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Senate Suspends Ndume, Clears Saraki, Melaye



  • Senate Suspends Ndume, Clears Saraki, Melaye

Former Senate majority leader, Muhammed Ali Ndume, has been placed on a six-month suspension with effect from yesterday. But the upper chamber absolved its President, Bukola Saraki and Dino Melaye of allegations of purchase of vehicle with fake documents and certificate forgery.

When it was time to consider the report of the Sam Anyanwu-led committee, Saraki, who had been presiding over the session suddenly stepped down from his seat to allow his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, preside over the consideration of the report. The Senate president said he could not preside over the matter because it was his fate that was about to be decided.

The sanction against Ndume is an indication of disharmony among the lawmakers which could hamper the making of laws for good governance of the country. The upper chamber said it suspended Ndume “for bringing Melaye, his colleague and the institution of the Senate to unbearable disrepute at this time of our national life, when caution, patriotism, careful consideration and diligence should be our watchword.”

The Senate also stated that it reached its conclusion because having failed to cross-check facts before presentation at plenary, Ndume could not be said to be a patriotic representative of the Senate, and should be penalized to serve as deterrent.

Ndume’s suspension followed the adoption of the report of the Ethics Committee of the Senate which investigated the alleged purchase of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) with inaccurate customs duty payments by Saraki. The Anyanwu-led committee also investigated the alleged certificate forgery against Melaye.

The sanction against Ndume was arrived at after an amendment was proposed and adopted by the Senate that the initial recommendation of 181 days suspension be reduced. The report reads in part: “After carefully examining the documents available and hearing out the matter, the committee observed that ‘the name of the Senate President, Saraki was not mentioned anywhere in the Bill of lading or any document whatsoever connected with the importation or purchase of the SUV Range Rover vehicle; that he did not import any SUV Range Rover as corroborated by all respondents.”

The panel also said it found out “that this story was cooked up with intent to embarrass the Senate President, the Senate and by extension, the National Assembly. “The complainant (Ndume) did not conduct due diligence before bringing the matter to the floor of the Senate. As a former Senate leader and a ranking senator, he (Ndume) was expected to have weighed the consequences of the allegation, carefully, investigated it before presenting it.”

Clearing Melaye, the committee submitted that he obtained a first degree in Geography from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Ekweremadu said: “I believe that lessons have been learnt from this and that going forward, we should try as much as possible to investigate matters before we make allegations or before we call the attention of the Senate of the country to those allegations. I do believe that the committee has done a good job.”

Attempts to save Ndume from being suspended were earlier defeated on the floor. Joshua Ledani (PDP, Gombe South) moved a motion that Ndume should simply be warned and made to apologise publicly to Saraki and Melaye. The motion was seconded by Ahmed Abubakar Moallayidi (APC, Adamawa Central) who said there was no reason to suspend him in the first place.

When the question was put to vote, the motion failed. Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo) then rose to propose an amendment to the original prayer of the report which recommended 181- day suspension. He suggested that it should be reduced to six months.

The motion was seconded by Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP, Delta North) and it was approved by the Senate. Nwaoboshi in seconding the motion explained that “Ndume is not just a first offender. We took a decision on the secretary to the government, he went outside and maligned the Senate.

“When the report of the Department of State Services (DSS) was read, he rose and started begging that we should send Magu back to the president to take a decision on him.

“Out of respect for him as a leader at that time, this Senate obliged him. After that, he went out to malign the Senate but he did not tell the public that he was the person who begged us. He even went further and said we should invite him and tell him why we cannot. He’s moving as a saint.”

Also yesterday, the lawmakers resolved to investigate the alleged derogatory comments made against them by the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, in his reaction to the Senate’s insistence that President Muhammadu Buhari should act on its decision to disqualify the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.

The Senate had on Tuesday suspended consideration of Buhari’s nomination of 27 persons for appointment as Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs). It hinged its action on the President’s failure to respect its decision not to confirm the nomination of Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, as substantive chairman of the commission

In his reaction to the decision of the Senate, Sagay was reported by a national daily to have described the call on Buhari to sack Magu as “childish and irresponsible.” He was also reported to have stated that the Senate was filled with people of questionable character, who put their personal interest ahead of that of the nation.

Adopting a motion by Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Na’Allah, yesterday, the chamber referred the matter to its committee on Ethics, Privileges and Code of Conduct to investigate the matter and report back within four weeks

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

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



Yahaya Bello

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



NIMC enrolment

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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Israeli President Declares Iran’s Actions a ‘Declaration of War’



Israel Gaza

Israeli President Isaac Herzog has characterized the recent series of attacks from Iran as nothing short of a “declaration of war” against the State of Israel.

This proclamation comes amidst escalating tensions between the two nations, with Iran’s aggressive actions prompting serious concerns within Israel and the international community.

The sequence of events leading to Herzog’s grave assessment began with a barrage of 300 ballistic missiles and drones launched by Iran towards Israel over the weekend.

While the Israeli defense forces managed to intercept a significant portion of these projectiles, the sheer scale of the assault sent shockwaves through the region.

President Herzog’s assertion of war was underscored by Israel’s careful consideration of its response options and ongoing discussions with its global partners.

The gravity of the situation prompted the convening of the G7, where member nations reaffirmed their commitment to Israel’s security, recognizing the severity of Iran’s actions.

However, the United States, a key ally of Israel, took a nuanced stance. President Joe Biden conveyed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that, given the limited casualties and damage resulting from the attacks, the US would not support retaliatory strikes against Iran.

This position, though strategic, reflects a delicate balancing act in maintaining stability in the volatile Middle East region.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian cautioned against further escalation, emphasizing the potential for heightened tensions and provocative acts to exacerbate the situation.

In response to the escalating crisis, the Nigerian government issued a call for restraint, urging both Iran and Israel to prioritize peaceful resolution and diplomatic efforts to ease tensions.

This appeal reflects the broader international consensus on the need to prevent further escalation and mitigate the risk of a wider conflict in the Middle East.

As Israel grapples with the implications of Iran’s aggressive actions and weighs its response options, President Herzog reiterated Israel’s commitment to peace while emphasizing the need to defend its people.

Despite calls for restraint from global allies, Israel remains vigilant in safeguarding its security amidst the growing threat posed by Iran’s belligerent behavior.

The coming days are likely to be critical as Israel navigates the complexities of its response while international efforts intensify to defuse the escalating tensions between Iran and Israel.

The specter of war looms large, underscoring the urgency of diplomatic engagement and concerted efforts to prevent further escalation in the region.

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