- Sowore Demanded N100m From Me
Lekan Fatodu, the UK-based journalist who accused Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters, of criminal defamation, says he has nothing personal against him but they must meet in court.
Describing the owner of the news website as his friend of over 20 years, Fatodu said both of them fell out after he refused to give in to Sowore’s demand of a N100 million bribe.
Fatodu said he got a contract from the office of Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA), which he delivered and the federal government was satisfied, but Sowore demanded his own cut from the deal.
The online publisher denied the allegation, saying he had never taken bribe, and could not even solicit such from someone like Fatodu.
“This is someone I bought a ticket for to get out of this country. I was the first person that bought him ticket to leave this country. If I want bribe, it won’t be from him,” he told TheCable.
“Jonathan was there distributing money like water and they would have loved to give me, but I didn’t collect. If I was president of the University of Lagos students’ union and I didn’t take bribe, if I have been doing Sahara Reporters for 10 years without taking bribe, why will I take bribe from him?”
But Fatodu said he had compelling evidence against his estranged friend, and he had made up his mind on suing him to court.
“I am charging Sowore to court, I am pushing a criminal case, a threat to my life, and I am doing it today. I have compelling evidence against him. I have known Sowore for almost 20 years. He demanded N100 million from me from a fictitious N500 million contract from the office of the former national security adviser (NSA),” he told TheCable.
“I did a contract with the ex-NSA in 2014, and my name has not been put out for committing any crime in the course of the contract. I delivered the contract, and the NSA office was satisfied.
“So, for Sowore who is always looking for someone to rubbish to come after me is strange. This is a man I helped when he was begging for assistance, and I have evidence. I have pushed him to where he is, so he should allow me live my life.
“I have never heard that it is a crime to have a contract with government, inasmuch as you deliver what you have been given money for and you do it legitimately.
“There is no reason why he should come after me. He started calling me in 2016, asking for a cut. He said the federal government had asked people to appear before a verification committee on contracts, but the government only listed companies and not individuals.
“I don’t have anything to hide. My refusal to give in to Sowore’s selfish demand made him to malign me and also issue a threat. I have a recording where Sowore said his bank account is bigger than mine. He has been doing this to a lot of people, but today is his day.
“I have nothing personal against him; Sowore is my friend, but I have to defend my rights. Some people are saying it is a civil case, and it doesn’t warrant police intervention. Threat to life is not a civil case, it is a criminal offence.”
Fatodu said the only condition for not going to court was for Sowore to tender an apology.
“He needs to tender an apology over his dubious story before I can consider settling any issue. That is how it is done in any decent society,” he said.
Told to react to the allegation that he was acting on behalf of aggrieved politicians whose deeds had been exposed by the activist-journalist, Fatodu said: “This is strictly between us. I am not fighting on anyone’s behalf. I am just out to defend my rights. This is a threat to my life here.”
But Sowore said there was a grand conspiracy against him, and that he was prepared to go any mile to defend himself.
He accused the police of taking sides with his accuser.
“I was physically attacked by this guy and the police was called. When we got to the police station, they changed the story,” he said.
“The commissioner of police said he had a petition against me. And I was furious, because here was a guy who nearly killed me. That’s the story, not the red herring that I demanded money.
“This problem started in January 2016 when I wrote a story on him being a front for Femi Fani-Kayode. He came and even sent people to beg me to take the story down, but I said I don’t take stories on my website down because I have evidence.
“He then moved to threat, but if he has evidence that I demanded money from him, wouldn’t he have put the information out there? What has he been waiting for since January 2016? I do not demand bribe to do stories, I did not demand a kobo from him, never. Why didn’t he give you the evidence?”
Sowore said he was aware that a governor had called Fatodu to congratulate him on the latest development, but he was not worried.
“I am an activist, activism is what I do. People can hate me or love me for it. That’s what I do. I am not afraid. I heard that a governor has called to congratulate him,” he said.
“If you see the story they were pushing out yesterday, you will know that this is a serious conspiracy. Even the statement released by the police…. I love this country so much. I know there are a lot of people working behind the scene, but I am not afraid.”
Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.
The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.
Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.
Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.
The statement in full:
“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.
The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.
With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;
Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website www.immigration.gov.ng;
- applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
- a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
- upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
- that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
- that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
- applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
- a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.
The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.
Signed AMOS OKPU MNIPR
ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER OF IMMIGRATION
SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
For: COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION 8TH JUNE, 2021″
INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.
Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).
He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.
He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities
He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.
“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.
“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.
“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.
“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.
He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.
“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”
Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.
According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.
“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.
“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.
“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission
“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.
Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.
Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.
“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.
“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria
“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.
He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.
In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.
Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.
“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.
“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.
“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said
Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.
Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.
Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum
The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.
The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.
The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.
The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.
He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”
“You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.
Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.
Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.
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