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NEWS / Police Parade 2 NSCDC Officers, Recover Tankers
« on: Today at 09:02:21 AM »
The police have intercepted and recovered nine tankers each filled with 33,000 litres of adulterated diesel, but the drivers absconded on sighting the special task force team.

The Force said the tankers were recovered in Nasarawa, Delta and Ogun states, noting that a laboratory analysis indicated that the products were off-specification.

Two assistant superintendents of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Agah Ovie and Angel Kilosomewo, were also arrested for allegedly dealing in illegally refined petroleum product, according to the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood.

He alleged that the suspects were caught in the Otuasegha area of Yenogoa, Bayelsa State with 350 litres of illegally refined diesel in 15 sacks containing 25 litres each.

Moshood said the diesel was loaded in an NSCDC patrol van which was recovered along with kegs of diesel.

“The two suspects volunteered confessional statements admitting to be personnel of the civil defence corps attached to critical infrastructure department, Bayelsa State Command and that the van belonged to their Head of Department, Lawrence Ndubuisi,” the police spokesman stated.

He stated that investigation was on towards arresting the suspects and their sponsors in order to bring them to justice.

But the NSCDC officers denied the allegation, saying the product was confiscated from some illegal bunkerers.

“We informed the police that the product was seized from some illegal bunkerers and they told us the issue would be sorted out. We are surprised to find ourselves at the police headquarters being paraded before the media,” Ovie protested.

CRIME / LASG Probes VIS’ Burning Of Impounded Car
« on: Today at 09:01:34 AM »
The Lagos State Ministry of Transportation has set up a panel to probe the alleged burning of a motorist car by the Vehicle Inspection Service in the Lagos Island area of the state.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the panel was also directed to investigate the Director of the VIS, Mr. Gbolahan Toriola, for the alleged assault and malreatment of the motorist.

Our correspondent had reported on Thursday and Friday that a 42-year-old painter, Oluwadamilare Afolarin, had been flagged down by the VIS officials in the Ilaje, Ajah area.

His Honda Accord was said to have been impounded over allegation that the windscreen was cracked. He was fined N80,000.

While the victim was about paying the bill after two weeks, he was called by one Akeem, who asked him to proceed to the Ojodu Berger office of the agency.

He was said to have been informed that the vehicle was burnt on the VIS premises and offered a compensation of N200,000.

Akeem was reported to have taken Afolarin to Toriola’s office at Alausa, where the director allegedly slapped the victim and ordered that his shoes and phone be seized.

The director allegedly accused the motorist of sneaking into the VIS premises and setting fire to the vehicle, adding that the VIS men saw footprints of his shoes at the scene.

Afolarin was said to have been locked up at the Ogombo Police Division for three days after which he was coerced to sign an undertaking not to report the incident on the social media or inform the press.

PUNCH Metro reported that he was asked to give up the invoice for the N80,000 fine given by the VIS men; and was given N2,000 as transport fare back home.

After the report, Nigerians condemned the action of the VIS which they described as “cruel”.

Some others called on the state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, to investigate the incident and bring the officials to book for acting without the “fear of God”.

A source in the ministry of transportation said the agency was being probed.

He said, “The ministry has set up a panel to investigate the case. Governor Ambode is furious over the matter. How can a man be assaulted, fined and detained at a police station after his vehicle got burnt on your premises? It is indeed an abuse of power.”

The state Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Anofi Elegushi, confirmed the development, adding that the panel was set up sequel to PUNCH Metro’s reports.

He said, “Yes, we are looking into the case. Whenever we get reports like that, we have to look into them before we send our findings to the governor. We will do due diligence in the matter. You can call me tomorrow (Monday) for an update. I will ensure they carry you along.”

Worshippers at the Holy Apostles Church, Ayetoro, in the Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State trooped out on streets of the community on Sunday  to protest against the continued closure of the church by the police.

It was gathered that the church was closed down by the Ondo State Police Command in January 2016 following a leadership crisis in the community.

A resident of the area explained to PUNCH Metro that the church was the only church that members of the community attended.

He added that whoever was the head of the riverine community would automatically become the head of the church.

He said the crisis rocking the community had affected the church.

It was also gathered that sequel to the closure, members of the community had been unable to worship.

During the protest on Sunday, the worshippers displayed placards with different inscriptions such as ‘Open our place of worship,’ ‘Freedom of worship is our rights here,’ ‘All we are saying, we need a place of worship,’ among others.

Another member of the community, who spoke on condition of anonymity, disclosed that the church was initially closed down for several months, but was reopened on November 8, 2015, and later closed down again on January 11, 2016, for the second time by the police.

One of the leaders of the church, Mr. Lawrence Lemamu, who spoke to our correspondent, lamented that the government and the police were depriving the residents of the community of their fundamental human rights to worship in the land of their fathers.

He said, “Serving God in worship is key and central to the establishment of this community by our forefathers. Ayetoro is all about worshipping God.”

However, another leader of the church, Bishop Eretan, said the church was shut off because the problem in the community started from the church, noting that it was part of measures employed to calm the aggrieved parties.

Eretan said the closure was recommended as a temporary solution to the problem to avert similar crisis which first erupted in 1986, during which a life was lost.

“Religious crisis is very dangerous. If we are not careful, many lives may be lost. The same mechanism that was used in 1986 was what we have applied.” he said.

The Police Public Relations Officer for the Ondo State Police Command, Mr. Femi Joseph, was unavailable for comments as of press time, as his telephone line was switched off when our correspondent put a call across to him.

The death of a businessman, Adeola Oyekan, in Ogijo, Ogun State, from injuries sustained in the hands of soldiers attached to the 174 Battalion in Ikorodu, Lagos, has been attracting strong criticism.

Oyekan died on Friday.

Nigerians, who reacted to the incident on the social media, asked the Nigerian Army to produce the erring soldiers for prosecution.

Although the army debunked soldiers’ involvement in the killing of the 40-year-old businessman, the Ogun State Police Command vowed that the soldiers would be identified and brought to book.

It had been reported that one Tunji, the son of Oyekan’s landlady on Prince Jamiu Oyebade Street, Ogijo, had on March 8 brought four soldiers from the battalion to torture him and his wife, Mrs. Glory Fagbayide, for allegedly insulting his mother.

After allegedly beating up the couple in their apartment, the soldiers reportedly took them to their barracks in Ita Oluwo for another round of torture during which Oyekan’s jaws and neck were affected.

The deceased’s wife had told our correspondent that the soldiers dispossessed Oyekan of a Nokia Lumia phone and a sum of N84,000, adding that the clothes dealer died on the way to the Ikorodu General Hospital after his health worsened on Friday.

Tunji and his mother have been arrested by the police.

Nigerians, who reacted to the report of the incident on PUNCH Online, lamented that assaults by military men were becoming alarming.

“The soldiers should be made to face the music just like the recent ex-policemen in the case of the Apo killings. The media and human rights activists should stand up for this case. The fight against police and military brutality is a daunting one, but should start somewhere,” a commentator, identified only as Simeon, wrote.

Another reader, Ayodele Sanni, said the assaults were in violation of democratic rules, and urged federal and state governments to check the soldiers’ excesses.

He wrote, “Are we in a military regime? Soldiers must not be involved in civilian disputes. It is time the governors of concerned states wade into this serious issue.

“If they are really bored and need combat action, the Federal Government should deploy them in hot zones like the North-East to face Boko Haram.”

A commentator, who gave his name as Laddeck, also decried the spate of attacks on civilians by security agents and demanded stiff punishments for perpetrators.

“This year alone, we have had many cases of gross indiscipline by soldiers, naval ratings and airmen, officials of DSS, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, customs, (police’s is a daily occurrence).

“It is obvious the military is doing nothing about it despite all the tough comments. It is now safe to assume that all Nigerians in service uniforms are mentally damaged…and it is best to avoid any conflict with them,” Laddeck wrote.

The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Ambibola Oyeyemi, assured the deceased’s family and members of the public that all the perpetrators would be brought to book.

He said, “The landlady and her son have been arrested. The son will identify the soldiers. The Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyad, has directed that the case should be transferred to the homicide section of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Eleweran, for discreet investigation.

“The public should be rest assured that justice will be done. There won’t be any cover-up. When somebody’s life is taken unlawfully, the perpetrators must be brought to book.”

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, in a statement on Sunday, however, absolved soldiers of Oyekan’s death, and accused one Kenny Adesanya, of misinforming the public.

“The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to media reports and photograph of the corpse of one Mr. George (Oyekan) allegedly murdered by troops of 174 Battalion, Ikorodu. The story and the photograph were ostensibly shared by one Mr. Kenny Abel Adesanya through his twitter handle.

“However, investigation has confirmed that the allegation is not true. Rather, it was a figment of Adesanya’s imagination borne out of mischief and hatred for the Nigerian Army and an attempt to divert attention from those that committed the dastardly act.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the location where the incident took place, Ogijo, is in Ogun State and 174 Battalion does not have any deployment there, neither does any of our troops patrol the area.

“A team was dispatched to the Ogijo Police Station to investigate the matter. It was confirmed that the incident dates back to March 8, 2017. George (now late) was threatened by the son of his landlady that he would invite his soldier friends to beat him for failing to pay his rent which was long overdue. On the day, the tenant was taken from the compound by three young men and beaten up. The case was reported at the Ogijo Police Station. The parties involved were arrested and their statements taken.

“Thereafter, the police wanted to charge the matter to court for which the tenant and the landlady opted for out of court settlement. The young men who carried out the beating were neither arrested nor their identity ascertained by the police. The police claimed that the landlady’s son said he used his friends. The case was, however, treated as assault. No report was sent to the military authorities because no soldier was involved,” the statement read in part.

NEWS / Man Dies Digging Woman’s Grave In Ebonyi
« on: Today at 08:59:11 AM »
A middle aged man identified as Ifeanyi Nwafor, aged 29 years, slumped and died on Saturday as he was digging the grave of a dead elderly woman.

The ugly incident, which occurred in Onunwankwo village, Umuhuali community in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, caused confusion among residents.

Narrating the development to newsmen, a member of the ‘Youth Assembly’ in the area, Mr. Nonso Ekuma, said the deceased hailed from Azuegu village and was conspicuous in all the burial activities during the wake keep of the late woman known as Madam Alioke Mgbanya.

He said, “At dawn, the deceased, Ifeanyi Nwafor, participated in the digging of the grave for the burial of the old woman when he met his death.

“The deceased joined his mates in the drinking episode of the wake-keep till dawn, when they began to prepare the grave before the arrival of the parish priest to bury the dead woman as others equally took their turns,” he stressed.

Nwafor continued, “When Ifeanyi got into the grave with a digger, he dug two times and on the third round, he could not bring down the digger, but slumped and died in the grave.

He maintained that every effort made by sympathisers, including warming his feet with fire to see if he could be revived, proved abortive.

The deceased, Ifeanyi, was equally on Saturday at Azuegu village, Umuhuali.

Another eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Southern City News that Ifeanyi was a driver.

He said a member of Ifeanyi family died similarly in 2016 while farming. He reportedly raised his hoe, slumped and died.

“The deceased was survived by a wife and two kids and all are resident in the community,” he disclosed.

Efforts to reach the Ebonyi State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Jude Madu, for confirmation was not successful as his telephone lines were not reachable.

CRIME / Drunk Driver Kills Five In A’Ibom
« on: Today at 08:56:44 AM »
Five persons were on Sunday killed at Ukana Ikot Etim area of Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, when they were knocked down by an alleged drunk driver.

The man driving a Ford utility sport vehicle with registration number GCE 342 CX was trying to avoid two children that were crossing the road.

The driver, whose identity had yet to be revealed, was said to be speeding, when he suddenly crashed into the seven people who were waiting at a bean cake  (akara) spot at the  Ukana Ikot Etim Junction.

An eyewitness, Mr. Godwin Anthony, said the driver crashed into the five pedestrians who died instantly while the remaining two sustained serious injuries.

According to him, when they approached the driver, they discovered that he was drunk. He added the driver with the vehicle had been taken to the Ikot Ekpene Police Command, SARS Department.

Anthony said the seven persons were returning from church on Sunday.

Efforts to speak with the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Donald Awunah, proved abortive as prompt from his telephone indicated that his line was unavailable.

But the Public Relations Officer of the Federal Road Road Safety in the state,  Mr. Uwen God’sgift, said they had yet to confirm the story.

NEWS / UNILAG Student Slumps, Dies After Night Out
« on: Today at 08:55:47 AM »
Tragedy has stuck at the Moremi Hall of the University of Lagos after a Chemistry Education student, identified simply as Tope, slumped and died at the institution’s medical centre.

Sources in UNILAG said the student, who was squatting in the hostel, died shortly after returning from an outing with a man.

They added that Tope could have been saved if she was promptly attended to at the centre.

One of them said, “Tope was squatting here. She went to a club and returned around midnight on Thursday. It was not long afterwards that she started gasping. We rushed her to the UNILAG Medical Centre, but they blamed the student who allowed her to squat in her room. Tope eventually died, while the other student is being threatened with eviction.’’

However, the management of the university said no student died at the centre. A statement from the school’s Deputy Registrar, Information Unit, Mr. Toyin Adebule, said Tope died before she was brought to the centre.

“I wish to state that the incident did not happen at the centre. Also, there is no report from the hall to the Dean of Students Affairs on the incident. Therefore, no student has been ejected from the hall,” the statement read in part.

CRIME / Suspects On Bail Nabbed For Another Car Theft
« on: Today at 08:54:31 AM »
POLICE operatives attached to the Eziama Division in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, have arrested the duo of Victor Eborgu and Ohuru Santus for allegedly removing a Toyota Camry car from where it was parked on Aba Road in Umuahia, the State capital.

A police source told Southern City News that the operatives acted on a tip-off that some hoodlums were planning to sell a stolen car with Registration Number CU 244 PHC earlier reported to be missing.

It was gathered that the security agents swiftly raced to the scene and caught the suspects in the act.

The source added that the suspects, recently released from the prison on bail, were awaiting trial for a car theft offence committed in 2016.

Confessing to the crime, Eborgu said he was truly on bail for a car theft crime he committed in the past.

He said, “I was arrested because I removed a car from where it was parked. I used a master key in removing the car.  I have stolen up to 10 cars since I got involved in this crime. But I was granted bail last year after I was arrested and paraded for the same crime.”

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Adeleye Oyebade, confirmed the arrest of the suspects, adding that investigation had commenced with a view to recovering more vehicles and arresting other members of the syndicate.

He expressed the need for all the stakeholders in the administration of justice to come together and brainstorm on how to reduce the incidence of suspects on bail going back to the same crime.

He said, “When there is any rise in crime, all eyes are on the police to fight crime and protect lives and properties. But the prison has their own roles to play in rehabilitating the arrested suspect in the prison.”

NEWS / More Queen’s College Pupils Take Ill
« on: Today at 08:53:40 AM »
• Parents call for prosecution of  ex-principal

Samson Folarin

on a daily basis, a pupil of Queen’s College, Yaba, is admitted in one general hospital or another in Lagos State, PUNCH Metro has learnt.

A parent, whose child had been admitted at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba, for about a week, told our correspondent that no fewer than 15 pupils of the school were receiving treatment in LUTH.

The parent and other parents with children in the school called on the Federal Government to recall a former principal of the school, Dr Lami Amodu, to face criminal charges for negligence and the death of two pupils of the school.

Our correspondent had reported that many pupils of the school had diarrhoea after eating spaghetti and water, said to have been contaminated.

A teacher in the school had disclosed to our correspondent that one-fourth of the school population was infected with diarrhoea and were initially admitted at the school’s sickbay.

Two pupils of the school–Vivian Osuiniyi and Bithia Itulua – were reported to have died after being taken away for proper treatments at home.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, had released a statement, saying health records from the school’s sickbay indicated that the illness started on January 16, 2017, adding that a total of 1,222 pupils presented themselves at the school’s clinic on account of abdominal pain, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Idris had advised an indefinite suspension of academic activities in the school.

The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, was reported to have asked the school’s new principal, Mrs. Bola Are, to cease plans for the resumption of the school.

PUNCH Metro, however, learnt that the school’s Junior Secondary School three pupils and Senior Secondary School three pupils had been going to the school as day students because of their certificate exams.

A parent, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone from LUTH on Thurday, said the decision was wrong, adding that some parents had been bringing their children from the school in their uniforms to LUTH.

She said, “My daughter did not show any symptom until about two weeks ago. We took her to a private clinic in our area, where she stayed for five days without any improvement.

“Then, we took her to a standard hospital where some consultants battled with the infection. After I had spent about N150,000, I was advised to take her to LUTH.

“In LUTH, I saw a lot of Queen’s College parents with their children. We were about 15 in number. Just yesterday, they brought a girl in school uniform. She was brought by her parents directly from the school. Unfortunately, while some of our children are struggling to survive, the school is trying to manage its reputation by lying that all is well.

“They are bringing pupils on a daily basis. The school authority and the Federal Ministry of Education are paying lip service to this unfolding incident.”

He said on the average, each admitted pupil spent two weeks in the hospital.

On Friday, the parent sent a message to our correspondent that another child had been brought in her school uniform to LUTH.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, had instructed all federal hospitals to treat pupils of the school free of charge.

A parent said one of the doctors attending to the children cautioned that pupils who had yet to show any sign of infection were more at risk.

He said, “We were told that the more the bacterial stays dormant in the body of the girls, the more dangerous it would be. There is a need for the school management to sensitise all the parents whose children have not fallen ill to take urgent action. It is dangerous for pupils to still be using that environment because the infection has not been isolated.”

A parent said many of the parents were of the opinion that the former principal of the school must be recalled and made to answer for the incident.

He said, “She was just transferred, which is wrong. She should be made to answer to what happened. She should be prosecuted for criminal negligence or manslaughter. The same principal bought a Ford Explorer Jeep.  The Jeep is on the school’s premises. This principal denied that anything happened, and the question is why? Somebody must pay for this.”

The Public Relations Officer of LUTH, Mr. Kelechi Otuneme, said he could not confirm the number of Queen’s College pupils in the hospital.

He said, “I don’t have that case before me right now, so I cannot tell the frequency at which they bring in pupils and the number of those in the hospital. I will get back to you tomorrow (Monday).”

The President of the Old Students Association, Dr Frances Ajose, confirmed the development, adding that she was informed each time a new pupil took ill.

She said, “Of course I am aware. I am notified each time they (the pupils) are going to hospitals.”

Ajose, however, directed our correspondent to the state Commissioner for Health, Idris, saying he was the only one authorised to comment on the outbreak.

A top official of Queen’s College, who begged not to be identified, said she had spoken with LUTH director and was informed many of the pupils had been discharged.

“I was told only five pupils are on admission. We are monitoring the situation. I have been praying for the pupils to return to school. The past principal really messed things up and I believe all other schools must have learnt from her mistake,” she added.

NEWS / Akande Seeks Review Of Nigeria’s Education System
« on: Today at 08:47:46 AM »
A visiting professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, Adeolu Akande, has called on the federal and state governments to review the education policy in the country.

This, he said, should be done with a view to ensuring that “education contributes its quota to national development”.

Akande said this while delivering a public lecture on “The Role of Education in National Development” at the annual awards of the National Progressive Youth Forum, in Ibadan, Oyo State.

He said education as presently implemented in the country could not guarantee the nation’s development because no country could develop faster than its educational policy.

According to him, about 40 per cent of Nigerian children of primary school age are out of school.

He said only 54 per cent of those who entered primary school went to secondary school while only 20 per cent of the 1.3m who applied for tertiary education are admitted into higher institutions.

“The result is that far less than 40 per cent of Nigerian children have the benefit of education to mould them into responsible members of the society who could be part of the manpower to drive the development of the country.”

NEWS / S’West, Kwara Legislatures Hail Oyintiloye
« on: Today at 08:47:06 AM »
Members of the some South-West Houses of Assembly and the Senator representing Osun-East senatorial district, Babajide Omoworare, have congratulated the Chairman, Osun State House of Assembly Committee on Information and Strategy, Mr. Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, on the best South-West lawmaker award 2016 conferred on him by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria.

In separate congratulatory message by their speakers, the parliaments said the honour bestowed on Oyintiloye was well deserved.

Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Najeem Salaam, said the honour had confirmed in clear terms the commitment of Oyintiloye to adding value in his legislative assignments.

Salaam commended the FRCN management for recognising and rewarding excellence, diligence and commitment to service.

A statement signed by the Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly, Suraju Adekunbi, said the honour was an eloquent testimony to Oyintiloye’s mastery of his job of information management.

“I wish to congratulate you on the well-deserved honour conferred on you by the FRCN. To me, it is a clear testimony to your stride in the State of Osun and Nigeria as a whole,” Adekunbi said.

The Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Kola Oluwawole, said the award was a demonstration of Oyintiloye’s commitment to the development of the grassroots.

NEWS / Lagos Urges Youths To Embrace Job Volunteering
« on: Today at 08:46:26 AM »
The Lagos State Government has advised youths seeking jobs to embrace available volunteering jobs within their areas of interest as a leverage that will make their dream jobs realisable.

The Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, stated this on Friday during an ‘Employability Skills Training’ programme for unemployed youths in Apapa and its environs.

Durosinmi-Etti noted that youths, who had gained experience from volunteering jobs, stood better chances of being gainfully employed since they would have acquired skills needed to sustain their jobs.

“It is like what obtains in developed countries. Volunteering jobs are seen as an avenue for building employability skills. Youths who are unemployed in this part of the world should also learn to maximise opportunities around,” he said.

The commissioner said the track records of the state had provided a platform for the beneficiaries of its training and empowerment programmes which would eventually grant them leverage for job opportunities.

He said the training programmes had equipped participants with skills which they were not exposed to while in school.

The commissioner also disclosed that the government would soon start a graduate internship programme for 2,000 graduates between ages 21 and 30 from May 2017.

He said, “The government decided to come up with the programme as a way of curbing restiveness attached to the age group and their vulnerability to crime if left idle.”

The Director of Employment in the ministry, Mrs. Iyabo Seriki-Bello, said the overall goal of the government was to bridge the employability skills deficit in the labour market.

Residents of the Onikan area of Lagos State have commenced a class action against Eko Electricity Distribution Plc and Ikeja Electricity Plc over alleged estimated and inflated electricity bills being issued to them.

The suit, LD/1630CGM/2017, was filed before Justice A.M. Lawal of the Federal High Court in Igbosere.

The claimants in the suit, Bisi Ariyo and Daniel Daniel, sued on behalf of themselves and all unmetered electricity consumers in Lagos State “too numerous to be estimated.”

They alleged that both the EKEDC and the IE had willfully refused to allocate electricity meters to them and chose instead to issue inflated estimated bills to them for the electricity they consumed.

The lawyer representing the residents, Mr. Olumide Babalola, contended that the EKEDC and the IE had been acting in disregard to the provision of Section 8 of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s Methodology for Estimate Billing 2012 and sections 1(4), 2(7) and 8 of the NERC’s Meter Reading, Billing, Cash Collection and Credit Management for Electricity Supplies Regulations 2007.

The residents are urging Justice Lawal to declare as illegal and unlawful the estimated bills being issued to them by the electricity distributing companies.

They want the court to restrain the DisCos from further billing them without “giving the full details and breakdown of the facts used” in computing the bills.

They want the court to make an order mandating the Discos to supply them with prepaid meters within three months of the judgment in the suit.

The residents are also seeking a court order compelling the EKEDC and the IE to compensate them “with electricity credit of N500,000 each as general damages for overestimating and inflating their electricity bills”.

NEWS / Impeachment: I’ve Forgiven Mimiko, Says Olanusi
« on: Today at 08:45:00 AM »
A former deputy governor of Ondo State, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, on Sunday said he had forgiven his former boss, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and the state lawmakers who he alleged to have masterminded his impeachment.

Speaking with journalists in Akure, the state capital on the appeal court judgment on Friday,  Olanusi said his vindication by the appellate court was not by his cleverness, but was an act of God.

He said, “There is no cause for revenge, if God did not want all these to happen, it would not have turned out this way. The injustice has been exposed to the people of Ondo State and may God reward all accordingly.’’

Olanusi was impeached by the state House of Assembly in 2015 for alleged gross misconduct but had his impeachment nullified by the Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, the state capital on Friday.

He had earlier challenged his impeachment at the Federal High Court, Lagos claiming that the lawmakers did not follow due process before taking the action against him but the court dismissed the suit for lack of jurisdiction.

NEWS / Refer Melaye’s Probe To Police, Csos Tell Senate
« on: Today at 08:15:51 AM »
Some civil rights groups and lawyers have asked the Senate to refer Senator Dino Melaye’s certificate controversy to the police for proper investigation.

A lawyer, Macdonald Akhirome,  in an interview with The PUNCH,  noted that the upper chamber was not constitutionally empowered to probe the controversy..

He queried the purpose of the senate inquiry into the issue, pointing out that it may end up as a jamboree without achieving any meaningful purpose.

 The activist noted that the purpose of the investigation should determine whether the senate should conduct it or not.

Akhirome said, “The normal legal procedure is that investigation falls within the purview of the executive, that is the police, but the  senate could conduct an inquiry.

 “Since the issue borders on crime, the senate is not empowered to investigate that. It is not within their purview, that is not the business of the senate.”

He added, “If the purpose of their investigation is to prosecute, they cannot prosecute. Is the inquiry meant to abuse the person of the senator or to cooperate with the executive to prosecute? What is the purpose of their investigation when they are not empowered by law to investigate and prosecute? It is better for them to allow the police to investigate the matter, if they were not out to ridicule the senator.”

Speaking in the same vein, a security analyst, Ben Okezie also admonished the senate to hand over the investigation to the police, insisting that the red chamber lacked the capability to handle the probe.

He observed that many senators had had a series of allegations against them which were not probed by the senate, noting that the decision to probe Melaye was taken because the issue was raised during a plenary.

“They (senators) should know that they don’t have the capability to carry out such an investigation. What they should have done is to refer the case to the Inspector-General of Police who would now ask one his departments to investigate the case,” he insisted.

By deciding to probe the certificate mess, Okezie hinted that the senate may be trying to cover up the controversy.

“Now that they want to handle the investigation themselves, how are we sure it would be credible? How are we sure there won’t be a cover up? How are we sure the senators in the committee are not his (Melaye’s) friends? It amounts to nothing in terms of doing the right thing. If they want to do the right thing, hand him over to the police to investigate,” the security expert admonished.

Okezie said it would not be proper for the senate to handle the investigation, stating that it did not conduct the probe of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, but rather asked the Department of State Services to probe him.

NEWS / Nigeria In Need Of Good Mothers, Says Mrs. Osinbajo
« on: Today at 08:15:06 AM »
Wife of the Vice-President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, on Sunday said Nigeria was in dire need of good mothers like the biblical Deborah.

Mrs. Osinbajo spoke during a sermon she delivered at a service organised by the Aso Rock Villa Chapel to mark this year’s Mother’s Day, on Sunday.

She enjoined mothers to strive to be role models by exhibiting the attributes of Christian mothers.

Quoting from the book of Judges, chapter 5, verses 6-7, the Vice-President’s wife said the life of Deborah in the bible should be a lesson for all women.

She said, “This (Deborah) is the kind of mother we need today. She is a woman of great strength. There is a call today for Nigerian mothers to arise. Deborah arose for the people then.

“Mothers, it is a day for celebration and it is also a day to remember our calling and a day to remember what the Lord requires of us.”

She also urged all mothers in the country to teach their children virtues.

“The key thing in motherhood is the children. We need to teach our children the right way. Man shall not live by bread alone; so mothers need to teach our children spiritual things,” she said.

Also quoting from the book of Mark, chapter 6, verses 12-28, Mrs. Osinbajo acknowledged that not all mothers are good and godly.

According to her, King Herod’s wife is a bad case of motherhood in the bible.

“She is anti-human, anti-gospel and anti-Christ,” she said.

Meanwhile, women in the chapel seized the opportunity of the day to honour the Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, describing her as a true mother of the nation.

The Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Mrs. Joan Ayo, on behalf of the women, commended the President’s wife for the support she has been giving her husband in building a virile nation.

“She is a mother and the mother of the nation and she has demonstrated that in so many ways,” she said.

Mrs. Buhari, who was represented by Mrs. Grace Chamah, was later presented with a portrait depicting the role of a mother in the upbringing of a child.

Gifts were also presented to the wife of the Vice-President, mother of the Vice-President; wife of the chaplain, Mrs. Obiageli Malomo; and wife of the chapel’s administrator, Mrs. Tina Ambi, among others.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was among top government officials that attended the service.

NEWS / SUBEB Seeks Investment In Education
« on: Today at 08:14:24 AM »
The Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board has called for investment in the education sector.

The Lagos SUBEB Executive Chairman, Dr Ganiyu Sopeyin, stated this on Friday at the inauguration of Joshua and Juliana Olusanya Memorial Library on the premises of St. Peter Blessed Primary School Complex, Ibido Street, Orile-Agege, Lagos.

Sopeyin, who said education remained the best legacy that parents could give to their children, added that the government would continue to invest in the provision of quantitative and qualitative education in the state.

He said, “We commend Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for his commitment to repositioning education in the state to its rightful place. We also call on well-meaning Nigerians and organisations to compliment the government’s efforts by investing in the education sector.”

A representative of the Olusanyas, Mrs. Elizabeth Ariyo, said the library, which had 40 sections, was equipped with air conditioners, computers, books and a generator.

Ariyo, who is also a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, added that the family believed that building the library was a better way of immortalising their late parents who valued education.

She urged teachers in the state to encourage pupils to read by patronising libraries in their different domains.

NEWS / Okorocha Lied Against Kanu –IPOB
« on: Today at 08:13:35 AM »
The Indigenous People of Biafra has described as false a statement credited to the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, that Nnamdi Kanu at a stage in his struggle was insulting Igbo leaders.

The group said what was perceived as an insult by some people about Kanu was that he was telling them “the bitter truth they did not want to hear”.

Okorocha had on Sunday reportedly appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to release Kanu, saying the actions of the IPOB leader smacked of youthful exuberance.

Okorocha, who reportedly spoke while receiving Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Imo Airport, said, “What he is agitating for is what others are agitating for too. But he is using the wrong language and insulting leaders, including myself. But this is the time for national reconciliation.”

In a statement made available to our correspondent in Awka, Anambra State, by the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful,  the group said the reason people like the Imo State governor were propagating lies against Kanu was because IPOB had said that the All Progressives Congress under President Muhammadu Buhari had a mission to Islamise Nigeria.

Their press statement read in part, “It is well known to everyone in Nigeria that they don’t like to hear simple truth and other things that are eating deep into the contraption called Nigeria.

“Nnamdi Kanu propagates the truth to the whole world and people with good conscience around the globe understand this, thus he was nicknamed the prophet of our time because almost his teachings and prophecies on Radio Biafra have come to pass.

“He prophesied that the APC led by President Muhammadu Buhari was coming to Islamise the country in the guise of herdsmen and that they would be getting support from their people in the Nigerian security agencies especially soldiers who will protect them.

“Today the Islamic agenda is ongoing in the country without any hindrance. Since the killings in Agatu, Benue State; Uzouwani, Enugu State; Southern Kaduna and the killing of unarmed peaceful members of IPOB, there was no official pronouncement against the killings from the Nigeria government and the APC.

“These murderous agents in the guise of herdsmen in every part of the country, killing people, raping women and girls and destroying farmlands everyday without any arrest have proved Nnamdi Kanu right.”

NEWS / LASG Attributes Achievements To Staff Devt
« on: Today at 08:12:52 AM »
The Lagos State Government has said development of workers in the state through a series of training is responsible for the achievements of the state.

A statement on Sunday said the state Commissioner for Establishments, Trainings and Pensions, Dr Akintola Benson-Oke, said this at the opening session of a training  tagged, ‘Human Resources as a Vital Tool in Lagos State Civil service.’

According to the statement, Benson-Oke said the Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration placed priority on human resources development which had improved security, transport and education, among others.

The commissioner noted that the state government, to faithfully execute its numerous responsibilities, depended on the “resilient officers” of the state civil service, stressing that the governor valued the contributions of the civil servants to governance.

“These training have focused on re-tooling the fundamental skills that are required for exceptional performance and enhanced productivity in Lagos State.

“It is also meant to keep our officials a--- of modern challenges of governance in the 21st century,” he added.

Benson-Oke urged the participants to see themselves as agents for the continuing transformation of the state with a resolve to be more productive.

Earlier, the Director of Training in the Ministry, Mr. Ayodeji Aruna, said the training showed the disposition of the state government to human capacity development.

He maintained that human capital was critical to the execution of the state government’s vision.

NEWS / Drunk Driver Kills Five In A’Ibom
« on: Today at 08:12:04 AM »
Five persons were on Sunday killed at Ukana Ikot Etim area of Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, when they were knocked down by an alleged drunk driver.

The man driving a Ford utility sport vehicle with registration number GCE 342 CX was trying to avoid two children that were crossing the road.

The driver, whose identity had yet to be revealed, was said to be speeding, when he suddenly crashed into the seven people who were waiting at a bean cake  (akara) spot at the  Ukana Ikot Etim Junction.

An eyewitness, Mr. Godwin Anthony, said the driver crashed into the five pedestrians who died instantly while the remaining two sustained serious injuries.

According to him, when they approached the driver, they discovered that he was drunk. He added the driver with the vehicle had been taken to the Ikot Ekpene Police Command, SARS Department.

Anthony said the seven persons were returning from church on Sunday.

Efforts to speak with the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Donald Awunah, proved abortive as prompt from his telephone indicated that his line was unavailable.

But the Public Relations Officer of the Federal Road Road Safety in the state,  Mr. Uwen God’sgift, said they had yet to confirm the story.

NEWS / Buhari Has No Certificate Scandal, Says Presidency
« on: Today at 08:11:13 AM »
The Presidency on Sunday said President Muhammadu Buhari was not involved in any certificate scandal.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated this in a statement made available to journalists.

Shehu was reacting to a story titled “Prominent Nigerians with certificate scandals” published by SUNDAY PUNCH.

Apart from Buhari, former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Senate President, Evans Enwerem; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Salisu Buhari; Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose; and a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, were listed, among others, in the publication.

But Shehu said Buhari did not fit into the categorisation because he had no certificate scandals.

He, however, admitted that the issue of certificate was raised against the President, among other allegations, ahead of the 2015 presidential election, which he won.

The presidential spokesman said the issue of Buhari’s certificate was raised by those who wanted him disqualified from the presidential race.

He said the issue was, however, successfully dealt with before the election, saying the President had no certificate case hanging on his neck.

The statement read, “We wish to emphatically state that President Muhammadu Buhari does not fit into the categorisation of leaders with certificate scandals because he bears none that is on available records.

“In the course of the contest for the office of the President in 2015, a number of wild, untrue and malicious allegations were made against him in order to stop him from contesting the election.

“The issue of certificate was raised against him but the campaign successfully dealt with the allegations by providing evidence that not only was he qualified to run, he had a far higher academic qualification than is required by the constitution. As a result, he went on to run for the office and eventually won.

“Since the purpose of the challenge was primarily to stop him from being a candidate in that election, the challengers either voluntarily withdrew or abandoned the cases soon after he won and all of them were subsequently struck off by the courts.

“The President has no certificate case hanging on his neck.”

NEWS / Three Things I Did While In Prison — Obasanjo
« on: Today at 08:09:51 AM »
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday narrated his prisons experience and declared that he did three things while he was in Yola and Kirikiri prisons serving a jail term for a phantom coup charges by the late military dictator, Sani Abacha.

He also said there should be no position that a man should  find himself in life where he should not be useful to God.

He also posited that the major challenge in life was not how to stay alive but “what to live for and what to live with.”

Obasanjo said this while recalling his experience as an inmate in Yola Prison where he said he met a hardened armed robber and serial murderer, Baba Ali, who he preached to and later sent to the bible school and who has today become a pastor over a Baptist Church.

The ex-President spoke at Shepherdhill Baptist Church, Obanikoro, Lagos, where the Lagos State Baptist Conference held a thanksgiving service to mark his 80th birthday.

The programme was tagged, “Special Commemorative, Commendation and Congratulatory Birthday Service.”

Recalling his time as an inmate, Obasanjo said he did three remarkable things, which were that he built a church while in prison; started a farm, converted Baba Ali to a Christian and served as prison pastor.

He narrated, “There’s a difference between joy and happiness. In prison, I had joy but it will be madness for me to say that when I was in prison I was happy. How can you be in prison and say you are happy? But I was having the joy of God with me, not for one day was I sad. And I am grateful to God for the experience that I had in the prison.

“I will mention three things that God made me to do when I was in Yola Prison. One, God made me to build a church. It’s very unusual, I asked the authorities for  land, they were reluctant, but eventually they gave me land and immediately, we started getting donations. It was started before I left Yola. Wherever you are, you can still be useful to the work of God.

“Secondly, there was a parcel of land, which was not being used for anything, so, I told the prison authorities that I wanted to farm. They were reluctant but eventually they granted me the permission to farm and I grew enough beans to feed all the inmates and the warders. Don’t remain idle, get something doing.”

The third thing he did, Obasanjo said, was at Kirikiri Prison in Lagos where he took over as the prison pastor.

He said he took over as prison pastor because the prison authorities banned preachers from coming in after some white garments preachers who came to preach had helped some inmates to escape by dressing them in white garments.

He said, “They made sure we did not receive anybody from outside to come and preach to us or fellowship with us. So, I took over as the prison pastor. And there was a boy whom they had introduced to me, his nickname was Baba Ali. Baba Ali was the head of the armed robbers in the North. And if you were an armed robber and you came to the prison, you must first of all go and pay homage to Baba Ali. If you were going out, you must go to Baba Ali and ask him for instruction on what you had to do next.

“So, I called Baba Ali one day and said, ‘You are not coming to fellowship; I want you to be coming to the fellowship.’ He said, ‘Baba, don’t worry me; don’t worry me at all because God can never forgive me. I have killed so many people in my life; I have drunk the blood of so many people; I have eaten the flesh of so many people and God will never forgive me, so, don’t waste your time about me.’

“I left Baba Ali on that occasion, and I waited for some time before I went back and said, ‘Baba Ali, you know all you said that you are a murderer, whether you killed only one person or a thousand people, you are a murderer;  but have you forgotten that Moses was a murderer but God used him to bring the people of Israel out of Egypt? David was a murderer but God called him a man after my heart.

“By the time I was leaving the prison, I told Baba Ali that if he was able to make it and he would like to go to bible school, I would send him to bible school. Baba Ali came out of prison two years after me. By the time he came out I had become the President of Nigeria. It took him two years to get through to me, when he got to me, I reminded him  of our agreement and he said he was ready to go to the bible school. So, I sent him to the seminary. Baba Ali spent two years in the seminary, today Baba Ali is the pastor of a Baptist Church. What is more? Baba Ali’s junior brother took after him and has also become a pastor.”

The church presented Obasanjo with a bible, a bell and a bottle of olive oil.

He was accompanied by his wife Bola, Senator Olorunnibe Mamora among others.

NEWS / Ile-Ife Riot: One-Sided Arrests Wrong, Says Bakare
« on: Today at 08:09:05 AM »
The Serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos, Pastor Tunde Bakare, on Sunday, condemned the mode of arrests in the aftermath of the clash between the indigenes and the Hausa community in the ancient town.

Speaking in Lagos during his sermon at the Latter Rain Assembly, Bakare described as “an abuse” the arrest of some Yoruba as suspects in the clash and the justification of the arrest by the police.

The police had paraded 20 suspects of Yoruba extraction in Abuja last week, alleging that they masterminded the riot in the town on March 8, where 46 persons were reportedly killed.

Police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, who conducted the parade, did not, however, give reasons why no Hausa, who were involved in the clashes, were arrested as suspects.

The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, justified the arrests, which some Yoruba groups and individuals had described as one-sided and unacceptable.

But Bakare, stressing the importance of justice and equity in nation-building, wondered what could have informed the arrest of members of a party in the crisis, leaving out the culprits on the other side.

“If there is a fight between two people, you don’t arrest one person and leave the other.  What you do is to arrest the two and let the law takes its course. To arrest one party and leave the other and even go ahead to justify it is an abuse.

“No one should be allowed to promote ethnic agenda in the country. That is not the way of righteousness,” added the cleric, who spoke on ‘The raising of a model leader’.

Bakare equally accused those he described as “sons of disobedience” around President Muhammadu Buhari of leaking a memo, written by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, to the President.

El-Rufai had, in the 28-page memo, said to have been written in September 2016, drew Buhari’s attention to the state of the nation, warning the President that the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government was failing to deliver on its promises to Nigerians.

Some analysts had argued that the outspoken Kaduna State governor leaked the memo to the media, ostensibly to rubbish the incumbent Buhari administration and curry favour towards his rumoured 2019 presidential ambition.

Bakare alleged that those around Buhari deliberately leaked the memo to create friction between the President and the governor to fulfil their selfish interests.

The cleric explained that he joined El-Rufai to deliver the letter to Buhari at the Presidential Villa last year.

Bakare stated, “I can never deny that I knew about the memo; I knew about it. I flew from Lagos to meet El-Rufai in Abuja to discuss the contents with President Buhari. There were just three of us at the meeting.

“The memo was an assessment of what was going on; where mistakes had been made and things were not going on well; and what could be done to move the country forward.

“It was not an attack on anybody or on the President but some sons of disobedience around President Buhari leaked the memo to Sahara Reporters to make it look as if it was meant to attack the President for their own selfish interests.

“Can you imagine that the memo was written in September last year and some people think that they could gain from that? Woe betides anyone who thinks he can further his interest by manipulating anything in this era.”

Going short of mentioning the names of those he accused of leaking the memo, Bakare, who contested as the running mate to Buhari in the 2011 presidential election on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, stated that it was too late for anyone to set him against the President.

The pastor lamented that most Nigerian leaders “hate those who love them and love those who hate them”, saying some leaders of the nation only listened to those who did not wish them well.

Bakare said though one did not have the right to choose one’s father, one had the right to choose one’s model in life, asking leaders in the nation to promote righteousness in order to ensure that there was joy in the land.

He also berated the Senate for leaving pressing matter of national importance to concentrate on a flippant issue of the uniform of the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.).

A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed April 3 for the arraignment of some of the defendants named in the $1.1bn Malabu oil scam.

Two of the three cases filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in relation to the scam have been assigned to Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The third case was filed before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja.

But our correspondent learnt on Sunday that the April 3 arraignment of the defendants before the Federal High Court would not go on as scheduled because of the unavailability of many of the defendants.

“With what is on the ground today, the cases may only be mentioned that day. There can’t be an arraignment of the defendants,” an EFCC source told our correspondent on Sunday.

 Another source at the EFCC had confided in our correspondent on Saturday that the prosecution might apply for arrest warrants against some of the defendants who were suspected to be in Nigeria.

It was also learnt that after mentioning the case for the first time in court, the anti-graft agency would commence the process of extraditing other suspects, who are abroad, by liaising with the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

On Sunday, another EFCC official confirmed to our correspondent that Justice Tsoho had fixed March 23 for the arraignment of the defendants named in the two sets of charges marked, FHC/ABJ/CR/268/2016 and FHC/ABJ/CR/39/2017.

In fact, the two cases were said to have been listed among those heard by the judge on March 23.

The source explained that the EFCC had, before the date, written to the court asking for a postponement due to the difficulty in bringing the suspects to court.

“So, the commission’s lawyers did not bother to go to court on March 23 but have since discovered that the court fixed April 3 for the arraignment of the defendants,” the source said.

The EFCC had alleged that over $1.1bn fraudulently exchanged hands in alleged shady transactions over the highly lucrative Nigerian oil well, Oil Prospecting Licence 245, said to have been originally offered to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd by the General Sani Abacha junta under controversial circumstances in 1998.

The EFCC, on December 21, 2016, charged nine suspects, including the immediate-past former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Bello Adoke (SAN), and others before the Federal High Court in Abuja with respect to the $1.1bn scam.

Other accused persons named in the case were a former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete; Aliyu Abubakar, Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, Rocky Top Resource Ltd, Imperial Union Ltd, Novel Properties & Dev. Co. Ltd, Group Construction Ltd and Megatech Engineering Ltd.

The anti-graft agency, in the case with charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/268/2016, accused Adoke of illegally transferring over $800m purportedly meant for the purchase of the OPL 245 to Etete, Malabu Oil & Gas Limited from a Federal Government account.

The EFCC also accused Aliyu, a businessman, who is the Chairman of A. A. Group and Rocky Top Services, of receiving $336,456,906.78.

Another case, FHC/ABJ/CR/39/2017, instituted before the Federal High Court in Abuja on March 2, 2017 has Adoke and Abubakar (of AA Oil) as defendants.

The two defendants were accused of engaging in money laundering involving $2,267,400 in September 2013.

The third case filed before the FCT High Court with charge number CR/124/2017 has 11 defendants, including Adoke, Etete, Shell, Agip and Eni.

Others are Aliyu Abubakar (of AA Oil Ltd), Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, a director of Shell, Ralph Wetzels and three Italian directors of Agip Exploration Ltd – Casula Roberto, Putatti Stefeno and Burrafato Sebastiano.

Specifically, the defendants were charged with conspiracy and official corruption in relation to their alleged acceptance of $801m from the oil companies with regard to the grant of OPL 245.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has submitted a report to President Muhammadu Buhari linking Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and some of his aides to the diversion of about N19bn from the N522bn Paris Club refund.

The report also fingered Mr. Robert Mbonu of Melrose General Services Limited.

Mbonu is a former Managing Director of Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria, the commercial bank owned by the Saraki family which was later liquidated.

The Federal Government had, in December 2016, approved the sum of N522.74bn to be paid to the 36 states of the federation as part of the reimbursement of the over-deduction on the Paris Club loan from 1995 to 2002.

The EFCC had sometimes in January discovered that the loan refunds were illegally routed through the account of the Nigeria Governors Forum by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Upon receiving the funds, the NGF, in an alleged connivance with Saraki, began remitting huge sums to private consultants who then laundered about N19bn.

According to the report, apart from the NGF, others under investigation include the Relationship Manager to the Senate President in Access Bank, Kathleen Erhimu.

Some others under probe and identified as Saraki’s aides include Obiora Amobi, Gbenga Makanjuola, Kolawole Shittu and Oladapo Idowu.

The report alleges that sometimes in December, Saraki introduced the ex-bank MD, Mbonu, to Erhimu.

Others at the meeting were Saraki’s aforementioned aides.

It added that sequel to the meeting, the sum of N3.5bn was lodged into Melrose General Services Company account number 0005892453, domiciled in Access Bank from the Nigeria Governors Forum on December 14.

The report stated that two of Saraki’s aides, Obiora Amobi and Gbenga Makanjuola, were introduced to Access Bank as representatives of Melrose General Services Limited by Mbonu to enable them to make cash withdrawals from the account.

It added that Amobi and Makanjuola made cash withdrawals in various tranches of N5m and N10m.

The report reads in part, “Based on the foregoing findings, it is clear that Robert Mbonu, the Managing Director of Melrose General Services Company and his company were used to help divert proceeds of unlawful activities under the guise of payment for contractual obligations with the Nigeria Governors Forum.

“Suffice to apprise that all payments received by Melrose General Services Company from the NGF have hitherto been diverted directly via cash withdrawals and indirectly through transfers by Gbenga Peter Makanjuola, Kolawole Shittu and Oladapo Joseph Idowu, who are principal aides to the Senate President.

“Furthermore, other payments from Melrose General Services Company have also been linked to companies that Dr. Bukola Saraki has interest in and carries out transactions with.

“This includes the sum of $183,000, which was transferred to Bhaska Devji Jewellers, Dubai, a company Dr. Bukola Saraki had repeatedly made payments to.

“Also, the sum of N200m was transferred to Wasp Networks Limited that subsequently transferred the sum of N170m to Xtract Energy Services Limited, a company that routinely made deposits into Dr. Saraki’s Access Bank US Dollar Domiciliary account.”

The report concludes that a prima facie case of conspiracy to retain the proceeds of unlawful activities  and money laundering, contrary to sections 15(3) and 18(9) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2004, could be established against the aforementioned suspects.

“Additionally, investigation into their personal accounts is ongoing,” it adds.

When contacted, the Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, who spoke on behalf of Saraki, said he would not react except he sighted the report.

“Send the report to me and I will be able to read it and contact the necessary people. If I don’t see the report, I cannot react to it in abstract. Send me the report if you want our reaction,” he said.

The spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that investigations were ongoing into the Paris Club scam.

He, however, said he did not know the specifics of the investigations.

“I can only confirm that there are investigations but I don’t have details,” Uwujaren said.

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