- Suspended NIA DG, Oke, Admits Jonathan Ordered Release of $289m
The suspended Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ayodele Oke, has met with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, where he admitted that his agency received the sum of $289,202,382 on the orders of former President Goodluck Jonathan in February 2015.
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, ordered the suspension of Oke over the role of the NIA in the ownership of $43m (about N13bn) and other currencies uncovered in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Buhari also ordered the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal, in connection with his indictment for contract fraud by a Senate ad hoc committee on mounting humanitarian crisis in the North-East.
A top government source, on Thursday, confided in one of our correspondents that the Osinbajo-led committee had directed Oke to submit documents to back his claim.
It was learnt that the suspended NIA boss had also gathered documents which would be formally submitted to the panel showing that the transaction was approved by Jonathan through the embattled former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
It was learnt that the transaction was known as an intervention fund for national security or special services with the aim of fighting insurgency during the six weeks period between February 14, when the Presidential/National Assembly elections were postponed and March 28, when the polls were held.
However, operatives of the EFCC are said to be working on the theory that the money was meant for the prosecution of the 2015 general elections.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said, “The DG of the NIA has met with Vice-President Osinbajo and will submit documents pertaining to the transaction.
“The DG admitted on record that the transaction was authorised by former President Jonathan and Col. Sambo Dasuki, and as such, was simply following orders from the commander-in-chief. He will submit memos and other documents as evidence.”
Explaining how the transaction took place, the source said a memo was raised by the National Petroleum Investment Management Service on February 25, 2015, two weeks after the postponement of the presidential election for ‘security’ reasons, based on Dasuki’s advice.
According to the memo, NAPIMS asked the CBN to release $289,202,382 to the NIA in cash.
The money was received by the NIA and kept in a safe house.
When asked why President Muhammadu Buhari was not briefed on the existence of the cash, the source said, “The DG NIA informed top security people in the government of the existence of the cash.
“Specifically in January 2016, a letter was written by the DG NIA to the NSA, Babagana Moguno, on the existence of the cash. The memo exists and will also be submitted to the panel.”
It was gathered that one of the posers the NIA would solve was why the apartment, where the money was kept, was registered in the name of the wife of the DG, Mrs. Folasade Oke.
“One question the suspended NIA boss must answer when he meets with the panel is why the apartment used for an official matter was registered in his wife’s name,” the top government source said.
Efforts to get the NNPC through the Group General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Ndu Ughamadu, were not successful as his mobile indicated that it was not reachable.
A detailed text message was sent to him on the matter, but he had yet to respond as of the time of filing this report on Thursday.
NAPIMS is a subsidiary of the NNPC.
Attempts to get comments from the CBN were also not successful as repeated calls made to the acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor, did not connect while a text message sent to him on the issue had yet to be responded to as of press time on Thursday
Panel to invite NAPIMS, CBN officials, others
It was learnt that the Osinbajo-led panel would also invite the Governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and some directors of the apex bank to explain why such a huge sum of money was released in such a manner.
One of our correspondents also gathered that officials of NAPIMS would also be invited to explain why the money, which did not go through appropriations, was released.
EFCC to monitor airports, get warrants to search more properties
It was learnt that the EFCC was working on the theory that more of such huge funds, belonging to the NIA, might be stashed in some secret locations.
A source said that the commission had obtained warrants to search more properties in urban areas of the country.
One of our correspondents learnt that the EFCC had asked sister agencies to be on the lookout at various airports to ensure that none of the affected persons was allowed to flee the country.
Senate panel expresses doubt on Osinbajo-led probe
Meanwhile, the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis, whose interim investigative report indicted the SGF, Lawal, has expressed doubt on the probe ordered by the Presidency.
The Chairman of the Senate panel, Senator Shehu Sani, while featuring on a breakfast programme by Television Continental, TVC Breakfast, on Thursday, said an investigation of the SGF by the Presidency could give Lawal a soft landing eventually.
He stated that the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission and the Nigeria Police could be asked to probe the SGF.
Sani added, “What I am saying in this aspect is that the best institution to investigate the SGF is one recognised by the law (to carry out the task), which is the EFCC, ICPC and the police.
“That is why we are being very cautious in endorsing the investigation in the Presidency. What I am afraid of is soft landing, which I don’t think will be in the best interest of the anti-corruption crusade.”
Over 1M Nigerians Have Completed Online Voters Card Pre-Registration – INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) affirmed that over 1 million additional voters have completed their online pre-registration for the ongoing nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) within the last four weeks across the country.
INEC’s national commissioner, and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said this through a statement released in Abuja on Monday.
Of the 1 million new eligible voters, 259,450 people have completed their registration in Osun State and it is currently been followed by Edo state with 98,286 new voters.
These two states were closely followed by Anambra state with 65,014, followed by Bayelsa with 63,250, and later Lagos State with 61,991, this came as Yobe with 1,893, followed by Sokoto State with 2,453, Jigawa 2,593, and Zamfara with 2,769 were some of the least stare registered.
The state’s distribution of the online fresh registration released by INEC in Abuja on Monday showed the weekly update provided by INEC for week four which also reveals that the commission received 1,135,395 applications.
The figure of the total applications received includes those for voter transfer, requests for replacement of Permanent Voter Cards, and update of voter information record, etc.
According to the commission, the distribution of the 1,135,395 total applications by age group showed that 740,063 of them were youths between the ages of 18 to 34 years.
The applications from the middle-aged of between 35 to 49 years old were 278,042; the elderly from 50 to 69 years were 102,578; while the old from 70 years and above were 14,712
The distribution by occupation indicated that artisan constituted 75,877 of the total applications; farming/fishing – 81,096; public servants -25,298; business -230,551; house wives -25,816; students 355,227; civil servants 44,093; traders 97,624; others/not specified 199,813.
Also, the distribution by gender showed that females constituted 492,449 of the received applications while males were 642,946 as well as showed that 12,274 of the applicants indicated to be persons living with disabilities.
Okoye, providing an update on the online pre-registration which started nationwide on June 28, disclosed that the commission, also on Monday, commenced physical registration at its 811 state and local government area offices nationwide.
According to the statement, “As of 7 am today, Monday, July 26, the number of new registrants has risen to 1,006,661. The detailed distribution of the registrants by age, State/FCT, gender, occupation, and disability for week four of the exercise has been uploaded on the commission’s website and social media platforms.
“However, the distribution by age still shows that 740,063 (or 73.5 percent) are young Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 34. As earlier announced by the commission, physical or in-person registration begins today, Monday, July 26 at our 811 state and local government area offices nationwide.
“The exact locations of the designated centers have already been uploaded to our website and social media platforms. For further details, citizens are encouraged to contact our state offices through the dedicated telephone numbers provided in the uploaded publication.
“‘Nigerians who pre-registered online can now complete their registration at those centers based on scheduled appointments. In addition, other Nigerians who prefer to register physically/in person can now do so at those centers.
“Both online pre-registration and physical/in-person registration will continue simultaneously until the suspension of the CVR exercise on June 30, 2022, to enable the commission to clean up the data and compile the voters’ register for the 2023 General Election.”
Okoye appealed to all citizens who wished to register to approach any of INEC’s state or local government area offices nationwide to do so, as the commission entered the next phase of the CVR exercise.
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.
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