HEADLINE NEWS: 3rd Mainland Bridge, Malabu Oil Deal Scandal, Sambisa Forest & Boko Haram

Why we planned to bomb 3rd Mainland Bridge – Suspect; Etete, 12 others set for trial in Italy; Police arrest suspect planning to bomb Third Mainland Bridge; Malabu oil deal: UK group alleges $523m went to ex-President’s fronts; Army recover Shekau’s Qur’an, flag in Sambisa . . .

Why we planned to bomb 3rd Mainland Bridge – Suspect

Lagos . Abiodun Amos (left), arrested over plans to blow up Third Mainland Bridge, in Lagos

Lagos (Vanguard) – One of the leaders of  a notorious militant group operating in Ikorodu and Arepo areas of Lagos and Ogun states, Abiodun Amos, said yesterday, that his group planned to bomb the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.

‘’General” Ossy (leader of the gang) said:

“We went into bank robberies and kidnapping because we wanted to get government’s attention and all we wanted was for them to grant us amnesty and also offer us pipeline protection contract. ‘We have made several appeals but government is not listening to us.

If we don’t blow up the Third Mainland Bridge, government will not listen to us. We had concluded plans to carry out the attack by November ending. ‘I am the group’s explosives expert and before I was arrested we were going into the creeks to conclude plans on how to carry out the attack.”

The suspect, also popularly known as Senti, said his group was hitherto involved in pipeline vandalism, noting that it resorted to kidnapping when it became difficult for its members to continue with the illegal business due to the presence of the military and policemen. The suspect is a 43-year-old native of  Arogbo, in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State.

He was arrested by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT, at a river bank in Majidun area of Ikorodu, Lagos, on Monday. Two  AK-47 rifles hidden inside a bag were found with the 43-year-old suspect as Vanguard reliably gathered that additional two cartons of explosives, with the words Gelatine Dynamite inscribed on them, and detonators, were recovered from the group’s operational saloon car. Amos’ arrest, it was gathered, followed intelligence generated by office of the National Security Adviser to the President, NSA, on November 2, 2016, that the group had concluded plans to blow up the Third Mainland Bridge.

Etete, 12 others set for trial in Italy

Dan Etete

Abuja (The Nation) – Former Minister of Petroleum Dan Etete is to be arraigned in Italy over his alleged involvement in the $1.1billion Malabu oil deal.

Last week, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) slammed  a seven-count charge of money laundering and fraud on Mr. Etete and others at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The Italian prosecutors have filed the notice in a Milan court, accordin g to Premium Times.

Apart from Etete, another Nigerian, Chukwuemeka Obi, is among the 11 individuals to be charged by the Italian authorities. Shell and Eni are also to be sued to take the defendants to 13. Mr. Obi and his firm, EVP, had laid claim to about $110 million of the $1.1 billion paid by Shell and Eni for OPL 245, considered Nigeria’s richest oil block.

The money is trapped in Switzerland where it has been frozen by a court.

Mr. Obi sued Malabu for $110 million in London, which he said was his entitlement for helping to facilitate the deal between the oil majors and Malabu.

In July 2013, the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, presided over by Lady Justice Gloster, ruled in favour of Mr. Obi that he was entitled to “a fee of 8.5% of the total disposal consideration of $1.3 billion”.

Following the court’s ruling, the money was transferred to EVP’s Swiss accounts. However, Italian authorities who had by then started investigating the fraudulent deal asked Swiss authorities to freeze the money where it has since remained.

Others found culpable by Italian authorities include: DescaJzi Claudio, the CEO of Eni; his predecessor, Paolo Scaroni; Roberto Casula, Armanna Vincenzo, Antonio Pagano, Ednan Agaev, Luigi Bisignani and Falcioni Gianfranco.

Italian prosecutors are also charging Eni and Royal Dutch Shell for their involvement in the deal as multinational firms.

As part of their findings, Italian prosecutors said officials of Italian oil giant Eni may have received $50 million bribe from the $1.1 billion the company and Shell paid into a Nigerian government account in 2011.

Police arrest suspect planning to bomb Third Mainland Bridge

Lagos . Explosives recovered from the suspect of 3rd Mainland Brifge bombing plans

Photo: Explosives recovered from the suspect

Lagos (TheGuardian) – The police authorities in Abuja have foiled suspected attempts by a notorious militant group, operating from the creeks of Ikorodu and Arepo areas of Lagos and Ogun States, to bomb the Third Mainland Bridge, the longest bridge in West Africa.

The Guardian gathered yesterday that a top commander of the group, Abiodun Amos, who is also known as Senti, an Ijaw native of Arugbo, from Ese-Odo Local Council of Ondo State, was arrested by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT).

The suspect, who was also said to be the group’s chief expert in explosives, was trailed to a riverbank at the Majidu area of Ikorodu, Lagos.Sources disclosed that two AK47 rifles, hidden in a ‘Ghana-Must-Go’ bag, were found in his possession at the time of his arrest, while he led the IRT operatives to a vehicle parked discreetly within Ikorodu, where a large cache of dynamite and detonators were recovered from its boot.

The intelligence, which was generated by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), was passed on to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, indicating that the group was at its final stage of carrying out an attack on the Third Mainland Bridge.

Lagos . Third Mainland Bridge

Photo: Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos.

The IGP, who was said to be dazed by the report, swiftly directed his operatives at the IRT, led by Abba Kyari, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), to commence a full-scale investigation and it was discovered afterwards that the group was actually planning to blow up the bridge at the end of November 2016.

Further investigation revealed that the group had acquired large quantities of dynamite and several other explosives, which would be used for the attack.

Malabu oil deal: UK group alleges $523m went to ex-President’s fronts

Dan Etete

London (The Nation) – A United Kingdom anti-corruption group, Global Witness, has alleged that about $523million of the $1.1billion paid by Shell and Eni for Malabu Oil Block (OPL 245) went to some fronts of a former President.

It said the deal deprived the country of a sum equivalent to 80% of its 2015 health budget in a country where more than 60% of the population live in poverty.

The group made the disclosures in a statement by its Director, Simon Taylor.

It also wrote a letter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) not to waiver in its determination to probe the sale of the oil block.

But Global Witness said prosecutors in the UK have alleged that about $523million out of $1.1billion was paid to the fronts of a former President.

The statement said: “We applaud the Nigerian authorities for fighting back against corruption without fear or favour, making sure there are real consequences for taking part in shady deals like with OPL 245.”

“The lucrative OPL 245 oil block was allocated in 1998 for $20m – a fraction of its value now – to Malabu Oil & Gas, a company secretly owned by the then oil Minister, Etete.

“The OPL 245 block, off the coast of Nigeria is owned 50-50 by Shell and Eni and contains probable reserves of 9.23 billion barrels of oil, representing potentially massive bookable reserves for the companies.

“Shell currently holds 11.75 billion barrels of proven oil equivalent reserves and Eni holds 6.89 billion barrels of proven oil equivalent reserves.

“The block was eventually passed on to Shell and Eni in 2011 in exchange for a payment of $1.1bn which flowed to Malabu rather than to the Nigerian state.

“The former Minister of Justice, Adoke by his own account acted as a broker in the deal. This deal deprived the country of a sum equivalent to 80 per cent of its 2015 health budget in a country where more than 60 per cent of the population live in poverty.

 ”Shell and Eni have always denied that they knew the money they paid would go to Malabu, but documents seen by Global Witness show that the companies in fact constructed the deal knowing that the money would flow ultimately to Malabu.

“Prosecutors in the UK have previously alleged that $523m of Shell and Eni’s payment went to alleged “fronts for former President of Nigeria (names withheld) as part of a deal that was effectively a “smash and grab” on Nigeria.

In a separate letter, the group praised the Acting EFCC chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, for the “sterling investigatory work” by the commission on the Malabu oil deal.

The letter said Global witness was “ delighted to read press reports that Adoke, Etete and others have been implicated  by the EFCC for fraud and money laundering in respect of the OPL 245 oil deal.

The letter added: “We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our admiration for the sterling investigatory work by the EFCC, under your leadership, that has brought this case to court.

“We believe that the case will send a powerful message to the world that Nigeria is intent on prosecuting corruption without fear or favour.”

 The anti-corruption group however noted the reactions of some key actors in the Settlement Agreement on the oil block.

It added: “In a statement, Mohammed Adoke said: “I hope to at the appropriate time make myself available to defend the charge for what whatever its worth,” he also emphasized that he did not benefit from the deal, which he said saved the government from a breach of contract suit in which Shell was claiming $2 billion.

“He called the charges “orchestrated plans to bring me to public disrepute in order to satisfy the whims and caprices of some powerful interests on revenge mission.”

“Shell has insisted that they did not pay Malabu directly and that all payments went to an escrow account held by the Government of Nigeria.

“In a response to a request for comment from Global Witness in April 2015, Shell said: ‘We do not agree with the premise behind various public statements made by Global Witness about Shell companies in relation to OPL 245.’ It has not responded to more recent requests to comment.

 Eni responded to questions on the deal in May 2016 saying: “Independent enquiries and the investigations commissioned by Eni’s Watch Structure and Board of Statutory Auditors from specialized American law firms have found no evidence of illegal conduct on the part of the Company.”

Antonio Tricarico said: “The Italian Government must ask serious questions of the involvement of Senior Eni executives in a deal that has now lead to senior Nigerian officials being charged with criminal offences.”

Army recover Shekau’s Qur’an, flag in Sambisa

Boko Haram . Abubakar Shekau

Maiduguri, Borno (NigerianEye) – The Nigerian Army on Wednesday said it had recovered Abubakar Shekau’s Qur’an and flag in Camp Zero, the Boko Haram’s Headquarters in Sambisa forest.

The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor, said this while giving newsmen update on “Operation Rescue Final’’ in Maiduguri.

He said, “We believe that the Holy Book and the flag were abandoned by Abubakar Shekau while he escaped.

“The Book will be taken to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Burutai, for onward presentation to Mr. President.

“We have also made a lot of arrests. Our troops in Damboa arrested about 15 Boko Haram members. We also arrested one Musa from Potiskum on Christmas day which was Dec.25.

“On Dec. 26 our troops also intercepted two Boko Haram suspects in Maiduguri.

“We, therefore, warn residents of the state to be wary of people coming to hide in and around their houses.

“We are also warning residents to report any suspected Boko Haram members hiding in their houses to the relevant security agencies and any failure to do that would tantamount to supporting and sympathising with the sect’s activities.”

© 2016 Nigerian News Desk
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