Buhari presides over 1st FEC meeting on return from medical vacation; TheCable report: Obasanjo was involved in Malabu deal – Documents; Gov. Ortom Orders Fulani Herdsmen Out of Benue Communities; 4 Suicide bombers hit Maiduguri; Rivers rerun: ‘FG, you can’t try us in Abuja’ – 23 INEC officials; Rivers rerun: List of 23 INEC officials accused of receiving N360m from Wike; Buhari meets Saraki & Dogara over 2017 budget; Foreign missions to monitor EFCC boss’s screening by Senate; Part of Diezani’s $115 million came from CBN in bullion van – EFCC; Presidency intervenes & mandates Customs boss to appear before Senate; BREAKING: Customs boss fails to honor Senate invitation; Obasanjo denies details implicating him in $1.09bn Malabu oil deal; Social media inciting Nigerians – NBC Director General; PDP crisis: Bayelsa Gov. Dickson breaks silence; 86 associations apply for registration as political parties . . .
Buhari presides over 1st FEC meeting on return from medical vacation
Reports indicate that full official activities picked up on Wednesday morning at the Presidential Villa in Abuja as President Muhammadu Buhari presided over the first meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) since returning from a 9-week medical vacation to the UK. The FEC meeting started in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa when Buhari stepped in at exactly 10.00am. The president called on the Ministers of Transportation and Information, Rotimi Ameachi and Lai Mohammed respectively, to say the opening prayers. The last FEC meeting President Buhari presided over was on January 11 before he departed for London on January 19.
TheCable report: Obasanjo was involved in Malabu deal – Documents
Documents show the involvement of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the controversial OPL 245 oil block deal according to TheCable. In the deal struck in 2011, only $210 million of the $1.3 billion paid by Shell and Eni for the block went into federal government coffers as “signature bonus”. The rest was paid to Malabu Oil and Gas, mainly owned by Dan Etete, who, as petroleum minister in 1998, had awarded the lucrative licence to himself.
The sale to Malabu was nullified by Obasanjo in 1999 and assigned to Shell — without a public bid. Ownership was suspiciously reverted to Malabu thereafter, leading to legal action by Shell who later resorted to negotiating directly with Etete after President Goodluck Jonathan assumed office in 2010. A year later, the $1.3 billion deal was struck, with Malabu getting $1.1 billion from Shell and Eni to its transfer ownership, while the signature bonus was paid to Nigeria. Bello Adoke, attorney-general of the federation under Jonathan who is having a long-running battle with the EFCC over the deal, had protested the decision of the anti-graft agency to “single” him out for prosecution. TheCable Exclusive Report.
Gov. Ortom Orders Fulani Herdsmen Out of Benue Communities
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday directed security agents to ensure the exit of Fulani herdsmen from Buruku and Gboko LGAs as a result of recent security breaches. The directive came as the House of Representatives passed a resolution calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the immediate disarmament of armed and strange herdsmen in Buruku and other parts of Benue State and throughout the country. Ortom also requested them to arrest those of them responsible for killings in the areas. He received reports after an on-the-spot security and humanitarian assessment tour of Logo and communities in Mbalagh part of Buruku LGA that the invaders had killed 6 people in Igyorov council ward of Gboko.
4 Suicide bombers hit Maiduguri
Four female suicide bombers at about 1am struck and killed several people in Maiduguri, Borno state. Reports say the attack occurred at the Muna garage in Maiduguri. The incident was confirmed by the spokesperson of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, North-East, Abdulkadir Ibrahim in a chat with newsmen. In a statement Ibrahim sent to newsmen, NEMA said the suicide bombers comprised of four female teenagers. According to the statement, 6 people were killed in the attack and about 16 others were injured.
Rivers rerun: ‘FG, you can’t try us in Abuja’ – 23 INEC officials
23 INEC officials accused of receiving N360m from Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, during the December 10, 2016, re-reun election in the state yesterday declined to enter their pleas to charges the Federal Government preferred against them. The INEC officials insisted that they would not be tried in Abuja over a crime they allegedly committed in Rivers State. They challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Abuja to hear the seven-count charge against them. The Federal Government in the charge, alleged that the N360 million was proceed of Governor Wike’s criminal conduct which it said constituted economic and financial crime. It alleged that the accused persons had, between Dec 7 and 10, 2016, converted, concealed and took possession of N360m bribe, in violation of various provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 and the Economic and Financial Crimes (Establishment, etc) Act, 2004.
Rivers rerun: List of 23 INEC officials accused of receiving N360m from Wike
The 23 INEC officials accused of receiving N360m from the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, during the December 10, 2016, re-reun election in the state are: Shittu Lamido (Shettima), Henry Owokure, Peter Ewatade, Mrs. Mary Jummai, Tunkoyo Pennap, Gwatana Jibril, Ivase Stephen, Abdullahi Ogabo, Gayus Hassan, Hussaina Yahaya, James Ogwuche, Karimu Aminu and Adedokun Najeem Ayotunde. Others include, Balogun Funmilayo, Adams Kadiri, Akinwande Adesoji, Lukeman Olabimpe, Tiamiyu Arowolo, Akinwoye Amodu, Nwoha Yusuf, Patrick Anuke, Iro Abali, Nwosu Oluchi and Arukwe Chinelo. The defendants who appeared before trial Justice John Tsoho, yesterday, declined to enter their plea to the charge. Justice Tsoho adjourned the case to April 7 to hear the defendants’ objection to their planned trial in Abuja.
Buhari meets Saraki & Dogara over 2017 budget
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met behind closed doors with Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House Of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara at the presidential villa in Abuja. He met the duo on the speedy passage of the 2017 budget. The meeting was held in the presidential office. Buhari was said to have drawn the attention of the presiding officers of the National Assembly to the fact that an expeditious passage of the appropriation bill would ensure effective implementation of the budget. According to close sources at the meeting which lasted for about 40 minutes, the president took time to explain to Saraki and Dogara why the March deadline slated by the National Assembly to pass the budget was sacrosanct.
Foreign missions to monitor EFCC boss’s screening by Senate
Some foreign missions and donor agencies will monitor today’s screening of the EFCC Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu as the fourth chairman The embassies, it was learnt, directed their intelligence units to monitor the confirmation. More than 10 foreign missions and donor agencies have put some officials on the alert to monitor the session. A top official of one of the missions said: “We heard of the confirmation notice at short notice but we have put all steps in place to monitor the process. “We are interested in Magu’s screening because it might determine the direction of your anti-graft war” according to Nigerianeye.
Part of Diezani’s $115 million came from CBN in bullion van – EFCC
The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday heard that the N450m allegedly received by a Mohammed Dele Belgore SAN and former Minister of National Planning Prof. Abubakar Suleiman was brought to the bank from the CBN in a bullion van. The EFCC said the sum was part of $115,010,000 (about N37bn) allegedly shared by former Petroleum Resources Minister Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke to different individuals in 36 states. The first prosecution witness, Mr. Timothy Olaobaju, a banker, said among those who allegedly benefited from the money were Belgore and Suleiman, who are on trial for alleged money laundering.
Presidency intervenes & mandates Customs boss to appear before Senate
The Presidency has intervened in the rift between the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, and the Senate. The Customs boss had previously said he wouldn’t be able to honour the senate’s invitation as he had other things to do. The Presidency intervened. He was seen at the National Assembly on Tuesday after a meeting with Senate President Bukola Saraki. Hameed Ali, in a second letter sent to the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday said he is seeking legal advice on the directive of the senate that he should wear a uniform.
Customs boss fails to honor Senate invitation
The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service Hamid Ali has failed to honor the Senate’s invitation to appear before it, citing bereavement. In a letter he wrote to the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Ali announced that the controversial policy on car import tariff policy has been put on hold. After reading the Customs’ boss letter at plenary on Wednesday, senators took exception to Ali’s refusal to honor their invitation, describing it as unacceptable. Reacting to Ali’s letter, Senator Kabiru Marafa, described his action as an affront and a slight on the Senate. As at the time of publishing this report, the customs boss was yet to arrive the National Assembly complex.
Obasanjo denies details implicating him in $1.09bn Malabu oil deal
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has warned former Attorney General of the federation and Minister of Justice Mohammed Adoke to stop mentioning his name in the Malabu Oil deal. According to Premium Times. OBJ said: “Adoke and others should not drag me into a matter I know nothing about. If they have been asked to answer questions over decisions they took while in office, they should do that honourably. They should not bring Obasanjo into an Etete deal. I was not part of any such deal. If I hold that view, I could not have approved a deal with Dan Etete. What Etete did is the height of corruption. He appropriated the asset to himself illegally, illegitimately and immorally. I can’t remember giving approval that the block be given back to Etete.
Social media inciting Nigerians – NBC Director General
The DG National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Modibbo Kawu said that the social media remains the biggest source of incitement and distribution of unsubstantiated, unconfirmed and insensitive reports in Nigeria. NAN reports that Mr. Kawu spoke in Sokoto on Tuesday at the opening of a two-day National Conference of Catholic Social and Communication Directors. At the conference themed ”The Nigerian Media: The Ethics of Reporting Violence in Nigeria” Mr. Kawu through his spokesman said:” I must now draw our attention to the now evident – not emerging anymore – danger of the insensitivity of the social media. It does not even pretend to any ethical foundations and it does not give a damn about it. I will indulge us to investigate this disturbing trend. The role of the social media is adding salt to the injuries created by the lack of ethics by the media.”
PDP crisis: Bayelsa Gov. Dickson breaks silence
Bayelsa State Governor and Chairman PDP National Reconciliation Committee, Seriake Dickson has described comments which trailed submission of his committee report to the party’s national executive as “mere propaganda.” Dickson came under attack from supporters of Sen. Ahmed Makafi’s National Caretaker Committee, after he recently submitted a template for peace, including a proposal for the party convention to National Chairman, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff. Speaking for the first time, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, yesterday, Dickson said rather than embark on name-calling, propaganda and outright lies, it was time the party come together in the interest of peace.
86 associations apply for registration as political parties
Eighty-six political associations have applied for registration to INEC as political parties. INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu made this known on Tuesday during the quarterly consultative meeting with leaders of political parties at the INEC headquarters in Abuja. “Today’s quarterly meeting brings together INEC and political parties in order to discuss a number of pertinent issues in the management of our democracy,” he said. He welcomed back 10 political parties that were deregistered after the 2015 general elections but were later reinstated by court orders. The reinstated parties are: Better Nigerian Peoples Party (BNPP); Peoples Redemption Party (PRP); Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), Democratic Alternatives (DA), National Action Council (NAC), National Democratic Liberty Party (NDLP), Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN), National Conscience Party (NCP), Nigerian Elements progressive Party (NEPP), National Unity Party (NUP).