- EFCC Grills Fayose, Asks ex-gov to Return N1.3bn
The immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, finally honoured an invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday after losing his immunity from prosecution and arrest.
After leading Fayose to the interrogation room, it was learnt that he was asked to write a statement explaining how he spent N1.3bn he allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser through a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, during the build-up to the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State.
The commission also asked him to return the money.
A source at the EFCC, however, told our correspondent that the former governor refused to admit to collecting the money.
He said, “We have treated Fayose with respect since he arrived in our office. We asked him about the money he received from Obanikoro and when he would return it but he is denying everything.
“He said in his statement on oath that he never received any money despite the overwhelming evidence. The man is refusing to cooperate despite the overwhelming evidence we have.”
It was learnt that as of 7 pm on Tuesday, the former governor was still writing his statement.
The funds allegedly traced to Fayose were said to be part of the N4.7bn allegedly handed to Obanikoro by the then National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.)
While about N1.3bn was given to Fayose, another N1.3bn was also handed over to the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Osun State in 2014, Senator Iyiola Omisore.
The funds were said to have been transported from Lagos to Ekiti State by air.
Since the investigation began in 2015, the EFCC has interrogated over 20 persons.
Apart from Obanikoro and Omisore, others interrogated by the EFCC include Captain Ahmed Borodo, the pilot whose plane was allegedly chartered by Obanikoro; Aide-de-Camp to Obanikoro, Lt. Olumide Adewale; and Fayose’s aide, Abiodun Agbele (who is standing trial for allegedly receiving the funds on behalf of Fayose).
Others interrogated include bureau de change operators and senior bank executives.
“Despite the statements made by all these people indicating that Fayose received money, the man is still denying the allegations,” an EFCC detective said.
However, Fayose’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said Fayose would not compromise himself in the name of administrative bail.
Ozekhome said Fayose’s accounts had already been frozen by the commission and was already in court over the matter.
On whether Fayose would return the money as demanded by the EFCC, Ozekhome said, “Which money are they saying he should return? Has he said any money is with him? They won’t dare tell him to return the money.
“Fayose is not like other Nigerians that the EFCC will bamboozle and force and blackmail to make refunds. Why tell a man to refund the money he has not admitted to receiving when the matter is in court?
“If they offer him an administrative bail with no strings attached, which is not a Greek gift, then he should take it.”
Earlier in the day, before entering the EFCC premises, Fayose and scores of his supporters had created a scene at the entrance of the commission.
Fayose, who wore a blue shirt with the inscription, ‘EFCC, I am here’, and a blue pair of trousers with a blue face-cap to match, arrived at the Tunde Idiagbon House, Wuse 2, which is the former headquarters of the EFCC, around 1 pm.
The former governor, who clutched a backpack and a small duffel bag, was accompanied by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode; his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), and several of his aides and supporters.
Addressing reporters before making his way into the EFCC, Fayose said, “I am here in line with my promise that I will be here on the October 16.
“And, as I said to the EFCC, they should await my arrival. This morning, they have been to my house; they cordoned off my street, which I feel was unnecessary. It was unwarranted.
“When a man says he is coming, Nigerians should be given benefit of the doubt.
“I had led Ekiti, and the best I could give, I have given. Therefore, every question, whatever they need to ask today, I will be able to respond appropriately.”
Also speaking, Governor Wike said he accompanied Fayose in order to warn the EFCC to respect his rights.
Wike added, “He wrote a letter to the EFCC that he will submit himself on October 16. He is hale and hearty and I believe that EFCC should know he is well. Our fear from the present report that we have is that he may be harmed.
“But, let Nigerians know that he came by himself to the EFCC without anybody harassing him. So, that is why I brought him here today.”
In his remarks, Fani-Kayode said the EFCC should remember that their actions were being monitored by the international community and they should not abuse Fayose’s rights.
Ozekhome asked the EFCC not to keep Fayose for more than 24 hours as failure to release him would be an abuse of his rights.
Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process
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″
INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week
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.
Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum
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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