Evans in court for second arraignment

Alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike a.k.a. Evans, ‎is currently before the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere.

Image result for Evans, five others in court File Photo

He is to be arraigned this morning before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo on charges bordering on kidnapping, murder and illegal possession of firearms.

The fresh charges are separate from the ones pressed against him before the Ikeja division of the court, where he was last week re-arraigned before Justice Hakeem Oshodi.

Evans was brought to court by heavily armed security operatives, some of whom manned the door to the courtroom, screening persons entering the courtroom.

Evans is now seated in the gallery flanked by prison officials as he awaits the arrival of the presiding judge.

Solar power: FG attracts investors with pioneer status

Image result for Solar PanelThe Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said investors can now manufacture solar systems in the country following the recent review of the pioneer status incentive.

Fashola stated this in Lagos on Thursday at the launch of the book, entitled ‘Solar Electricity Generation for Off-grid Communities in Nigeria,’ written by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Dr. Oladele Amoda.

He said solar power had become the new energy and the energy for tomorrow, affirming the Federal Government’s commitment to encouraging investors in the solar space.

“Today, our energy production has grown from 2,600-plus megawatts in 2015 to 7,000MW. Our wheeling capacity has increased to close to 7,000MW; what we need to do now is to knuckle down with the Discos and expand the distribution capacity. But even if we do all of that, it probably will not be enough because it just means that only the people who are connected to the grid really will benefit,” the minister said.

He, however, described grid extension as very capital intensive, saying, “And this is where solar becomes the real energy of the day to help us quickly reach those communities; those people it is much more expensive to try to connect.

“Currently, we are vulnerable because our energy mix is largely dependent on gas and hydro. About three years ago, it was essentially about 85 per cent thermal power and 15 per cent hydro. But the privatisation has led to increased capacity in some of the hydro plants, and the mix has improved somewhat in favour of hydro and we are now seeing 74 per cent to 26 per cent mix.”

Fashola said the Nigerian government had revised its pioneer status’ criteria for eligibility to include solar home systems, batteries and other things necessary for delivering solar panels and systems.

Appeal Court jails Kebbi ex-AG 70 years for N1.6bn fraud

Image result for Mohammed DakingariThe Court of Appeal, Kebbi Division, has sentenced a former Kebbi State Accountant-General, Mohammed Dakingari, to seventy years in prison for N1.6bn fraud. He was sentenced to seven years imprisonment on each of the ten counts preferred against him.

The appellate court upturned the judgment of a Kebbi State High Court which discharged and acquitted Dakingari on charges of conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretences preferred against him and one other by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The former convict and others used his office as the Accountant-General for personal enrichment to the tune of N1.6bn, according to the court.

Dakingari was charged alongside Musa Yusuf, the Managing Director, Beal Construction Nigeria Limited, a company owned by Dakingari and used in awarding various contracts to himself.

The convict’s stake in Beal Construction Limited is contrary to civil service regulation which forbids serving officers from owning businesses.

The EFCC said in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, that findings at the Corporate Affairs Commission showed that Bashir Mohammed, Anwal Sadat and Nasir Mohammed, all sons of the accountant-general, are directors of the company (Beal Construction), while two of his brothers, Abduallahi Mohammed and Habibu Mohammed, are the other directors.

The statement added, “The construction company operates two accounts at Ecobank and Unity Bank, with Dakingari and Yusuf as signatories to the accounts. However, Dakingari was discovered to operate with two signatures, one in his official capacity as accountant-general of the state and the other as the owner of Beal Construction Company Limited.

“Analysis of the accounts revealed a total inflow of N1.3bn between May 2012 and September 2013, with most of the receipts coming from the Office of the Accountant-General and the Kebbi State Ministry of Finance.

“Some of the contracts executed for the state for which Beal Construction Company received huge payments included the supply of furniture to 66 secondary schools in Kebbi State valued at N987m; the connection of water and drainage system at the Kebbi Central Mosque valued at N110m and the building and partitioning of Mohammed Maira Secondary School valued at N247m.”

Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the EFCC filed 20 charges bordering on conspiracy, obtaining by false pretences and abuse of office against Dakingari and Yusuf.

The High Court in its determination of the case had convicted and sentenced Yusuf to six months’ imprisonment while it discharged and acquitted Dakingari.

Dissatisfied, the EFCC approached the Court of Appeal, asking it to set aside the judgment of the lower court and convict Dakingari as charged.

The appellate court allowed the appeal by the EFCC, convicted and sentenced Dakingari to seven years’ imprisonment each on 10 of the counts preferred against him by the anti-graft agency. The sentence will however run concurrently.

Oyedepo celebrates escape from third potential plane crash

Image result for Bishop David OyedepoBishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, otherwise known as Winners’ Chapel, on Friday chronicled his escape from a recent incident that could have led to a crash of the plane that he was travelling in.

Saturday PUNCH learnt that Oyedepo was travelling from Cyprus to Israel in company with his wife and three other key members of the church.

He described the incident in a written testimony read out to the congregation by a church member during a thanksgiving service at the Canaanland headquarters of the church in Ota, Ogun State.

According to the testimony, it was the third potential plane crash that the bishop would escape.

He said the first was an incident in 1997 while travelling from Kaduna to Lagos while the second was during a Lagos flight to Kano in 1998.

In the 1997 incident, Oyedepo said “all hell broke loose” and “landing in Lagos became impossible” during a heavy thunderstorm.

He said the aircraft went up and down as the captain attempted to land during several attempts until he eventually landed.

He said, “In the second incident, one engine of our aircraft failed in-flight. On May 4, 1998, we were on a flight to Kano when I noticed our plane was going down. I went to the cockpit to ask the pilot what was going on. Then, he announced that we just lost one engine.

“Calmly, I told him to make a turn back to Lagos. We were eight on board. As soon as we landed and we were at our packing space, we heard a sound that announced the death of the second engine.”

In the third and recent incident, Oyedepo said the cause of the incident was a stabiliser trim motor failure, according to the report of the captain, Samuel Adeboga.

The bishop said, “After the failure, the auto-pilot could no longer exact the required pressure to keep the aircraft in the required altitude for stability.

“The captain disconnected the auto-pilot and returned the aircraft to the required altitude for that phase of flight. Because the aircraft was out of trim, during the take-over, the aircraft abruptly pitched up with much G-force and the captain counter-acted it with a pitch downforce.

“These two counter-forces caused the abrupt turbulence and movement in the cabin and the cargo hold. Heavy items in the cargo hold fell from their compartments and made loud bang noise. We thank the God of this great commission for making the pilot act promptly. Similar incidents in the past have resulted in fatal accidents and loss of life.”

Fresh $5.5bn loan: Youth groups threaten mass protest

Image result for kemi adeosunSome youth groups across the country have vowed to protest against the Federal Government’s plan to get fresh $5.5bn loan, thus adding to Nigeria’s N19.2tn debt profile.

The groups described the country’s increasing debt profile as worrisome and capable of mortgaging their future and that of coming generations.

They told Saturday PUNCH in separate interviews on Thursday that they would protest should the National Assembly approve the Federal Government’s proposal of fresh $5.5bn foreign loan, noting that there was nothing to show for the loans previously secured by the country.

As of June 2017, Nigeria’s total indebtedness to foreign and local creditors stood at N19.16tn, according to the Debt Management Office.

The debt had increased by N7.1tn between 2015 and 2017.

According to the DMO, states’ external debt profile as of June 30, 2017, stood at $3.9bn (N1.4tn).

The Federal Government spent $25.82bn (N7.88tn) on servicing its debts between 2012 and 2016. In the first three months of 2017, it spent N520.11bn to service its debts.

And just last week, President Muhammadu Buhari asked the Senate to approve a proposal for another $5.5bn (N1.8tn) foreign loan.

The Federal Government, through the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had on Thursday explained that the $5.5bn loan would take the country between five and 30 years to repay.

Adeosun, who was represented by the Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, said this at a defence session organised by the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts in Abuja.

Asking Nigerians to focus on the long-term benefits of the loan, the minister also insisted that the Federal Government would have to borrow more to complete a number of ongoing infrastructural projects.

But the Convener, Plateau Youths G-17 Peace and Progress Forum, Dachung Bagos, feared that by 2018, 70 per cent of Nigeria’s budget might be spent on debt servicing and wondered how the country would survive.

Bagos, who also lamented the level of indebtedness by state governments, vowed to champion a protest against further borrowing should the National Assembly approve Buhari’s proposal.

He said, “I can tell you that if the Senate today approves that the President should borrow, honestly, we and other Nigerian youths will embark on a mass protest against persistent borrowing by the current administration, and many human right activists will also support such a mass protest.

“Again, there are clear possibilities that the situation would continue because the monies borrowed are not being channelled into the right sectors for development.”

The President, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Shettima Yerima, described the fresh loan request as something “every patriotic Nigerian should be worried about.”

“It is as good as mortgaging the future of this generation,” he said.

Yerima added, “We will resist any attempt by anyone or any group of individuals to mortgage the future of this generation and also compromise the country.

“When they get the loans, there are agreements that come with them, which may never be in the best interest of the country.”

Also, the President, Youth Coalition for Millennium Development Goals, Jigawa State, Mr. Yunusa Hamza, said in addition to a mass protest, the group would use the social media to drive a vibrant campaign against debt.

“The power of the new media is great. Hence, we will drive a social media campaign to stop it. Our future must not be destroyed

“If all the money we’ve borrowed in time past had been judiciously used, we would not be talking about poor electricity, bad roads and so on.”

In the view of the President, Middle Belt Youth Council, Emma Zopmal, the Federal Government lacked the justification to borrow more money considering the spending culture of the current administration and lack of justification for the loans secured in the past.

He said President Buhari’s persistent penchant for unnecessary foreign trips was a clear testimony that the government had enough money to waste.

He said, “We’ll organise a mass protest to resist this bad trend. I also want other patriotic Nigerians to stage a mass movement against unnecessary borrowing. Citizens should not allow government to be dictating on all issues.

“It’s the duty of every Nigerian to know what the government has been doing with the previous money borrowed. What are the achievements recorded thus far? The needs assessment that necessitated that borrowing should be made public, not just through pronouncements. We have had enough of manipulated needs for borrowing. We’ll resist any further attempt to laden the economy with debts.”

Similarly, the National Public Relations Officer, Association of Nigerian Graduates Against Unemployment, Mr. Oni Kehinde, said, “We will hold protests if the government fails to understand the simple message we are passing across now. As the citizens of this country, we have the right to say no to these loans. It is a thing we must do. If we spend so much to service loans, where will we get money to create employment and do other things?

“I think it will be a tsunami if we allow the President to take another loan. One key consideration when taking a loan is source of income and we generate very little. If I take N5, 000 from you and I take N5, 000 from another person and then take N5, 000 from a third party to service the loan I took from the first person. It means a great problem for the business in future. A day will come that the first person will seize my collateral, the second person will seize another thing and there will be nothing to fall back on.”

The Ijaw Youth Council also said that it would hold mass protest against the continued borrowing by the Buhari-led administration.

IYC President, Mr. Eric Omare, told one of our correspondents that it would take the step to prevent a situation where the future of the country would be mortgaged.

He said, “More borrowing will retard development because in years to come, the entire income of Nigeria would be used for debt servicing if nothing is done to save the situation.

“What that means is that there would be no money to carry out capital projects and even at a point, we will not be able to take care of our recurrent expenditures.

“Even the borrowing is not geared towards diversifying the Nigerian economy; the borrowing in most cases is used to service recurrent expenditure, which does not contribute to our economic growth. That is why it is dangerous.”

The President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Mr. Chinonso Obasi, said rather than keep borrowing, the Federal Government should look inwards and think of generating more revenue.

He said, “We believe the Federal Government should know how to generate revenue without having to continuously depend massively on loans. The issue is that those who borrow keep borrowing.”

Also, the Acting Chairman, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Kwara State chapter, Mr. Alli Yusuf, who lamented the dangers of continued borrowing, said his group would soon meet with all its executive members to take a decision on the protest.

Sani to FG: Include Presidency cabal, APC members in looters’ list

The lawmaker representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Senator Shehu Sani, has urged the Federal Government not to limit the names of treasury looters being compiled for publication to members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

Sani, who spoke figuratively in a Facebook post on Friday, said the list should include members of the ruling All Progressives Congress and the cabal suspected to be in the Presidency.

The post read, “The Federal Government’s decision to publish the names of looters is commendable. Hope the ‘call-up’ list will not be limited to the ageing ‘Umbrella United’ players, but will include those in the ‘Broomers FC’ and ‘Paris Saint Germain’ and ‘Dynamo Cabal FC’ players.”

While the APC was figuratively referred to as the broom party, PDP was referred to as the umbrella party.

The lawmaker had also alleged that there was a cabal in President Muhammadu Buhari’s government in a recent interview with The PUNCH.

President Buhari had reportedly directed ministries, departments and agencies to compile names of public officials who embezzled government funds and from whom some loot had been recovered.

Making the disclosure on Wednesday, the Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, after a meeting with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), had said Buhari’s directive was in response to an order by the Federal High Court, Lagos, directing the Federal Government to publish the names of looters and how much was recovered from each of them.

Anambra poll: Osinbajo, Saraki, govs for Nwoye’s rally today

Image result for Prof. Yemi OsinbajoThe Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, are expected to lead a delegation of the national leaders of the All Progressives Congress’ to Anambra State on Friday (today).

The APC delegation will be in Anambra for the inauguration of the campaign of the party’s candidate in the November 18 poll in the state, Dr. Tony Nwoye.

It is also expected that 19 APC governors will attend the function.

The Chairman of Tony Nwoye Campaign Organisation and a former commissioner for Finance in the state, Mr. Azuka Okwuosa, stated this  on Thursday in Awka, the Anambra State capital.

Okwuosa said the campaign rally would hold at the All Saints Cathedral Anglican Church, Onitsha.

He said after the Friday inauguration, the Nwoye election campaign would be taken to the grassroots.

Okwuosa said, “We know the people of the state will vote for the APC because the state has been like a sheep without a shepherd for the past years now.

“This election will be judged on ideological basis and we are more than ready to fire on all cylinders. Our candidate has been tested and our people trust him.

“We are showcasing Nwoye who is coming to transform Anambra and connect the state to the national grid.”

Okwuosa added that arrangements had been concluded to host the APC leaders.

He said the people would witness a rally that had never been seen in the state, adding that, “It will be the mother of all rallies. Our  candidate is the messiah the people have been waiting for.”

The Director-General of  Tony Nwoye Campaign Organisation, Osy Ezenwa, said the APC did not believe in name-calling, stressing that party would rather run an issue-based campaign.

Save me from police harassment – Ecobank MD

Image result for Save me from police harassment – Ecobank MDThe Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria Limited, Mr. Charles Kie, has filed a fundamental rights enforcement suit before the Federal High Court in Lagos, seeking protection from police harassment.

In a ruling on Thursday, Justice Muslim Hassan ordered that status quo should be maintained pending the final determination of Kie’s N100m suit against the police.

The judge said the police should be put on notice and adjourned hearing in the case till November 9.

In the suit, which he filed through his lawyer, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN), Kie claimed that the police had been stalking him, with the aim of forcing Ecobank to “illegally” transfer $10.5m from the account of one of its customers to a third party.

He said  some policemen on September 28 besieged the Corporate Headquarters of Ecobank on Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos, seeking to arrest him “on the grounds that he refused to comply with their  instruction to illegally transfer the sum of $10,500,000 from a customer’s account to a third party account.”

He said the policemen went as far as bribing some security personnel stationed at the entrance of his office, asking them to disclose the MD’s movement and his residential address to them.

He said as a result the “damaging scene” caused by the policemen, the bank’s business activities for that day was disrupted.

He said he had since been living under the fear of police intimidation and harassment, which he said had in turn been taking its toll on Ecobank’s daily business activities where he has the responsibility of making key decisions daily.

He is therefore seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the police from “harassing, oppressing, detaining, arresting and/or intimidating the applicants or their officers or interfering, in any way, with the personal liberty of the applicants or the smooth running of their business in any manner whatsoever that will breach the fundamental rights of the applicants.”

Kie filed the suit alongside Ecobank Nigeria Limited.

Joined as respondents in the suit were the Inspector-General of Police; the Lagos State Commissioner of Police; DCP Bolaji Salami; and one Akin Jegede.

On Thursday, a lawyer from Idigbe’s chambers, A.I. Olawole, approached Justice Muslim Hassan, seeking an interim injunction barring the police from harassing or arresting Kie pending the determination of the fundamental rights enforcement suit.

In his ruling, Justice Hassan ordered the parties to maintain status quo while he adjourned till November 9, to hear the main suit.

Buhari’s govt good at lies, says Jonathan

Image result for Buhari’s govt good at lies, says JonathanFormer President Goodluck Jonathan has alleged that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari is characterised by lies and propaganda.

Jonathan spoke in Abuja on Thursday when he received one of the national chairmanship aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, and members of his campaign team in his office.

The party will hold its national convention in Abuja on December 9 to elect its national officers.

Jonathan said the solidarity being enjoyed by the party even though it lost election at the centre in 2015 showed that “there is something in the PDP.”

While pledging to speak up some day on the achievements of the PDP in its 16 years in power, the former President took a swipe at the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), who as a state governor reportedly said that a serious government at the centre must be able to fix power within six months.

Jonathan was the president when Fashola made the statement.

The former president observed that more than two years of the APC Federal Government, to which Fashola belongs as a minister, the government had not been able to fix power.

He noted that Fashola who made the statement is incidentally in charge of power today.

Jonathan said the Buhari government had not done anything since it came to power on May 29, 2015.

“The PDP administration for 16 years did well and will continue to do well but this administration has done nothing. They deployed propaganda and lies at a professional level.

“In the power sector, we did well to revive it.  A state governor attacked our government, saying that any serious government should be able to fix the power challenge within six months.

“Today, APC has been in power for how many years now? Fortunately the then governor is in the APC government as a minister.”

Extolling the qualities of Adeniran, Jonathan reminded members of the PDP not to forget that for the party to stand a chance to oust the APC in 2019, the party would need a competent, reliable and courageous national chairman who would lead the party to victory come 2019.

According to him, the PDP “needs a national chairman that will select credible and reliable candidates for various elective offices at the various levels of government from the presidency down to the councillorship.

“We need a national chairman who will be courageous enough to caution the President if we win the Presidency and the President is going astray,” he said, adding that the expectation of the PDP  was a “national chairman who will rule the party democratically and carry others along.”

Jonathan said that with his long interaction with Adeniran and testimonies of other party leaders, he possessed all it would take to lead the PDP to new heights.

He counselled party members, especially the aspirants not to allow the outcome of the convention to cause another crisis in the party, warning, “We must not come out of the convention divided. There should be no acrimony.”

In his remarks, Adeniran said he was not in the contest for fun, stressing that the need to rebuild and reposition the PDP ahead of the 2019 general elections informed his decision.

“Nigerians are waiting. Till now, more than 3/5th of Nigerians are still sympathetic to the PDP,” he said.

On Adeniran’s delegation were former ministers, Abba Moro (Internal Affairs); Zainab Maina (Women Affairs); Jerry Gana (Information); and a two-time Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Friday Itulah, among others.

When contacted for reaction to Jonathan’s allegation, the President’s media team referred one of our correspondents to the All Progressives Congress.

The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, was however unavailable for comments.

Calls to his mobile phone were neither picked nor returned.

A response to a text message sent to him on the subject was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report.

In his reaction, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, stated that Jonathan did not have the right facts.

The minister, who spoke through his Senior Special Adviser on Communications, Hakeem Bello, stated that it was unfortunate to know that Jonathan would accuse the current government of not doing enough in the power sector.

He said, “It is unfortunate that the former President does not have his facts right. This is because there was nowhere that the current Minister of Power, Works and Housing and former Governor of Lagos State said he could fix Nigeria’s power challenges in six months.

“If he (Jonathan) needs clarification, we can provide that, instead of stating things that are not factual with respect to the minister and the power sector.”

ISIS’ support for Boko Haram disturbs me, Buhari admits

Image result for Buhari admitsPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday admitted that he was disturbed and surprised by the claim made by members of the Boko Haram sect that they were receiving support from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The President, however, said he was happy that his administration had been able to prove its ability to curtail the insurgents.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President said this at a joint press conference he held with President Recep Erdogan of Turkey after their talks in Ankara.

“We were very surprised and disturbed by the claim made by Boko Haram on what it has been getting from ISIS.

“We know we will be able to contain them and we have proven that we can do it.

“We are very pleased that Turkey is in a position to assist us and has been strengthening our educational and health institutions,” Buhari reportedly said at the press conference.

According to the statement, the two leaders promised to strengthen the cooperation between security agencies of both countries to counter terrorism.

Buhari said he was ‘‘very pleased’’ that the defence ministers of both countries held extensive discussions on developing new strategies for counter-terrorism.

He said, “We are very pleased with the progress of the meeting so far and we are going to wait for the details of meetings between the two countries.

“We will, as a result of the meeting between the ministers and officials of both countries, strengthen rapidly whatever their recommendations are.”

Commenting on the degradation of Boko Haram in Nigeria, the President said the improved security situation in the North-East was a testimony to the efforts of his administration in combating terrorism since he came into office in May 2015.

Buhari said the two leaders also discussed the prospects of increasing their bilateral trade, which had exceeded $779m in the first eight months of 2017.

“There are a lot of opportunities in terms of investments and a lot is being done in the educational and health sectors in Nigeria.

“These will be strengthened and I assure you that Nigeria is prepared to accept Turkish business people to come and explore more of Nigeria’s potentialities,” the Nigerian leader said.

In his remarks, Erdogan said Nigeria had great potential and remained “a global actor in terms of economy, demographics and its peacekeeping records.”

He indicated that Turkey was interested in investing in Nigeria’s electricity, refineries and gas sectors, adding that increasing the flights between Turkey and Nigeria would further improve commercial and people-to-people relationships.

On the fight against terrorism, the Turkish leader said, “There is no difference between Boko Haram and the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation or Daesh, which have both killed, inflicted pain and hardship on innocent people.

“All of these organisations are hordes of murderers that feed on the innocent people, and in the fight against terrorism, we will stand with our Nigerian friends. We are ready to share our experience and provide all kinds of support.

“We also expect the same cooperation from Nigeria in fighting against Fethullah that murdered 250 Turkish citizens last year.”