EXPRESS NEWS: Special report from Nigeria . $2.1bn arms scam, IPOB/MASSOB, NAF drone, Boko Haram, Sambisa Forest, Major Al-Mustapha, Buhari, Bomb blast, EFCC . . .
$2.1bn arms deal: Former NAF chief refuses EFCC’s offer to return funds
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s interrogation of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd.), had reached a dead end. It was learnt that the commission had asked Amosu and others, who are still being detained over the $2.1bn arms deal, to refund some money or contract sums traced to them.
Findings showed that the former Chief of Air Staff was being interrogated in connection with 10 contracts awarded by the Nigeria Air Force between 2014 and 2015, totalling $930.5m.
It was gathered that the EFCC’s operatives met a brick wall when the former NAF chief refused to make any commitment to return any money or contract sums, which had been allegedly traced to him.
A source said as part of moves to recover the funds, the commission was making the signing of an undertaking to refund money as a precondition for granting the suspects administrative bail.
BIAFRA: IPOB, MASSOB deny alleged seizure of merchant ship by members
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, yesterday, denied alleged involvement in the seizing and threat to blowing up a merchant ship carrying foreigners (i.e. merchant ship, MT LEON DIAS and its crew).
IPOB Media and Publicity Officer, Mr. Emma Powerful said IPOB is a non violent group with responsible men in the society in Nigeria and in diaspora as members and therefore, cannot involve in any violent activity that may possibly harm or take the life of anybody from within and outside Nigeria.
He said: “Many people are sympathetic to the Biafran actualization cause because of the treatment meted to the entire Biafran land comprising the former Eastern Region. Many groups are also rising up to speak against the treatment meted to the IPOB leader and Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu who at present is being incarcerated in Kuje prison, and they can use any style to make their demand felt by the Federal Government but no IPOB member has a hand in it.”
Nigerian Air Force drone hits Boko Haram base in Sambisa Forest
Reports say a Nigerian Air Force drone hit the Boko Haram base in Sambisa killing many terrorists.
Boko Haram terrorists yesterday suffered massive losses after an Air Force drone hit their base near Sambisa Forest, killing many and destroying equipment, according to the military.
Explaining how the sect’s members were hit, Director of Public Relations and Information of the Nigerian Air Force, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, said in a statement: “The Nigerian Air Force Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has destroyed a logistics base used by members of the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) group.
“The UAV was on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission when it came across the gathering of BHTs at Garin Moloma, about one kilometre north of the Sambisa Forest.
“At the time of the UAV attack, the location, though under surveillance for quite a while, had a large gathering of BHTs and vehicles.
“The multiple explosions and huge fire ball from the location strongly suggests that it may be either an ammunition/fuel storage or weapons/technical workshop. “This strike is thus a major setback for the Boko Haram sect, and a major plus for the fight against insurgency by own troops.”
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Major Al-Mustapha Donates 10 Transit Buses To Abuja Varsity
Former Chief Security Officer to Late Gen. Sani Abacha and Chief Executive Officer of APUDI Institute for Peace Studies, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha (rtd) has donated a fleet of 10 transit buses to University of Abuja to ease the transport challenges and difficulties experienced by the students.
Major Al-Mustapha, who made the donation on Wednesday during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between APIS and University of Abuja, noted that the transport scheme was not for profit-making, but cushion the hardship and suffering of the average students who had to shuttle between the two campuses of the university on daily basis.
According to him, the University Management would have the responsibility of managing the scheme, with a view to ensuring prudence and durability, even as he assured that in due course, APIS would provide bigger buses with larger capacities.
Speaking on the occasion, Major Al-Mustapha said the signing of the MoU between the two institutions marked the beginning of friendship and services that would provide strong and enduring leadership and foundation for the younger generation and generations unborn.
He said he was confident that the MoU would advance the capacity and quality of training of APIS and University of Abuja, adding that it would also help to promote a corruption-free society.
Benin hit by bomb blast as fears of Boko Haram invasion rocks city
Tension rocked Benin City on Tuesday, after five houses were destroyed in a bomb blast. The incident which occurred at about 3pm caused pandemonium in the City, as it was rumored that the dreaded Boko Haram sect may have been responsible for the blast.
According to reports, residents of Zomi Zomi street, in Upper Sakpoba Road, took to their heels after the explosion.
A police source at the scene revealed that, ” we learnt that the bungalow where the bomb was detonated was being used as a hide out by kidnappers some months ago. But a combined unit of soldiers and the police invaded the house and arrested the suspects.
“So recently, somebody hired the building and just this afternoon, decided to burn some papers in the compound. He set the papers on fire and went out to buy something. But immediately he left the bomb exploded. He never knew that the kidnappers left some bombs in the house”.
As the time of filling this report, Bomb Disposal experts from the Edo state police command have cordoned off the building and trying to ascertain if there are more explosives in the building.
Buhari Gives Marching Orders to EFCC, Security Agencies to Arrest Ex-Customs Boss
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other security agencies to arrest the immediate past Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, wherever he may be, a senior EFCC operative told THISDAY last night.
This came as the anti-corruption agency yesterday also invited some senior military officers in the Procurement Unit at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja to give more details about the purchase of some arms meant to fight Boko Haram in the country.
“We (EFCC) and other security agencies have just received a directive from the presidency to do everything possible to arrest former Comptroller-General of the (NSC), Dikko, wherever he may be. And this must be done in the next few days or weeks’’, the operative told THISDAY.
“I think the directive is urgent and necessary in view of the weighty financial fraud levelled against him. And the federal government appears to be in hurry to get to the root of the matter and possibly recover the money from him.’’
The anti-graft operative had invaded his residence at No 6, Ahmed Musa Crescent, Jabi, Abuja recently and left with some vital documents. A similar raid, which lasted about 10 hours, was also carried out in his house in Maitiama area of Abuja recently.
Dikko was said not to be at home at the time of the two raids and the mission of the personnel was not disclosed to any member of the family, who were in the houses.
Tchidi Tchikere, Zack Orji, Hajia Abubakar, Others Unveil GUTS
The much-talked about talent hunt, Goodwill Ultimate Talent Show (GUTS) was during the weekend officially declared opened in Abuja with the host, Tchidi Chikere, and judges, Zack Oji, Francis Odega, Oge Okoye, Amanda Ibeye and the founder Foundation for the Elderly and the Poor, Hajiya Habiba Abubakar (photo: below) who double as the promoter.
Speaking during the official opening, Hajia Abubakar said she came up with this idea to do a talent show that will showcase raw and undiscovered talents and shoot them into limelight, which is a lot of help for these talents.
The show, according to her will take off first week of March in order to give interested candidates enough time to register. ‘’Auditions start March 3 and the registration is on for the reality talent hunt. Interested contestants are to download the form and pay the sum of 3000 Naira either online or into GUTS account at FCMB, or First Bank.’’
According to the founder of the self funded NGO, Foundation for the Elderly and the Poor, and promoter of the Goodwill Ultimate Talent Show, Hajiya Habiba Abubakar, the host, Tchidi Chikere, and judges, Zack Oji, Francis Odega, Oge Okoye and Amanda Ibeye would be presented to the media on Saturday.
She says Saturday’s event would also unveil the star price of the scratch card lucky take, a Toyota Corolla 2014 model,
In addition, Hajiya Abubakar said samples of the branded products would be unveiled to the public through the media.
Pro-Biafra militants hijack ship in push for Kanu’s freedom
A merchant ship, MT LEON DIAS and its crew, has been seized by some militants who are demanding freedom for the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, within 31 days or they will blow up the ship.
Kanu, the promoter of Biafra radio, who was arrested on October 17, last year, is standing trial for treasonable felony before a court in Abuja. The judge has denied him bail.
There have been protests in the Southeast states for the revival of the defunct Biafra.
The hijacking of the ship is the latest attempt to compel the government to release the IPOB leader.
The ultimatum to the government was reportedly given at the weekend by a militant identified by the General Ben. Ben. “Some Niger Delta militants have shown interest in working with us,” said Uchena Madu, a leader of the Movement for the Actualization of a Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
The hijacking indicates the Biafran agitators could be working with some Niger Delta militants who recently bombed oil pipelines in the Niger Delta.
The Defence Headquarters yesterday confirmed the hijack of a merchant ship in the Niger Delta by some “criminals”.
Although it did not give the name of the ship, it said the ship is now in about 7.4 nautical miles off the coast of Nigeria.
It said Benin Republic Navy is guarding it.
The Acting Director of Defence Information, Brig-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said yesterday: “We can confirm the hijack of a merchant ship but we don’t know who really hijacked it.
However, the merchant ship, MT LEON DIAS and its crew hijacked by pro-Biafra militants weekend has been released, according to the latest report.
The ship was flying the Liberia national flag when it was hijacked by gunmen off the coast of Continuo, Benin Republic.
The ship is said to be a chemical/oil tanker and is currently under the custody of the Beninois Navy.
Court orders arrest of ex-Ekiti PDP Secretary for perjury
A Chief Magistrate’s Court in Ado Ekiti has ordered the State Commissioner of Police, Etop James, to arrest and prosecute former State Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Temitope Aluko, for perjury.
Chief Magistrate Adesoji Adegboye granted the order following a motion exparte moved by the state Director of Public Prosecution, Mr. Gbenga Adaramola.
But the Ekiti State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Alberto Adeyemi, said the command was “not aware of any warrant of arrest.”
Adegboye said the order was granted as a means for the first defendant (Aluko) to attend the court for defence.
Moving the application, Adaramola urged the court to issue warrant of arrest against Aluko pursuant to Section 117 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap C16, law of Ekiti State 2012, Section 79 of the Ekiti State Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2014 and Section 23 (D) of the Magistrates’ Courts Law 2014.
Aluko had in confessional statements made to the media revealed how the PDP rigged the June 21 governorship election for Governor Ayodele Fayose.
He also claimed that President Goodluck Jonathan gave Fayose N4.7bn cash for the election.
The motion (no: MAD/10CM/2016), brought on four grounds, also sought any order as the court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.
The motion was supported by a nine-paragraph affidavit deposed to by the Special Assistant to the State Governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka.
Olayinka averred that Aluko, who was a witness before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sworn to a Statement on Oath on August 4, 2014 wherein he stated that the Election was not only free and fair, but devoid of violence, thuggery, hooliganism, snatching of ballot boxes, and related forms of electoral disorderliness.
According to him, all what Aluko said in the media were contrary to his evidence before the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
Speaking on ‘Politics Today’ a programme on Channels Televison on Sunday, Mr Tope Aluko, an embattled secretary of the Ekiti state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party gave a breakdown of how the 2014 Ekiti governorship election was rigged in favour of the PDP governorship candidate, now Governor, Ayodele Fayose.
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Ojukwu’s estate: Bianca for cross examination April 26
Widow of the late Ikemba of Nnewi, Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, Bianca (photo above: left with late husband, Ikemba Ojukwu), will be cross- examined on April 26, in the legal battle between her children and the deceased’s brothers, a High Court sitting in Igbosere, Lagos State, held yesterday.
Mrs. Ojukwu and her late husband’s siblings are in dispute over portions of the family estate.
Bianca underwent her examination-in-chief before Justice Abdulfattah Lawal of the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, on Monday.
The former beauty queen was due for cross-examination by the defense counsel yesterday, but her lawyer, Mr. Nick Omeje, asked for an adjournment to enable him file an amended writ of summons, because according to him, he had the amended writ and an additional statement of claims.
Justice Lawal granted his request and adjourned the matter till February 29, for the hearing of the motion and April 26 and 27, for the continuation of trial.
Mrs. Ojukwu, on behalf of her two under-aged children, Afamefuna and Nwachukwu (claimants), dragged Ojukwu Transport Limited (OTL) and seven others before the court over an alleged move by the family to eject her sons from the family’s property in Lagos, through OTL.
She is asking the court to declare that her children are entitled to the possession and occupation of one of the property (29 Oyinkan Abayomi Street, Ikoyi, Lagos), until the harmonisation of the management and administration of the assets of the first defendant (OTL).
The defendants are Prof. Joseph Ojukwu, Emmanuel Ojukwu, Lotanna Putalora Ojukwu, Dr Patrick Ojukwu, Edward Ojukwu, Lota Akajiora Ojukwu and Mrs. Massey Udegbe.
ICC hears Falana’s petition against Dasuki, Iweala, others over alleged crimes against humanity
The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague has confirmed that it is considering petition submitted to it by human rights lawyer Femi Falana, SAN (photo: below) over alleged crimes against humanity committed in the context of the arms procurement scandal. The ICC revealed this in a letter dated 1 February 2016 with reference: OTP-CR-32/16 and signed by Mark P. Dillon, Head of Information & Evidence Unit of the ICC.
The letter reads in part: “The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court acknowledges receipt of your documents/letter. This communication has been duly entered in the Communications Register of the Office. We will give consideration to this communication, as appropriate, in accordance with the provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”
It would be recalled that Falana had in a petition dated 19 January 2016 requested the ICC to “investigate allegations of crimes against humanity committed against the Nigerian people by some former and serving military as well public officials and private persons who engaged in the criminal diversion of $8 billion earmarked to procure equipment for the armed forces to fight insurgency”
The petition reads in part: “On account of the deliberate refusal of the former military authorities to equip and motivate the members of the armed forces involved in combat operations the insurgents have killed about 25,000 soldiers and civilians including children and displaced over 2,000,000 people. Having compromised the security of the people of Nigeria by collaborating with the terrorists the former military authorities deliberately encouraged the brutal killing of innocent people including ill-equipped officers and soldiers.”
Reps committee grill Amaechi, Sijuwade on N1tn railway contracts
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, appeared before an ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives on Tuesday and said he had no information on the contracts for the rehabilitation and modernisation of railway in the country.
The railway contracts reportedly gulped over N1tn between 2010 and 2015, with additional funding from the rested Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme.
But Amaechi told the committee, which is chaired by a lawmaker from Edo State, Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma, that he would not be useful to the investigation because he was not in the office when the contracts were awarded and could not speak authoritatively about them.
“I don’t know about the past contracts but I can talk more on our progress and what we are doing now,” the minister said.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Bello Haliru-Mohammed, also appeared before the committee and denied that he awarded any rail contracts.
Haliru-Mohammed, a former Minister of Defence, chaired the Board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation between 2009 and 2011.
Many of the railway contracts were awarded during Haliru-Mohammed’s tenure, it was leant.
The Managing Director of the NRC, Mr. Seyi Sijuwade, did not have a smooth ride at the committee session.
They queried how some firms that participated in the contracts won the deals. A particular firm, Eser Nigeria Limited, was said to belong to his family and members asked repeatedly whether any of his family members was a director on the board of the firm.
He replied, “I am unaware that my relation is a director of the company you mentioned”, Sijuwade maintained.