- Osinbajo Panel Quizzes Magu, as Committee Begins Sitting
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, was on Friday quizzed by the committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the suspended secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and the suspended Director-General of the National Intellegence Agency, Ambassador Ayo Oke.
The three-man committee which is chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN); and the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, as members.
Magu appeared before the committee members for hours at the Vice-President’s office inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja as the committee began sitting early Friday.
It was gathered that the EFCC chairman was asked questions on the recovery of N13bn, which the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency had claimed belonged to the agency.
It was learnt that Magu justified the raid on the Ikoyi apartment where the money was recovered and briefed the committee on the investigation into the operation.
A top government source said, “The meeting with Magu was part of the assignment of the committee. He was asked questions on the operation and as expected he justified it.”
It was gathered that the committee asked the EFCC to continue with its investigation into the recovered money.
At about 1.30pm, the committee went on a short break to allow Malami, Monguno and Magu attend the Juma’at service inside a mosque located beside the President’s office.
The three of them returned to continue the meeting after the prayer session.
Holding about two bulky brown envelopes and an official file, Magu left the committee members at about 4pm.
He told some reporters who approached him that he would still return to the venue, apparently to avoid granting interview.
Monguno and Malami left the venue at about 4.20pm.
When asked how the investigation was going, Malami directed reporters to the Vice-President.
“Go and ask the chairman (of the committee),” the minister simply said as he walked out of the premises.
It was the EFCC under Magu’s leadership that recovered N13bn ($43.4m, N23m and £27,000) at a residential building in Lagos.
The suspended DG NIA had laid claim to the recovered fund.
Following the discovery of the N13bn, the NIA, which is Nigeria’s foreign intelligence service, had claimed that the money, which was found on the seventh floor of the building, was approved for the agency by former President Goodluck Jonathan for covert operations and security projects covering a period of years.
But later in the day, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, also claimed the money belong to the Rivers State government, alleging that a former governor of the state and current Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, kept the money in the apartment. He described the claim that the cash belonged to the NIA as balderdash.
Wike alleged that the money was part of the proceeds from the sale of a gas turbine by the immediate past administration, adding that the gas turbine was initially built by the Peter Odili administration. He then gave the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to return the money or be ready to face legal action.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday joined Muslim faithful for the Juma’at service inside a mosque at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari was joined at the prayer session by the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello; Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Malami; Monguno; Magu; and the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura.
Others who joined the President at the service were his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; Permanent Secretary, State House, Jalal Arabi; and the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, among others.
That was Buhari’s first public appearance for the week.
Shortly after the session, the President returned to his residence while Monguno, Daura and Magu engaged in a long discussion at the forecourt of the President’s office.
It was the DSS under Daura that issued a security report which formed the basis for the Senate’s rejection of Magu as the substantive chairman of the EFCC.
The DSS had claimed that Magu lacks the integrity to drive the present administration’s anti-corruption war.
The Vice-President had however disclosed that the Presidency would not replace him.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has announced the postponement of the annual retreat of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation with Secretaries to State Governments.
Although no reason was given for the decision, it was however not clear if the postponement had to do with the suspension of the embattled SGF over grass cutting contract inflation scam.
A terse statement issued in Abuja on Friday with Ref. No: PPR/OSGF/PR/03 by the Director of Press and Public Relations in the Office of the SGF, Bolaji Adebiyi, did not give any explanation.
The statement read, “The annual retreat of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation with Secretaries to State Governments scheduled to hold in Yola, Adamawa State, from April 23 to 25, 2017 has been postponed.
“A new date will be communicated to all participants and invited guests in due course. The Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation regrets any inconveniences.”
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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