Connect with us

Government

Rivers Rerun: Police Recover N111m Bribe Cash From 23 INEC Officials

Published

on

inec
  • Police Recover N111m Bribe Cash From 23 INEC Officials

The Joint Investigation Panel, which probed the legislative elections in Rivers State, alleged that the state government bribed officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission with N360m to rig the poll.

The panel stated that it recovered N111.3m from 23 INEC officials, who confessed to have received the money from the Rivers State Government officials to manipulate the December 10, 2016 rerun polls in the state.

The panel, which presented its findings at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, on Tuesday, indicted six dismissed police operatives for misconduct and misuse of arms during the polls, contrary to the provisions of Force Order 237.

The officers – ex-Inspector Eyong Victor, ex-Sgts. Peter Ekpo, Oguni Goodluck, Orji Nwoke, Okpe Ezekiel and Tanko Akor – had been dismissed by the Force.

The errant operatives were said to have stormed the Port Harcourt City Council Secretariat and prevented the movement of election results of Emouha polling unit to the appropriate collation centre designated by INEC in disobedience to senior officers present.

The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, inaugurated the panel on December 22, 2016, following the violence that rocked the poll in which Mohammed Alkali, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, and his driver were beheaded and their heads thrown into a river.

The panel, which comprised 12 officers of the Nigeria Police Force and three from the Department of State Services, was mandated to investigate the various infractions, incidents, and violence that marred the rerun elections in Rivers State and any relevant matter.

The panel attributed the violence during the election to lawlessness and leadership failure.

Speaking during the presentation, the panel chairman, DCP Damian Okoro, said, “The sum of N111,300,000 was recovered from 23 INEC officials.

Okoro said, “Three INEC officials said they met with Wike and that the Rivers State government gave them money. Out of N350m, N15m was given to each of the electoral officers and N5m was added by the government of Rivers to the EOs who were in charge.

“Consequently, the sum of N111,300,000 was recovered by the panel from the 23 electoral officers.”

Okoro said the committee established cases of misconduct against some electoral officers and law enforcement agents, who, according to him, allowed themselves to be compromised in their line of duties.

He stated that violent crimes, such as armed robbery, kidnapping and politically-motivated killings by militants and cult groups enjoyed the funding and protection of desperate politicians in the state.

He said, “These lawless elements target not only the political opponents of their sponsors but also law enforcement agents, especially the police, mostly within the Ogba/Ndoni/Egbema Local Government Area which is the axis of evil of cultism.

“The violence that occurred in Rivers State before, during and after the rerun elections was a reflection of lawlessness and leadership failure of narrow -minded politicians and their gullible supporters.

“Oftentimes, politicians make inflammatory statements that incite their supporters to avoidable violence that leads to the destruction of lives and properties and eruption of violence.”

He complained that Wike refused to cooperate with the panel.

The IG said the panel findings and recommendations report would be forwarded to the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, for implementation, adding that the indicted INEC officials would be prosecuted.

He said, “I see no reason why a rerun election will lead to the beheading of our officers, who were there to do their lawful duties. I believe that the report will go a long way to put an end to individuals seeing election as a do-or-die affair.

“We will take appropriate actions in conjunction with the law officer of the federation, the Attorney General of the Federation, in order to put an end to most of the abuse and electoral violence in this country.”

On the status of those indicted, Idris stated that they would be prosecuted as public officials.

“We are going to forward the report and our recommendations to the Attorney General of the Federation,” he added.

Commenting on the recovered money, Idris said it would be returned to government treasury.

“From the confession of those the money was recovered from, they said the money was from the state government. I can assure you that from here, the money will go into government treasury because this is a recovery on the basis of an investigation conducted.

“Six police officers were indicted and they have already been dismissed and I can assure you that they would also be charged to court,” he explained.

He dismissed insinuations that the probe was targeted at Wike, noting that it was open and transparent.

The police boss said, “The investigation was open and very transparent. We wrote to the governor, they (panel members) went to meet him but in his own wisdom, he refused to cooperate. We believe that what determines the outcome of this report is the transparency and the goodwill.

“Whoever that is involved has been arrested and isolating the governor will be a disservice to this country. The report should be seen as a corrective measure. Those indicted cut across different classes of life.”

Indicted commission staff risk dismissal – Source

Meanwhile, there were strong indications on Tuesday that INEC would embark on mass sacking in the agency, especially of persons indicted for the bribery saga involving INEC officials.

Investigations revealed that the Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, was embittered by the findings of a police panel set up by the IG, which said it recovered N111.3m from 23 INEC officials.

A top official of the commission, who confided in one of our correspondents, said Yakubu was determined to ensure that anybody indicted for corruption was asked to leave the commission.

The source added, “We have seen the money the police have displayed; it is very sad. This thing has to do with the reputation of the commission and it is a serious issue.

“This thing is going to cause a lot of earthquake. Even within INEC, the chairman is so determined about it. If anybody is found culpable, that person is gone.

“There are two committees investigating these things and the two committees are still sitting.”

However, the commission, in its official reaction to the police findings, described the money recovered from the INEC personnel as a welcome development.

The Chief Press Secretary the Chairman of INEC, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, said in a text message on Tuesday that while the commission had not received the report, the police findings would aid the leadership of the commission to purge the system.

Oyekanmi stated, “Although INEC is yet to formally receive a report from the Police on its investigation into the Rivers rerun elections, the revelation that money was allegedly recovered from INEC officials is a welcome development.

“This will help the commission in its current effort to clean up the system. Already, our internal panel is also continuing with its investigation on the same issue, and anybody found culpable will face appropriate sanctions.

“The INEC Chairman has reiterated that any INEC staff found doing the wrong thing will bear the consequences.

“We hope that the Police will also reveal all the other parties involved in the bribe saga.”

Prove bribery claim, Rivers tells police

But the Rivers State Government has described the claim by the police panel that the Rivers State Government financially induced officials of INEC as shameful, defamatory and reckless.

The State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dr. Austin Tam-George, challenged the police to prove that Governor Nyesom Wike bribed INEC workers to rig the December 10, 2016 legislative rerun polls.

Tam-George, in a statement on Tuesday, also challenged the Nigeria Police Force to prosecute and imprison the electoral officers indicted by the panel without delay, even as he described the police investigation as dubious.

He stated, “The attention of the Rivers State Government has been drawn to the melodramatic images of heaps of cash, circulated in the media by the so-called police panel of inquiry into the rerun elections in Rivers State on December 10, 2016.

“According to the Police, the heaps of money were ‘evidence’ of bribes allegedly given to officials of INEC by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, during the rerun polls.

“We consider the allegations of the Police as shameful, defamatory and reckless in the extreme. Never in the annals of infamy have we seen a vital state security institution descend to the lowest depths of blackmail and criminality as the Nigeria Police Force has done in this case.

“The Rivers State Government challenges the Nigeria Police to show proof that Governor Wike financially induced any official of INEC. Do the Police have bank records of the purported transactions between Governor Wike and the electoral officers?

“We challenge the Nigeria Police to move quickly to prosecute and imprison the so-called electoral officers on the basis of this dubious investigation. We strongly believe that the police panel is part of a bitter, politically-driven smear campaign launched by the Federal Government against Governor Wike and the people of Rivers State.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Continue Reading
Comments

Government

Federal Government Raises Price of Electric Meters

Published

on

The Federal Government through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has raised the price of both single-phase and three-phase electricity meters starting from November 15, 2021.

The regulator increased the price of a single-phased meter to N58.661.69, up from the present cost of N44,896.17. While the price of a three-phase meter was raised from the current cost of N82,855.19 to a revised rate of N109,684.36.

The commission announced this in a circular dated November 11, 2021 and addressed to managing directors of all electricity Distribution Companies and all meter asset providers.

The circular, with reference number NERC/REG/MAP/GEN/751/2, was entitled ‘Review of the unit price of end-use meters under the Meter Asset Provider and National Mass Metering Regulations’.

Continue Reading

Government

Complete Text of President Buhari’s Speech at the Furniture Investment Initiative Summit

Published

on

Buhari arrives Bamako, Mali

President Muhammadu Buhari is one of the global leaders invited to speak at the ongoing 5th Future Investment Initiative Summit organised by Saudi Arabia.

As reported by Investors King, President Buhari arrived Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Monday at about 11.50 pm for the summit.

On Tuesday President Buhari delivered the speech below.

“Let me begin by conveying my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud for inviting me to the 5th edition of the Future Investment Initiative Summit in Riyadh.

In the short period of its existence, this summit has emerged as a credible forum for interaction between the public and private sectors, to explore ways of advancing economic growth, development and global prosperity.

I wish to commend the organizers of this year’s summit for the foresight to look at “investment”, not only from a profitability and wealth accumulation point of view, but also bringing prosperity to humanity in general. The humane approach to investment is the only way to address the global challenges we face, especially in the Covid-19 era.

We should continue to sustain our efforts to combat the COVID- 19 pandemic and mitigate its negative socio-economic impact on our societies, build resilience and achieve recovery. It is therefore my hope, that this session will leverage on the enormous economic opportunities that lie ahead in order to satisfy the prevailing needs of our people and planet.

Investing in humanity is investing in our collective survival. This is why we in Nigeria we believe that public and private partnership should focus on increasing investments in health, education, capacity building, youth empowerment, gender equality, poverty eradication, climate change and food security. By so doing, it will go a long way in re- energizing the global economy in a post COVID-19 era.

Nigeria’s population today exceeds 200 million people. Some 70 percent are under 35 years old. When we came into government in 2015, we were quick to realise that long-term peace and stability of our country is dependent on having inclusive and humane policies.

In the past six years, our government took very painful but necessary decisions to invest for a long-term prosperous future knowing very well that this will come with short term pains.

We focused on the following areas:
a. diversification from oil to more inclusive sectors such as agriculture, ICT and mining;
b. tackling corruption, insecurity and climate change; and c. introducing a Social Investment Program.

We introduced policies that supported investments in agriculture and food processing. We provided loans and technical support to small holder farmers, through the Anchor Borrowers Program. As a result, Nigeria today has over 40 rice mills from less than 10 in 2014. Nigeria also has over 46 active fertiliser blending plants from less than 5 in 2014.

Furthermore, in agriculture, we have reformed the process of obtaining inputs such as fertilizer and seeds. We have several million hectares of available arable land and have embarked on the creation of Special Agriculture Processing Zones across the country. These initiatives we believe will make it easier for investors in agriculture.

Two months ago, I signed the Petroleum Industry Act. The Act will serve as a catalyst to liberalize our petroleum sector. It has introduced a number of incentives such as tax holidays, 100 percent ownership, zero interest loans and easy transfer of funds. In addition, we have highly skilled in-country workforce and a large domestic market.

In mining, we have also made several opportunities available for investors. Nigeria is a country rich in minerals from gold, iron ore, tin, zinc, cobalt, lithium, limestone, phosphate, bitumen and many others. We have made the licensing process easier and also made extensive investments in rail and transportation.

Infrastructure investments represent significant potential for investors in Nigeria. We have opportunities in seaports, rail, toll roads, real estate, renewable energy and many others. We have created several institutions that are available to co-invest with you in Nigeria.

We have the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and more recently, I approved the creation of Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria. These institutions are run as independent world class institutions to make investments in the country and are available to co- invest with you.

In addition, the development of social infrastructure such as healthcare and education present enormous opportunities for investors in a country our size.

Digital Economy in Nigeria has many potentials for investment, as it has remained the fastest growing sector in both 2020 and 2021. Nigeria has many opportunities for investment in broadband, ICT hardware, emerging technology and software engineering.

We have recently approved the national policy on Fifth Generation (5G) network. Our aim is to attract investors in healthcare, smart cities, smart agriculture among others. The benefit of real time communication will support all other sectors of the economy.

Yesterday, I launched the E-Naira, the electronic version of our national currency, which puts us on track to become the first African country to introduce a Central Bank Digital Currency. We believe this and many other reforms, will help us increase the number of people participating in the banking sector, make for a more efficient financial sector and help us tackle illicit flow of funds.

To further strengthen our anti-corruption drive, increase accountability and transparency, we have centralized government funds through a Treasury Single Account, and ensuring that all Nigerians with a bank account use a unique Bank Verification Number (BVN). These initiatives, coupled with our nationwide National Identification Number (NIN) exercise, reinforce our efforts to tackle corruption and fraud. We believe that this should give investors a lot of comfort.

As we strive to build resilience towards a sustainable economy in our various countries, let us not forget the negative impact of climate change on our efforts to achieve this goal. Nigeria and many countries in Africa, are already facing the challenges posed by climate change. Climate change has triggered conflicts, food insecurity, irregular youth migration, rising level of sea waters, drought and desertification, as well as the drying-up of the Lake Chad.

In the Lake Chad Basin region, where Boko Haram insurgency continues to undermine the peace, security and development of the region, climate change is largely responsible for the drying up of the Lake Chad which has shrunk by more than 85% of its original size.

The diminishing size of the Lake is at the root of the loss of millions of livelihoods, displacement of inhabitants and radicalization of teeming youths in the region who are recruited to serve as foot soldiers in the insurgency.

In order to redress this situation and restore the lost fortunes of the Lake Chad Basin region, strong public-private partnership through massive investments will be needed to recharge the waters of Lake Chad. I am confident that this forum will rise to the challenge in the interest of durable peace and sustainable development of our region.

We cannot invest in humanity without relieving our countries from the crushing effects of the debt burden especially when the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of deepening the debt portfolio of poor countries. These nations increasingly allocate more and more resources towards external debt servicing and repayment at the expense of the health, education and other services that contribute to the overall well- being of their population.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation. Our economic reforms which focus on “humane” investments are ideal for investors looking to have profitable returns while positively impacting the citizenry.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, Investing in Humanity is the right thing to do. I strongly believe the historical under- investments in “humane projects” is the genesis of most of the insecurity and socio-economic challenges the world is experiencing today.

I will conclude once again by thanking the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, and also congratulate His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for their leadership and their support through the Future Investment Initiative.

I remain confident that through such exchanges, the world indeed will be a better place. I hope and pray that this forum will rise to the challenge in the interest of durable peace and sustainable development.

I thank you.”

Continue Reading

Government

UN and Zimbabwe Sign New Cooperation Framework

Published

on

united-nations

The government of Zimbabwe and United Nations have signed the 2022-2026 Zimbabwe United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework that will support the country’s efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The official signing and launch of the Zimbabwe United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2022-2026 was presided over by the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda and UN Resident Coordinator Maria Ribeiro. UNESCO Regional Director for Southern Africa, Prof. Hubert Gijzen witnessed the signing ceremony together with other UN Country Team members and Government officials.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr Misheck Sibanda said Zimbabwe was grateful for the UN support towards the country’s development in the face of various challenges.

“I want to pay gratitude to Ms Maria Rebeiro for her commitment to uplift the livelihoods of the people of Zimbabwe in the face of natural disasters like the cyclone, droughts and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Misheck Sibanda.

He took the opportunity to bid farewell to Ms Rebeiro whose term of office ends this year and urged the UN team to continue with the legacy of her hard-work which saw the UN mobilise US$400 million towards promotion of agriculture, climate adaptation and health needs for Zimbabwe.

The UN Resident emphasised the importance of aligning the UN’s programmes with the country’s development strategies.

“In the same spirit of achieving SDGs, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic are opportunities for us to do better by aligning the country programmed NDS1 with instruments of the UN in resource and financial mobilisation,” Ms. Maria Ribeiro.

The 2022-2026 Zimbabwe United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (ZUNSDCF) articulates the strategic engagement of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Zimbabwe to support the country to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Anchored on Zimbabwe’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) 2021-2025, the ZUNSDCF encapsulates the shared commitment to leaving no one behind through delivering concrete results that ensure inclusive participation and reaching the people typically left the furthest behind.

The ZUNSDCF with full government ownership throughout the process, is a result of extensive consultations involving a wide range of key stakeholders whose inputs contributed to defining the strategic priorities and implementation modalities.

The ZUNSDCF lays out an ambitious programme to accelerate development progress during the Decade of Action as Zimbabwe strives to recover better and stronger from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fully cognizant of the urgency to act, the ZUNSDCF represents the vehicle through which the UNCT in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe and other stakeholders, will deliver transformative support that drives inclusive and sustainable economic growth, gender equality, human rights and climate action.

Continue Reading
Advertisement




Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending