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N76bn Fraud: EFCC Detains Ex-Gov Shema

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The immediate past Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, has been detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as part of investigations into an alleged N76bn fraud.

The EFCC had declared Shema wanted on Wednesday but the former governor maintained that he was not on the run.

Subsequently, Shema arrived at the head office of the EFCC on Friday morning, after which he was grilled for over eight hours.

However, as of 7.30pm on Friday, the ex-governor was still in the custody of the commission.

In a statement by Shema’s spokesman, Oluwabusola Olawale, the former governor insisted that he voluntarily walked into the EFCC office.

The statement read in part, “As further proof to the fact that the former Governor Shema is not in hiding as claimed by the EFCC, he voluntarily walked into the EFCC headquarters around 9.30 am on Friday, September 16, 2016.

“We have reiterated it on different occasions that former Governor Shema has nothing with fear and he is ever ready to defend himself but he should not be subjected to political and media trial.

“All he wants is fairness, justice and equity in accordance with the rule of law. Former Governor Shema left Katsina State as a debt-free state despite the massive infrastructural development during his eight-year tenure.

“The whole agenda is a campaign of calumny by Governor Aminu Bello Masari of the APC to pull Shema down because he feels too small to occupy the big shoes and meet the giant strides of Shema as his predecessor in office.”

Masari had accused Shema of financial impropriety and diversion of billions of naira.

The governor had said he had “concrete evidence” to drag his predecessor before the anti-graft agency to recover all stolen funds.

According to Masari, there are some mistakes that can be forgiven, “but N70bn is a huge amount of money that we cannot overlook.”

The governor promised that all stolen public money would be retrieved to correct past mistakes and bring sanity into public service. He alleged that the former governor misappropriated over N76.6bn collected as excess crude oil allocation and diverted over N7.5bn for personal use.

Masari also alleged that Shema and other top government officials of the Ministry of Local Government Affairs used fake documents to divert over N750m earmarked for the purchase of drugs for local government councils.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Netanyahu Stands Firm as US Halts Bomb Shipment Over Rafah Invasion Warning

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Amidst escalating tensions between Israel and the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has adopted a defiant stance following the US decision to halt a shipment of bombs and warned against Israel’s potential invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

In a bold statement, Netanyahu declared, “If we have to stand alone, we will stand alone,” emphasizing Israel’s resolve to pursue its objectives despite opposition.

The Prime Minister’s comments, delivered via social media and a subsequent interview with American talk show host Dr. Phil, underscore Israel’s determination to address security threats posed by the Gaza Strip, particularly by Hamas militants operating in Rafah.

Netanyahu reiterated the necessity of military action in Rafah to eliminate the remaining Hamas battalions, condemned Hamas’s history of violence and reiterated Israel’s commitment to achieving victory and ensuring the safety of its citizens.

The US administration, led by President Joe Biden, expressed concerns over the potential humanitarian impact of an Israeli invasion of Rafah, prompting the decision to withhold additional offensive weapons shipments to Israel.

Biden’s statement echoed broader international apprehensions about the escalation of violence and civilian casualties in the conflict-stricken region.

However, Netanyahu remained resolute in Israel’s approach, asserting the country’s right to defend itself against security threats. He emphasized Israel’s efforts to minimize civilian casualties and facilitate the evacuation of civilians from Rafah before any military action.

Despite the US’s decision to pause the bomb shipment, Netanyahu affirmed Israel’s commitment to its longstanding alliance with the US. He acknowledged past disagreements between the two nations but expressed optimism about resolving current tensions through dialogue and cooperation.

In response, White House officials reiterated the US’s support for Israel’s security while urging restraint and emphasizing the need to avoid actions that could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The administration clarified that the decision to halt the bomb shipment was aimed at preventing potential civilian casualties in Rafah.

The confrontation between Israel and the US underscores the complexity of navigating regional conflicts and balancing strategic interests. As tensions persist, both nations face the challenge of reconciling their respective security imperatives with broader humanitarian concerns, seeking to avert further escalation while addressing the root causes of the conflict in the Middle East.

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EFCC Declares Former Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello, Wanted Over N80.2 Billion Money Laundering Allegations

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has escalated its pursuit of justice by declaring former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, wanted over alleged money laundering amounting to N80.2 billion.

In a first-of-its-kind action, the EFCC announced Bello’s wanted status in connection with the alleged embezzlement of funds during his tenure as governor.

The commission, armed with a 19-count criminal charge, accused Bello and his cohorts of conspiring to launder the hefty sum, which was purportedly diverted from state coffers for personal gain.

The declaration of Bello as a wanted fugitive came after a series of failed attempts by the EFCC to effect his arrest.

Despite an ex-parte order from Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Abuja, mandating the EFCC to apprehend and produce Bello in court for arraignment, the former governor managed to evade capture with the reported assistance of his successor, Governor Usman Ododo.

This latest development shows the challenges faced by law enforcement agencies in holding powerful individuals accountable for their actions.

However, it also demonstrates the unwavering commitment of the EFCC to uphold the rule of law and ensure that justice is served, irrespective of the status or influence of the accused.

In response to the EFCC’s declaration, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, issued a stern warning to Bello, stating that fleeing from the law would not resolve the allegations against him.

Fagbemi urged Bello to honor the EFCC’s invitation and cooperate with the investigation process, saying it is important to uphold the rule of law and respect the authority of law enforcement agencies.

The EFCC’s pursuit of Bello underscores the agency’s mandate to combat corruption and financial crimes, sending a strong message that individuals implicated in corrupt practices will be held accountable for their actions.

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Concerns Mount Over Security as National Identity Card Issuance Shifts to Banks

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Amidst the National Identity Management Commission’s (NIMC) recent announcement that the issuance of the proposed new national identity card will be facilitated through applicants’ respective banks, concerns are escalating regarding the security implications of involving financial institutions in the distribution process.

The federal government, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS), introduced a new identity card with payment functionality, aimed at streamlining access to social and financial services.

However, the decision to utilize banks as distribution channels has sparked apprehension among industry stakeholders.

Mr. Kayode Adegoke, Head of Corporate Communications at NIMC, clarified that applicants would request the card by providing their National Identification Number (NIN) through various channels, including online portals, NIMC offices, or their respective banks.

Adegoke emphasized that the new National ID Card would serve as a single, multipurpose card, encompassing payment functionality, government services, and travel documentation.

Despite NIMC’s assurances, concerns have been raised regarding the necessity and security implications of introducing a new identity card system when an operational one already exists.

Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, President of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, questioned the rationale behind the new General Multipurpose Card (GMPC), citing NIMC’s existing mandate to issue such cards under Act No. 23 of 2007.

Ogunbanjo highlighted the successful implementation of MobileID by NIMC, which has provided identity verification for over 15 million individuals.

He expressed apprehension about integrating the new ID card with existing MobileID systems and raised concerns about data privacy and unauthorized duplication of ID cards.

Moreover, stakeholders are seeking clarification on the responsibilities for card blocking, replacement, and delivery in case of loss or theft, given the involvement of multiple parties, including banks, in the issuance process.

The shift towards utilizing banks for identity card issuance raises fundamental questions about data security, privacy, and the integrity of the identification process.

With financial institutions playing a pivotal role in distributing sensitive government documents, there are valid concerns about potential vulnerabilities and risks associated with this approach.

As the debate surrounding the security implications of the new national identity card continues to intensify, stakeholders are calling for greater transparency, accountability, and collaboration between government agencies and financial institutions to address these concerns effectively.

The paramount importance of safeguarding citizens’ personal information and ensuring the integrity of the identity verification process cannot be overstated, especially in an era of increasing digital interconnectedness and heightened cybersecurity threats.

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