- We Have Fresh Evidence of Corruption Against Atiku, Says FG
The Federal Government said on Friday it was in possession of fresh evidence allegedly linking the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to the collapse of Bank PHB.
It stated that Abubakar had questions to answer in connection with an alleged N156m slush fund that he took from the bank through Claremont Management Services Account on 13th January, 2009.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, made the allegation in Abuja while speaking with State House correspondents on whether the government was disturbed that the former VP got a United States visa and travelled to the US on Thursday.
Mohammed claimed the government was not bothered about the trip but added that he must clear his name of corruption allegations, especially his alleged role in the collapse of Bank PHB.
The minister said, “I have come to make few remarks about the recent visit of the presidential candidate of the PDP to the US. You can recall that a few weeks ago, I did issue a statement advising the US Government not to issue a visa to Atiku.
“Remember also that in that same press conference, I also stated that it remained the prerogative of the US government to issue visa to anyone it deemed fit.
“Let me say right away that we are not perturbed one bit that Alhaji Atiku Abukakar was able to secure a visa to the US. As a matter of fact, he can go ahead and get the US Green Card; that will not save him from imminent defeat in the forthcoming election.
He added, “I want to remind Abubakar that the elections will be right here in Nigeria and not in the US. In any event, any time Abubakar returns home, he has questions to answer following the fresh evidence that we have that he benefited from slush funds that led to the collapse of former Bank PHB.
“The document we have shows he benefited to the tune of N156m from that slush fund.
“The paper which we have here started from an internal memo on January 13, 2009, which reads, ‘Please refer for discussion, your requested overdraft in favour of Atiku Abubakar for N156m and deliver same to me.
“Please note that it must be delivered today (January 13) on the same date.’’’
The minister stated that there was a second memo, which confirmed the receipt of the money requested.
He quoted from the second memo, which reads, “Please confirm that the amount stated below be issued from Claremont Management Services account.”
He said, “And we have evidence here of the account mandate, the name of Atiku Abubakar; we also have a copy of the cheque in which the sum of N156m was issued to Atiku Abubakar, dated January 13, 2009.
“And of course, we also have a statement of account within that period that confirms that this sum was actually paid into his account.
“These are fresh evidence as to his involvement in the collapse of Bank PHB. So, we want him to stay as long as he wants in the US, but as soon as he comes back, he has to explain to the electorate and to Nigerians what his role was in the collapse of the former Bank PHB.”
Mohammed, however, observed that the visa the US gave to Abubakar was an indirect endorsement of Abubakar for the February 16 polls by the US government.
Allegation of corruption by FG is cock and bull story -Atiku
In his reaction, Atiku mocked the Federal Government for failing to stop the United States government from granting him visa, saying with or without a trip to the US, the PDP would dislodge the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress at next month’s election.
The former vice-president also dismissed as cock and bull story, the allegation by Lai Mohammed that he had a case to answer over the collapse of Bank PHB (Platinum Habib Bank).
In a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr Phrank Shaibu, said the Federal Government should bury its head in shame having failed to stop him from travelling to the US.
He said it was shameful that the governing APC took it upon itself to call on the authorities of another country not to grant a private citizen entry visa, which ordinarily should not be its business.
Atiku who arrived in the US on Thursday said the APC was jittery knowing that its government had failed.
He stressed that Buhari’s days as President of Nigeria were numbered, adding that members of the ruling party had been running from pillar to post.
Atiku challenged the Federal Government to either prove his alleged corrupt activities or forever remain quiet.
He said, “It is disgusting to continue to spin allegations of corruption against me by people who have failed to come forward with a single shred of evidence of my misconduct while in office.
“Isn’t it a shame that the ruling party, which National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, only on Thursday gave official confirmation to the general belief that even if Lawrence Anini becomes an APC member today, Buhari will forgive and consecrate him, can turn around to accuse me of corruption today?
“They just suddenly woke up to the reality that their lies about Atiku being corrupt can no longer hold?”
he had added, “I challenge the Federal Government to come up with evidence that I benefitted from N156m slush funds through Claremont Management Services Account on 13th January, 2009 as well as the collapse of Bank PHB as they have alleged.
“It is instructive to note that the same Bank PHB is now Keystone Bank, which was said to have been acquired by Buhari’s cronies through AMCON last year.”
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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