As people of Benue State still mourns the gruesome murder in cold blood of over 73 sons and daughters by Fulani herdsmen, some relatives of those killed have narrated to Sunday Telegraph how the invaders butchered their loved ones. They said many of their relations are still missing. CEPHAS IORHEMEN, who spoke with some of them captures theirstories tales of woe excerpts
My son was killed after NYSC- Attah
Augustine Aondo Attah, a retired civil servant hails from Guma, the home of Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom. He told our correspondent that he lost his 28-year-old son, Emmanuel Teryila Attah who had just finished his NYSC in the attack. He said that his slain son’s wife, Mrs. Dorcas, delivered a baby boy on the eve of the mass burial.
Attah told Sunday Telegraph that his son went to Makurdi to carry some belongings he left there and on his was back ran into the attack which consumed him.
“He just finished his NYSC in Taraba State and his wife gave birth to a baby boy a few days after he was killed. I am pained because he had crossed all the troubled areas before he was later killed, but I am fully in support of the Anti Open Grazing Law and I join the government of Benue State in calling for the arrest and prosecution of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore leaders..
“We are worried that President Muhammadu Buhari has turned his back on Benue people by not providing security for them in times like this. We voted overwhelmingly for him; we are supporting him but this is the way he feels he would pay us back and it is very unfortunate.
“It is painful also that the Inspector General of Police is still saying that the killings is as a result of a communal clash, but how can that be when we are not sharing common land boundary with the Fulani people?’
I lost five brothers – Gem
Joseph Gem, a 57-year-old farmer in Logo Local Government Area said that the herdsmen killed five of his younger brothers who were sleeping in a room. He said one of them was a member of the Livestock Guards deployed to the area for peace keeping. He had five children from two wives.
He said: “They were sleeping in a room and the Fulani herdsmen came and knocked on the door and when it was opened, they sprayed bullets and killed all of them and drove off. I am strongly in support of the Anti Open Grazing Law because it is the only panacea to ending the protracted crisis between Fulani cattle rearers and crop farmers in the state. We do not eat cows to live but we eat the crops harvested from our farms so the law is good.
I lost five relations – Mrs. Ger
Mrs. Ger, who also hails from Logo Local Government Area of the state, said that she lost five relations in the fierce attack by Fulani herdsmen.
“I travelled to my husband’s village in Otukpo in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State and on New Year day, I was returning and heard that Fulani herdsmen invaded our area and were killing people. As I speak with you, some of my relations are still in the bush we don’t know their whereabouts.”
She said all their farm crops were destroyed and houses burnt and appealed to spirited individuals, corporate organisations to come and assist them.
‘Two of my siblings were killed’
Gbagbenda, who is a farmer in Guma Local Government Area of the state said, two of his younger brothers were killed during the invasion of their communities. He said one of them, Francis Mgbanyi is 25-years-old while the other, Moses Dimta is 35.
“They were killed on January 2. We were sleeping and woke up in the middle of the night to hear sporadic shootings only to be told that Fulani people were killing their neighbours. We started running for our dear lives and they were killing people at random including pregnant women, children and old people.
“I thank the government of Benue State for promulgating the Anti Open Grazing Law and I like the way it is been handled because I am sure it will put to rest the frequent clashes between herders and farmers because it seeks to protect everyone rearing livestock both Tiv and Fulanis, so it is a welcome development,”he said.
I lost my left eye – Chidi Utaver
He hails from Guma Local Government Area of the state and is one of the survivors of the heinous attack. An SS2 student , his left eye was plucked by the assassins.
Age 27, Utaver, while narrating his ordeal to Sunday Telegraph said he lost one of his eyes to the attackers on his way to write his examination.
“It is the state government that is treating me, I have a wife and a child, I also have a mental problem because of the way I was attacked. I have submitted all my documents in government house for assistance and hope that the government will assist me.”
Hon. Richard Nyajo
Hon. Nyajo is the Chairman of Logo Local Government Area. He told our correspondent that scores of people in his domain were killed and that over 40 corpses were recovered from different locations in the bush with many still missing.
Nyajo disclosed that every home in the local government that was not attacked now serves as a refugee camp.
“As I speak with you, every settlement that was not attacked now serves as a refugee camp in my local government. The number of displaced people are uncountable but I can tell you that over 400 people are now homeless, houses have either burnt or destroyed and farm crops destroyed by the Fulani attackers.
“When the security operatives drafted to the area came, most of the invaders were roasting and eating our yams. Security men posted there are trying but people are still panicky, the attack was predetermined and well planned and our people were taken unawares.
“I am calling on the international donor agencies, spirited individuals and corporate organisations to come to the aid of our people,” he said.
‘My uncle was slaughtered’
Mrs. Philomena Ngaana, a housewife with children said her uncle, Julius Gwa, was slaughtered during the gruesome attacks. According to her, when the killers came, they hammered on his door and when it was opened they shot him dead.
According to her, the deceased who was a government worker left behind five children who are currently in school. Mrs. Ngaana explained that her uncle was murdered in Umenger in Guma Local Government Area of the state at about 7am on January 2.
33 states can’t survive without federal allocation –BudgiT report
Thirty-three state governments cannot shoulder their recurrent expenditure in the absence of monthly allocation from federation account, a latest report released yesterday in Abuja by BudgiT has revealed.
It added that only three states – Lagos, Rivers and Akwa Ibom – are capable of funding its recurrent finances in the absence of disbursement from federation account, adding that all 33 FAAC-depended states would be in jeopardy if federal allocation from the centre were to reduce owing to oil price fluctuations.
BudgiT report titled, “State of states 2019,” dissected fiscal sustainability position of states in various spheres, health, IGR and recurrent expenditure status.
In the report, Lagos leads the fiscal sustainability index, followed by Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Kano states.
“Access to audited statements brought out some facts on the true state of recurrent expenditure in focus states. We discovered states, such as Delta, running huge recurrent expenditure reaching N200 billion. Bayelsa, despite its size and population, has a high recurrent bill as high as N137 billion, compared with Ebonyi with a recurrent bill of N30 billion, Sokoto (N38 billion), Jigawa (N43 billion), Yobe (N35 billion), etc. It is a recurring theme to see states in South-South Nigeria running high recurrent bills, mainly driven by the high revenues earned due to the 13% derivation.
“In our analysis, it was also interesting to see states like Cross River with a bogus budget of N1.04 trillion spend less than N93 billion on an annual basis which brings them up the rank as well as Imo with its recurrent spending of N43 billion,” the report stated.
“However, we notice that Kogi lags behind due to its huge recurrent bill as at 2017, when it was still paying salaries for workers and also had high repayment bills for loans. While we would have liked to use the 2018 audited statements for the report, less than 15 states have published the document, making it largely unrepresentative for the states. We are not unmindful that the 2017 audited statement might include huge recurrent bills due to the payment of backlog of salaries sourced from the Paris Club refund,” BudgiT noted.
In her presentation, BudgiT Lead Researcher, Orji Uche said only 19 states could meet their expenditure with internally generated revenue and federal allocation.
She counselled authorities at sub-national level of government to look beyond federal allocation, citing the uncertainties associated with the oil price at global market.
“The implications of looking at this index is to enable us understand without federal allocation, how many states can sustain themselves. And by sustaining themselves, we are looking only at recurrent expenditure. Are you going to meet your operating obligations, are you able to pay salaries so that anything coming from broad federal allocation would go to investments in human capital and key sectors of the economy.
“When we look at the index, we can see that those states that can meet their expenditure only with IGR are only three states out of 36 states. What this means is that if there were to be oil price fluctuations and production allocation from the centre were to reduce, then many states would be in jeopardy,” the report stated.
Also speaking on the report, the Senior Economist, World Bank, Yue Man Lee, said the implications of having low revenue was that the amount Nigeria could spend on human development would be restricted.
She said over the years, the fiscal capacity of states to generate the needed revenue to finance their operations had reduced.
She said: “The broader fiscal challenge that Nigeria faces is low revenue that constrains the budget envelop.
“Nigeria is spending and government spending as a percentage to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is way lower than other countries at similar income per capital level. And the reason behind this is because of the exceptionally low revenues that Nigeria collects.”
Lee said with the country having revenue to GDP ratio of about eight per cent, there was need to come up with measures to boost revenue.
She said the low level of government spending on capital projects contributes to low level of development outcomes.
Court bars police from interfering with medical doctor’s rights in Enugu
An Enugu State High Court presided over by Justice N. Nebo has restrained the police from infringing on the fundamental human rights of an Enugu-based medical doctor, Dr. Izuchukwu Okam.
Nebo, while ruling on an motion ex-parte brought pursuant to Order 4 Rule 3 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009, ordered the police not to interfere with the personal liberty of the applicant.
The judge ruled that the decision was hinged on Sections 35 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution as amended which guaranteed the applicant’s freedom of movement and personal liberty.
He, therefore, restrained the police, their privies or agents from interfering with Okam’s freedom pending the determination of the substantive suit.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the applicant had approached the court through his counsel, Mr. Nnamdi Eluwa in suit No E/869/2019 against Dr. Ossai Uzoma, Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police, Enugu as first, second and third respondents respectively.
The matter was adjourned until 21st January, 2020 for argument of the application for the enforcement of the applicant’s fundamental rights.
NAN further reported that the applicant and the first respondent and staff of University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu were enmeshed in a legal tussle bordering on an alleged libel.
However, while the matter was still pending in court, the police had continued to hunt for the applicant which necessitated the application.
Ihedioha: Retreat’ll produce honest, deliverable solutions for Imo Project
Governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha has said that ongoing retreat was important as it would afford the state an opportunity at finding honest solutions that were deliverable, timely and measurable for the benefit of the state.
This was as he charged members of the State Expanded Executive Council and other appointees in his administration, to justify their appointments by giving their best for the success of the rebuild Imo project.
Ihedioha gave the charge while declaring open a 3-day retreat for appointees of the state government held at the Crystal Lake Hotel and Resorts, Oguta local government area of Imo State.
He said: “This Retreat is vital to us because it will provide us the opportunity to talk to ourselves unencumbered.
“The task ahead of us is enormous and the expectations of our people are indeed huge, thus the need for us to pause and appreciate these challenges.
“The importance of this retreat is to create the needed bonding and build a team with vision and strategize to achieve the rebuild Imo project.
“This retreat will also help us to aid to build a formidable and we’ll focused rebuild Imo team
“Also we are here to find solutions that are deliverable and timely. I strongly advise we take this retreat seriously.
“We must harness the entire objectives of this Retreat. This is the time to work because I take discipline very seriously.
Past and present state government officials, who were in attendance in their various remarks, spoke on the gains and benefits of the retreat.
At the retreat were former Governor of the state, Ikedi Ohakim, Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Rt.Hon. Chiji Collins, State Chief Judge, Justice Paschal Nnadi, Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Ladodo, Imo State PDP Chairman, Barr.Charles Ezekwem.
They praised the governor’s effort in various areas, especially on IGR, Ease of Doing Business, Infrastructure, security, Pensions and Civil Service Reforms, Education and Human Capacity Building for commendation and enjoined the participants to ensure that all the promises the governor made to the people are realized.
Abia Assembly decries Ikpeazu’s executive of not implementing laws
Majority Leader of the Abia House of Assembly, Mr Solomon Akpulonu has decried non-implementation of laws and resolutions by the executive as a major challenge confronting the seventh Assembly.
Akpulonu, a member representing Obingwa East State Constituency, spoke to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia on the sideline of a capacity building workshop for members and staff of the House yesterday.
He said that the seventh Assembly was determined to perform its legislative functions through its inclusiveness in law making, representation and oversight towards the greater transformation of the state.
He said: “Our major challenge is that our laws and resolutions are not being obeyed at the executive.
“But I thank God that we have a new leadership that is very strong and visionary. This House as led by the Speaker, Chinedum Orji will not allow that.
“By God’s grace, we will interact with the executive to tell them our plans because if our laws are not being obeyed or implemented, there is no need for legislation.”
Akpulonu expressed optimism that the legislature would interact with the executive, so as to resolve the problem.
NAN reported that the workshop funded by the Department For International Development (DFID), was to support the Abia Assembly and the South-East Legislative Governance Reform Committee towards the development of their legislative term agenda.
Reps minority caucus condemns lawlessness in Kogi
Minority caucus of the House of Representatives yesterday condemned what it described as ‘overt lawlessness’ in Kogi State, saying that the impeachment of the Deputy Governor, Simon Achuba and swearing in of Chief Edward Onoja in his place was ‘unknown to the laws of the land.’
The caucus, which made their position known in a statement signed by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, and made available to newsmen in Abuja yesterday, warned the people of Kogi to brace of up for a “more oppressive and rapacious mode of governance if Governor Bello and the APC were allowed to force a minority government on the people once again.”
They said: “Our understanding of that government in Lugard House is that of one given to an unabashed, unrepentant, and a rapacious breach of the people’s will.
“The so-called removal of the deputy governor is the height of unhinged travesty. It is impunity taken too far. It is neither known to law nor the Constitution of Nigeria and cannot be allowed to stand.
“By the purported removal of the deputy governor despite a ‘not guilty’ verdict returned by the impeachment panel, it is self-evident that these people are no respecters of law.
“The travesty is of no consequence for it imposes a de facto and not a dejure deputy on the people of Kogi State and can only be short-lived.
“The good news is that the blundering government will soon have its day in the court of public opinion on November 16 and we trust the people of Kogi to pass an overwhelming Vote of No Confidence in the government and remove the incompetent and overbearing minority contraption from their Government House.
“For emphasis, we are by this statement placing a caveat emptor on both the certificate of occupancy and occupant of Lugard House.
“The people of Kogi should beware, for if the governor could unleash this magnitude of abuse of power, hunger, and impunity in his first term, knowing he would face the people at the polls, how much more highhanded and vicious would he get in his second term?”
Journalist seeks N150m damages from DSS over illegal detention
A journalist and rights activist, Mr. Chido Onumah, yesterday demanded N150 million compensation from the Department of State Services (DSS) over alleged illegal detention.
In a suit number; FHC/ABJ/CS/1270/2019, filed by his lawyer, Moses Ideh, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, Onumah also sought; “the enforcement of his fundamental human rights to dignity of his person, right to personal liberty, freedom of expression and right to own personal property brought pursuant to Section 34, 35, 39, 41 and 44 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while Onumah was the applicant, Mr. Yusuf Bichi, the Director-General of DSS, was the 1st respondent and the DSS as an agency was the 2nd respondent in the case.
NAN reports that Onumah was said to have been arrested recently by the DSS operatives at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, and detained for several hours for wearing a T-Shirt with the inscription: “We Are All Biafrans.”
The inscription on the shirt was the exact title of a book Onumah authored three years ago.
However, the DSS said it did not arrest him, saying the activist “was rather engaged in an interaction during which an act of his capable of undermining public order and national security was explained to him.”
In the suit, Onumah, Coordinator, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, said his arrest and detention on September 29 at about 5p.m. to 10.30p.m. by the security agency without lawful cause and without court order constituted a violation of his fundamental human rights to dignity of his person, personal liberty, freedom of movement and freedom of expression.
He therefore demanded a compensatory damage of N100 million for the violation of his fundamental human rights and exemplary damages of N50 million for setback, trauma, psychological and emotional distress experienced and still being experienced.
Other requests made by the applicant include; “A declaration that the unlawful seizure of the applicant’s T-Shirt and coercion to write an undertaking never to wear the said T-Shirt again by officials and/or agents of the respondents amount to a violation of his right to own property and his right to freedom of expression as contained in Section 39 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
“A declaration that the mental and physical trauma, which the applicant had to endure during the period of time he was held in detention by officials and/or agents of the respondents constitutes a violation of his right to dignity of his person as provided in Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
NEITI to release 2017 audit report next week
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) yesterday said that it would release its 2017 audit report next week while that of 2018 would be released before the end of the year.
Executive Secretary of the agency, Mr. Waziri Adio, made this disclosure at a budget defence with the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) in Abuja.
He said between 1999 and 2016, nine audit reports had been done in the oil and gas sector while seven such reports had been done in the solid minerals and had been released.
Adio said the agency had also proposed a total of N1.5 billion for its 2020 operations.
According to him, the proposed sum would be used to cater for its activities and consumables, which included sporting events, publicity, local training, foreign trips, drugs and medicals, as well as monitoring and evaluation, among others.
Giving a breakdown of the proposal, Adio said N828 million was earmarked for personnel cost, N337 million for overhead and N355 million for capital.
On the performance of the 2019 budget, Adio said a total of N1.3 billion was appropriated for the agency, out of which a total of N789 million was earmarked for personnel cost, N277 million for overhead and a total of N267 million was for capital expenditure.
According to him, N557 million was released for personnel, which represents 70.8 per cent, N138 million was released for overhead, which represents 50 per cent and nothing had been released for capital, which represents zero per cent respectively.
He informed lawmakers that in 2018, the agency got overhead release for seven out of 12 months and in 2019 only six had been released out of ten months so far spent.
The NEITI boss therefore lamented that the poor release of overhead funds hinders the agency’s performance.
He stressed that there was a global framework known as Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), being implemented in 52 countries across the world, including Nigeria.
According to him, Nigeria began implementation in 2004 and by 2007, it was supported by the NIETI Establishment Act, which was passed by the National Assembly and signed into law.
He said the major reason was to ensure transparency in the management of oil, gas and mining for the development of the country.
On remittances of revenues, the NEITI boss informed the committee that his agency was interested in how much extracting companies pay and how much was remitted to the Federal Government and make public the audit report.
The Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) had earlier pledged to support the agency in its bid to achieve set objective of effectively policing the nation’s extractive industry.
Deputy Chairman, Hon. Preye Oseke (APC, Bayelsa) said the committee would look into the presentation of the agency and act accordingly.
He said just like the National Assembly, NEITI was also a watchdog organisation that ensures transparency in the oil sector.
N46m fraud: Obaseki sacks Oshiomhole’s LG council boss
…swears in Vice-Chair as replacement
The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has sworn in Alhaji Imonofi Osumah Inusa as the new Chairman of Etsako West Local Government.
It will be recalled that Hon. Yakubu Musa, the erstwhile chairman of the council was removed over his involvement in a N46 million fraud in the council.
Obaseki, while swearing- in Osumah at Government House, in Benin City, yesterday said investigations by a panel constituted by the state government revealed that Musa was engaged in fraudulent activities and lacked ability to supervise the staff of the Council.
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, hails from Etsako West LGA.
Obaseki maintained that his administration has zero-tolerance for corruption and negligence of duty, noting that no matter the developmental efforts by the state government, the local government must perform their duties before the state can be highly rated in terms of development.
“With the permission and authorisation of the Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA), we dropped Yakubu Musa for engaging in corrupt activities. He was dropped based on the investigation conducted following reports and observations at the monthly Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) meetings I preside over.”
Obaseki said that through the monthly JAAC meetings, he discovered that Musa bloated the council’s wage bill to the extent that his LGA’s bill was in excess of that of Oredo Local Government Area, which has the largest workforce.
He said the investigation showed that the former chairman was negligent in his duties and couldn’t account properly for the council’s funds.
“Local councils in urban areas have common traits. They are heavily indebted, have huge salary arrears and the level of accountability is very poor. I charge you to ensure you do better and guard against corrupt acts. We have zero-tolerance for corruption,” he said.
He continued: “We have several reforms we need to implement as an administration. We will introduce the Contributory Pension Scheme for Local Government early next year. We have resolved the pension crisis in the state and will do same for the local governments. Accountability in local governments is our priority. Excuses will not be entertained as you will be held liable for whatever happens in your local government.”
Osumah thanked the governor for the opportunity to serve and pledged loyalty and commitment to work with the governor in developing the council area.
A panel of inquiry was on September 16, 2019, constituted by the Edo state Government to investigate the alleged diversion of funds in Etsako West Local Government Council, after the case was discovered at the JAAC meetings.
The panel was headed by S.E Omorodion with other members including Mr. B.S. Kadiri. Isaac Sanu, Mr. F. Ediagbonya, a Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Local Government and Mr. S.O Obakpolor, who served as the panel secretary.
They was charged with the responsibility of examining the circumstances surrounding the alleged diversion of funds in respect of monthly payment of salaries in Etsako West Local Council between July 2018 to May 2019, examine the level of involvement of officials of the Local Government Council and apportion blame to erring officials.
The panel’s findings revealed that over N46million was paid to two ghost workers by a staff employed by Musa.
Obi shares blame in Obiano’s failure –Okeke
A popular transporter, Chief Godwin Okeke (GUO) has said that former Governor Peter Obi has a share in the failure of Governor Willie Obiano in Anambra State.
Okeke was speaking yesterday during the installation of Chris Ukachukwu as the new President of Onitsha Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (OCC IMA) in Onitsha.
Okeke said that in the eight years that Obi was the governor the people of the state offered him all possible support and because he did very well, he was granted the liberty to choose his successor and that however his successor ends, that he would be part of the blame or commendation.
Speaking at the event, Obi said that no responsible Nigerian should be happy over how things had turned out in the country. He called on Nigerians to continue to have faith in the country with assurances that by their active participation, good governance would one day be enthroned.
Obi, who regretted the total lack of confidence in essential infrastructure in the country, especially health infrastructure called on government to pay attention to basic infrastructure and restore hope in the country.
Using himself as an example, Obi said it was because of his conviction that Nigeria could do well that made him support the rebuilding of health infrastructure, among others, when he was the governor.
“Since I left Government, apart from attending events at Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country, I live here in Onitsha. I confidently make use of Holy Rosary Hospital, Waterside, Onitsha, because when I was the governor, I supported the rebuilding of the hospital as well as many others in different parts of the state. When I read about complex heart operations taking place at St. Joseph Hospital, Adazi-Nnukwu, I feel happy I was part of it. There is one thing our people do not know – when one serves the people very well, which is not about making money, one will feel a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment which is far more precious than money because it is priceless,” Obi said.
It took 10 days to count Fayose’s N1.2bn –Witness
A former Executive staff of Zenith Bank Plc, Sunday Oluseye Alade, yesterday told Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court in Lagos that the counting of N1.2 billion which was moved to the bank’s branch in Akure on behalf of a former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, took 10 days.
Alade made the disclosure while testifying as a prosecution witness in the on-going trial of Fayose and his company, Spotless Limited, over alleged N3.3billion fraud.
In his evidence-in-chief, the witness, who was the Head of the Akure Branch when the transaction took place in 2014, narrated how he arranged for a bullion van to pick up the cash warehoused in an Aircraft at the Akure Airport.
“On 17th June, 2014, I received a phone call from Lawrence Akande through Abiodun Oshode, who was my Zonal Head that a customer of the bank will be coming to make cash deposit in Akure. I was told that the customer would be coming by a flight to Akure Airport.
“After some hours, Abiodun Oshode came to my office to inform me that the said customer was in his office. I then followed him to his office where he introduced one, Biodun Agbele, to me as the bank customer. I was later instructed to prepare the cash movement team (bullion van and security) to pick the cash from the Airport”, he said.
Speaking further, the witness said: “When the aircraft arrived, three individuals disembarked from it, two of them walked away while the third person walked to Abiodun Agbele. After a short interaction, we were left to offload the cash from the aircraft.
“One Adewale O., who introduced himself as the orderly to Senator Obanikoro, led us to offload the cash. When we got to the branch, we bundle-counted the cash and it was about N744 million.
“We were told there was a balance and we went back to the airport to pick the second batch from the aircraft into our bullion van. The second tranche was about N494 million, making a total of N1.2 billion. The money was detail-counted by the Cash and Teller unit for 10 days before it was credited into three different accounts”.
At yesterday’s proceedings, a Senior Manager at the Abuja branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Aliu Mohammed, also testified as to how N2.2 billion was transferred into Diamond bank’s account of a firm, Sylva Mcmanara, from the operational account of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki, at CBN.
Mohammed, who is the Head of Payment Section at the Apex Bank, disclosed that payments mandate was first received from the NSA’s office on June 4, 2014 to pay N200 million to Sylva Mcmanara for the purpose of physical security infrastructure.
He said another mandate was also received on June 16, 2014, for the payment of N2 billion into the firm’s account for security services.
While being cross-examined by Fayose’s lawyer, Ola Olanipekun (SAN), the witness said his office did not come across the former governor’s name in any of the documents used to process the payments into Sylva Mcnamara account.
A former staff of Diamond bank, Olaitan Fajuyitan, was also on hand yesterday to corroborate the CBN’s staff claims of funds transfer into Sylva Mcnamara’s account.
He also narrated how the bank was instructed by Sylva Mcnamara to pay the sum of N1.2 billion to six individuals on the same day N2 billion was transferred to the account by CBN.
“The payment instruction was signed by the authorizing signatory of Sylva Mcnamara’s account. The beneficiaries were six in total. The authorizing signatory directed us to waive their means of identification”, he said.
According to the witness, the six beneficiaries are: Sam Turaki Bello, who collected N200 million; Yusuf Bulama, who collected N120 million; Chimenum Njoku, who collected N250 million; Josiah Moses, who collected N280 million; Abubakar Sadiq Zara, who collected N200 million and Franklin Tolani, who got N150 million.
Further hearing in the trial continues on Friday.
According to the charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on June 17, 2014, Fayose and one, Abiodun Agbele, were said to have taken possession of the sum of N1.2 billion, for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti State, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of the sum of $5 million (about N1.8 billion) from a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution and which sum exceeded the amount allowed by law.
He was also alleged to have retained the sum of N300 million in his bank account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million, which sum he ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
The former governor was also alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd and Still Earth Ltd, to retain the aggregate sums of N851 million in his bank account which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.
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