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Anti-graft War: Whistle-blowers to Get N2.1bn

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  • Anti-graft War: Whistle-blowers to Get N2.1bn

All things being equal, whistle-blowers are poised to get N2.1bn reward for their whistle-blowing efforts that have led to major discoveries since December 20, 2016 when the policy was inaugurated by the Federal Government, findings revealed.

It was, however, learnt that payment would only be made after the recoveries have been thoroughly investigated by the anti-graft agencies.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had at the inauguration of the policy, said any Nigerian who gave information leading to the recovery of looted funds would be compensated by up to five per cent of the amount.

He had also laid out the compensation plan, saying informants whose information led to the discovery of up to N1bn would receive five per cent of the amount; those who gave tips leading to the discovery of between N1bn and N5bn would receive five per cent on the first N1bn and four per cent on the remaining N4bn; while those who gave information leading to the recovery of over N5bn would get 2.5 per cent of the amount.

Mohammed had further clarified that those who gave information leading to the recovery of, say, N10bn would get five per cent of N1bn, four per cent of N4bn and 2.5 per cent of the remaining N5bn.

Four months after this policy was launched, the Federal Government has recovered about N71.7bn, with informants entitled to a sum of N2.1bn, experts’ estimates have shown.

For instance, a whistle-blower’s tip had on February 3, 2017 led to the recovery of $9.8m and £74,000, totalling N3bn, belonging to a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Andrew Yakubu.

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had stormed a building in Sabon Tasha in Kaduna City, where the money was stashed in a huge fire proof safe.

Going by the Federal Government’s compensation plan, the informant is entitled to five per cent of N1bn (N50m) and four per cent of the remaining N2bn (N80m), making a total of N130m.

On February 12, 2017, Mohammed said a whistle-blower’s tip had also led the government to recover $136.7m (N42bn) from an account in a commercial bank, where the money was kept under a fake account name.

Therefore, the informant is entitled to a total of N1.1bn — five per cent of N1bn (N50m); four per cent of N4bn (N160m); and 2.5 per cent of N37bn (N925m).

During the same period, the minister said another informant had given a tip which led to the recovery of N7bn and $15m (N5bn), totalling (N12bn).

The whistle-blower is therefore entitled to a total of N385m — five per cent of N1bn (N50m); four per cent of N4bn (N160m); and 2.5 per cent of the remaining N7bn (N175m).

Mohammed had also said another N1bn was recovered, so the whistle-blower is entitled to N50m, that is, five per cent of the amount.

On April 8, 2017, officials of the EFCC had recovered N449m in a shop located in the Nigerian Air Force complex, Legico, Victoria Island, Lagos, after receiving a tip-off from a whistle-blower.

Hence, the informant is entitled to N22.5m, which is five per cent of N449m.

On April 11, 2017, the EFCC had also recovered €547,730, £21,090 and N5, 648,500 (totalling N250m) from a Bureau de Change operator in Balogun Market, Lagos, after receiving a tip-off.

The whistle-blower is, therefore, eligible to be paid N12.5m, five per cent of the recovered amount.

The most recent recovery was carried out on April 12, 2017 at a flat at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, where EFCC operatives retrieved $43m, £27,000 and N23m (totalling N13bn).

The informant is entitled to a total of N410m, which is five per cent of N1bn (N50m); four per cent of N4bn (N160m); and 2.5 per cent of the remaining N8bn (N200m).

Therefore, since December 2016, the whistle-blowing policy has fetched informants a total of N2, 145,000,000.

When contacted, the Director of Information in the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Salisu Dambatta, said the framework for the implementation of the reward system under the whistle-blower policy was being worked on.

He said as soon as the modalities for the reward system were concluded, the government would start the implementation of the reward regime.

He said, “The Federal Ministry of Justice is finalising the modality and framework for implementing the reward policy.

“Additionally, all recoveries reported are subject to thorough investigation by the relevant agencies.

“As soon as the processes are concluded, the reward regime will be implemented in deserving cases.”

The spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, could not be reached for comment as his telephone indicated that it was switched off.

However, a reliable source within the Federal Government said whistle-blowers would be paid once all legal hurdles had been crossed.

The source said for instance, the $9m recovered from a former Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Andrew Yakubu, was being challenged and as such, it would be premature to give the whistle-blower any money.

He said, “A lot of the recoveries made have legal obstacles which the government must overcome before paying whistle-blowers. For instance, Andrew Yakubu is challenging the Federal Government over the $9m seized from him.

“We cannot pay the whistle-blower until the money is finally forfeited to the Federal Government. So, these modalities will be worked out between the Minister of Finance and the Attorney-General of the Federation.”

Meanwhile, unemployed youths, students and many others have expressed interest in whistle-blowing, seeing it as a new money-spinner.

A Lagos-based graduate of Economics, Kola Akindemowo, said, “I wish I had an opportunity to whistle-blow, just like the guard who gave the EFCC the tip-off which led to the recovery of N13bn in Ikoyi. That’s the kind of money that has no struggle. It’s the type I want to have. I’ve been looking for a good job for the past four years.”

“I am ready to blow anything now, be it trumpet or saxophone. Whistle is too small. I see it as a new money-making machine and I envy those who had got the opportunity to key into the policy,” he added.

Another Lagos-based youth, simply identified as Chigozie, said he would be happy if he could have a chance of making money from the policy, saying, “I am looking forward to the opportunity to whistle-blow. Even if I can make just N5m, I am okay. I will use it to start my business.”

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.

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Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process

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The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.

The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.

Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.

Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.

The statement in full:

“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.

The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.

With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;

Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website www.immigration.gov.ng;

  • applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
  • a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
  • upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
  • that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
  • that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
  • applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
  • a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.

The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.

Signed AMOS OKPU MNIPR
ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER OF IMMIGRATION
SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
For: COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION 8TH JUNE, 2021″

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INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.

Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).

He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.

He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities

He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.

“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.

“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.

“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.

“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.

He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.

“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”

Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.

According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.

“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.

“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.

“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission

“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.

Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.

Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.

“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.

“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria

“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.

He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.

In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.

Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.

“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.

“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.

“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said

Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.

Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.

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Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum

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House of representatives

The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.

The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.

The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.

The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.

He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”

You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.

Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.

The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.

Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.

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