts to secure the country from criminal activities Those who politicize the isolated incidents of insecurity are not patriotic Nigerians.

“I am confident that this administration will use all the resources at its disposal to protect the lives of all Nigerians and not just prominent Nigerians but all.”

Restating his commitment to stepping up the fight against corruption, Buhari said that his administration would continue to be tough on the menace.

The President said” As you may be aware, the AU (African Union) at its deliberations last year, appointed me as African Anti-Corruption Champion for the continent.

“This is because other countries have seen our dedication to fighting corruption and they are keying in to emulate our approach.”

On plans to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, Buhari said the policies put in place to support farmers and small businesses were yielding positive results.

According to him, the government has a plan to integrate farmers and owners of small businesses into the larger economy.

He said: “We are keeping our currency steady and are adopting broad business policies to encourage private sector investment.

“I want to reassure you that Nigeria is open for business as no country in the world can achieve rapid economic growth without significant Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).”

 

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Osinbajo: we’re moving GDP to 25%

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The federal government said it plans to move the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) from the current 15 percent to 25 percent between the next two and four years.

Speaking at the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) 62nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo said this will be achieved through the various economic policies put together by the government.

He said the government will intensify efforts on the implementation of the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan.

Represented by former Special Adviser to the President on Economic Recovery, Mr. Yomi Dipeolu, the Vice President said: “On efforts made so far to reinvigorate the economy, include several economic and fiscal policies, which included rebuilding fiscal buffer, enhancing Forex reserve, improving the ease of doing business and focusing on import substitution, had been undertaken by the present administration.”
The Second Vice President of NECA, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon, in his address said challenges of operational hiccups experienced at the port remained one year after the Presidential Executive Order to promote transparency and efficiency. He called for urgent infrastructural development at the Lagos Port as the country has lost about N6 trillion across different sectors due to the Apapa gridlock.

”Survey by the OPS showed that Nigeria lost about N3.06 trillion on non-oil export and about N2.5 trillion earnings annually across the different sectors due to the Apapa gridlock,” Alarcon said.

He said the now that the general election was over; the government should look at reforms that would significantly impact on the economy.

”There is a need to fast-track infrastructural development at the Lagos Port, diversification program, a market is driven foreign exchange management, sustain and a significant reduction in the cost of governance.

“Government should also fast-track the passage of Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, market-driven electricity supply and billing system,” he said.

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Oyo state governor publicly declares his N48 billion asset

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Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has published his asset declaration document showing he has in excess of N48 billion in both cash and properties.


PT reported that the governor complied with Nigeria’s code of conduct law that mandates senior public office holders to file their asset details while assuming and exiting office.

It is however not compulsory to make the details of asset public.

Mr Makinde went further on Monday to release details of what he filled in his asset form at the Code of Conduct Bureau in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

He also said he would encourage all his potential cabinet appointees to do so when they are nominated.

He became the first high-ranking public official to do so amongst those that emerged in the last general election.

According to a statement by Taiwo Adisa, a spokesperson for Mr Makinde, the governor’s CCB OYSE/2019/001 form filed on May 28, 2019, showed he had N48 billion in cash and asset.

The asset was categorised in cash at hand, in the bank, landed properties (developed and undeveloped), and household items.

They also include shares and bonds owned by the governor, his wife, Omini Makinde, as well as his companies.

BANK ACCOUNTS
As of May 28, 2019, Mr Makinde’s bank balance stood at N234, 742,296.01. In dollar terms, he has cash valued at $30,056.99 as at the same date.

Properties, including the developed and undeveloped as well as household items indicated on the asset forms, showed that the governor is worth N2, 624,800,500.

In dollar terms, Mr Makinde also declared properties, developed and undeveloped as well as household items valued at $4,400,000.

In South African Rands, the governor declared buildings and household items worth four million, four hundred and fifty-seven thousand, five hundred and fifty-four and four South African Rands.

The houses declared by Governor Makinde include nine buildings in Nigeria, two in the United States of America and one in South Africa.

One of the properties in the United States is described as “jointly owned.”

The details showed the current value of Makinde’s companies stands at N48, 150,736,889, including 33,730,000 units of shares as of May 28.

The governor also has existing Bonds (Eurobond) worth $3, 793, 500 as well as shares, debentures and other securities valued at N120,500,000(One hundred and twenty million, five hundred thousand naira).

FIRMS AND VALUES
The governor also listed companies that include Makon Engineering and Technical Services Limited; Energy Traders and Technical Services Limited; and Makon Oil and Gas Limited.

Makon Group Limited, Makon Construction Limited and Makon Power System Limited were also listed

The asset declaration form indicated that Governor Makinde’s four companies have additional assets denominated as loan notes.

They are as follows: Makon Engineering and Technical Services Limited(N1.7 billion); Makon Power System Limited(N148.4 million); Makon Oil and Gas Limited(N341 million); Energy Traders and Technical Services Limited(N1.159bn) totalling N3.389 billion.

Disclosure of asset by public officials is rare in Nigeria. The lack of transparency plays a key role in the country’s alarming corruption problem.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in 2015 with the pledge to fight corruption, promised to make his asset public.

He only did so after public pressure. Even so, he did not release some details of his asset, including those belonging to his wife and children.

The president and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have yet to make their asset public after winning a second term.

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Bauchi: Panel seeks to reconcile crisis rocking House of Representatives

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The 12-man Panel set up by the House of Representatives to wade into the crisis rocking the Bauchi State House of Assembly has commenced reconciliatory efforts.

The Committee headed by Hon. Musa Sarkin Adar commenced collection of complaints from aggrieved lawmakers and critical stakeholders in the State on Monday.

Speaking during a courtesy visit on Governor Bala Muhammed by members of the panel, Adar said that the House of Representatives has given them the mandate to look into the event that led to the state having ‘two speakers’ and the subsequent closure of the House for about a month.

He added his committee members will gather information to help determine a resolution capable of bringing peace to the house.

“We are from different geopolitical zones, party lines and tribes, we promise to do justice to the issues of the parliament. Our concern is to make peace and consequently setting the state on progress lane.

“With these, we want all aggrieved members or any party to tender their displeasure, either recent or old testimony between today and Wednesday,” he said

The governor said: “As a parliamentarian, we are ashamed of the situation in the state, though politics is dynamic-some of the democratisation come with crisis, by this, we must always be loyal to the will of the people, we respect the autonomy of the parliament.

“What happened in Bauchi is very regrettable but we are not going to preempt what you have come here for but give you all the support that is required. As far as we are concerned, there is only one house in Bauchi.

“The election has been conducted and I was the one who signed the proclamation and the election was held with the symbol of authority in the house not outside and within the timeline.

“Of course, some people were excluded, it is very sad for people who are representing different constituencies to be excluded from discharging their parliamentary exercise.

“We appreciate your coming. Definitely, some people have been expecting your arrival. My self and deputy are parliamentarians, we have been to the Senate and we are today at the helms of affairs of Bauchi today.”

Two Speakers emerged at the Bauchi Assembly inauguration on June 20.

13 out of 31 members of the Assembly elected Hon. Abubakar Suleiman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) representing Ningi Constituency as Speaker of the Bauchi House of Assembly.

Other 18 aggrieved APC lawmakers outwitted held a parallel election outside the Chamber of the House to elect the former Speaker Damina after they were reportedly prevented from gaining access by security personnel.

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