Seized N13bn: Osinbajo’s panel shelves plan to invite Jonathan

The committee set up to investigate the suspended Director General of the National Intelligence Agency , Ambassador Ayo Oke, and the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation , Babachir Lawal , has shelved plans to invite former President Goodluck Jonathan , SUNDAY PUNCH has learnt .
The committee, which is led by Vice -President Yemi Osinbajo, also has the Attorney General of the Federation , Abubakar Malami ( SAN ) , and the National Security Adviser, Babagana Moguno , as members.
Part of the tasks of the committee is to investigate why the NIA kept $ 43 . 4 m , N23 m and £ 27 , 000 ( N13 bn) in a house in Ikoyi. The money was seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission , based on a tip- off from a whistle – blower .
The PUNCH had reported on Friday that the suspended NIA DG had informed Osinbajo and the NSA that the money , which was originally , $ 289 , 202 , 382 , emanated from the National Petroleum Investment Management Service on February 25 , 2015 , based on the instruction of then President Goodluck Jonathan .
Following the revelation , there were reports that the panel would invite Jonathan to understand the rationale behind the transaction , following allegations by the EFCC that the money was meant for the prosecution of the 2015 presidential election.
Jonathan ’ s media aides have since refused to comment on the matter .
However , an impeccable source within the Federal Government told one of our correspondents that Jonathan would not be invited .
The source , who wished to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the case , told our correspondent that this was not the first time that Jonathan ’ s name had featured in a probe .
He explained that he was deliberately being left out for political reasons.
The source said , “ We have carried out several probes, including the $ 2 . 1 bn arms scam involving the (former ) service chiefs and the former NSA , Col . Sambo Dasuki ; we have probed the $ 1 . 3 bn Malabu scam involving the former AGF , Mohammed Adoke ( SAN ) , as well as dozens of other investigations.
“ In all of these , the persons involved have all claimed to have received approval from Jonathan . But inviting or prosecuting a former President has a lot of implications . ”
Also , another source familiar with the work of the committee told Sunday PUNCH on Saturday on condition of anonymity that it was unlikely that Jonathan would be invited over the matter .
The source said , “ I can tell you that it is most unlikely that the committee will question the former President .
“ Firstly, a former President cannot be treated that way . We are not talking about criminal prosecution here . But in this kind of case , he will be treated with the respect he deserves .
“ Secondly, that he approved the money in itself is not a crime . The concern of the committee will be about what the money was used for after approval .
“ It is possible for security agencies to seek approval for money and state the purpose . It is another thing for them to spend the money on the purpose for which it was approved . ”
The source however added that if Jonathan of his own volition offers to assist investigation by providing helpful information through back channels, such information would be appreciated.
There were reports last week that Jonathan ; the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria , Godwin Emefiele; and the EFCC Chairman , Ibrahim Magu , would be questioned by the presidential panel to answer questions on the recovered N 13 bn.
According to the reports , the panel would contact the former President and arrange a convenient way to meet him , rather than invite him .
Osinbajo committee to invite gov ’ t officials , individuals – Presidency
Meanwhile , the Presidency on Saturday said the presidential committee set up by Buhari to investigate Lawal and the suspended Director – General of the NIA would invite relevant government officials and private individuals connected to both cases.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity , Mr . Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists .
Akande said the committee would also obtain and scrutinise documents that may shed more light on the issues raised in both cases.
He said the committee, which had started work in earnest , would be holding its proceedings behind closed doors to allow full disclosure .
The statement read , “ The Presidential Committee set up earlier this week by President Muhammadu Buhari to probe certain allegations against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation , Mr . Babachir Lawal , and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency , NIA, Mr . Ayo Oke, has commenced its work in earnest .
“ In the discharge of its work, the panel is expected to invite all relevant officials and private individuals who may be connected to both cases . It will also obtain and scrutinise documents that may throw some light on the issues raised in both cases.
“ All its proceedings will however be in closed sessions to avoid speculations , allow for full disclosure and enhance pace of work.
“ The panel , which is expected to submit its report to the President at the expiration of the 14 – day deadline , will conduct its work with utmost diligence and without fear or favour. ”Goodluck-Ebele-Jonathan-


States yet to meet conditions for second tranche Paris Club refund

Six weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari ordered payment of the second tranche of Paris Club refund to states, the order has not been carried out. Investigations by The Guardian showed that states are yet to fulfill the fresh conditions listed by the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun. The conditions include a monitoring and evaluation of the deployment of the first tranche by the state governments, to ensure that the refunds were judiciously utilized, particularly for payment of salaries.
Adeosun also raised the suspicion that some states must have been overpaid in the first trance settlement, hence the need for a reconciliation of their balances before further reimbursement.
The conditions set by the Finance Minister followed agitation by governors for the release of the second batch payment. When President Buhari resumed work on March 13, after his medical vacation, he was passionate about the need for states to fulfill their obligations to teachers and other category of workers. He ordered the release of the second tranche of about N6000b.
Though the ministry was not forthcoming with information on the status of the monitoring, evaluation and reconciliation of states’ account. Officials who spoke to The Guardian on condition of anonymity, said most states have failed the compliance test.
The Minister incidentally is attending the 2017 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) World Bank as Nigeria’s head of delegation. However, the Director of Information in the Ministry. Alhaji Salisu Na’Inna Dambatta told The Guardian that nothing has changed since the last time the conditions were set.
The Accountant General of the Federation. Alhaji Ahmed Idris confirmed the situation to The Guardian at the weekend when he said the Finance Ministry, which was handling the exercise, has not sent any instruction to his Office to pay any state.
Ahmed said: “The Finance Ministry is the one anchoring the programme. If any instruction has been sent to my office for payment, I am not aware yet because it has not been brought to my attention.”
A further check at the Office of the Director Funds in the Office of the Accountant General Office. Mr. Alex Adeyimi also indicated that there was no payment instruction from the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Director General of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Ashishana Bayo Okauru, said he was not aware the governors were facing any challenge in accessing the funds. Pressed further, Okauru said: “There is a process and they are on track. I’m not aware of conditions set that the governors have not met.”
He referred any enquiry on the matter to the Federal Ministry of Finance adding, “there are requirements towards meeting those conditions, including the availability of funds. I think they are working on it.”
Okauru explained that the states met the conditions set for releasing the first tranche of payments, which included payment of salaries and pensions. He expressed optimism that the fresh conditions, which involves some processes, will be met by the states, to enable them draw on the second tranche.Kemi-Adeosun


DSS raids PenCom office in Abuja as Anohu-Amazu goes into hiding

The operatives of the Department of State Service has raided the office of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) in Abuja.
The action followed the refusal of the former Director General of the commission, Mrs Chinelo Anohu- Amazu, to hand over to her successor.
Anohu-Amazu was on Wednesday sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to reports, the ex-PenCom DG was still in charge as of Friday despite her disengagement.
Daily Times reports that when the DSS operatives stormed the PenCom office Saturday morning, Anohu-Amazu evaded arrest and went into hiding.
However, the DSS had ordered that she appears in the office on Monday.images-4-1


N6bn recovered by EFCC belongs to Niger State – Gov Bello

Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger on Friday said that the N6 billion discovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC ) as proceeds of crime were stolen from Niger State Government account .
The governor made this known to newsmen after joining President Muhammadu Buhari and hundreds of other Muslim faithful to perform the 2 – raka ’ at Juma ’ at prayer , at the Aso Rock Mosque , Abuja.
The EFCC uncovered two bank accounts containing N2 billion suspected to be the proceeds of crime.
Mr Wilson Uwujaren , EFCC spokesman , said the money which belonged to a former deputy governorship candidate in Niger State , was discovered following a tip – off by a whistle – blower .
The governor, however , disclosed that an additional N2 billion had been uncovered by the EFCC from the same source , bringing the total amount of the discovery funds to N6 billion .
According to Bello, the funds are believed to have been siphoned by the suspects through inflated Hajj subsidies offered by the state government to Pilgrims within the periods he (suspect ) served as the Chairman of the Niger State Pilgrims ’ Agency .
The governor, who commended the EFCC for its efforts in recovering stolen funds , expressed the hope that the recovered N6 billion would be transferred to the state ’ s accounts to enable his administration embark on developmental projects .Abubarkar-Bello


Buhari dying in Aso Rock – Perry Brimah

Perry Brimah, a popular columnists and convener of ENDS [Every Nigerian Do Something], has raised alarm that President Muhammadu Buhari is dying in office.
Brimah in a statement on Friday said Nigeria was being very compassionless to its president and called on the masses to rise against “cabal” locking up Buhari.
According to him, “There can be no denying how chronically ill president Muhammadu Buhari looks when he seldom does appear in public. The last time was last week Friday when Kaduna state governor Nasir el-Rufai came visiting.
“The videos of Buhari walking for Friday prayers bring tears to eyes. His asthenic figure now no more than skin-and-bones as he sat down for the Jummah service was heart-wrenching.
“How can a people be so cold they expose a grandfather to this type of extreme stress and deprive him from his needed rest and medical expert attention by tasking him to lead the world’s most complex nation?
“Have we as a people lost our humanity that we continue to task Buhari like this and not campaign for him to be relieved of our burden and rest towards recovery?
“It is insane to continue to deprive him and the nation by locking him up and burdening him with a challenge too heavy for even a strong young man to bear talk-less an old man who just returned from a 49-day leave in which he received blood transfusions and unknown cocktails of serious medications.
“For those of us in the medical profession, we recognize the president’s loss of hair on his head and facial hair as well as his reported blood transfusions as possible evidence of cancer chemotherapy.
“God forbid, however if this is the condition the president is being managed for that the cabal is hiding from the people, the wickedness of the selfish cabal that forces him to remain locked up, “dying” in Aso Rock instead of receiving best therapy, should be vehemently opposed by us masses.
“Whoever is found guilty of hiding any serious diagnosis the president may have and bundling him back to deteriorate in Aso Rock under pressure of Nigeria’s humongous burden should be dealt with according to the full extent of the law. This is not only criminal but sinful.
“A great fear is, what if (God forbid) president Buhari should collapse? This time he may not yet have handed over to Vice president Yemi Osinbajo as “acting president” and Nigeria may be thrown into the chaos that perhaps some desperate politicians eyeing the presidency seat are secretly plotting for. Nigeria cannot afford to be thrown into such state of dilemma and disarray.
“It’s time for Nigerians to demand full disclosure of the true state of health of president Muhammadu Buhari and immediate best options for him to be allowed to rest and recover instead of being locked up to literally die under the weight of Nigeria”.buhari-620x400


Buhari, Osinbajo, Tinubu, Abubakar must save APC now

A former spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Timi Frank, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the National Assembly leadership to rescue the party from collapse.
Other party leaders Frank appealed to in a statement on Friday in Abuja, included former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
Recall that Frank, yesterday urged Buhari to sack appointees, including cabinet members, who had brought the Federal Government to disrepute.
Frank was reacting to thepostponement of the party`s National Caucus and National Executive Committee meetings by its National Working Council.
The party’s NWC through a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, on Thursday, announced the postponement of the meetings citing “unexpected developments” as reason.
It said that new dates for the meetings would be announced in due course.
Frank, however, blamed the postponement of the meetings on the lack of trust from the party leaders on Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the party’s National Chairman and his leadership style.
The APC chieftain warned that “the party under its current leadership is not bringing anything on the table to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration contrary to expectations”.
He said that what the party needed at the moment is “a national leadership that consults widely before taking decisions”.Frank-Timi-e1477633472537-600x400


Buhari hails completion of Abuja airport

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, April 18, commended the Ministries of Transport, Power, Works and Housing and the security agencies over the successful completion of work on the runway and re-opening of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. This was disclosed in a statement by Femi Adesina, Buhari’s special adviser on Media and Publicity. The president also lauded the efforts of Kaduna state government, the contractor, Julius Berger, and others, on the successful completion of the airport project, 24 hours ahead of the time limit.

Buhari hails completion of Abuja airport Buhari said that he looked forward to such display of inter-agency cooperation and efficiency in the operation of the entire federal government machinery.  He also thanked Ethiopian Airlines for cooperating with the Nigerian government during the period of the closure of Abuja airport. The president described it as a good example of intra-African cooperation. Buhari hails completion of Abuja airport reports recalls that when the Abuja Airport was closed on March 8 for repairs on its runway and flight operations were diverted to Kaduna International Airport, Ethiopian Airlines was the first to land its new Boeing 787 in Kaduna. The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja was shut from the midnight of Tuesday March 7 to the Wednesday March 8 for the purpose of repairing the failed portion of the airport runway. However, the airport was re-opened today after a closure for repairs on the runaway which lasted six weeks. A test flight from Kaduna international airport landed in Abuja on Tuesday April 18.



Buhari has lied to Nigerians about his achievements – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has come down hard on President Muhammadu Buhari saying he lied to Nigerians with his claim that his government has fulfilled its campaign promises in just two years. While praying to God to allow the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to continue to guide Nigerians and help the country overcome the spirit of lies, deceit and betrayal, the party said: “We read with rude shock and utter dismay, the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Easter message to Nigerians and of particular interest is the paragraph that said: ‘In the almost two years of this administration, we have worked hard to meet the expectations of Nigerians by improving security, especially in the North-East, sustaining the campaign against corruption and have taken steps to revitalize the economy’. Really? “These comments from Mr President are to say the least untrue and an insult to the intelligence of Nigerians who have been at the receiving end of his government’s mismanagement in the last two years,” the party said in a statement issued by Prince Dayo Adeyeye, the spokesperson of the Ahmed Makarfi faction.

The PDP says former President Buhari handed over a buoyant economy to Buhari On security, the PDP noted how former President Goodluck Jonathan made efforts to conquer Boko Haram and procured equipment despite stiff resistance from some of the western powers to sell weapons to Nigeria. This breakthrough, the party said, led to the successful dislodgment of the terrorists before the March 28, 2015 elections. “Nigerians can testify to the gallant display by the Nigerian Armed Forces that allowed elections to take place in virtually all the wards and local government areas of Borno, Adamawa, Kebbi and Gombe states, respectively.

“The result of the election from these states gave President Buhari the edge in the election. APC governors and officials who routinely condemn President Jonathan’s anti insurgency effort conveniently forgot that without the relative peace in those states at the time, there would have been no elections from which they could emerge as governors,” the party said adding that most of the achievements being claimed by Buhari were transferred by Jonathan. Concerning corruption, the party said the president actually failed despite the alleged success it has achieved in the fight. Dayo Adeyeye said the president lied to Nigerians “As we have mentioned in our previous statements, any war on corruption that is selective and targeted at humiliating only leaders and other members of the opposition is a total failure. “The entire anti-corruption war of the APC since inception is just in the media with only one conviction. Many of the cases in courts have been set aside and suspects discharged and acquitted while others are in EFCC and DSS detention centers without trial against their fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The latest drama in town is the circus show of the discovery of huge sums of money of various currencies and denominations on daily basis without any trace of the owners. “The most absurd of this charade is the macabre dance on the so called $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000 purportedly recovered at an apartment in Osborne Street, Ikoyi, Lagos.

“The government is at the crossroad as the whistle-blower and the EFCC are now shying away from telling Nigerians who owned the monies because undeniable evidence links the monies to the proceeds from the sale of turbines by the former governor of Rivers state and now minister of Transport, Hon Rotimi Amaechi. “It has also been revealed that part of that proceeds was used by Mr. Amaechi to prosecute the campaigns of the APC in 2015,” the party said. The party recalled how Jonathan’s government grew the economy from a GDP of $270.5 billion in 2009 to one of $574 billion and how the party handed over a single digit inflation which is now 17.26 percent.

“The recession we are experiencing today in the country is as a result of the failure of the APC-led administration to properly manage our economy. “The Buhari government is indeed clueless and had no economic plan until March 2017 when it launched the so-called recovery plan. The economy is at a standstill. “Major infrastructural developments that began with the previous administrations of the PDP have been abandoned. Power generation dwindled from over 5,000MW in 2015 to the present all-time low of less than 2,000MW. “The only project of note that this government has ever commissioned is the Abuja- Kaduna railroad which was 99 percent completed by the PDP administration,” the party said.


SERAP to Buhari: Address Nigerians on ownership of N13bn recovered by EFCC

Human rights advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to speak on the recovered $43.4m, N23m and £27,000 (N13bn) in order to clear the controversy surrounding the ownership of the funds. Punch reports that the group, in a statement on Sunday April 16 by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said heaven would not fall if the government unveiled the real owner of the recovered funds.

The group argued that government could not afford to keep the citizen speculating on the real owner of the funds, stressing that the new whistle-blower’s policy must be matched with transparency. President Muhammadu Buhari SERAP spoke against the background of claim and counter-claim of ownership of the recovered $43.4m, N23m and £27,000 by the National Intelligence Agency and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike. The money was recovered last Wednesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission at Flat 7B No.16 Osborne Towers, Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The agency on the following day secured a court order temporarily forfeiting the money to the Federal GovernmenMuhammadu Buhari,Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,Ikoyi,Federal Government,National Intelligence Agency,advocacy group,Executive Director,Rivers State,ownership,whistle-blowers, Human rights advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, President Muhammadu Buhari, Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, National Intelligence Agency , Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike,  Osborne Towers, Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.t. “Democracy abhors secrecy, and for Nigerians to be able to hold elected leaders accountable, they must have access to information such as on the real identities of those behind the Ikoyi cash haul. “This transparency is fundamental to the operation of the government’s whistle-blower policy, and inextricably rooted in the notions of good governance and the rule of law under the 1999 Nigerian constitution (as amended),” SERAP stated.

It argued that keeping the nation in the dark on an issue such as the ownership of the Ikoyi funds was counter-productive to government’s anti-corruption fight, because it encourages lack of accountability and gives the impression that there was something the government was hiding from the masses. It added: “Public scrutiny is a prerequisite for changing harmful, entrenched practices. Rather than operating the whistle-blowers policy as hidden, mysterious mechanism at the far edge of democracy, this government should make the operation of policy more transparent and accessible to the public.

Both transparency and accountability are necessary to uphold the rights of victims of corruption and ensure that suspected perpetrators are held to account. The ‘sky will not fall’ if the true identities of those behind the Ikoyi cash haul are revealed.”