Special Report From Nigeria

Read special report on Nigeria. Did Buhari’s aide doctor the 2016 budget & will Buhari release Pro-Biafra leader, Nnamdi Kanu, to Ohanaeze Ndigbo?  . . . .

Security on trail of Mu’azu & Jonathan’s Secretary, Tukur

Security agencies are “watch-listing” former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Adamu Muazu (photo below: right) and a former Principal Private Secretary to former President Goodluck Jonathan,  Hassan Tukur (photobelow: left), it was learnt yesterday.

Adamu Muazu

The two influential personalities are said to have been placed on the watch list over the alleged diversion of cash meant for arms into the 2015 election campaign and payment of huge ransom to unknown Boko Haram agents.

Jonathan . Hassan Tukur ex-prez Jonathan's principal secretary

– EFCC to quiz ex-PDP chair on alleged diversion of $2.1b arms cash

– EFCC on his trail over N600m shared to six chairmen of PDP mobilization committees. He is believed to be in Asia

– EFCC interested his role in the botched deal with fake Boko Haram chiefs involving payment of huge cash

Missing Budget: Senate says Buhari’s aide “doctored” budget

The Senate has accused the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Senate, Ita Enang, of changing the contents of the 2016 appropriation bill before making the document available to the lawmakers.

President Buhari presented the 2016 budget proposal last December before a joint session of the National Assembly.

sen. Ita-Enang

At its plenary on Thursday, the Senate said Sen. Enang, changed the contents of the original document as presented by Buhari.

The senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, disclosed this at the end of the executive session that lasted over two hours.

“What he distributed is different from what was presented by Mr. President and we have resolved not to address any version until we receive the version presented by Mr. President,” Mr. Saraki stated.

The chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Aliyu Sabi, further emphasised the Senate allegation when he briefed journalists after plenary.

CBN . Gov Godwin Emefiele said, 'The CBN remains a very independent institution, just like it was under my predecessor' . STR.AFP via Getty Images

Senate summons CBN governor over fall of Naira  

The Senate Thursday summoned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, over the continuous depreciation of the Naira.

The upper chamber said that Emefiele should appear before it by 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday January 19, 2016 to explain the continuous weakening of Naira against the Dollar.

The invitation followed a Point of Order raised by the Senate Leader, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, over the matter.

Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, asked Senator Ndume to convey Senate’s resolution inviting him to the CBN governor.

Saraki said, “The leader in line with our rules, 42:1 did mention this and in line with our rules also we must get the views of the Senators that we should stand this down till Tuesday next week.

“Leader, you convey and invite the Central Bank Governor to come on Tuesday by 11 to present this before the Senate.’’

Ndume had said it was expedient for the Senate to invite the CBN governor to brief it on the free fall of the naira.

‘Release Nnamdi Kanu to us we will make him realise the futility in his pro- Biafra stance’ – Ohanaeze to Buhari

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to release the detained director of the pirate ‘Radio Biafra’ and leader of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu to Igbo leaders, assuring that they would make him realize the futility of continuing his pro- Biafra stance.

Nnamdi Kanu

Chairman of state presidents of Ohaneze in the seven Igbo -speaking states, Dr. Chris Eluemunoh told reporters in Awka that Igbo leaders were equally concerned with the security challenges posed by the activities of the pro-Biafra group, adding that once Kanu was released to Igbo leaders, they would sit him down and discuss with him and make him realize the negative effects of continuing with efforts to actualize the Republic of Biafra.

According to Eluemunoh, a lot of discussions on how to tackle the issue of insecurity in the country were going on among Igbo leaders, adding that they believe that Kanu’s issue could be better handled and resolved if he was released to enable Igbo leaders get involved in the matter.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo logo

He said: “IPOB and MASSOB (the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra) can operate as pressure groups and not as secessionist groups. Many Igbo people are residing in other parts of Nigeria and there is no way they can abandon their investments to return to the East in the name of Biafra.”

Ita Enang, reacts to “doctored” budget allegation

The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly (Senate), Ita Enang, says he will not respond to an allegation by the Senate that he doctored the 2016 budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari in December.

Buhari . 2016 Budget presentation to NASS

But speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, Sen. Enang, said he would not comment on the development.

He said the matter was between “two of my bosses”, in reference to the presidency and the National Assembly.

“I do not want to comment on the matter at the moment,” Mr. Enang said. “It is a very sensitive matter involving two of my bosses – the National Assembly and Presidency. I don’t want to talk about them.”

Tompolo 2

N13 Billion fraud: Tompolo fails to appear in court

Ex-Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo, a.k.a. Tompolo, has shunned the order of a Federal High Court in Lagos to unconditionally appear today to answer a 40-count of alleged N13bn fraud leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Hearing in the substantive charge filed by the EFCC was adjourned to today.

The order, which was granted in Charge No: FHC/L/553c/2015, was sequel to a motion ex-parte brought by the EFCC.

All his co-accused, including a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi, were present in court.

The commission had asked Tompolo to appear on December 17, 2015 for questioning in respect of the N13 billion land acquisition controversy for Nigerian Maritime University, NMU in Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, with a threat to declare him wanted should he fail to appear.

MR | Special report

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News Week: Nigeria

Buhari . PMB addresses the US Chamber of Commerce in Wash DC

Anti-corruption war: Buhari issues fresh orders to EFCC

President Muhammadu Buahri has issued fresh orders to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to account for funds that were stolen but recovered by the Commission.

The President also  instructed the EFCC not to be distracted by negative comments from some quarters on its operations, especially as  they affect some of those who have been named in the now infamous $2.1b arms procurement scandal.

NWOBODO . After dumping PDP, Jim Nwobodo dumps Anglican Communion, remarries in Catholic Church

After dumping PDP, Jim Nwobodo dumps Anglican Communion, remarries in Catholic Church

Less than 24-hours after dumping PDP for APC in controversial fashion, Ex-governor of old Anambra State, Chief Ifeanyi Nwobodo and wife, Patricia, were yesterday rejoined in holy matrimony by the Catholic Bishop of Enugu diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Calistus Onaga.

Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and his wife, Monica, were sponsors of the couple in the marriage in fulfillment of requirements demanded by the Catholic Church.

The marriage took place at the Bishops’ Court, Independence Layout, Enugu.

CBN . Godwin Emefiele, Gov. CBN

CBN may relax forex policy this week

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), may relax its policy on forex this week.

The IMF MD, Ms Christine Lagarde, pointed out, in unequivocal terms, the dangers of the continued forex policy instituted by the apex bank in the last eight months.

The foreign exchange market witnessed introduction of several foreign exchange restrictions in 2015. The first notable restriction was the closure of official foreign exchange market (Retail Dutch Auction) on February 18, 2015 which translated to further devaluation of the naira to N197 per dollar from N165 per dollar.

The second notable restriction was the Exclusion of 41items from the official foreign exchange market.

Then, in August, the CBN banned acceptance of foreign currency deposit into domiciliary accounts.

In addition to the above, there was the reduction in the limit on usage of naira debit cards abroad. From $150,000 per annum the limit was pegged at $50,000 per annum per naira debit card. The daily cash withdrawal limit was pegged at $300 abroad.

During the year, the CBN banned banks from selling foreign exchange to the Bureau De Change (BDCs) while it revised the operating guidelines of BDCs,  and in the process, banned any form of relationship of street hawkers of foreign currency (black market), and branch operations.

These restrictions coupled with dwindling foreign currency inflow due to continued decline in crude oil prices, as well as continued expectation of further devaluation of the naira, led to a consequential depreciation of the naira in the parallel market. The parallel market exchange rate of the naira rose from N179/N185 at the beginning of 2015, to close the year at N280 to a dollar.

Kogi . APC Dep. Guber, James Faleke & The late Guber, Abubakar Audu

SSS detains Faleke, Abubakar Audu’s son — Aide

The Deputy Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the November 21, 2015 Governorship election in Kogi State, James Faleke, and Mohammed, the eldest son of Abubakar Audu, the late APC governorship candidate, Abubakar Audu, were on Saturday invited by the State Security Services for undisclosed reason, and then detained.

The Director, Media and Publicity of Audu/Faleke Campaign Organisation, Duro Meseko, said in a statement on Saturday that the duo arrived the SSS headquarters in Abuja at exactly 10.00am and were kept in an office with assurances that an officer would attend to them only to keep them indefinitely.

Mr. Meseko said the two politicians were kept in an isolated office till 4p.m on Saturday evening.

Lai Mohammed

Past govt spent N2 Billion to fix National Theatre roof — Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed, has said a past administration spent N2bn for the repair of a leaky roof at the National Theatre.

The minister made the revelation on Saturday during a courtesy visit to Prof. Wole Soyinka in his office at the Freedom Park in Lagos.

Mohammed, who lamented the poor state of the edifice, however, did not say which administration spent the amount.

He said he could not say for sure if the money was actually spent.

Mohammed added that the Federal Government was planning to initiate a Public-Private Partnership that would help transform the theatre to become the pride of the nation.

Tanko Yakassai

N163 million largesse: Yakassai, Falae under fire

The emerging revelation regarding the alleged involvement of two elder statesmen, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai and Chief Olu Falae in the sharing of $2.1 billion fund meant for the purchase of military equipment to fight the Boko Haram in the twilight of the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan has stirred indignation and demand for refund of money collected.

Olu Falae . Kidnapped

Yakassai, who is a respected leader of thought in the North, allegedly took N63 million from the former BOT Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, under the guise of ensuring peace during the last presidential election, while Chief Olu Falae collected N100 million on behalf of his party, Social Democratic Party (SDP) to support the reelection bid of former President Jonathan.

Anenih reportedly revealed that he gave Yakassai and Falae N63 million and N100 million respectively from the N250 million he received from former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, for PDP’s campaign activities.

tony anenih

How Anenih Gave Out N440m

MORE facts are unfolding on how over $2.1 billion was disbursed by the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki.

The Accord Party, headed by Chief Rashidi Ladoja, allegedly got the sum of N100 million, going by a letter said to have been written by the National Secretary of the party, Hon. Nureni Adisa, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

In fact, it has emerged that the money is part of N440 million said to have been doled out by former Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih.

Chief Anenih may have spent N180 million more than the  N260 million he claims President Goodluck Jonathan asked him to disburse for peace advocacy, going by his letter to the EFCC.

It was gathered yesterday that some other prominent Nigerians, especially traditional rulers, may have benefitted from the largesse.

Soyinka . Nobel Laureate

Soyinka confident in Buhari’s anti-corruption fight

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, on Saturday expressed confidence that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration would fight corruption conclusively.

Soyinka said this when the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, visited him at his home in Lagos.

He said that the level of exposure concerning corruption under the Buhari administration showed that government was really tackling the vice.

According to him, the country had never had corruption exposed at this scale before.

“We have not had a case where it had been alleged and increasingly proven that money supposed to be spent on defending ourselves, our nation, our neighbourhood, has been shared among individuals.

“We never had experience where we were in a state of critical emergency where children are being kidnapped under our noses.

“Never had there been in a situation where we are helpless and our soldiers are sent to the front to defend our very existence and we are not backing them up with conduct that shows integrity and commitment.

“Because of these reasons, corruption is really desperate and has chosen to fight back, but I am confident that corruption will be resolved,’’ Soyinka said.

Nigerian Navy

Militants, Navy in a deadly shoot-out in Calabar

There was sporadic shooting across the river in the bayside area of Calabar close to the Obong of Calabar palace.

Eye witnesses confirmed that the shooting lasted for nearly one hour in the morning of of Saturday.

They suspected that it was the Nigerian Navy personnel, policemen and the militants which usually terrorised the Calabar waters who were again displaying their prowess.

However, Eastern Naval Command information officer, Commander Bassey Ayi and state Police PRO John Eluu said they had to wait in order to officially confirm the incident.

Residents of the area which is reported to be prone to regular shoot-outs, rival cult group attacks by bad boys and militants said the sound from the shooting was from heavy guns.

One of the residents who spoke with our reporter on phone and preferred not to be mentioned said he saw a big navy ship firing some shots.

He could not say if there was any casualties from either sides.

Last year, when pirates and militants attacked the Marina police post in Calabar, killed a security personnel and carted away assorted weapons in the night, the 207 Mobility Group of the Nigerian Air Force carried out area bombardment in the creeks of Calabar for three days.

Metuh & EFCC

PDP cries out!!! – ‘EFCC keeping Olisa Metuh in inhumanly kept under-ground cell’

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday, said that the continued incarceration of its spokesman, Chief Olisa Metuh by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, since Tuesday, January, 5, 2015, without charging him to court, clearly shows the dictatorial character of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC Federal Government, which has not hidden its disdain for rule of law and an appetite to gag the opposition.

The party said the continued detention is in clear breach of Chief Metuh’s constitutionally guaranteed liberty and fundamental rights.

The PDP in a statement signed by its National Legal Adviser, Barr. Victor Kwon, stressed that relying on a purported ‘holding charge’ said to have been derived from a Magistrate to detain Chief Metuh beyond the statutory period allowed by the law is in total violation of the constitution and extant corresponding rulings by several trial and appellate courts in the country.

“We draw the attention of all Nigerians and the international community to this illegal clamp-down on the opposition spokesman by the EFCC, using a purported holding charge said to have been derived from a magistrate court.

“Holding Charge which implies ‘arrest before investigation’ instead of ‘investigation before arrest’ is clearly an aberration and abuse of judicial process which has since been declared by several courts as illegal, null and void, and of no effect as it is totally in contradiction with section 35 (1), (4), (5a) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The PDP is particularly worried that Chief Metuh, since his arrest on Tuesday, is being inhumanly kept in an underground cell where he is daily threatened by officials, who we gathered, have been mounting pressure on him to accept guilt of fictitious figures and implicate PDP leaders.

“The public is very much aware that the EFCC Chairman has visited the Presidential villa at least twice since Chief Metuh was arrested and detained by the commission, ostensibly to get further directives on the case.

“We invite the world to note that President Buhari’s election promise of fighting corruption has now been turned into a man-hunt of PDP leaders, while known corrupt APC leaders are being shielded by the system and rewarded with ministerial positions and other government appointments.

“Our nation is now being turned into a police state with its inherent constitutional violations and infringement on rights of citizens, a scenario which poses grave danger to national stability and survival of our democracy.

“The PDP strongly cautions against the avoidable tension and looming political crisis over the continuous clamp-down on our leaders and particularly, the continued incarceration of our spokesperson, Chief Olisa Metuh, who was arrested a few days after he confronted the Federal Government and the APC over their dictatorial pronouncements and actions.

“Our teeming members across the country have so far exercised reasonable restrain, but we caution that there is a limit to what they can stomach in the face of this brazen persecution of our spokesman. The President Buhari-led APC government and the EFCC should therefore hold themselves responsible should there be any breakdown of law and order in the land over this matter.

“We therefore reinforce our demand on the EFCC to respect the course of law and release Chief Metuh immediately or charge him to court in line with the provisions of our laws if it strongly feels it has a case against him.

“Nigerians cannot afford to return to the era of dictatorship where constitutional provisions, respect for lawful processes and personal freedom of citizens under the law are trampled upon. Their response to this might come with very dire consequences,” added the PDP.

MR