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Senate uncovers fraud in Ministry of Trade and Investment

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Senate uncovers fraud in Ministry of Trade and Investment

…rejects Ministry’s budget over N42bn allocation to private firm

 

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, yesterday, ran into murky waters in the Senate, for allegedly allocating N42 billion public fund to a private company in the 2019 budget of the ministry.

The Senate Committee on Trade and Investment uncovered the Special Economic Zone Company (Nigeria Sez Investment Company Limited) enlisted for N42 billion appropriation from the 2019 budget proposals by the Ministry, when the minister appeared before it to defend the 2019 budget. Consequent upon this discovery, which piqued members of the committee, the lawmakers rejected the N15.633 billion 2019 budget proposals the Ministry presented to the committee for approval. The minister had, in the course of presentation on the 2018 budget performance and 2019 proposals to the committee chaired by Senator Sabo Mohammed (APC, Jigawa North West), tabled a document containing 2019 budget proposals for all agencies under his ministry. However, after his presentation, the chairman of the committee referred him to Item 2 on page 7 of the document, which has N42.091 billion budgetary allocation for Nigeria Special Economic Zone Company not known to be one of the 17 agencies under the Ministry. The minister, in his response, said the company was established through Presidential initiative and was given approval at Cabinet meeting in May 2018. He said: “One of the areas that this government has focused on is infrastructure. The second area is industrialization and the two have something in common.

“If the government tries to do it alone, it would be extremely tasking. So the President directed that we should bring other partners that can combine with whatever monies we have to build world class infrastructure which led to the establishment of the company in partnership with other investors.” Again, when asked to throw light on the ownership of the company, the minister said that it was the Federal Government and other shareholders to which the committee chairman proved him wrong. According to the chairman of the committee, a document obtained by them from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) containing information on how the company was registered, indicated that the company’s name is Nigeria Sez Investment Company Limited and not Nigeria Special Economic Zone Company as listed in the documents presented by the minister. “Ownership of the company, as clearly stated in the document obtained from CAC on the 26th of last month, designated as Directors Dr. Bakari Wadinga, Mr. Olufemi Edun and Ms Oluwadara Owoyemi.

“The document clearly states that the company is a private company and that liability of the members are limited by share which is also shown, gives Federal Government 25% and 75% to the private individuals,” he said. The minister, who was jolted by the direction the committee took the matter, made spirited efforts to convince the chairman and members of the committee that the initiative was driven by the Federal Government, but they all declared that the process of putting it up “is misnomer and nothing, but financial ambush to Nigeria.” Accordingly, the lawmakers directed the minister to forward detailed written explanation on how the company got into appropriation list, its management staff, list of its staff strength and statement of account before they could think of considering the 2019 budget proposals of the ministry.

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    April 2, 2019 at 7:13 am

    Like!! Thank you for publishing this awesome article.

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Abducted Winners’ pastor released after nearly seven months

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Abducted Winners’ pastor released after nearly seven months

Pastor Moses Adeleke of the Living Faith Ministries (aka Winners’ Chapel) has been released from the captivity of Boko Haram.
The pastor was abducted by the militant group on April 10, 2019 while on a journey to distribute relief materials at Chibok.
Adeleke’s freedom was made possible through some local non-governmental agencies who worked in collaboration with the Borno State Government to secure his release.
Also released to the Borno State Government on Monday is a woman, Ndagilaya Umar of Government Science Secondary School, Askira Uba in Borno State.
It was learnt that the mission that led to Adeleke’s freedom started penultimate week after Borno Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara has reached agreement with two respected NGOs and informing the military and security agencies.
It was also learnt that the captives were eventually released on Sunday, November 10 in the evening.
The freed pastor and Umar were subsequently given to the Borno Deputy Governor, Usman Kadafur on Monday.
The abductees, speaking at the Government House, Maiduguri commended the security personnel and Kaltum foundation for securing their release and the state government for reuniting them with their families and the assistance rendered.

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Two students drown while swimming in Ekiti

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Adewumi Ademiju

Ado-Ekiti

T

wo secondary schools students at the weekend lost their lives while swimming inside a river at Ureje area of Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.

The victims were students of Ado Grammar School located on Ado-Ijan Road.

A resident told journalists yesterday that the two students died inside a deeper portion of Ureje River, which stretches from Ajilosun and flows down to Odo Ado region of Ado-Ekiti.

The resident said about seven students scaled the fence when academic works were ongoing to swim in the river, while two of them got drowned.

“The academic works were ongoing when they left school. They went to the deeper side of Ureje River to swim. Two of them were trapped in the mud and died.

“One of the survivors said though four of them jumped into the river before sensing that the two victims were no longer swimming.

“Those on the river cliff had to run to a farmer working around the river. It was the man who called on some swimmers farming in the area to come and rescue two who were still afloat before bringing out those who were already dead,” the resident said.

The source added that the farmers later ran into the school compound about noon to report the incident to the teachers. This was said to have evoked cries and wailings among the staff and students.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Caleb Ikechukwu, said the bodies of the students had been deposited in the morgue.

He said: “We learnt the students went to the river to swim and got drowned. Their bodies had been taken to the mortuary.”

Ikechukwu said other students who were part of the swimming expedition would help the police in conducting thorough investigation into the pathetic incident.

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Bayelsa Polls: APC dismisses Dickson’s rigging allegation

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Bayelsa Polls: APC dismisses Dickson’s rigging allegation

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State on Monday dismissed  an allegation by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) about a plot to rig the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
A statement by the APC State Publicity Secretary, Doifie Buokoribo in Yenagoa, accused PDP of having a fondness for diversionary allegations, which in actual fact describe their own perverse schemes.
The statement said: “We have once again learnt about a deceptive allegation by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) linking our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the Nigerian Army with an alleged plan to rig the coming governorship election in the state.
“While we cannot speak for the Nigerian Army, APC completely dismisses the attempt to link it with poll rigging as a low trick invented to conceal PDP’s signature electoral character of thuggery, fraud, violence, and manipulation. This is yet another shameless and mischievous allegation
“It has been shown that Bayelsa PDP’s keenness for bogus allegations and ‘uncovering plans’, especially before a major election, are actually an indirect disclosure of their own malicious plots. PDP in the state has fooled the country, and sometimes the security services, over and over by crying fake tears of apprehension.
“We use this opportunity to also alert the security agencies to the urgent need to dig deeper into PDP’s predilection for strange accusations ahead of the November 16 governorship election. Like crocodiles that are believed to shed tears while consuming their prey, PDP in Bayelsa State is known for deceptive alarm raised to cover up their own evil machinations.
“Governor Henry Seriake Dickson and his PDP must not be allowed to derail this election. Having seen the handwriting on the wall pertaining their imminent fall from power, there is a strong suspicion, backed up by history, that Dickson may become fiercer in his deployment of crude power during the coming poll. He has since fallen out with the critical segment of his party and his most likely fallback strategy may be to play the spoiler by creating confusion and trying to prevent APC’s increasingly glaring victory.”

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Earthquake rocks Southeastern France

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Earthquake rocks Southeastern France

An unusually strong earthquake hit southeastern France on Monday, seriously injuring at least one person, authorities said.
The quake, with a magnitude of 5.4, was felt in a vast area between the cities of Lyon and Montelimar which are about 150 kilometres (93 miles) apart, the national seismological office said.
“I was leaning against the oven in my mother’s bakery when I felt the tremor,” said Victoria Brielle, a resident in Privas, some 25 kilometres from the quake’s epicentre.
“A customer’s crockery toppled over and everything broke,” she said.
Another resident in the area, Didier Levy, who lives in a 15th century castle, told AFP that “chandeliers were still trembling” several minutes after the quake, reports France24.
Levy, who said his dog starting barked even before humans felt the tremors, added: “I have never experienced anything like it, I could feel the trembling even though these walls are one metre thick.”
One person was seriously hurt when a scaffolding collapsed, the regional governor’s office said.
Three other people in the neighbouring Ardeche region were slightly injured, AFP reported.
The regional governor’s office added that there was no serious damage recorded in any nearby buildings — and no damage at all at the nearby nuclear power plant of Tricastin.
According to messages posted on social networks, a slight jolt was felt in Montpellier, Lyon, St Etienne, Grenoble, Avignon and Marseille.

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Damaturu killings: Army begins investigation

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Damaturu killings: Army begins investigation

The Nigerian Army Monday, said a board of inquiry has been established, to unravel the circumstances that led to the death of two persons in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, on Sunday.
It was reported that a military truck driving fast, had hit a tricycle, killing two of its passengers.
But, the Army, while regretting the development, said the Sector 2 of Operation Lafiya Dole, had set up a inquiry board over the incident.
The Sector’s spokesperson, Captain Njoka Irabor, who made the disclosure in a statement, said a toddler and a female student of the Federal Polytechnic Damaturu, were killed in the incident.
“…the Sector has since conveyed a Board of Inquiry to unravel the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident,” Irabor said.
According to him: “The Acting Commander Sector 2 Operation Lafiya Dole, Brigadier General Ibrahim Sallau Ali, on behalf of Officers and Soldiers of the Sector, wishes to most sincerely commiserate with families of victims of the unfortunate road traffic accident involving a tricycle and a patrol vehicle that occurred on Saturday 9 November 2019 in Damaturu.
“The unfortunate accident is highly regrettable, especially that precious lives were lost – a toddler and a female student of the Federal Polytechnic Damaturu lost their lives.
“The Sector wishes to use this medium to express our deepest sympathy in this trying time to the families of the deceased and also to wish other victims who are still recuperating in the hospital speedy recovery.
“Additionally, this Headquarters has since paid a condolence visit to the deceased families and all those civilians involved in the accident.”

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Former Minister of Petroleum, Tam David-West, dies at 83

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Former Minister of Petroleum, Tam David-West, dies at 83

Sola Adeyemo, Ibadan

The renowned Professor of Virology,Tam David-West is dead. He was aged 83.

Confirming the demise, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the University College Hospital (UCH), where the social commentator breathed his last, Mr Toye Akinrinlola, told New Telegraph on Monday that the don died at exactly 11.05 a.m.

His words: “Professor Tam David West was brought in here over a week ago and was admitted to the Private Suite of this hospital. He died at 11:05am today,” Akinrinlola said.

New Telegraph’s checks revealed that West’s remains have been deposited at the hospital’s morgue.

A family member, who guided the deceased to the hospital while speaking on a condition of anonymity, said: “We took Baba to UCH precisely 11days ago. The deceased had spent 11 days at UCH before he breathed his last. He was rushed to UCH when he fell sick. His children are already on their way to Ibadan.”

In a statement on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed sorrow at the passing of his ally whom he called “the indomitable Tam David-West.”

David-West was Petroleum Minister when Buhari was the Military Head of State between 1984 and 1985 when oil prices slumped to about $10 a barrel.

Before his ministerial appointment, he served as Commissioner of Education in the old Rivers State. He was also Minister of Mines, Power and Steel under former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida.

“He had an indomitable spirit, stood resolutely by whatever he believed in, and was in a class of his own,” Buhari said of David-West.

The President condoled with the deceased’s family, the people of Buguma, Kalabari Kingdom of Rivers State, the academia, and all those who loved David-West.

Buhari prayed for eternal rest for the deceased’s soul, urging all who believe in David-West’s ideals to approximate same for the betterment of Nigeria, and humanity in general.

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Hong Kong police officer shoots protester in early morning clashes

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Hong Kong police officer shoots protester in early morning clashes

Hong Kong police opened fire and hit at least one protester, during a fracas broadcast live on Facebook, as chaos erupted across the city during rush hour on Monday.

Footage showed a police officer drawing his weapon in the eastern district of Sai Wan Ho as he tried to detain a masked man at a road junction that had been blocked by protesters.

Another masked man then approached the officer and was apparently shot in the chest area, quickly falling to the ground, clutching his left side. His condition was not clear, reports al-Jazeera.

Seconds later, two more live rounds were fired by the officer during a scuffle and another masked man went to the ground, although the footage was less clear as to whether he was struck.

Police could later be seen detaining the two men on the ground. The first man had a pool of blood next to him and his body was limp as officers moved him around and apparently tried to tie his hands.

The second man was conscious and talking.

Al Jazeera’s Sarah Clarke, reporting from the area where the incident took place, said more people were beginning to gather as protesters attempt to shut down the city.

“This is a general strike targeting road and the transport system so major thoroughfares, highways have all been blocked,” she said. “There have been huge traffic jams across Hong Kong. Tensions have frayed. The crowds are building. They are gathering because of the escalation in anger after the student was shot this morning.”

The officer involved in the shooting appeared to be from the traffic police, she noted.

Weekend chaos

A police source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to the AFP that live rounds were fired at more than one protester in Sai Wan Ho and that a statement would be issued.

Police said earlier radical protesters had set up barricades at multiple locations across the city and warned the demonstrators to “stop their illegal acts immediately”.

Hong Kong protests getting more violent as anger at police grows (3:13)

Services on some train and metro lines were disrupted early on Monday, with riot police deployed near stations and shopping malls. Many universities cancelled classes on Monday and there were long traffic jams in some areas.

Hong Kong has been convulsed by nearly six months of huge and increasingly violent rallies, with protesters demands including an independent investigation into alleged police brutality.

Activists blocked roads and ransacked shopping malls across Hong Kong’s New Territories and Kowloon peninsula on Sunday during the 24th straight weekend of anti-government unrest.

The latest violence comes after a student died in hospital last week from injuries sustained in a fall as protesters were being dispersed by police.

The protests started when the government tried to push through a controversial and now-shelved extradition bill, but have evolved into a wider call for greater democracy. Many worry that Beijing is meddling in the former British colony’s freedoms, which are guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” formula put in place when the territory was returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

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Australia urges evacuations ahead of ‘catastrophic’ fire threat

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Australia urges evacuations ahead of ‘catastrophic’ fire threat

Authorities in Australia’s eastern states of Queensland and New South Wales declared a state of emergency on Monday as the region prepared for “catastrophic” fire conditions.

People in areas deemed at the greatest risk were urged to evacuate before Tuesday when unprecedented hot and windy conditions are forecast. Officials worry the combination of extreme heat and wind will fan fires already burning.

Three people were killed and more than 150 homes were destroyed over the weekend in bushfires in northern New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland.

Officials said the state of emergency – giving firefighters broad powers to control government resources, force evacuations, close roads and shut down utilities – would remain in place for seven days, reports al-Jazeera.

Bushfires are common in Australia’s hot, dry summers but the current outbreak, well before the summer peak, has caught many by surprise.

“Everybody has to be on alert no matter where you are and everybody has to assume the worst and we cannot allow complacency to creep in,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

Australia’s most populous city avoided the worst of the weekend conditions, but authorities have raised the forecast for the greater Sydney region to catastrophic fire danger for Tuesday. It is the first time the city has been rated at that level since new fire danger ratings were introduced in 2009.

Temperatures in greater Sydney are set to soar on Tuesday to more than 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit), with strong, dry winds.

“Tomorrow is about protecting life, protecting property and ensuring everybody is as safe as possible,” Berejiklian said.

Climate policies

Home to more than 5 million people, Sydney is ringed by large areas of bushland. With next to no rain in recent months, much of it is tinder dry.

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons urged people to evacuate before conditions worsened, warning that new fires can begin up to 20km (12 miles) ahead of established fires.

“Relocate while things are calm without the pressure or anxiety of fires bearing down the back door,” he said on Monday.

Authorities stressed that even fireproofed homes would not be able to withstand catastrophic conditions.

Fitzsimmons said an additional 400 firefighters on 50 trucks were heading to NSW from the neighbouring state of Victoria to assist local authorities in tackling the 18 fires across the state, two of which have been deemed out of control by authorities.

In February 2009, Australia’s worst bushfires on record destroyed thousands of homes in Victoria, killing 173 people and injuring 414 on a day that became known as “Black Saturday”.

The current fires come weeks ahead of the Southern Hemisphere summer, focusing attention on the policies of Australia’s conservative government to address climate change.

Environmental activists and opposition politicians have used the fires to call on Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a supporter of the coal industry, to strengthen the country’s emissions targets.

Morrison declined to answer questions about whether the fires were linked to climate change as he visited fire-hit areas in northern NSW over the weekend.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack on Monday accused climate activists of politicising a tragedy.

“What we are doing is taking real and meaningful action to reduce global emissions without shutting down all our industries,” McCormack told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

“They don’t need the ravings of some pure, enlightened and ‘woke’ capital city greenies at this time, when they’re trying to save their homes, when in fact they’re going out in many cases saving other peoples’ homes and leaving their own homes at risk.”

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Call EFCC, Police to order, lawyer tells FG

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Call EFCC, Police to order, lawyer tells FG

A civil rights activist and president, Association for Good Governance, Justice Uhuegbu has called on the Federal Government to quickly intervene in an alleged unbridled criminal activities of the officials of the Nigeria Police Force and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Imo State.

 

Speaking during a press conference in Owerri on Sunday, Uhuegbu accused the officials of the two agencies of turning the state into their cash cow where they milk residents through intimidation and armed harassment of innocent citizens in their criminal bid to make quick money.

 

He noted that inspite the orders of Mr. President and the police hierarchy that police officers should stop searching people’s phones; the policemen in Imo State have been harassing and intimidating innocent citizens into parting with huge sums.

 

 

“I have handled a number of cases against the police and currently I have three cases I’m handling in the court which involves police intimidation and extortion. Their mode of operation is to stop and arrest innocent citizens with trumped up charges.

 

They even compel people to go to banks to withdraw money via ATM to buy their freedom. And this is done at gunpoint”, he said. He expressed sadness that the police in the state had taken over the job of the courts, whereby they usually pronounce suspects guilty without charging them to court.

 

“Their sole objective of doing this is to extort huge sums of money from them”, he said. Uhuegbu also condemned the activities of the officials of the EFCC in the state, saying that since they started arresting suspected internet fraudsters, the anti-graft agency had never prosecuted any of the suspects.

 

He described their invasion of the state as merely a shakedown.

 

“Rather, what they do is to collect money from those boys they tag ‘Yahoo Boys’ and release the boys into the society. So, it happens that on weekly basis, they come to Owerri to raid students hostels and arrest innocent citizens who they also make to pay huge sums of money before they’re released.

 

“So, the EFCC has literally opened offices in students’ hostels in Owerri where they collect huge sums of money by simply intimidating and arresting people”

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APC chieftain, Gbazuagu, hosts Ugwuanyi, Chime, others at daughter’s marriage

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APC chieftain, Gbazuagu, hosts Ugwuanyi, Chime, others at daughter’s marriage

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and governorship candidate in Enugu state, Chief Gbazuagu Nweke Nwazuagu popularly known as ‘GNG’ at the weekend played host to top political actors across political divides in the country as he gave out his daughter in marriage.

 

Notable politicians in attendance included the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; his predecessor, Sullivan Chime; former Governor of Borno state, Modu Sheriff.

 

The traditional marriage between Gbazuagu”s daughter, Adaora Chidinma and Mr. Azubuike Chukwunweike Arah, took place at Obinagu Akpugoeze community, in Oji River local government area of Enugu state. The marriage was also witnessed by key members of both families, the Gbazueagu family in Obinagu Akpugoeze and the family of Chukwuemeka David Arah of Onitsha in Anambra state.

 

However, the traditional outing turned a political gathering of sort as friends of Chief Gbazuagu from all walks of life visited to celebrate with him. Other dignitaries in attendance are who attended included Senator Chukwuka Utazi who is the current senator representing Enugu North senatorial district and Cornelius Nnaji, representing Enugu East/Isi- Uzo federal constituency witnessed the occasion; Senator Hyde Onuaguluchi and Senator Ben Collins Ndu.

 

A former Minister of state for Foreign Affairs, Chief Dubem Onyia as well as former and serving members of the Enugu state executive council including the state Commissioner for Environment, Chijioke Edeoga, Gab Onuzuluike, Hon Manfred Nzekwe and others attended were in attendance. Similarly, some chieftains of the APC including its National Vice Chairman South East, Chief Emma Eneukwu were also on hand to show solidarity. Gbazueagu while sanctioning the traditional wedding between his daughter Adaora and Azubuike as they knelt down before him prayed for God’s wisdom and prosperity for the couple.

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