Court Grants Bail To 7 Members Of Shiite Group

Court-Abuse

A Magistrates’ Court at Karu in Abuja on Friday granted seven persons from the Shiite group bail of N100,000 each on the three-count charges against each of them. The seven defendants were charged for the offences of criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly and inciting public peace, contrary to sections 97, 102 and 114 of the Penal Code. The defendants are Ibrahim Dogo, Khadija Mohammed, Rukaiya Salisu, Mohammed Habib, Aminu Sani, Leminu Sani and Aisha Ameen, and all were arraigned for the same offences.

The Magistrate, Abubakar Umaru, granted the defendants a bail with two reliable and reasonable sureties each in like sum. He said the sureties must be Civil or Public Servants with a Grade level of 8 and above. Umaru also said the sureties must live within the jurisdiction of the court and their addresses must be verified by the officer of the court. He added that the sureties must submit their passport photographs and national identity cards with the court. State Prosecutor, Patrick Ogele, had earlier told the court the defendants were arrested by CSP Nwakeme Ezenwa, at Dakwa Road in Deidei, along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway on Thursday.

The prosecutor said Ezenwa, a police officer attached to the Zuba FCT Police Command, reported the matter to the FCT Commissioner of Police. He said the defendants were arrested after they gathered on the road while holding up two large brand new posters with the face of the Shiite leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, on it.

According to Ogele, the defendants gathered with a common intention of going into the city, and specifically to the court premises where the trial of their leader was ongoing. Ogele alleged that the intention of the defendants was to storm the court premises and disturb public peace. He told the court that during police investigations, the defendants could not give a satisfactory explanation to the police and only identified themselves as members of the Shiite group. The prosecutor had also applied that the defendants not be granted bail by the court. He had asked the court to consider the nature of the offences and prevailing circumstances of their arrest.

“The court also needs to consider the activities of the group in the country and the fact that the defendants are all residents of Kaduna state,’’ Ogele had said. Counsel to the defendants, Bala Adukwu, had also earlier prayed the court to grant his clients bail on liberal terms and that they were resident within Nigeria. After listening to the charges, the seven defendants all pleaded not guilty and the matter was adjourned till Oct. 26 for hearing.

GOOD NEWS: This Nigerian university finally makes one of the best in the world

A 2017 global ranking of universities released by the Times Higher Education has placed the University of Ibadan in Oyo state at number 801 among the best 978 in the world. The university was the only one in Nigeria that made the list.

University of Ibadan is now among the best 1000 in the world

Prior to this time, no Nigerian university made the list of the best 1000 and the argument majorly was that the tertiary institutions in the country were lacking in quality research. The University of Oxford topped the rankings in the 12-year history of the table.

“It knocks the five-time leader, the California Institute of Technology, into second place in the World University Rankings 2016-2017,” the report said, adding that “Oxford’s success can be attributed to improved performances across the four main indicators underlying the methodology of the ranking – teaching, research, citations and international outlook. “More specifically the institution’s total income and research income is rising faster than its staff numbers, its research is more influential, and it has been more successful at drawing in international talent.”

The report showed that two new Asian universities make the top 100 (Chinese University of Hong Kong and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). The City University of Hong Kong, University of Science and Technology of China, Fudan University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University also joined the first 200.

Postponed Edo Elections: Fayose, Ize-Iyamu And PDP’ S Hallucinations

presidential_election_Nigeria_2015

THERE must be some extraordinary milestones in the journey of a people at which point their leaders must periodically pause for deeper reflections with simultaneous exhibition of a modicum of endearing dignity. It is expected that at such moments, that those invested with the responsibility of guiding the destiny of their communities will abstain, even temporarily, from the seduction of political theatres, that no responsible leader would deliberately seek to overheat the political landscape, to saturate civil discourse with mendacious tales manufactured to mislead the electorate and, consequently ignite civil disorder. Such a minimum conduct should be a binding obligation especially in circumstances where the situation could trigger a state of insecurity in the polity. After all, one of the foremost tasks of governance is the protection of lives and property of the citizenry. Regrettably, it seems that such a refined paradigm of humane contemplation in public affairs is far beyond the likes of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State. Fayose, recently, swam across Rivers Ogbese and Osei to pollute the waters of Edo State.

As events relating to security reports and, consequently, hints of possible postponement of Edo State’s 2016 Governorship Election were unfolding, Fayose immediately took on the role of a harbinger for doomsday. On the fateful Wednesday, Sept 7th , ‘the news was breaking ‘ all over Edo State that grave security reports  available to the Department of State Services,DSS and the Police could necessitate a change in the gubernatorial election date: from Saturday, September 10th to some weeks later. As most responsible leaders in alliance with peace and democracy-loving people of Edo State patiently waited to comprehend the rapidly evolving scenarios from INEC and the security agencies, the all-knowing ‘Fayoses’ of the world had jumped on the drama stage, beating the drum of tension, Fayose along with some other PDP voices engaged in jaundiced analysis of the unfolding situation and offered lugubrious conclusions.

In his quest for central relevance in the 2019 national PDP calculus, Governor Fayose completely threw caution to the winds, not giving any thoughts to the consequential harm that his comments could inflict on the polity. He hastily told the media that the postponement of Edo election was an APC plot for the purpose of perfecting its rigging strategy. How can a supposed state chief executive make such a potential crisis- generating statement without a shred of evidence? The Governor with a penchant for verbal recklessness further said that the APC was about to destroy the  “legacy of free, fair and credible electoral process bequeathed on the country by the PDP’’. On what planet has Fayose been dwelling in the past sixteen years? For anyone to so endow the PDP with the attributes of qualitative and virtuous democracy is the zenith of historical impunity. Coincidentally,  the ‘Fayoses’ of our polity wallowed in the planet of impunity for decades until some wise ‘Asiwajus’ and other committed national patriots created an unprecedented African model of responsible opposition alliance called the APC.

Governor Fayose and the likes of Edo State factional PDP governorship candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu are engaged in hallucinatory flights and hoping to block the surging wave of progressive history. Ize –Iyamu, former Chief of Staff and later Secretary to the State Government in the Lucky Igbinedion’s regime (1999-2007), is trying to garner political credits by imputing murky motives for the postponement of the Saturday 10th election. Ize-Iyamu ought to understand that the attempt by the PDP to manufacture conspiracy tales out of the postponement cannot displace the authentic narratives of the wreckage of the vandalised lives and economy that he  left behind as ‘’co-governor’’ under Lucky Igbinedion. Edo voters will not suddenly abandon the issues of deficit of trust for PDP, their memory will not suddenly be wiped out on how their salaries and pensions lagged in arrears and situations of whole communities cut off from neighbours during raining season due to poor state of the roads.

Their reflection will remain vibrant on how their children were cramped into dilapidating structures called schools under Ize-Iyamu –Igbinedion government and how such major assets like the Bendel Brewery, Bendel Feed and Flour Mills as well as Bendel Line were either used to obtain huge loans. That was the past under PDP and Ize –Iyamu is yet to honestly explain how the future will be different under his government. Therefore, the attempt to make the postponement of the election the central issue for the voters is an illusory political adventure that will end up in a landslide defeat of the PDP on September 28th. It is understandable that both Fayose and Ize-Iyamu will see common ground in their approach to INEC’s decision.

With the postponement of the election, (protesting) parents of children scheduled to write WAEC initially on the same date can now feel some sense of relief for their children. APC was ready for the election hence the party held it’s very successful grand finale rally at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium on Tuesday September 6th, 2016 with an unprecedented crowd of party supporters and APC leaders across the country in attendance. From the ward level to the senatorial apex, the organisational machinery of the party was in top gear and caliberated for overwhelming victory. APC governorship candidate Godwin Obaseki however told supporters in a message that while he was formidably confident that APC would have indisputably emerged victorious on Saturday, he does not wish to put the” lives of voters and the general population at risk for any reason’’.

For Ize-Iyamu and Fayose, it seems that they would rather jettison the advice of the security agencies and ‘bully’ INEC to hold a poorly-supervised election with NYSC members refusing to cooperate because of deficient security arrangements. The new date of September 28th is not too far away, the trajectory of the Rainbow of victory steadily points in the direction of the APC, none of these hallucinatory somersaults by the Ize-Iyamus and Fayose’s will change the resolute determination of Edo people to vote for a continuing energetic march on the terrain of progress. There will be no going back to the years of bondage under the PDP.

Mr. Oteghe Adams, a political analyst,wrote from Benin City, Edo State

Economic recession: Schools offer discounts on fees

– Following the economic recession some school owners have resolved to give 50% discounts to any parent who pays for a whole session

– Some parents keep mounting pressure on the school administrators to give their children double promotion to avoid paying one year school fees

– Some private schools have concluded plans to reduce school fees so as to appeal to the conscience of parents who might be thinking of  taking their wards to public schools.

As Nigeria’s economic recession bites harder some school owners have resolved to give 50% discounts to any parent who pays for a whole session, as against paying for a term This is as some parents keep mounting pressure on school administrators to give their children double promotion to escape one year school fees.

According to Vanguard investigations as parents withdraw their children and wards from private schools, owners of some private schools have introduced attractive discounts to parents to curtail the unfavourable trend. In one of the schools located at Ipaja the offer was; if any parent can pay one year school fees in advance, he or she will get 50 per cent discount the following year. For some schools, management has concluded plans to reduce school fees so as to appeal to the conscience of parents who might be thinking of  patronise public schools.

The Proprietor of a school, in Agege, Lagos, who pleaded anonymity  lamented that there were some parents who, due to the prevailing economic recession, have gone to owners of private schools seeking for double promotion for their children without counting the academic consequence on their wards. Some parents have maintained that  the double promotion will relieve them of the burden of paying school fees for a year. His words: “Almost 75% of the parents are unable to pay their children’s school fees and buy books due to the recession. Some parents are buying half of the text books.

In a related development, the Senate has called for a shakeup in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet to allow competent hands serve in critical sectors of the economy in view of the current economic recession in the country. At the session, deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, advocated for the reshuffling of the cabinet by President Buhari to enable him put competent persons in critical sectors.

You will suffer if you continuing blowing pipelines – Bishops to militants

– High-ranking Christian clerics have appealed to militants to stop the destruction of oil and gas pipelines

– They warned that everyone including the militants would suffer the effect of vandalism

– President Buhari was also asked to solve the problem of herdsmen killing

Niger Delta militants

Bishops of Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion have sent a message to militants terrorising the Niger Delta region to have a rethink as they would also suffer the effect of their vandalism. The militants have been destroying oil and gas pipelines and this has affected the production of oil and ultimately the country’s economy. Daily Post reports that the religious clerics also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to find a lasting solution to the problem of herdsmen killing in the country. 

Most Reverend Nicolas Okoh who is the primate of Nigeria said shutting down the economy will not only affect the government but also the people including the militants.

“The Standing Committee wishes to make a passionate appeal to the militants to spare our economy and stop the bombing of oil facilities. “Shutting down the economy is like pulling down the roofs with all of us inside; nobody will escape the negative impact. We equally call on those who can reach them to join in this appeal for the greater good of all. “The presence of herdsmen in our countryside is not new, they have always been around. What is, however, new are the unprovoked attacks on their host communities and sometimes saying that cow is missing. “They lay ambush and waylay people going to their farms, rape women and destroy farmlands; and their victims are at their mercy because they are armed.

“We call on the federal government to immediately disarm these people to return Nigeria to a state of peace.” “Our roads are in bad condition all across the country. Since our major means of transport is road, we call on the federal government to give the required attention to the roads to reduce the inconveniences, accidents and deaths. “Airlines operating in the country are going through difficult times, some have grounded operations. No doubt, we need them.

“We therefore call on the federal government to expedite action on floating the national carrier or rejuvenate the private ones to enable them perform better. “Further in this area is the persistent scarcity of aviation fuel which has troubled the country, disrupted many programmes, including those of government and private.

“We call on government to solve the problem of aviation fuel permanently so that people can move about their businesses with less difficulty within the country.”

Tension: If you touch Patience Jonathan, we will destroy Nigeria – NDPPVF

– The militant group, Niger Delta Peoples Professional Volunteer Force (NDPPVF) has warned against prosecution of ex-First lady, Patience Jonathan who is being investigated by EFCC

NDPPVF has threatened to attack the nation if Patience Jonathan is for any reason 

– A criminal investigation has been launched, one which could see to the arrest of the ex-president’s wife

dame-patience-jonathan

The militant group, NDPPVF has said its members are workers in the oil and gas industry, stressing that they will detonate a bomb at the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Arresting former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, will lead to great disaster in Nigeria; says Niger Delta Peoples Professional Volunteer Force (NDPPVF). NDPPVF says it will blow up the NNPC if the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrests former First Lady, Patience Jonathan. Vanguard reports that the militant group accused the anti-graft agency of witch-hunting the former first ladythe group, according to an online news portal, TheCable, advised EFCC to lift the No Debit Order imposed on her Skye Bank accounts. The accounts contain more than $15 million, but Jonathan’s wife has since explained that the money was meant for her medical bills. Last week, the EFCC filed money laundering charges against Waripamowei Dudafa, Jonathan’s special adviser on domestic affairs, whom the former first lady directed to open the accounts Dudafa, Amajuoyi Briggs, a lawyer; and Damola Bolodeoku, a Skye Bank official.

On Tuesday, the Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, also told journalists that Jonathan’s wife was under investigation. But in a statement by Parkinson George-Amabo, spokesman of NDPPVF, the group warned Magu that investigating Patience could result into “bad blood, embarrassment and possible unrest in the Niger Delta.” The group said it is not in support of corruption, but against the manner in which the agency is investigating Patience who has had an “impressive and fortuitous pedigree.” “As a matter of fact, the EFCC has launched a criminal investigation of Mrs. Jonathan and in the process, frozen her bank accounts domiciled with a Nigerian commercial bank without affording her opportunity to state her own side of the matter,” the statement read. “Nobody is above the law. The NDPPVF does not support or condone corruption. If Mrs. Jonathan was found to be corrupt, we shall not hesitate to call for her prosecution.

“We, however, have a grouse with the modus operandi of Mrs. Jonathan’s investigation, given her status as the wife of a former deputy governor, former governor, former vice-president, former acting president and finally, former president. She is perhaps, the only Nigerian woman – dead or alive – with such an impressive and fortuitous pedigree; which accounts for why the EFCC needs to thread with caution. “Recently, there have been calls on the Attorney-General of the Federation as well as the EFCC to arrest and prosecute the former First Lady for alleged money laundering. “We shall simultaneously bomb the 4 wings of the NNPC Towers the day it is announced that Mrs. Patience Goodluck Jonathan has been arrestedThe group added that before her husband emerged as vice-president in 2007, the EFCC investigated Mrs. Jonathan and cleared of any wrongdoing.”

Meanwhile, Ibrahim Magu who is the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has promised Patience Jonathan, that she would be investigated for the $15,591,700 she claimed belonged to her. The anti-graft agency had placed restriction on the an account which the former first lady later claimed to be hers.

The Guardian reports that the account is being fingered as one of those involved in an alleged fraud case before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos but Mrs Jonathan’s counsel, Gboyega Oduwole has filed a case before the court, informing that his client is unhappy with the EFCC over the recent move to freeze the account. Amajuoyi Azubike Briggs, an ex-presidential aide; Damola Bolodeoku, a former Skye Bank official; Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited and Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited had all been charged to court over their individual involvement in the fraudulent activities with companies without address.

The EFCC has taken more tough moves against Patience Jonathan by freezing her personal account with the account name: titled ‘Patience Ibifaka Jonathan’. The former first lady has been under the radar of the anti-graft agency for financial-corruption allegation and had placed restrictions on account she claimed to be hers.

Economy on its knees as recession bites

It is hard to find anyone in Nigeria today that is not affected one way or another by the worsening state of the economy.    The goodwill that ushered this government to power has all but evaporated.  In my recent visit to Nigeria, I overheard a conversation between two roadside hawkers on the rising cost of living in the country and when one mentioned the word “change”, the other retorted angrily,  “Holy ghost fire kill that change”!

Nigerians have become beggars because of the lack of work and non-payment of salaries.  Even those that are lucky to receive their salaries regularly have seen their pay slashed by as much as 50 per cent. Our hospitals have become mere consulting centres where patients go to die because of the lack of basic medical equipment.  With inflation spiralling out of control, because of the rising cost of inputs, business activities in Nigeria are gradually grinding to a halt.  Standard&Poors Global Ratings downgraded Nigeria five levels into junk territory on September 16, saying the economy had performed worse than it expected because of the attacks on oil facilities andPresident Muhamadu Buhari’s foreign exchange policies.

At the root of our current economic challenge is the lack of liquidity in the system, due to the huge reduction in revenue receipts from oil.  At the height of the oil boom in 2013/14 oil was trading at $110 a barrel.  Today, oil prices have plummeted by 60 per cent, from $110 to  $44 a barrel and oil production has dropped dramatically from 2.3m barrels a day in June 2014 to 1.4m barrels, a reduction of 40 per cent.  Whilst this colossal drop in oil receipts is primarily responsible for this recession, the lack of urgency and ineptitude of government in managing the decline in oil revenue has exacerbated an already dire situation.

We need a bold economic plan that will involve a mix of monetary and fiscal policy measures to get us out of this quagmire.  The government will need to embark on a massive infrastructure building programme, unprecedented in our history to address the current economic crisis. This will involve the construction of thousands of kilometres of roads; the revamp and modernisation of our entire railway network and the building of over a million units of social housing in partnership with state governments and the private sector.  This will inject the much needed liquidity into the system and create millions of sustainable jobs for Nigerians.   We have to spend our way out of this recession.  Western Europe did it under the Marshall Plan that restored full employment to its citizens after the 2nd World War;  Brazil did it in the 1990s and the UAE of which Dubai is an emirate is doing it today. The Obama administration used “quantitative easing” to inject liquidity into the US economy in 2008/09 to stave off recession.  We should not be afraid to borrow, provided projects are well thought out.  The gains from the investment will more than pay back any borrowing, if the programme is properly planned and structured.

It is however paramount that the government “follows the money”.  The civil servants and public officials that stole previous allocations are still in the system;  they have not gone away, thanks to a corrupt judicial system.

It is not enough for ministers to tell us that things will turn around at the end of the year.   The millions of unemployed graduates and youths roaming the streets with no prospects, no money and no hope need to hear from their Commander-in-Chief his plans for addressing their situation.  They need to hear something more concrete from the government, not wishy-washy promises that amount to very little.  The President needs to articulate the government’s strategy for getting us out of this recession, together with timelines and deliverables.

Industrialisation is the way forward for Nigeria and we need to pursue this aggressively. We need to move away from the lazy dependence on fossil fuels and solid minerals we simply dig up from the ground and send abroad for others to process, with no value added.  We need to create industrial zones that government can support with grants, low cost loans and 24hr power.  We have the greatest need for power and should be leading the research on solar technology and building the world’s largest solar plants here in Nigeria.  Sadly, the academia has served Nigeria badly.  Allegations abound of vice-chancellors that practically looted their institutions, diverting funds meant for research to themselves.

One of our biggest problems in Nigeria is that policies are not well-thought through before they are rolled out.  In these challenging times, the government should have no business sponsoring pilgrimages to Mecca or Jerusalem.  We have enough Christian and Muslim billionaires who are more than capable of doing this through charitable trusts.

We seem to be repeating the same policy mistakes on exchange rate we made in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s that led to recession.  Running a dual exchange rate regime poses great risks to the economy.  It is not unreasonable to assume that those who are able to obtain the dollar at government preferential rate of N197, faced with the choice of investing in their factory or selling the dollars at the current rate of N420 will most likely do the latter. Businessmen, anywhere in the world, would do the same, given the same arbitrage opportunity.  It is common sense.  This policy will make banks, businesses and individuals who are able to obtain dollars at the preferential rate very rich and lead to the scarcity of the essential goods the policy is designed to benefit.

Like most Nigerians, I find the kerfuffle between the executive and the Senate president a huge distraction, especially at a time when new laws and amendments to existing laws are urgently needed to address our various challenges.

There is an urgent need therefore to look inwards at government spending to release the much needed resources for critical infrastructure.  Our leaders should lead by example.  The President should not be maintaining a fleet of presidential jets in the current economic climate when the Prime Minister of Britain, the world’s fifth richest economy, travels with British Airways on official engagements.  Governors should not be asking civil servants and pensioners that have not been paid for several months to be patient when they and state legislators are the first to collect their own wages.

The incoherent message coming from the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, and the Central Bank of Nigeria is quite troubling.  There is a sense that the economy is on autopilot whilst ministers are at a loss what to do.   At a time like this, the President desperately needs the best brains around him, wherever he can find them.  The present Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, is a Canadian citizen, headhunted from Canada.  President Muhammadu Buhari needs seasoned economic advisers to help with policy formulation and implementation, not PhDs without any proved and verifiable experience. With no job, no money and no hope, the potential for civil unrest looms.

Anglican bishops flee Anambra over IPOB’s threat

IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu

 

The five-day meeting of the bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) taking place in Awka, Anambra State ended abruptly on Wednesday.

This, our correspondent gathered, was as a result of the fear that the 170 bishops attending the meeting could be trapped because of the sit-at-home protest declared by the Indigenous People of Biafra to hold on September 23.

The conference was scheduled to end on Friday.

The Primate of the Anglican Communion, Most Revd. Nicolas Okoh, had earlier in the conference expressed fear that the bishops could be trapped in the state should their meeting go on as scheduled.

He had asked the state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, to prevail on IPOB members to shelve their Friday protest so that the bishops’ conference could go on.

He said the IPOB sit-at-home protest would hamper their activities and movement.

Okoh implored the pro-Biafran agitators to postpone their action until after the end of the bishops’ conference.

IPOB had threatened that markets, banks and other institutions would  be shut down on Friday, while movement would be restricted in the  South-East geopolitical zone and beyond as a protest  against the continued detention of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, by the Federal Government.

“We are not against whatever their agitations are, but we ask them to wait until we leave Awka on Friday.

“If they go on to carry out that protest, we may be trapped in Anambra as the Niger Bridge is the only exit from Anambra State.

“So, help us beg them to allow us to go,” the Primate enjoined Obiano.

A delegate who would not want to be named told our correspondent that, “there was no assurance that we were protected. We are human, so we had to put our heads together and decided to cut short the conference.

“That’s the most ideal thing to do in the circumstance.

“I will leave this evening (Wednesday) and most others will do same. Those who can’t make it today will do so early tomorrow (Thursday). There is no need waiting, it doesn’t make sense.”

Meanwhile, the Anglican bishops had in the summit appealed to the Niger Delta militants to stop the bombing of oil facilities in their region in the interest of the country.

This was even as they appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to convene a roundtable meeting with the agitators in order to address their grievances.

The clerics reminded the militants that shutting down the economy of the country would not do anybody any good.

Delivering his address at the conference held at the Cathedral Church of St. Faith, Awka, Okoh appealed to the Federal Government to disarm the Fulani herdsmen who he said had murdered the peace of the country.

The address partly read, “The Standing Committee wishes to make a passionate appeal to the militants to spare our economy and stop the bombing of oil facilities.

“Shutting down the economy is like pulling down the roofs with all of us inside; nobody will escape the negative impact. We equally call on those who can reach them to join in this appeal for the greater good of all.

“The presence of herdsmen in our countryside is not new, they have always been around. What is, however, new are the unprovoked attacks on their host communities sometimes justified by saying that a cow is missing.

“They lay ambush and waylay people going to their farms, rape women and destroy farmlands; and their victims are at their mercy because they are armed.

“We call on the Federal Government to immediately disarm these people in order to return peace to Nigeria.”

EFCC freezes Patience Jonathan’s personal $5m account

dame-patience-jonathan

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has frozen Patience Jonathan’s personal account, titled ‘Patience Ibifaka Jonathan’, which is domiciled in Skye Bank Plc.

Impeccable sources within the agency told our correspondent on Wednesday that the move had become necessary due to the prima facie case established against the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s wife.

As part of investigations into alleged diversion against a former Special Adviser to ex-President Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa, the anti-graft agency had frozen four companies’ accounts in Skye Bank with a balance of $15,591,700.

However, before the EFCC could arraign the four companies in court, Jonathan’s wife deposed to an affidavit, claiming that the money belonged to her.

Despite Patience’s claims, however, the EFCC arraigned the four companies –Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited; and Globus Integrated Service Limited.

The companies pleaded guilty and the EFCC had already begun moves to ensure that the money is forfeited permanently to the Federal Government.

A detective at the EFCC told The PUNCH,“Recall that we had frozen the four companies’ accounts, which Patience Jonathan later laid claim to. We have been able to establish that the money was part of proceeds of crime.

“She had no evidence that the money in the four accounts belonged to her. All she had were platinum debit cards, which she was using to withdraw money and the cards are not evidence of ownership.

“Initially, we had traced $5m to her personal account, which we did not touch but I can confirm to you now that the $5m account, bearing Patience Jonathan’s name, has also been seized since she claimed that the monies in the company accounts and the one in her personal name all emanated from the same source.

“We are tracing other accounts belonging to Patience. It will interest you to know that despite all the letters she has written, she has never stated where she got the money from. She claimed to be a housewife and yet she has $20m.”

Patience had recently written a letter to the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, where she claimed that she needed the money for her medical treatment abroad.

She had also sued Skye Bank for N200m, accusing the bank of freezing her accounts unjustly.

In a letter written by her lawyers, Granville Abibo (SAN) and Co, Patience said, “It is noteworthy to emphasise that the said accounts, which were in US dollar denomination, were card-based accounts and our client is the sole signatory of these accounts.

“The said bank officials also assured our client that they will change the account names accordingly and issue to our client new credit cards for the said accounts which was not done despite repeated demands.

“However, our client has been operating the said accounts using the cards for her medical bill payments and purchases for her private purposes without any let or hindrance.

“Our client was therefore surprised when the said cards stopped functioning on July 7, 2016 or thereabout. Our client immediately thereupon contacted Skye Bank Plc through our solicitors. It was only then that the bank officials informed our client that the said accounts were placed on a ‘No Debit Order’ following investigations and instructions from your commission and this is without notice to our client by either the bank or the commission.

“It is in the light of the foregoing that we urge you to use your good offices to vacate the ‘No Debit/Freezing Order’ placed on the said accounts.”

Economic Revival, Key To Reducing Human Trafficking In Nigeria – Buhari

Buhari-Leaves

President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, in New York, said that the anti-corruption campaign of his administration and the economic programme of diversification will significantly address the lack of job opportunities and deprivation that make Nigerian youths vulnerable to recruitment by human traffickers. This was made available, Wednesday, by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina. He said that Buhari made the statement during a meeting on Modern Slavery, hosted by the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister,Theresa May, on the margins of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71).

At the residence of the United Kingdom Permanent Representative to the UN where the meeting took place, Buhari said “We are also investing more on infrastructure development, education and health for our people. When the results of our efforts become manifest, the attraction of seeking greener pastures abroad will lesson,” he declared. President Buhari commended the British Prime Minister for drawing the attention of the international community to such a serious matter to coincide with a time that the global focus is on migration and refugee crisis. The statement also said that Buhari, therefore called for practical and innovative measures “to address all the modern day human tragedies.” The President noted that “more worrisome is the fact that human trafficking and modern day slavery have created a dangerous political economy of their own. In consequence, this international criminality is defined by the activities of human traffickers that lure unsuspecting victims into forced labour, inhuman treatment, money laundering and prostitution.”

He said Nigeria “is ready and willing to partner with other countries and international organizations to confront this phenomenon. We have a strong commitment to combating the menace of modern slavery, and will redouble our efforts to prohibit human trafficking, while providing succour to its hapless victims.” President Buhari assured his audience “to count on the support of Nigeria in dealing with this evil, which constitutes an unacceptable stain on human dignity and conscience in the 21st century.”

On measures taken by the country against the evil practice, he said the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Nigeria Immigration Service have taken steps to establish a joint operational Working Group to combat human trafficking and smuggling of migrants from the country.

“We are aware of the challenge for Nigeria, but our resolve to combat it is strong and unshakable,” the President declared. President Buhari was accompanied to the high-level meeting by Geoffrey Onyeama and Lt-Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau (rtd), the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Interior respectively.

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/09/economic-revival-key-reducing-human-trafficking-nigeria-buhari/