Copy of Details Emerge on Suspicious Payments to Firm Linked to SGF. Kaduna at ‘war’. Egypt bars Osama Bin Laden’s son, wife. Nigerian politicians recruit thugs but their children school & stay abroad – Goodluck Jonathan. OAU Senate stands up to EFCC, M ourning M issing M illions …MMM: the buzz continues, ‘We used school fees, church money, bank loans for MMM, now we are in trouble’.

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  • Details Emerge on Suspicious Payments to Firm Linked to SGF.
  • Kaduna at ‘war’.
  • Egypt bars Osama Bin Laden’s son, wife.
  • Nigerian politicians recruit thugs but their children school & stay abroad – Goodluck Jonathan.
  • OAU Senate stands up to EFCC,
  • M ourning M issing M illions …MMM: the buzz continues, ‘We used school fees, church money, bank loans for MMM, now we are in trouble’.

Sultan of Sokoto to honour Rangers FC
Voice of Nigeria

The Sultan of Sokoto, Dr Sa’ad Abubakar and other dignitaries are expected to attend the grand reception in honour of the 2015/2016 Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) Champions, Rangers International FC. The grand reception for the “Victorious Rangers’’ is being organised by the Enugu State Government on Monday at the Okpara Square, Enugu.

Super Sand Eagles qualifies for World Cup

Voice of Nigeria

Nigeria Super Sand Eagles on Saturday advanced into the finals of the on-going CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations 2016 in an emphatic fashion by beating Morocco 6-1. The victory also sealed the top spot for the Nigerian sides for the Beach World Cup in Bahamas next year.

Kaduna: A trajectory of crises

The Guardian Nigeria
From May, 29, 2015 when Mallam Nasir El-Rufai assumed office as the Governor of Kaduna State, he has been responding to the socio-economic conditions of the state through controversial policies, which seem to have put the entire citizenry on edge. Most people still wonder as to the direction and possible destination of the ship of State.

It would be recalled that El-Rufai was the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and erstwhile Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE). His stint in those offices is well known to Nigerians.

But the no-nonsense bearing of the governor is now turning into a kind of nightmare, following the pressures brought to bear in the state, where he presides over a diverse people with different religious and ethnic backgrounds. There is a past history of crises in the state.

The major challenge confronting Governor El-Rufai today in Kaduna seems to be how to carry the people along with his developmental policies and programmes. That also is in the face of many contending crises, such as, the Shiites debacle, Fulani herdsmen and Southern Kaduna community killings.

Then there is his notorious political face-off with Senator Shehu Sani, which led to the suspension of the irascible human rights activist by the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), confrontation by religious clerics over the controversial religious and anti-preaching bill.

In the midst of those challenges, Nigerians are eager to know whether Governor El-Rufai can confront all and deliver the dividends of democracy to the people. No doubt, the distractions of the contending forces would serve as negative pull against his government from many fronts.

Fulani Herdsmen Attacks Versus Southern Kaduna Killings
It has been all dark and gloomy climate of attacks in recent times by Fulani killer herdsmen. In the most recent episodes, the herdsmen unleashed a torrent of anguish on several communities across the Southern Kaduna axis of the state. They not only wrecked havoc in families, the killer squad also set many villages ablaze, thereby rendering many people in the area homeless.

Since the attack assumed serious dimension last year, not fewer than 2,000 people been sent to their early graves, with about 200 others killed in Godogodo town, in Jema’ah Local Government Area, and its adjoining communities nearly two months ago.

The people watched with horror as their families were buried in great numbers, even as villages were deserted as a result of the herdsmen attacks. Pitifully, it was as if the federal and state governments displayed either lack of ability to stop the killings or were too dazed by the gunmen’s barbarity at the height of their invasion to react in good measure.

Up until now, the miserable climate of attacks and killings by herdsmen has refused to change, despite assurances by the authorities. Many peace committees have been set up, while peace undertakings have been organised by the Government, but all to no as the violence continued.

Since 2010 when the problem emerged to date, suspected Fulani herdsmen are alleged to have burnt down over 500 houses and killed more than 4,000 people in Southern Kaduna. However, the crisis heightened after the inauguration of El-Rufai as governor. And the optimism that the attack would subside disappeared in April, after El-Rufai announced a controversial plan to establish grazing reserves across the state.

The grazing reserves plan was particularly contentious in Southern Kaduna, as it meant yoking the natives, who are mainly crop farmers, and the pastoral Fulani herdsmen in a difficult cohabitation. Many in Southern Kaduna saw it as a plot to dispossess them of their land and give it to a people who had for long enacted a regime of murder and destruction against the natives. Emotions ran high, though the Kaduna State government tended later to relax the grazing reserves scheme for Southern Kaduna.

A fortnight ago, there was anger and apprehension among the people of Southern Kaduna following the revelation that the killer herdsmen were from far flung areas.

Governor El-Rufai’s Revelation
When Governor El-Rufai spoke to journalists, he disclosed that the herdsmen came majorly from the neighbouring countries. He alarmed the citizens when he disclosed that the killers were paid some money to discontinue from further attacks so that peace may reign in the area.

The governor said his government traced some violent, aggrieved Fulani to their countries and paid them to stop the killings of Southern Kaduna natives and the destruction of their communities, saying that the renewed violence is carried out by bandits.

He stated: “For Southern Kaduna, we didn’t understand what was going on and we decided to set up a committee under Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (rtd) to find out what was going on there. What was established, was that the root of the problem has a history starting from the 2011 post-election violence.”

Continuing, the governor explained that, “Fulani herdsmen from across Africa bring their cattle down towards Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria. The moment the rains start, around March, April, they start moving them up to go back to their various communities and countries. Unfortunately, it was when they were moving up with their cattle across Southern Kaduna that the elections of 2011 took place and the crisis trapped some of them.”

“Some of them were from Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Mali and Senegal. Fulanis are in 14 African countries and they traverse this country with the cattle. So many of these people were killed, cattle lost and they organised themselves and came back to revenge.”

El-Rufai continued: “So a lot of what was happening in Southern Kaduna was actually from outside Nigeria. We got a hint that the late Governor Patrick Yakowa got this information and he sent someone to go round some of these Fulani communities, but of course after he died, the whole thing stopped.

“That is what we inherited. But the Agwai committee established that. We took certain steps. We got a group of people that were going round trying to trace some of these people in Cameroon, Niger republic and so on to tell them that there is a new governor, who is Fulani like them and has no problem paying compensations for lives lost and he is begging them to stop killing.”

“In most of the communities, once that appeal was made to them, they said they have forgiven. There is one or two that asked for monetary compensation. They said they have forgiven the death of human beings, but want compensation for cattle. We said no problem, and we paid some. As recently as two weeks ago, the team went to Niger republic to attend
one Fulani gathering that they hold every year with a message from me.”

The Islamic Movement Of Nigeria (IMN) Angle
The trouble generated by the bloody clash between the Shiites and soldiers in Zaria, which resulted in the death of several members of the Islamic group, last year December has continued to brew tension and uncertainty in Kaduna and other states in the north, where the Shiites have many followers.

Coupled with the massive loss of lives suffered by the members of the Shiites as a result of the clash with soldiers, their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife who were wounded during the fracas were detained under security watch of the Department of State Security (DSS), Abuja.

There was a White Paper released by the State Government after the investigation by a judicial panel, which probed the clash between the Shiites and soldiers and subsequently indicted the Islamic religious group. The State Government has already placed a ban the IMN and also declared the Shiites as an insurgent movement, just like the Boko Haram.

The Political face-off between Senator Shehu Sani and Governor El-Rufai
The altercation between the two political figures in the State has almost torn the All Progressives Congress (APC) apart in Kaduna State. Senator Shehu Sani who was elected as Senator representing Kaduna Central zone defeated the former Senator representing the zone, retired Major General Mohammed Sani Saleh, a close associate of President Muhammadu Buhari at the primaries in 2015 to become APC candidate. The cross-firing between Sani and Governor El-Rufai was said to have begun when the Governor decided to pitch tent with the retired General instead of the human rights activist.

Since the battle-line was drawn between the two political figures, there have been a divergence of opinion between the two camps on policies in the State, which resulted to Sani’s suspension by the Kaduna state chapter of APC.

However, the zonal headquarters of the party seemed not to be impressed by the action of the Kaduna state chapter of APC against Senator Sani, going by the recent comments of the party’s North West zonal National Vice Chairman, Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadri Magatakada, who condemned the arbitrary action of some state officials on its members.

This situation has in no small way added to the tension in the state, leaving many wondering how it would play out come 2019.

Operation python dance, declaration of war against Ndigbo, says EMU

The Guardian Nigeria

”It Is Not…” Says Army
Eastern Mandate Union (EMU), led by elder statesman, Dr. Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo, has said that Operation Python Dance recently launched in the southeast was part of the ongoing plot by the government to “annihilate” Ndigbo.

Rising from their delegates’ conference, which held in Enugu yesterday, EMU, which reviewed the situation of Ndigbo in the present administration, declared, “this Operation Python Dance is nothing short of a declaration of war against the Igbo nation by the Nigerian government.”

But when contacted on the development, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division, Nigeria Army Enugu, Col. Sagir Musa, said the “Nigeria Army has clearly addressed such misplaced apprehension,” adding, “We still maintain that position.”

Nobody asked me to concede defeat to Buhari – Jonathan

The Guardian Nigeria
Former President, Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday clarified that nobody either within or outside Nigeria compelled him to concede defeat in the 2015 general elections.

Jonathan made the statement at the 2nd combined convocation ceremony of Bingham
University, Nasarawa State.

The former president and an ex-military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon 
were honored with the Doctor of Letters (Honaris Causa) by the university.

While the former military head of state, Gowon was awarded the degree by the university in “recognition of his commitment and selflessness to Nigeria, Africa and humanity, former President Jonathan was honoured by the Senate of the university in recognition of his self-abasement and prized patriotic humility and love for peace.”

Jonathan maintained that he called Buhari to concede defeat out of his personal principle and conviction that no blood of any Nigerian was worth his political ambition.

He reminded Nigerians that, that singular act he exhibited had already started having effects on global politics as world leaders now willingly concede defeats to their
opponents when they lose elections.

“It is my belief that no one’s political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian and I am fulfilled knowing that by conceding while the votes were still being compiled was borne out of my personal principle and conviction. It is generating positive impact
on other nations.”

“Let me make it very, very clear, nobody within or outside the country persuaded me to do that. I know it is the right thing to do. My ambition is not worth the blood of Nigerians. It was not just a political slogan,” he stressed.

On the 2014 National Conference, Jonathan said he convened the conference to help
unite the country together and avoid the creation of tension and crisis in the polity.

“One of the reasons why I convened the 2014 National Conference was to come up with a polity devoid of tension and crisis, a polity that will bring unity to this country. A polity that will not divide us along tribal, ethnic, and religious lines.

“I have seen politicians, whose children school and live abroad mobilise children of others as thugs during elections. They don’t care whether they die or not. This is against human dignity. And we should uphold our vows as a nation of great people who love and respect one
another.
Also from the Guardian, I can see the headline – ECOWAS issues deadline to resolve Gambian crisis; but I won’t be reading that. You may look it up on the Nigerian Guardian website.
Well, here is another write-up yet about Kaduna State’s condition.

Kaduna: Contending with old animosities, new confrontations

At the root of most civil unrests that have dragged Kaduna to the front pages of national news media is the tangle between politics and religion. Add to that the whisper of indigene-settler rancour that has always defined relations between the many ethnic communities in the state.

The people of northern Kaduna have always used their slight superior population and political exposure to try to dominate the southern Kaduna people. Yet the people of the south with some of their indigenes in the military have always held their ground through a show of counter force.

It was only by a chance occurrence that a person from Southern Kaduna ever occupied the office of State Governor in the state. Strong politicians like Zamani Lekwot and Isaiah Ballat made strenuous efforts to see that a balanced distribution of political power was achieved in the state. Although Ballat was believed to have made a very good showing in the governorship election in 2007, people of Southern Kaduna still believe that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) machinery was used to pull the rug off his feet.

In the process, a political understanding was brokered that saw him working in the office of the Vice President, Architect Namadi Sambo. It was while ensconced in that office that he died. Also Sambo’s former deputy, Patrick Yakowa, who became governor following the then President Goodluck Jonathan’s nomination of Governor Sambo to become his deputy in 2010, was later to lose his life in a helicopter accident.

These reverses in the political fortunes of Southern Kaduna exacerbated their frustrations in the state.

Ever since, the Southern Kaduna people continue feel marginalized in the state. That could explain why when the 2014 killing happened, President of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), Dr. Ephrain Goje, contended that there was the need for “our people to be more vigilante and security conscious, because no artillery can protect the people of Southern Kaduna.”

While accusing the federal and state governments of abandoning and neglecting Southern Kaduna, Goje declared: “There is a looming danger. Over 150 houses have been burnt; NEMA and SEMA should come to their aid. The president and the vice president cancelled their meetings due to a bomb blast in Abuja, why can’t they visit Kaduna South where hundreds of people are being killed?”

Simlarly, when the recent round of killings took place, the Southern Kaduna people said they had been “left in the hands of barbarians, who had wrecked maximum havoc, killed uncountable number of their people and destroyed unimaginable property.”

Current SOKAPU President, Barrister Solomon Musa, however disclosed that in the present incident, “so far, the locals have been able to identify not less than 40 corpses aside from the several other corpses burnt beyond recognition.”

He added: “Virtually, all houses have been burnt in Godo-Godo. Property worth hundreds of millions were destroyed, while crops have been grazed by cattle and the rest destroyed by the invaders. The savagery and barbarity of the attack is beyond belief. Yet, governments at the Federal and State levels appear quiet and noncommittal.”

The presence of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) is another source of worry for Kaduna State. Though IMN has been around for a while, plying their excesses in the name of religion, the situation changed when two residents and citizens of Kaduna assumed political power. Although originally from Daura in Katsina State, President Muhammadu Buhari sees Kaduna as home. For Nasir El-Rufai, he is an indigene. Both men know firsthand how people dread and caution themselves about the Shittes, particularly during their monthly processions.

It was with the background knowledge of how the IMN had turned laws unto themselves that precipitated the face-off between IMN and the military when they tried to hold the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Buratai, to the discipline of honouring the sanctity of their procession. It took just a phone call, and the rest became history and continues to hold the state in suspense. El Zakzaky is held in protective custody, the court has given the government 45 days to release him and get him alternative abode in Zaria or any other town in the north, in addition to paying him N50m in compensation for infringing on his personal liberty and fundamental rights. Would the government budge?

APC Infighting
But while the rural villages reel from violence and criminal squabbles, the political leaders wage their own petty battles for influence and supremacy. Given the tension and bitter acrimony the defined the 2015 general election, most people thought that the state would know unqualified peace after the APC won the governorship.

That was not to be, because like the cat and mouse relationship between APC and PDP, the fall out of the governorship primary continued to reverberate in APC weeks and months after Governor El-Rufai took his oath of office as the state Chief Executive.

As part of the fence mending to ensure that the APC went into the election as a united family, rights activist, Shehu Sani, was prevailed upon to step down for the former minister of FCT minister and rather contest for the Kaduna Central Senatorial seat.

Like men set on a hunting expedition with a fifty-fifty chance of hunting a game, everything looked good in the eyes of the contenders. But no sooner was victory won and the APC winning big up to the federal level, the old animosities returned to haunt the former gladiators.

While El-Rufai is torn between seeking a second term in office, an ambition that seems to be constricting each passing day; Senator Sani is laying claims to his right to be governor. From attempting to suspend the senator, to a daylight attack at his constituency headquarters, Sani is not losing any opportunity to give back to the Governor.

The totality of the assaults on Kaduna, left, right and centre, is that the once beautiful and serene city has become a swamp filled with sharks and crocodiles.

Cattle market re-opens 11-years after

Eleven years after the unofficial relocation of the Cattle market to another community, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has commissioned the re-constructed market at Umuka, Okigwe Local Council of the state.

Egypt bars Osama Bin Laden’s son, wife
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Osama bin Laden’s son Omar was refused entry to Egypt on Saturday, airport sources said, giving no reason why his name was on a list of people banned from the country.

Details Emerge on Suspicious Payments to Firm Linked to SGF

THISDAYLIVE

Moves on to amend EFCC Act to make all Nigerians of impeccable character eligible for chairmanship
Details have emerged on how suspicious payments were made by Josmon Technologies, a firm that was awarded contract by the Presidential Intiative on North East (PINE), into the bank account of Rholavision, a company linked to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir David Lawal.

The Senate had last week asked Lawal to resign immediately to face prosecution for alleged abuse of office, contract inflation and misappropriation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) funds following the consideration of the interim report of the Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the Northeast. Lawal had however faulted the call for his resignation by the Senate describing it as an attempt to rubbish him.

Documents obtained by THISDAY at the weekend from National Assembly sources who are currently investigating the SGF showed that the Presidential Initiative on North East awarded a contract for the removal of invasive plant species along river channels and 115 hectares of simplified irrigation operation in Yobe State to Josmon Technologies at the cost of 272,524,356.02 million Naira on March 8, 2016.
However, after Josmon Technologies was paid, it began to make payments into Rholavision’s account number 0182001809 in Eco Bank.

Payment of the money into Rholavision account started on March 29, 2016, when Josmon Technologies paid 50 million Naira into the account in five instalments of 10 million Naira.
The payment continued the following day, March 30, when it paid another 50 million in five instalments of 10 million each. On March 31, it paid 20 million in two instalments of 10 million each.

Josmon Technologies returned to the bank on April 1, 2016, when it paid another 50 million in five instalments of 10 million. The payment continued on April 4, when it paid 25 million in instalments of 10 million each twice and another 5 million.

On September 8, 2016, it paid 10 million and on September 9, it paid another 10 million and later on the same day, it paid in 55 million.
THISDAY also sighted a letter dated September 9, 2016, written by Lawal and addressed to Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) where Lawal stated that “having resigned my appointment as Director of Rholavision Engineering Ltd, I hereby relinquish my shares totalling 1,500,000 ordinary shares to the company.”
However, the letter of resignation to confirm whether the SGF actually resigned in August 2015 as he claimed as against Senate’s claim that he resigned in September 2016 was nowhere to be found.

Another document seen by THISDAY showed a resolution of Rholavision on October 5, 2016, where a Director of Rholavision, Jonathan Dodo, was removed and replaced by Hamidu David Lawal. Another director, Patience Mudala Ephraim, was appointed same day.
Efforts to get the reaction of the SGF were unsuccessful last night.

Meanwhile, following Senate’s rejection of the request for confirmation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), some close aides of President Muhammadu Buhari are now pushing for the return of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as EFCC boss, THISDAY has learnt.

These officials and associates of the President are said to hold the belief that it was high time the EFCC was returned to the era when it possessed sound intellectual, investigative and prosecutorial capacity to fight corruption and establish connections with similar agencies across the world.

These suggestions were coming against the backdrop of insinuations that the agency had derailed from its roadmap since the exit of Ribadu.
Advocates of the idea are also suggesting the need to court the National Assembly by persuading it to revisit the Act setting up the commission and adopt some of the initial proposals by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo while conceiving the EFCC.

Such proposals included the appointment of a chairman who must not be less than the rank of an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG). The criteria was however said to have been lowered when the Act was passed to accommodate Ribadu, who was then an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP). Ribadu served a the commission’s pioneer chairman and retired as AIG.

An informed source in the National Assembly also told THISDAY that there were moves to evolve proposals for amendment of some provisions of the EFCC Act to pave the way for the emergence of a chairman outside the Nigeria Police Force or security agencies with a view to making any Nigerian of impeccable character and integrity eligible.
The EFCC Act provides that the commission’s chairman shall be a serving or retired member of any government security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent , and with not less than 15 years cognate experience.

It was learnt that some top Presidency officials are also urging the President to look beyond the Nigeria Police and security agencies in his search for a chairman with impeccable character and incorruptible tendencies.

Their proposals are hinged on the fact that EFCC as currently constituted operates mainly with the mindset of the Nigeria Police, carrying out mere mechanical operations with brute force without recourse to forensic and intellectual engagements.

In pushing their idea, they were said to have suggested that the President could pick a new EFCC chairman from places such as the intelligence community, legal profession, military or other bodies, provided the person being considered has unblemished record and is resolute in his or her commitment to fight corruption without fear or favour.

“We need a seasoned head who can take that agency to the level of Anti-money Trafficking Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and its equivalent in the United Kingdom. The agency needs international connections and it must operate at a higher pedestal… It doesn’t have to be a policeman all the time,” a presidency source said.

Government spends 753.6 billion capital votes without evidence of implementation

The Guardian Nigeria

Seven months into the implementation of the 2016 fiscal plan, the Budget Office of the Federation, and the Ministry of Budget and National Planning are yet to furnish the nation with how the sum of 753.633 billion Naira, released to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) was deployed, and for what projected.

The implementation of, particularly capital votes of the 2016 spending plan, which commenced in earnest in May this year when the Appropriation Bill was signed into law, is expected to continue till May 2017 as the Presidency had sought, and obtained the approval of the National Assembly to extend the implementation to achieve a full year cycle of implementation.
The Guardian at the weekend exclusively obtained the breakdown of the capital votes releases to MDAs as at the end of October this year, which was the last time funds were released to them.

However, there is no implementation report so far to indicate the projects and the level of their implementation, as it is always the case.

Lead Director of the Centre for Social Justice [Censoj], a non-governmental agency with focus on equitable distribution of the nation’s commonwealth, Mr. Eze Onykpere, described the development as “absurd and a contravention of the Fiscal Responsibility Law 2007.’’

You can get a look at the breakdown from the Guardian Nigeria’s website.

External Reserves Sustain Marginal Gains, Rise to $25b
THISDAYLIVE

Nigeria’s foreign reserves, which have been on a steady rise since November, currently stand at $25.043b, data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed.

One week to Christmas: Jet A-1 scarcity choking aviation sector

RECESSION: Ugwuanyi and the BudgIT verdict

A report published by BudgIT listed Enugu, Lagos and Rivers as the only states that still meet their recurrent needs in Nigeria, amid challenges of economic recession occasioned by low governments’ revenue.

BudgIT is a civic organization that applies technology to intersect citizen engagement with institutional improvement, to facilitate societal change. It uses an array of technological tools to simplify the budget and matters of public spending for citizens, with the aim of raising standard of transparency and accountability in government. Its methodology is deploying refined data mining skill sets to creatively represent data and empower citizens to use the resulting information in demanding improved service delivery. It is widely regarded as a trusted hub for public finance data in Nigeria.

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, while revealing how the state is able to regularly pay salaries amid recession, attributed the feat to the grace of God, noting that it also stemmed from prudent management of lean resources. He also recently directed the 17 Council Chairmen in the state to ensure that they pay the salaries of their workers before Christmas.

The governor explained why he places emphasis on civil servants’ welfare and payment of salaries, saying because Enugu is a civil service state, where, when salaries are paid, it rejuvenates the economy.

Before Ugwuanyi assumed office in May 2015, workers in Enugu parastatals were owed many months of salary arrears.

Now, every worker in the state receives his salary by the 25th of the month.

The state Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Virginus Nwobodo, who confirmed the development to Sunday Vanguard, stated that the only people that had not been settled were local government employees. “Local government workers are actually suffering because of the reduction in federal allocations. The LG workers are actually having hard times because council allocations are not enough to pay them and some of them are being owed one month, two months; some of them are actually on half months, receiving half salaries for some months now. Even on this Christmas, some of them are on half salary.”

Nwobodo, however, recalled that the governor recently insisted that the councils caretaker chairmen should pay two months of outstanding salaries which was complied with, adding that he repeated the order which some local governments complied while some who had meager allocations did not comply with.

OAU Senate faults VC’s invitation by EFCC
Vanguard News

The Senate of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife has described the invitation of the Acting Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Anthony A. Elujoba, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as “misplaced, embarrassing and a harassment of the Senate and the university community.”

The Registrar and Secretary to Senate and University Governing Council, D.O. Awoyemi, in a statement, yesterday, quoted the OAU Senate as demanding that the EFCC action “should be stopped henceforth.”

In the statement titled, ‘University Senate position and resolution on the invitation of the acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Anthony A. Elujoba by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in respect of the payment of productivity bonus and allegation of purported enrichment of himself with 7 million Naira furniture allowance”, Awoyemi said: “The Senate, Obafemi Awolowo University, met today 16th December, 2016 to review and discuss the above issue among other things relating to the security, peace and order on the university campus and resolved as follows: That the 300,000 Naira to the senior, and 150,000 to junior staff, became necessary in pursuit of the general powers and mandate of the Acting Vice-Chancellor as the Chief Security Officer on campus to maintain peace, law and order and to prevent loss of lives and property.

Moreso, this similar allowance had been paid to staff in other universities under different names and titles; that the payment of the said furniture, allowance was statutorily approved by the Governing Council, Obafemi Awolowo University, at its meeting of 9th and 10th May, 2013 without provision for any payment pro-rata; that by the appointment of the Acting Vice-Chancellor through a letter reference no. FEM/HE/CH/3C/H/403 by the government. ‘the Acting Vice-Chancellor is entitled to the terms and conditions of this appointment including remuneration and fringe benefits as approved by government for Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities in Nigeria, including the said furniture allowance. Hence, the payment was perfectly in order.”

The statement added: “In the light of the foregoing, the invitation already made was considered misplaced, embarrassing and it was patently a harassment to the Senate and the university community. This should be stopped henceforth.”

Confirmation crisis: Magu blocked from seeing Buhari
Punch Newspapers

Olusola Fabiyi, John Alechenu and Leke Baiyewu The embattled acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has been unable to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari since the beginning of the crisis that engulfed the confirmation of his appointment.

Presidency weighs options on Magu
The Nation Nigeria

VP meets Magu, other stakeholders
Zakari Biu now listed with Ribadu, Ali as possible replacements

There were strong indications yesterday that the presidency is weighing options on the alleged report of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) on the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

As part of the resolution of the issues at stake, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo met with Magu and other stakeholders at the weekend.

It was learnt that attempts were made by some forces to prevail on the presidency to ask the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to query Magu on the allegations raised by the DSS.

Other stakeholders, however, opposed the suggestion because it would have amounted to pronouncing Magu guilty as charged.

The larger stakeholders wanted the government to seek a second opinion through independent source on the allegations in the DSS report.

Based on the advice of most stakeholders, Magu was asked to continue to perform his duties as the Acting EFCC chairman until President Muhammadu Buhari decides on whether or not to re-nominate and recommend him to the Senate for a fresh confirmation process.

But in the midst of the suspense, it was gathered that some forces are also pushing for the engagement of Zakari Biu, a retired Commissioner of Police, as a possible replacement for Magu.

For the plum job, Biu is now listed alongside the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hamid Ali (rtd), a former Chairman of EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, and a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Amodu Ali who investigated the $180m Halliburton bribery scandal.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the Vice President met with Magu and other stakeholders on the DSS report and the aftermath of the resolution of the Senate to reject his nomination.

It was learnt that a lot of issues came up at the session for and against the EFCC chairman.

But new facts were made available to the presidency at the session.

One of the new issues borders on the fact that Magu had never flown in any private jet with the Managing Director of a bank to Maiduguri.

Also, there was no time the Acting EFCC chairman benefitted in any form from the alleged N43million spent to furnish his official apartment.

The furnishing was solely effected by the Federal Capital Territory Administration as reported by The Nation on Friday.

A reliable source, who spoke in confidence said: “At the end of the day, some forces wanted Magu to be queried by the Attorney-General of the Federation.

“Other stakeholders disagreed because such a query will lead to a conclusion that the DSS report was water-tight. The affected stakeholders, who suspected that some people were desperate to ease out Magu to rubbish Buhari’s anti-corruption war, sought for a second independent opinion.

“At the end of the day, it was resolved that Magu should continue to carry out his functions as the Acting EFCC chairman till the Presidency might have weighed all options”.

Mourning Missing Millions: Wonder bank’ misadventure ahead of xmas (MMM)
Vanguard News

•MMM system showed sign of trouble before suspension

WHEN Sunday Vanguard published its first special report on the popular money-doubling scheme, Mavrodi Mundial Moneybox, MMM, the reactions that followed were mixed with many berating the publication as unnecessary.

The critics, who were members of the scheme, perceived the piece as ill-intentioned.

Hence, a statement like this: ‘’The fact also remains that, by now, everyone involved with MMM understands what they are into. So the Nigerian media should find something else to write about. There are more serious issues out there to investigate. Enough of lazy journalism.’’

This argument is just one of the dissenting reactions that trailed the report and the subsequent one which were obviously done from the standpoint of in-depth knowledge about MMM which has all the trappings of a Ponzi scheme.

Perhaps, those, who hardly saw the piece as harmless, lost sight of the fact that, it was incumbent on the media as the promoter of societal good, to sensitise the public about what probably looked like a disaster waiting to happen.

Today, only the pledge to resume the money-doubling aspect of MMM on January 12, 2017, in its pre-freezing state, would literally prove some of the fears raised in those narratives wrong.

An earlier finding on how participants were responding to the one-month suspension of key aspects of the scheme, which are Providing and Getting Help, revealed that investors were optimistic about getting trapped funds albeit cautiously.

Position of ignorance

Further investigation a few days after participants had their accounts, known as Mavros frozen, showed that disappointed members were handling the situation with equanimity, with many hopeful of a return to status quo on January 12, 2017.

In expressing hope,Sunday Vanguard observed that many spoke from the position of ignorance about the workings of a Ponzi scheme, while others, with modest and substantial understanding, were not left out.

To them, the reasons given by the yet to be known management of MMM Nigeria, for the “interim” freeze on payments to existing subscribers, were not ominous.

“The government and the media are spreading the rumour that it has crashed. Nothing happened to MMM. It is our brand and only embarked on a break, we are hopeful, I am not bothered. I will only become bothered when they resume and they don’t give us our money, ‘’ a subscriber, Mr. John Osondu, told Sunday Vanguard in Lagos.

‘No one knows what will happen’

A Benin-based member, Mrs. Odehi Akhigbe, in a telephone conversation with Sunday Vanguard, said: “What has happened to MMM is shocking and disappointing but, I am confident of getting my money. Our guiders have assured us and, since MMM had been committed to us since we started, I hope to get my money. The question of whether I will continue with the scheme can’t be responded to now. I am sure the answer to the question on the failure to heed the warning by the authorities is known to those who warned against it. Nigerians are suffering and MMM assisted them. That is why their insistence on continuing despite the risks could be likened to a situation where a man jumps into a moving train. If MMM had not suspended its operations, this Christmas season would not have been this dull. It was our only hope for a better Christmas in a collapsed economy.”

Also, a Lagos-based business woman, who pleaded anonymity, said: “I am yet to believe that MMM has crashed. It did not crash, people only misunderstood what the management is doing. It is in our interest. But I am scared, because no one is sure of what will happen if it eventually resumes. I have a huge amount of money in the scheme. I am hopeful but not too sure of what might happen because I have read about the plight of South Africans, whose money was not refunded at the end of this kind of incident.”

On his part, Mr. Chukwujekwu Mouneke, who owns an electronics shop in Alaba International Market, said: “MMM has not crashed; it is only on a break from December 12 to January 12 for data upgrading and a few other features for the benefit of participants. The media is doing more harm than good. If people can wait for 30 days to collect 30 percent, what stops them from having patience for system upgrading? After all, APC administration finds it difficult paying salaries as at when due.”

So many other findings gathered through formal and informal conversation with distraught MMM members, showed that most subscribers don’t consider that the development perhaps, signaled the end of their investments.

‘We used school fees, church money, bank loans for MMM, now we are in trouble’
Tribune

In this piece UGOCHI OBIAKOR and ZAINAB ABDULAZEEZ, report that various participants in the MMM scheme used money meant for other things in the hope of making profits.

She is a petty trader and single mother. Popularly called Mummy Samuel in her neighbourhood, she tries to make ends meet doing all she could to take care of her three children – a boy and two girls. In her desperation to keep her petty trading afloat in the economic recession she went for the popular LAPO microfinance scheme and took a loan of 100,000 Naira.

It was at this point that a friend introduced her to the popular multi-level finance scheme known as Mavro Mondial Movement (MMM). It was a hard decision for her to take because anyone who defaulted in paying the loan could face very dire consequences.

Mummy Samuel took the loan all the same but instead of putting the money into her petty trade, she put it into the popular MMM scheme hoping that she could reap a profit of 30 per cent every month, amounting to 30,000 on the 100,000 Naira deposit which she could then recycle and then continue to make profit as from the third month. This would have afforded her the opportunity of paying the loan ahead of time; but that was not to be.

The news coming for MMM early last week was disconcerting. All accounts of participants were frozen. According to the promoters, the step was an attempt to save the scheme from total collapse which they said they had envisaged as the traffic became heavier with the yuletide fast approaching.

The news was not palatable to Mummy Samuel. She kept groaning and moaning at the same time and she could not concentrate on her chores. A friend who visited her noticed all these and was about to ask her what was amiss. Just then the visitor perceived the smell of burning food in the kitchen and drew the woman’s attention to it.

Mummy Samuel, lost in her thought had apparently left the food on the cooker unattended to. She had to confess to her friend who could only sympathise with her.

This among other diverse scenarios are the current state of those who partook in the MMM scheme and had lost millions of naira. If Mummy Samuel put her petty trade loan into MMM, she was not alone. Even students and youths unemployed put various sums of money into it expecting profits’.

Tunde Adisa was a participant in the MMM scheme. He is a believer in the philosophy of getting and providing help and will not want it to collapse. He also believes that should the scheme resume, he was ready to start again.

“My creator will never allow MMM to collapse, because a lot of people are benefiting from the scheme. If one would make it in life, one has to be a risk-taker; it is only people that were not involved in MMM that were engaged in rumour-mongering about the downfall of MMM. I strongly believe that MMM will be back by next year January, by God’s grace,” Adisa told Sunday Tribune.

Akingbade Taiwo, a student was also lucky. He was not part of the MMM, but his friend also a student had been acting strangely of recent because he staked his school fees in the scheme.

“My concern is not about MMM, but for my friend who has been depressed and acting abnormal since the incident of MMM frozen account because he used his school fees for MMM and was unable to get help before his account was frozen,” he told Sunday Tribune adding: “now he doesn’t know how to tell his parents.”

Another participant, Joshua Adeosun, does not believe that what has happened was the end of MMM.

“MMM must not collapse, if it does, I will kill myself because I pledged a huge amount of money,” he said.

Kemi Adio, a student is now full of regrets. She put her school fees into MMM in order to increase it and afford her the opportunity to be able to pay for her hostel accommodation as well but it all went up in smoke.

“Had I known, I would not have involved myself in this MMM of a thing. I had my school fees but I could not afford the hostel fees. So, I was advised by my friend to partake in MMM which I did; now I’m one of the victims of the frozen account,” she said.

If one had been surprised by students using their school fees for MMM, this one might be a shock too. James (not real name) is a church usher and usually takes the money to the bank. He needed fast money and thought MMM might be a great idea, so he tried it but the money is now stuck.

“I am an usher in the school fellowship. I take the fellowship offering to the bank, so I needed some money and I thought MMM could pay me a huge amount. So I decided to invest the amount of N272,000 which is the fellowship money on MMM. The account has been frozen, I pray God should help me out,” he said.

Isioma Paul’s case represents another dimension in the MMM story. He collected the electricity bill from a fellow tenant as a student staying off campus. He added it to his school fees, hoping for a bigger profit which never came.

“I collected the electricity fees from the tenant because I’m staying off campus; so I utilised it for MMM because of the 30 per cent interest so I can add it up to my school fees. Now the account has been frozen which means I’m not getting any help from other participants. All my efforts are now futile,” he said.

Ayomide Oloyede would not give up on MMM. As far as he is concerned MMM is only on holidays and would soon return.

“My view about MMM is that MMM is real. Since they started last year, people have become rich through them; they have not crashed, they only went on Christmas holiday. They will resume soon,” he said.

MAGU: Senate to amend EFCC law amid jostle to replace anti-graft commission boss
Vanguard News

STRONG indications emerged at the weekend that once it resumes from break in January, the National Assembly may revisit the law setting up the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to expand the qualifications of the Chairman.

Buhari’s broken war on corruption: Dog-fight between the President’s men turns ugly
Vanguard News

The whirlwind that has been rocking the inner political circles of President Muhammadu Buhari hit its crescendo on Thursday, December 15, 2016, with the rejection of the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu, an Assistant Police Commissioner, as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

That back stabbing by the Senate, automatically, set back the hands of Mr. President’s avowed determination to eliminate corruption before it kills Nigerians, and raises numerous questions about the calibre and character of persons he recruited to help him prosecute the corruption war.

Did Buhari make a mistake to surround himself with wolves in sheep’s robes? Or does it mean that personal aggrandizement has sharply divided his kitchen cabinet without his knowledge? The major question on the lips of those who watch the drama played out last Thursday is: Whose interest are those opposed to Magu’s confirmation as EFCC Chairman are they protecting, or to what extent will Magu’s rejection by the Senate advance the corruption fight in Nigeria?

These and many more questions are agitating the minds of Nigerians, who watched with awe and total disbelief as Nigeria’s higher legislative chambers threw out Magu’s nomination, with fanfare on one hand, grief, tears and anger on the other.

As far as the political class is concerned, the Senate’s torpedo of Magu’s confirmation is a major battle won by one group and lost by the other; but it does not end the political battle that has been raging in the land. It may remain yet a pyrrhic victory for the camp of the Senate President and his numerous supporters in the upper chamber of the National Assembly and at best, slow down Buhari’s anti-corruption train, but may not be able to break his adamant resolve to take on corruption headlong.

Like a woman pregnant with a turbulent child, it was all too clear that the clearance of Magu by the Senate would not be a smooth sail if at all the lawmakers would ever consider it necessary to put that assignment on their order paper for consideration. It was a calamity already foretold.

Buhari may actually be the architect of his own misfortune, stabbing himself on the foot through the nature of the people he entrusts with crucial assignments, that have turned out to be his albatross in the end.

He simply appears to be a lone ranger in the fight against corruption while those around him have by the shameful rejection of Magu by the Senate, brought to the fore their latent support for corruption.

How on earth will the Department of State Security Service, which Mr. President relies on for his daily movements and actions, kick against Magu, who was appointed by him directly, based on ‘security report’? Does it mean that Mr. President was hoodwinked into appointing Magu in the first place? If Magu is corrupt and presents a dual personality according to the ‘new security report’ used by the DSS to nail Magu, who recommended him or what informed his choice in the first instance and where was the DSS all this while?

As it stands, Mr. President may need to summon courage and lick the wounds of Magu’s rejection quietly or take the bull by the horn by embarking on a house cleansing exercise to save himself from further embarrassments.

The signs were too obvious that the President’s men did not want a fighter like Magu to head the EFCC. First, they worked very hard to prevent his name from being sent to the Senate for confirmation. It became an embarrassment to the extent that the country’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, had to sneak-in Magu’s name into the Senate only when Buhari had travelled out of town in July this year, nine months after Magu had been acting as chairman.

Also in the letter, President Buhari sought the Senate’s approval to confirm Nasule Moses; Lawan Maman; Garandaji Imam Naji and Adeleke Abebayo Rafiu as members of the board of the EFCC.

It was a major setback to the cabal when they came back with the President to realise that Magu’s name had been forwarded to the Senate by Osinbajo for confirmation and they immediately swung into action to ensure that the senators would never confirm Magu as the substantive Chairman of the anti-corruption agency. They had their way! Buhari, Magu and Nigerians may have lost the first battle.

The success of the cabal in the presidency could be seen from the stiff opposition and political rigmarole that attended the screening of Magu by the lawmakers since July. They simply would never put the screening of the EFCC board on the Order Paper, using various stories to justify their handicap, the last being the first week of December when they claimed that many of their members were out of town and pleaded to shift the confirmation hearing of Magu till last Thursday to enable them to be present.

It was an agenda well set and executed by the leadership, which almost resulted in a brawl. Many Senators, who knew what was in the kitty were happy while others who wanted to back Magu, were upset by the fact that the Senate deliberately declined to subject Magu’s nomination to screening to enable each member to vote on the matter as it is always the case. That sharp division led to a shouting match between Senators Dino Maleye and Aliyu Ndume, who is from the same state of Borno as Magu.

The Senators simply took advantage of the sharp division among the President’s men in the major security agencies and buried Magu alive, smiling away as heroes from a battlefield. Tongues are wagging that there is no love lost between Magu and the DSS Director, Lawal Daura, Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

The story is that Magu does not take instructions from these three powerful men before moving against financial crimes suspects. The National Security Adviser, NSA, Major- General Babagana Monguno, who appears to be the only one in support of Magu, has also not been taken seriously by those opposed to Magu and the yawning gap of enmity, suspicion and hatred continues to widen at the Presidency, while they keep smiling at each other for the cameras and vowing to be waging a consolidated war against corruption.

There is political backstabbing between the Department of State Service, DSS, and the EFCC who have, sometimes, been working at cross purposes as well as key officers in the office of the President, with a Cold War between the NSA and the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, though from the same state and that of the Director-General of DSS who hails from President Buhari’s village and State.

If the Senate had not turned the job on its head, one would have expected that soon after Magu’s name and the other EFCC board nominees were sent to the Senate, their names would have been dispatched to the Senator Chukwuka Utazi-led Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes.

That was not the case. The list was never sent and the Senate never met as a body to debate on the issues concerning Magu, as is the usual parliamentary custom. Instead, the Senate decided to screen Magu at the Committee of the whole rather the Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes which has nine members.

On Thursday, expectations were very high that the assignment, which the Senate had been dodging since July, would finally be taken to its logical conclusion. But it turned out to be a disaster for the EFCC and those who believe(d) in the leadership of Ibrahim Magu.

Magu actually walked into a trap without knowing that landmines had been laid on his path. That morning, he walked majestically into the Chambers with some of his trusted allies and was full of hope that they would confirm him.

He did not suspect any foul play.

While his men filled the lobby of the National Assembly close to the Senate Chambers, Magu stayed in the office of the Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate) Senator Ita Enang.

Surprisingly, rather than hold a plenary as expected on such an occasion to debate and decide Magu’s fate, the Senate decided to hold what it calls “A closed door session”, which means that what was discussed can only be disclosed later by the Senate leadership. The media is not allowed to be part of closed sessions of the senate.

As it were, there was no debate as to whether there were people who supported or opposed Magu’s nomination because the Senate President hinted his members that he had a damning ‘security report on Magu’ and would therefore not waste the time of the Senate to debate his situation.

The Security Report, allegedly prepared by the DSS, was however not read on the floor of the Senate to members but was rather leaked to the press later. It has since gone viral but the DSS, has kept sealed lips on the matter.

It is yet to admit or deny authorship of the report. Senate’s Spokesman, Senator Sabi Abdullahi briefed the media before the curtain was drawn that day.

Abdullahi said, “This is an official statement from the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is the statement on confirmation of the nomination of Chairman and members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

“The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria wishes to inform the general public that based on security reports available to the Senate, the Senate cannot proceed and confirm the nomination of Ibrahim Magu Mustapha as the Executive Chairman of EFCC.

“Accordingly, the Senate hereby rejects the said nomination and has returned the said nomination to Mr. President for further action. When asked questions to explain what really happened, the spokesperson said, “There’s no confusion here, we have said it’s based on security reports. Please, all of us public officers go for security screening. Everybody. And we are saying based on security reports, we cannot proceed and confirm and we are rejecting it and returning it back to Mr. President for further actions, that’s just the statement. It’s as simple as that. That’s exactly what the Senate has said and I don’t have any other explanation more than this”.

It was gathered that during the closed door session, the Senate was said to be sharply divided at the commencement of the meeting on Magu. It was learnt that while some senators wanted Magu cleared, others opposed it, forcing Saraki to plead with them to remain calm, as he was armed with a DSS report against Magu. He read the DSS report to the whole members and silence came upon them like chilled water.

According to the Senate, there was no way Magu would have been confirmed given the damning security report by the DSS, which was unpalatable. As a result, the Senators asked Buhari to forward another name in place of Magu to them for confirmation.

(let me skip the details of that DSS report since I’ve already had it in other news earlier read)
Head or tail, the Nigerian masses lose and the gladiators fight dirty on the political tuff.

When the dust settles, can Buhari still hold his head high and shout that he is fighting corruption? With who is he doing the onslaught, and how, when arrows from his kitchen cabinet have nailed one of the anti-corruption czars?

 

These are just some of the news reports over the past 24 hours.

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