Read Nigerian News Desk from Nigeria on politics, President Muhammadu Buhari, corruption issues, EFCC arrests, Radio Biafra transmitters, Prof. Soyinka & Rivers state, Dokpesi and arms procurement scandal . . .
EFCC boss visits Buhari in Aso Rock
The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, on Thursday visited the Presidential Villa, Abuja. That was the second time in 24 hours that Magu would be sighted in the Presidential Villa since he was named as replacement for Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde in acting capacity.
The EFCC boss accompanied by his police orderly walked straight towards the President’s office and returned about 10 minutes later.
It was not clear whether he met with President Muhammadu Buhari as the President was meeting with some ministers at the time of his short visit.
Magu who wore a brown suit, white shirt and a brown bow tie was armed with an office file during the visit.
He resisted all attempts made by journalists for him to grant an interview on his way out of the President’s office.
He kept repeating “not now, not now” as he made his way out.
The Thursday visit came about 24 hours after Magu disclosed that the commission would arrest more influential Nigerians by next week.
Buhari accused of ‘humiliating Nigerian judges and suppressing the judiciary’
Human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of humiliating Nigerian judges and suppressing the judiciary. Adegboruwa, who levelled this allegation on Wednesday, said it was time the Nigerian Bar Association directed all the lawyers in the country to stay away from the court until Buhari gave his commitment to uphold the rule of law.
The lawyer, citing the re-arrest last week of a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and Buhari’s comment on the case of the embattled Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, accused the President of emboldening security agents to shun court orders.
He said, “If the President, during a Presidential media chat, can state clearly that he will not release a person granted bail by a court because he suspects that the person will jump bail because of the avalanche of evidence, then we should close down the courts. There is no need approaching the court any longer.
“The NBA should do more than a press conference; I call on the President of the NBA to rise up and confront the executive; we should fight for the judges; we shouldn’t allow the judges to be treated in such humiliating manner, whereby their orders have become useless to the executive.
“We, as lawyers, have that responsibility because the court is our workshop. If the courts are no longer functioning lawyers cannot earn money. And it is our duty to cry out. It is our responsibility to come to the aid of the judiciary, which has no voice, because we can’t hear judges, they can’t talk, the NBA is supposed to speak for them.
PDP Chairman Haliru Bello, Son get ₦600 MILLION bail
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has granted bail to the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Haliru Bello and his son, Abba, to the tune of N600m. Justice Ahmed Mohammed ordered the duo to pay N300million each, as well as produce two sureties each, in like sum.
Whereas the court maintained that one of the persons to stand surety for Bello must be a Director under the employment of the federal government or any of its agencies, the son was asked to produce someone not below grade level 12 to stand surety for him.
Besides, the court, ordered that the second surety must be an owner of landed property in Abuja the value of which must not be below N300m, adding that the title deed of such property must be verified and surrendered to the court registrar throughout the duration of the trial.
Both sureties are to swear to an affidavit of means, as well as tender their recent passport photographs to the court.
More so, Justice Mohammed ordered the accused persons to surrender their international passports to the court.
Pending the perfection of the bail terms, the court ordered that Abba should be remanded in prison custody, saying the ex-PDP boss should remain in hospital but placed under police watch.
Justice Mohammed has fixed February 16 to commence full-blown trial of the accused persons.
It will be recalled that the accused person were on Tuesday, docked before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
They are facing a four-count criminal charge bordering on alleged N300million fraud.
Equally charged before the court was a private firm, BAM Projects and Properties Limited, which the EFCC said was used to perpetuate the fraud.
The anti-graft agency alleged that the accused persons, through the firm, withdrew the sum of N300m from an account the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
The fund was said to have been transferred to the accused persons, 11 days to the 2015 presidential election, by the embattled former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, rtd.
However, both Bello who was docked in a wheelchair and his son, pleaded not guilty to the charge dated December 23 but amended on December 30, 2015, even as their lawyers prayed the court to release them on bail.
Specifically, the former PDP boss, through his lawyer, Mr. Abdulaziz Ibrahim, urged the court to grant him bail on rely recognition.
Bello told the court that he is still recuperating from a spinal cord surgery he had in the United Kingdom. “The 3rd defendant is over 70 years old, an elder statesman who has served this country meritoriously in various capacities. My lord he was not only a former Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but also the former Chairman of one of the biggest political parties in Africa.
“We pray this court to grant him bail on self recognition, or in the alternative, grant him bail on the most liberal terms. “He has responsible persons that are ready to stand surety for him”, Bello’s lawyer submitted.
One of the charge against them read: “That you Bello Abba Mohammed, BAM Projects and Properties Ltd and Dr. Haliru Bello on or about 17th March 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court took possession of the sum of N300million paid into the account of BAM Projects and Properties Limited with Sterling Bank Plc from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser with the CBN when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki(rtd), the then National Security Adviser( to wit: criminal breach of trust and corruption) and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section (15) (3) of the same Act”.
APC chieftain, Jafaru Isa arrested by EFCC
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday night, arrested a former military Governor of Kaduna State and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Brig-Gen. Lawal Jafaru Isa (rtd.)
Isa is the first chieftain of the APC arrested by the EFCC since the beginning of the sweeping probe into the alleged diversion of $2.1 billion meant for arms purchase by officials of the immediate-past administration.
The erstwhile Military Administrator of Kaduna State from December 1993 to August 1996, during the military regime of General Sani Abacha and one-time governorship candidate of the defunct CPC in Kano State, is a close friend of the embattled former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.).
Isa was arrested at his Abuja residence located at Ajayi Crowther Street, Asokoro.
Isa’s house was said to have been invaded by operatives of the EFCC around 9pm, and then whisked him away a few minutes later.
The retired brigadier general (photo), was invited last week to appear before the commission on yesterday to clear the air on “some questionable receipts” from the former NSA.
Investigators believe the retired soldier received over N100million from Mr. Dasuki.
It was gathered that rather than honoring the invitation, sources said, Gen. Isa wrote a letter to the EFCC through his lawyer, seeking a postponement of his appearance date on the grounds of death of a relative.
Apparently dissatisfied with his excuse, the EFCC however arrested him to clarify the “questionable receipts”.
Five arrested in Bayelsa for an alleged plan to attack Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan
Five persons have been arrested in Bayelsa State for an alleged plan to attack the house of former President Goodluck Jonathan in Yenagoa. (Photo: Ex-President Jonathan’s Otueke village home).
The suspects were said to have been apprehended in a hotel in Swali area of Yenagoa as they were perfecting strategies to unleash an attack on the former President’s house.
The names of the suspects, who are all males, were given as, Asupha Emeka, 34; Ebipre Ebebi, 25; Samuel Joe, 27; Okilo Matthew, 25; and Timiere Matthew, 25.
It could not be ascertained the motive behind the plot to attack Jonathan, however, it was learnt that the incident was part of the measures to create tension in the state ahead of the Saturday supplementary poll.
It was also learnt that the suspects were thugs loyal to a candidate of one of the frontline political parties in the state.
Confirming the arrest of the suspects, Police Public Relations Officer, Bayelsa State Command, Asinim Butswat, said their apprehension was based on a tip-off.
The spokesperson said, “On the January 6, 2016, at about 1500hrs, based on a tip-off, detectives from the Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Vice unit stormed a hotel premises in Swali community, Yenagoa, and arrested five suspects.
“The suspects are Asupha Emeka, Ebipre Ebebi, Samuel Joe, Okilo Matthew and Timiere Matthew.”
Though he did not indicate the name of the personality they were planning to attack, Butswat said the suspects were drawing a plan to launch an attack on a yet-to-be identified location.
He added that the suspects were currently undergoing interrogation and that investigation was ongoing.
‘How I was paid N150,000 to install Radio Biafra transmitter on a mast’
A telecommunication maintenance engineer, David Nwawuisi, has revealed that he got an initial payment of N150,000 to install a Radio Biafra transmitter on an MTN mast in Ngwo, Enugu State reports Punch
The 29-year-old, who was on the payroll of Ericsson, the firm managing mast sites for MTN, revealed this in a statement which he made to the Department of State Services on July 27, 2015.
Nwawuisi, who disclosed that he was managing 45 MTN sites for Ericsson, said the Radio Biafra transmitter had operated for three months on MTN mast before it was discovered and his subsequent arrest by the DSS on July 15, 2015.
Nwawuisi, who obtained a B.Sc degree in Biochemistry from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology in 2010, said he was being paid N73,000 plus per month by Ericsson.
He stated that it was the same amount he was being paid as a trainee when he joined the company as a trainee in 2014.
He narrated how he was contacted by one Chidiebere Onwudiwe, whom the Federal Government said was at large, and one Obioma, to seal the deal for the installation of the transmitter at the mast site.
Nwawuisi stated, “I came to know about Chidiebere and Obioma one day the security woman called me to tell me that that they will like to install a radio ( transmitter) on one of my sites at Ngwo in Enugu State and I told them that I don’t know who they are that if they can make out time so that we can see face to face because I don’t know them and that was in May.
“So the next day, they called me. I was working in one of my sites at St. Michael Catholic Church Asata in Enugu State. I asked them to come down to that site and that was the place I saw them for the first time and they introduced themselves as Chidiebere and Obioma. They also asked for my name and I said David. They also asked for my native name and I said Chukwugozie and from there Chidiebere started saying that the radio (transmitter) they are asking for my permission to install in my site is to help them educate our people (Igbo) and let them know their brothers and where they come from….
“They called me again to remind me of that and that was when I told them ok and we agreed that they are going to be paying N25,000 only per month which they paid six months upfront. N75,000 cash was given to me that day they came for the installation and out of that I gave N5,000 to the security woman. The balance was paid into my account at Ecobank after the First Bank (account) I gave to Obioma failed to accept the payment.
“The payment of the balance was done two weeks after the installation of the radio (transmitter). On three different occasions, Chidiebere and Obioma called me to do some maintenance on the radio (transmitter). I gave them access into the site and left and when they finished, the security woman informed me that they are through and I came and locked the site.
“The items Chidiebere came (with) were an electronic that looks like a decoder and a DSTV dish which was installed on the fence. The other items were installed inside the MTN site shelter. The equipment has been there for three months and on July 15 the MTN staff went to the site and called me from the site and asked me what the equipment is. The name of the MTN staff is Mr. John Ibekwe. When he was calling, I couldn’t get what he was asking due to the environment because I was driving and when I parked, I called the security woman to ask her and she told me that is the equipment that Chidiebere and Obioma installed that his asking of.
“I called back the MTN man to tell him what the equipment is for, that is a Radio Biafra (transmitter) that was installed by Chidiebere and Obioma. I told him that I will like to see him which he asked be to come to Shoprite and I came and after I was taken to the MTN office by the MTN security patrol team. From the office, after telling them how the equipment came about and how I got to know about Chidiebere, I was taken to Enugu DSS office.” (sic)
He stated that the MTN thereafter uninstalled the Radio Biafra transmitter.
He added that the last time he spoke with Chidiebere on the telephone was when he was at the DSS office in Enugu.
The Federal Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Mohammed Diri, who signed the fresh charges, the case summary and other processes accompanying them on behalf of the government, alleged that Nwawuisi agreed to install the transmitters “and did install IPOB radio transmitters on MTN masts for a consideration.”
The prosecution alleged that the transmitters were smuggled into Nigeria by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, and were discovered during a search in Madubugwu’s residence.
The Federal Government had charged Nwawuisi and Benjamin Madubugwu along with the founder of Radio Biafra and Kanu, with treason and other related offences including management and assisting in the management of an unlawful society (IPOB).
The accused persons were charged with six counts before the Federal High Court in Abuja but have yet to be arraigned.
80th Birthday Dinner: Soyinka replies Rivers government
Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has described as ‘abominable distractions,’ statement by the Rivers State Commissioner for Information, Dr Austin Tam-George, that the state would demand refund from him (Soyinka) if he collected cash from the N82 million allegedly spent by immediate-past Governor, Rotimi Amaechi on a dinner to honour him.
Soyinka, who reacted in a statement on Wednesday night, said it has never been his business to probe into the “catering and logistical implications” of the hundreds of recognitions he had enjoyed worldwide and wondered why the Ameachi gesture has become an issue under the ‘insecure’ incumbent of the Rivers State government lodge.
Although he said the allegation has made him saddened and ‘truly despair”, he added that he was indifferent to it.
Soyinka in the statement entitled, “Those who flounder in the sewage of corruption,” said: “This morning, I saw only the headlines in one or two print media regarding the 80th Birthday dinner to which I was hosted by the former governor of Rivers State, the Honorable Rotimi Amaechi, now Minister of Transportation. I ignored them. It was not, and remains not my business to probe into the catering and logistical implications of the hundreds of institutions and governments all over the world to whom I acknowledge an immense debt of unsolicited recognition over the years.
“Since then however, I have learnt of some unsavory statements by the insecure incumbent of the Rivers State government Lodge. These included a loose invitation to anti-crime agencies to investigate the potential crime of being honoured through any occasion. The unprecedented call by this governor is prescient of a warning I recounted in my recent pamphlet publication THE REPUBLIC OF LIARS, and was taken from my address to an anti-corruption global conference that took place in Tunisia two years ago. Those words were: CORRUPTION STRIKES BACK. In this ongoing instance, that expression translates most vividly as “Those who are neck deep in the sewage of corruption ensure that they splatter sewage in all possible and improbable directions.”
“I do however fully support the Wikeleaks call for multi-directional probes. I recommend further that he involve the services of INTERPOL to guarantee its extension to all international organisations and governments to whom I owe uncountable events of recognition – including birthday luncheons, dinners, cultural receptions and events of real, fictitious, or simply opportunistic flavoring – to which I have submitted myself.
“The descent to this present level of abominable distractions makes one truly despair. It is one that even I did not envisage when I warned – CORRUPTION STRIKES BACK! Whether it brings honour or dishonour to the nation is another matter – I am saddened, but indifferent.
“EFCC and company – over to you! You all know where I live,” noted The Nobel laureate.
$2.1 Billion arms scam a hoax – Dokpesi
The $2.1 billion arms purchase scandal currently being investigated by the security agencies is a hoax, the chairman of DAAR Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, has declared.
Dokpesi is standing trial for allegedly collecting N2.1 billion of the cash from the erstwhile National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki. He is currently on bail.
The DAAR Communications boss spoke at his Abuja residence during his investiture as Patron of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Youth Vanguard on Wednesday.
He said, “I must hasten to assure you that there is nothing like the much flaunted $2.1 billion arms gate. The competent courts of our land would sooner or later prove this coinage aimed at decimating the leadership and membership of our great party to be nothing but a hoax.
“It (arms scandal) does not exist. It’s a figment of the imagination of the present government. It’s about the persecution of Sambo Dasuki, Tony Anenih, Olisa Metuh and others. We will be made proud when we start our defence in court.”
In apparent reference to the Buhari-Idiagbon military regime of 1984/85, Dokpesi continued, “Some of us are reminded of the events of 1984/85 which by any stretch of comparison are similar to the unfolding events today.
“As I have said not too long ago, we must stand resolutely united, especially in the face of this momentary political adversity. For one thing, I say again that the PDP is not dead, is not dying and will not die.”
He described free press as one of the important elements that help to check the monstrous power of the state, adding that DAAR Communications has from inception been at the fore front of the fight against impunity and promotion of democracy even from the military days.
“We have weathered the storm of oppression, we have been vilified many times, we have also been persecuted in our constitutional duties to make government and its officials accountable to the Nigeria people but we never wavered.
“During the infamous third time tenure elongation agenda, we dared to speak up, but speak up we did. We have always been on the part of human rights, citizen participation in the democratic process, transparency and accountability.
“These ideals have not changed and will never change. I assure you ladies and gentlemen, the youth and vitality of this nation, our faith in Nigeria remains unshakable.
“We will support any policy of government that seeks to promote the ideals of good governance. But we should also not be cowed to speak up where we disagree,” Dokpesi added.
He accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of attempting to impede the nation’s journey to political maturity through the manipulation of the federal system to serve purely partisan interests.
According to him, the PDP was experiencing a massive persecution, political vendetta of the kind never before seen in the land and targeted at the leadership, membership and sympathizers of the opposition by the government of the day.
NAPTIP invites Davido over alleged baby abduction
23-yr-old pop star, David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, on Wednesday visited the Lagos State office of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), over the ongoing child rift with his baby mama, Mrs. Sophia Momodu.
According to sources at NAPTIP, Davido reportedly arrived at the agency at 11:07am.
It was learnt that his statement on the face-off over the custody of the relationship between him and the estranged mother of his daughter, Sophia, was taken by NAPTIP.
The whole drama started after Sophia who is a cousin of popular journalist, Dele Momodu, wrote a letter of petition against the musician through her lawyer, Mr. Gbolaga Ajayi.
Ajayi while seeking protection for the rights of his client, petitioned the NAPTIP as the case borders on child abduction and trafficking.
Recall that Davido’s father, Dr. Deji Adeleke and Momodu, paid an earlier visit to the NAPTIP office on Monday for a meeting.
However, Dr. Adeleke was said to have stormed out of the meeting barely 30 minutes after it started.