- DSS Clears Saraki, Others over Alleged N310m Theft
The Department of State Services (DSS) has cleared Senate President Bukola Saraki and members of the National Assembly over what it described as “malicious falsehood’’ being spread around by one of its dismissed officers, Abdulrasheed Maigari, who recently claimed that he and other security personnel, including an army captain stole N310 million from the Senate President while guarding his house in Maitama, Abuja.
“The story making the rounds that the sum of N310 million belonging to the Senate President was stolen in 2015 is a malicious falsehood,’’ a senior officer of DSS stated last night in Abuja.
“From our investigation, the money in question did not belong to the Senate President or any member of the National Assembly for that matter. The investigation conducted by the DSS and the confessional statement made by Abdulrasheed Maigari, a suspect in the case, did not support this claim at all,” he said, adding: “Maigari’s recent claim in the media is nothing but a made up story to achieve a hidden motive.”
He said the fact that Maigari, who is currently standing trial for an armed robbery case, could make up such a false claim was a further indication of how criminally minded he was.
Incidentally, the Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President, Mr. Sanni Ologun, had on Sunday refuted reports linking his principal, Saraki, with the N310 million said to have been stolen from a Bureau de Change (BDC) operator, by suspected operatives of the DSS and some army personnel in November 2015.
Ologun, had in a statement, said the reports were being rehashed by some online media to tarnish the image of Saraki.
Corroborating Saraki’s aide on Sunday, the senior officer of the secret security agency said it was because of the criminal behaviour of Maigari that the DSS dismissed him from the service in 2015 and subsequently charged him to court.
“Any attempt to link the Senate President or any member of the National Assembly with the stolen N310 million will be sheer blackmail and an outright mischief,” the senior DSS official who did not want his name mentioned insisted.
Maigari was recently arrested by combined operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team IRT and the Anti-Kidnapping Unit from the Abuja Police Command deployed to rescue the Chairman of Gateway Insurance, Alhaji Isa Ozi Salami.
The former DSS operative was arrested alongside the suspected gang leaders, Emeka Kelvin and Ndubuisi Prince Uzor, among others on the March 26, 2017 in Suleja, an outskirt of the Federal Capital Territory.
During their parade before newsmen by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Jimoh Moshood, at the Force Headquarters, Maigari revealed how he became a kidnapper and also told reporters how he stole N310 million from Saraki’s home in Abuja.
According to the ex-DSS personnel, “I was enlisted into the DSS in 2011 with the rank of a Senior Intelligence Officer 1.
“I served in operations department at Gombe and Osun Commands of the DSS before my dismissal in 2015.
“Before I was dismissed, I was posted to the home of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in Maitama and in November 2015, I can’t recall the exact date, three vehicles brought in the N310 million into the compound and the Army Captain who was on ground that day ordered that we should take the money away because he suspected the money was government money which could have been wrongly appropriated and could, therefore, be taken.
“We were four DSS operatives and four army officers involved and we drove the three cars to a house in Suleja where the money was shared. I got N30 million and I bought a car and took it to Kaduna State where I hid the rest of my share.’’
Maigari had said that he came back to Abuja, “but on November 28, 2015, I was asked to report at DSS headquarters and when I got there, I was interrogated over the theft and detained for five months, dismissed and charged to court”.
The suspect added that he was remanded in Kuje Prison, where he eventually fell ill after seven months and was later granted bail by the court on health grounds.
The Senate President’s Chief Press Secretary, Ologun, however, in a statement on Sunday, denied Maigari’s claims, recalling that the Senate President’s media office had refuted the report when it first broke that the Senate President had nothing to do with the money, nor did he have army personnel among his security detail.
He said: “We still insist that he has nothing to do with the money and we challenge those still rehashing the stale and fake news to avail themselves of the reports of the police and the DSS on the matter to avoid misleading members of the public unnecessarily.”
He said it was absurd for one of the suspects in a robbery to claim that the money he was found with was brought to the Senate President’s house from where they connived to steal it.
“The report remains a lie which must be disregarded by the public, and should it be recirculated tomorrow, it will still remain a lie. At best we count this unwarranted fake report as part of the April fool ritual. But the public deserves a better deal from its sponsors and purveyors,” he said.
According to Ologun, “The content and intention of the fake report is nothing but baseless allegations emanating from the infantile minds of unreasonable interlopers, hell bent on rubbing mud on the reputation of a distinguished Nigerian, who is today in his capacity as the Senate President, working assiduously with critical stakeholders to stabilise and grow our economy. Enough is enough.”
Oyo State Budgets N330M Monthly To Support Community Policing In LGAs
Oyo State Governor, Seye Makinde has said that the state has set aside a monthly budget of N330 million to be spent on security across the 33 local governments in the state.
The governor who disclosed this in Ibadan said each local government in the state is expected to spend N10 million to support the security of lives and property in their domain.
He said part of the measures was the instruction to local government chairmen to involve traditional rulers as well as other voluntary residents in policing their areas.
Each local government is to spend N10 million monthly on this security arrangement.
Makinde explained that the initiative amounts to spending N330 million in the 33 local government areas, besides other efforts the state government had put in place to tighten security.
“We said each local government should set up a security committee, which should include traditional rulers and voluntary people willing to police their areas.
“I encouraged them to budget N10 million to service the committee every month. For the entire state, that’s N330 million per month by all local governments, excluding what we are doing generally at the state level,” the governor told a group on a visit to him during the recent Muslim festival.
“On security, most of the data in the past months shows that things are now improving. The Igangan incident, some days ago, was only falsified by some people who were saying that Fulani herdsmen had invaded Igangan again. The truth is actually about the NCS and smugglers. They know each other.
“Customs officials were accused to have entered Igangan, which is not a border town. But we are working with Federal authorities and they have arrested most of them.
“The gun that was collected is still with us. I said I won’t release it until I get the attention of the Federal authorities.
“In the Constitution of Nigeria, Oyo State is a federating unit. We are not saying Federal agencies should not carry out their operations here. But they must tell us; they must inform us. They may not disclose the details of the operation to us, but we must know about it.
“If we had known about the operation, we would have pre-informed the security detail in the town and those who died could have been alive. The Amotekun Coordinator that died in Igboora would have still been alive today.
“How can you go operating in an unidentified vehicle in a town where the security tactics have been heightened? As they wanted to enter the town, they were confronted because we have heightened security in all of those places.
“So, we will keep appealing to them and to our people that false information won’t help anybody. Nobody will profit politically from the security issues we are faced with. It is our collective responsibility. The people will play their part and the government will play its own part,” Makinde said.
Security Operatives Arrest Sunday Igboho in Cotonou, Benin Republic
The security operatives in Cotonou, Benin Republic have arrested Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
An anonymous source privy to the arrest disclosed on Tuesday morning.
According to the source, Sunday Igboho was arrested in Cotonou while trying to travel to Germany from the West African nation.
President Buhari-led administration is now working with the Benin government to repatriate him to Nigeria.
The source said, “Sunday Igboho has been arrested in Cotonou. He was arrested about an hour ago.
“He was supposed to travel to Germany through Cotonou this night. He wanted to leave Africa through Cotonou. He was arrested by security operatives in Cotonou.
“They are planning to bring him back to Nigeria.”
It would be recalled that the Department of State Services had declared Igboho wanted after its operatives carried out a bloody midnight raid on his residence in the Soka area of Ibadan, Oyo State.
DSS Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunnaya, had advised Igboho to turn himself in to the nearest security.
“Those cheering and eulogizing him may appeal to or advice him to do the needful,” Afunnaya said. “He should surrender himself to the appropriate authorities. He or anyone can never be above the law.”
Pelumi Olajengbesi, one of the lawyers representing Igboho and others arrested in his House, told SaharaReporters he had not confirmed the news of Igboho’s arrest in Cotonou.
“I will contact Yomi Aliu (SAN) to verify the news,” he said.
IOM Ethiopia Appeals for USD 40 Million to Assist Additional 1.6 Million People in Northern Ethiopia
Nearly two million people affected by the crisis in northern Ethiopia desperately need life-saving assistance, including water, medicine and shelter, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today as it issued an urgent appeal for USD 40 million to help internally displaced men, women and children, including newborn babies.
Since the outbreak of the conflict eight months ago in Ethiopia’s Tigray Regional State, millions of people are enduring unimaginable suffering, including forced displacement, hunger, death, and destruction of private and public property.
In Tigray, IOM has been providing support to more than half a million people, including displaced children, women, men, and vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and persons with disabilities. This includes shelter and provision of essential items such as food, water, clothing, medicine and supplies for babies, as well as sanitation and hygiene services.
IOM has also been supporting camp coordination and management efforts, providing mental health care to those in need, and producing Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) reports to shed light on the evolving situation.
Nearly USD 70 million (USD 69.3M) is needed to respond to the needs of internally displaced populations in northern Ethiopia but only USD 28.7 million has been received this year. IOM needs an extra USD 40.6 million for the remainder of 2021 to be able to continue and further expand its response to help the displaced.
“The nearly two million people displaced by this crisis continue to live in inhumane and undignified conditions and require critical and urgent support,” said Maureen Achieng, IOM Chief of Mission to Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union and UNECA. “IOM Director General António Vitorino said it before, and we say it again: we must act without delay to meet the needs of people in the region.”
The situation in Tigray remains volatile. In partnership and coordination with other UN agencies, IOM is committed to delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance, to continue reaching people in need. IOM is planning to significantly scale up response programming and increase the deployment of senior IOM staff in the region despite the severe shortage of funding.
IOM’s response is aligned with the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group’s (ICCG) – a cooperative effort among sectors and the Humanitarian Country Team to improve the national response – Northern Ethiopia Response Plan, which estimates that 5.2 million people are in dire need in the worst-case scenario of this escalating humanitarian crisis.
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