Arms Probe: “Courts Will Decide Dasuki’s Fate” – Presidency, APC Tell GEJ

Presidency, APC, Sambo Dasuki, Goodluck Jonathan, Arms ProbeThe Presidency says only a competent court can decide if former president, Goodluck Jonathan’s National Security Adviser (NSA) stole over two billion dollars meant for purchase or arms for the country.

In statement released on Tuesday, the presidency urged Mr. Jonathan to allow the court to decide the fate of his former NSA, retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

Dasuki is accused of misappropriating monies intended for the procurement of equipment for the Nigerian military in its battle against the Boko Haram insurgency.

This follows comments by former president Goodluck Jonathan that his embattled former NSA could not have stolen about $2.2 billion as alleged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Mr. Jonathan said this on Monday during a debate on youth entrepreneurship at the Oxford Union Society in England as he defended his administration’s policies, especially in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency ravaging North Eastern Nigeria.

Goodluck Jonathan
Dr. Goodluck Jonathan

“They said the National Security Adviser (Sambo Dasuki) stole $2.2bn. I don’t believe somebody can just steal $2.2bn.

“We bought warships, we bought aircraft, we bought lots of weapons for the Army and so on and so forth and you are still saying $2.2bn was stolen. So, where did we get the money to buy all those things?” Dr. Jonathan said at the Oxford Union.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, however, says Dr. Jonathan’s comments are sub-judicial since there is already an existing legal action against the former NSA over how the monies in question were spent.

“The matter is sub judice. Let the courts decide,” he said.

APC queries GEJ’s assertions

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Timi Frank, also challenged the former president to help Mr. Dasuki prove his case in court since he does not believe such an amount was misappropriated.

timi-frank-apc-spokesman
APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Timi Frank

Mr. Frank said rather than make those claims, it would be more appropriate for Mr. Jonathan to assist in the investigation and prosecution of the case.

“First, I wonder why it took former President Jonathan such a long time to speak out. Why now? If Colonel Dasuki is as clean as he wants us to believe, it would be nice if he can assist his former NSA to prove his case in court.

“The courts deal with evidence; let them prove their case,” he said.

The former NSA was arrested in December 1, 2015 by officers of the Department of State Services and has since been in detention for allegedly misappropriating about $2.2 billion.

dasuki
Sambo Dasuki, a retired colonel, is accused of misappropriating billions of dollars meant for arms purchase

The scandal dubbed Dasuki-gate has evolved to the prosecution of top government and military officials who allegedly benefited from the largesse.

Shell Resumes Oil Exports From Forcados Terminal

ShellRoyal Dutch Shell has resumed crude oil exports from the forcados terminal. This follows the restoration of the damaged facilities by Niger-Delta militants in the south-south region of the country.

The development was communicated to the presidency by the Director of Global Upstream of Shell, Andrew Brown.

Forcados crude has been under force majeure from operator, Shell, since a militant attack on the sub-sea pipeline in February.

Exports from the terminal was between 250,000 and 300, 000 barrels per day before the strike claimed by militant group, Niger Delta Avengers.

Meanwhile, the militant group at about 4am on Wednesday reportedly blew up a Chevron offshore export pipeline at Escravos in Delta State.

NSE Lists First Waste Management Company on ASeM

NSE CEO, Oscar Onyema says the company's admission into market puts it on a pedestal for growth and sustainability
NSE CEO, Oscar Onyema says the company’s admission into market puts it on a pedestal for growth and sustainability

The Nigerian Stock Exchange has listed its first waste management company, The Initiates PLC on the alternative securities market board.

The listing which is also the first for the local bourse this year, adds over 700 million Naira to the market capitalisation of the exchange.

889, 981, 552 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each of the company were listed at N0.85 per share by introduction on the Alternative Securities Exchange Market and Capital Limited was the lead financial adviser and the designated adviser while joint adviser on the transaction was Partnership Securities Limited.

The CEO of the Exchange, Oscar Onyema, said: “The company has successfully passed our stringent listing requirements and I commend their efforts to submit themselves to international best practices in governance.”

With this development, the NSE expects the waste management sector of the economy to start opening up.

We’ll Continue To Protect Nigeria’s Oil Assets – President Buhari

Muhammadu-Buhari-London-Anti-Corruption-SummitPresident Muhammadu Buhari has restated the determination of his administration to continue to protect the country’s oil assets and installations.

Speaking at a meeting on Tuesday with the Director of Global Upstream of Shell Oil Company at the State House, Abuja, President Buhari said he will leave a legacy of improved infrastructure, particularly in the power sector, and also ensure better security in the Niger Delta.

“It is only by doing this that investor morale and confidence will return, and the economy will be positioned on the path of growth,” He said.

According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, President Buhari commended Shell for their faith in the economy and staying power.

The president also gave assurances on some issues of concern raised by the company especially the protracted issue of cash calls.

The minister of Budget and Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, some weeks ago, revealed that the Federal Government has not been able to fund its counterpart Joint Ventures Companies, JVCs, and cash calls totaling $6 billion for several months due to revenue shortfalls.

The President assured other oil firms that the Federal Executive Council will soon consider a proposal for the easing of unpaid arrears owed by the government.

President Buhari said the security of oil infrastructure will continue to be priority of his administration which will include the dialogue with the stakeholder-communities in the Niger Delta.

He, however, urged oil companies to take more responsibility in the protection of oil installations to complement the efforts of Nigerian Navy in the region.

The Shell director, Andrew Brown, revealed that the company has resumed oil exportation through the Forcados terminal following its restoration.

He also commended the anti-corruption stance of President Buhari’s administration as well as the efforts to streamline and stabilize the economy for long term projects.

Reps Probe Privatisation And Concession of Railway Lines

Railway corporation, Train serviceThe House of Representatives is to investigate if the concession of assets of the Nigeria Railways Corporation to General Electric violates the county’s privatisation laws.

In a motion considered during Tuesday’s plenary, the lawmakers queried what they described as an attempt by the Federal Executive Council to concession the Western (Lagos-Kano) and Eastern (Port Harcourt-Maiduguri) rail lines, to General Electric, without recourse to the Bureau of Public Enterprises, and privatisation regulations.

The move to investigate the concession agreement with GE comes after a motion raised by Honourable Chukwuemeka Ujam.

The lawmakers said the action of the FEC is a part of attempts to pander to certain interests who want to see the nation’s core assets sold off and alleged that the move contravenes the Public Enterprises (Privatization and Commercialization) Act, 1999.

ahmed_yerima
Ahmed Yerima heads the house committee on privatisation

The chairman of the House committee on Privatization, Yerima Ahmed, said by engaging the American firm, FEC had usurped the functions of the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the National Council on Privatisation.

“Section 11 (j) outlines the procedures for privatisation; there are four sections to be followed by the BPE and the agency is not being carried along.

“The NCP has not been inaugurated, and in its absence, the BPE is the secretariat for any privatisation.” He said

The chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Relations, Nnenna Ukeje, said it is incomprehensible how such concession or privatization agreement would be deemed legal when the National Economic Stimulus Bill is yet to be signed into law.

Honourable Ukeje says "we cannot sacrifice our laws, our processes on the altar of expediency."
Honourable Ukeje says “we cannot sacrifice our laws, our processes on the altar of expediency.”

The house committee on privatisation was directed to investigate the matter and report back to the house in four weeks.

Debated Concession

After the last Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja, the Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi announced that the council has approved a negotiation with GE, towards contracting the railways across Nigeria.

‎He said the narrow gauge railways to be contracted would to a great extent, assist the agriculture and mining ministries in the transportation of extracted minerals.

One of them is the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway which would include: Port Harcourt, Aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Makurdi, Jos, Gombe and Bauchi to Borno.

The other is the Lagos-Kano railway, which would also comprise: Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, ‎Ilorin, Kano, Funtua and Zaria to Kaura Namoda.

The Transportation Minister says the railways to be rehabilitated by GE will come at no cost to the government.

LEDAP Sues DSS, AGF Over Arrest Of Judges

judgesThe Legal Defence and Assistance Project says it has filed a suit against the Department of State Services and the Attorney General of the Federation over the arrest and arraignment of some judges.

LEDAP is asking the Federal High Court, Abuja to declare as unlawful the raid and arrest of judges by the State Security Services, and to grant an order to stop the planned charge and arraignment in court of some of the arrested judges over allegations of corruption.

The group claims in the suit that the judges cannot be charged and arraigned in court without the authorization of the National Judicial Council.

In a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed at the Federal High Court Abuja ion Tuesday, LEDAP is asking the court for “an order restraining the DSS and AGF from filing any charge in court or arraigning before any court or arresting and/or detaining, inviting for questioning or searching the office or residence of any of the judicial officers or any other judicial officer in Nigeria unless with the authorization and referral of the National Judicial Council…”

In the originating summons filed along with the motion for injunction, the non-governmental organization asked the court to declare that the statutory functions of the DSS is the prevention and detection of crime against the internal security of Nigeria.

The organization argues that the DSS is not authorized to effect the arrest of the judges under the law setting it up – the National Security Agencies Act.

It added that the arrest and arraignment of the judges by DSS is “ultra vires and unlawful.”

In a press release signed by the National Coordinator and Lead Counsel of LEDAP, Chino Obiagwu, the organization also wants the court to order the DSS to “forthwith cease, terminate, and withdraw any charge, information, arrest or invitation of any of the judicial officers.”

The court is yet to fix a date to hear the suit.

DISCOs Call On FG To Avert Electricity Tariff Increase


Electricity, BEDCElectricity distribution companies in Nigeria have called on the federal government to intervene in the power sector in order to avert an increase of over 200% in electricity tariff.

According to the operators, the intervention which is needed to address over 800 billion Naira revenue shortfall can come like subsidies to consumers or provision of special access to foreign exchange for the operating companies.

The average energy rate across the country is 22 Naira 8 kobo per kilowatt, but distributors say this may increase to between 70 Naira and 105 Naira per kilowatt if the revenue shortfall persists.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, Azu Obiaya, reportedly said the debts owed to power distribution companies by private electricity consumers, businesses and government authorities have climbed to about N568 billion.

He added that those debts are affecting the operations of the distribution companies and many are no longer able meet targets and service consumers.

Reports say a proposal for the increment of electricity tariff has been sent to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.

An electricity tariff approved by the NERC took effect in February, 2016.

The commission also removed fixed electricity charges ordering that Discos should only bill consumers for what they consume.

NERC said “although, the new tariff regimes comes with an increase in energy charges, all electricity consumers (residential as well as commercial) will no longer pay fixed charges, so their total bills will depend on the electricity they actually consume and may be reduced when they conserve electricity.”

NEW MUSIC: ‘The Other Room’ – Cobhams Asuquo Ft Ugovinna

the-other-room-editedNigeria’s quintessential musician, producer, and songwriter, Cobhams Asuquo has added a tongue-in-cheek and humourous perspective to the controversial #TheOtherRoom comments made by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The producer has teamed up with Ugovinna to release a song titled, ‘The other room.’

According to Cohhams, “‘The other room’ song is not an attack on the President or the Presidency.

Rather, the song is a present day representation of the Nigeria we know and love, and are very much concerned about.”

He said the song is lighthearted and “guaranteed to put a smile on the faces of listeners while underscoring very serious social issues.”

The artistes added that the song is also “a humorous recap of recent events that have been woven into the fabric of our shared political history as a nation.”

“We hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed making it,” they added.

Listen

 

 

13 People Killed in California Tour Bus Crash

Accident, Palm Springs, Los AngelesOfficial reports say 13 people were killed in southern California, US after a tour bus ran into the back of a lorry.  

The crash which occurred on Interstate 10, near Palm Springs on Sunday, also left 30 people with various degrees of injury. Five of the injured passengers are reportedly in critical condition.

Most of the passengers are believed to be from Latin America and were on their way to Los Angeles.

Officials say they are investigating what may have caused the crash. One of the theories they are working with is whether the truck driver had fallen asleep or had a heart attack before the bus veered into the rear of the lorry.

They are also looking to see if it could have been caused by some sort of mechanical failure.

The lorry involved in the accident damaged extensively and clear-up operations have started at the crash site.

The crash has been called the ‘deadliest’ in California for many decades as officials say identifying victims of the accident could take a couple of days.

Cultists, Suspected Criminals Surrender Arms In Ikwere, Rivers State

arms, cultists, suspected criminals, Illegal Weapons, Amnesty, RiversThe amnesty programme of the Rivers state government has achieved appreciable success with hundreds of cultists denouncing crime and criminality with arms and ammunition recovered in various local government areas in the state.

This is according to the Special Adviser to the Governor of Rivers State on Amnesty, Kenneth Chinda.

The Special Adviser and his team were in Ikwere Local Government Area where hundreds of cultists and suspected criminal assembled to surrender their arms and ammunition as well as denounce their criminal tendencies.

Ikwere Local Government Area of Rivers State, South-South Nigeria, known for its rich arable land, had been ravaged by cultist activities over the years.

But the decision by the cultists and suspected criminals appeared to be a sign that all that may soon change.

The residents of the community were in joyous mood, shouting, singing and chanting, as the cultists announced their arrival.

One after the other, leaders and members of the various gangs surrendered what appeared to be arms and ammunition and denounced their alliances.

Although two notorious gang leaders known as Italian and Gunboat refused to show up for the exercise, the caretaker committee chairman of the local government area, noted that this was an important occasion and also a serious matter.

He decried the havoc that cultism and other criminal activities have caused the communities and declared that it was indeed time to put a stop to the menace.

To drive home the seriousness of the matter, elders of the community also made pronouncements, pledging more support for efforts to rid their communities of crime.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Amnesty, Kenneth Chinda, added that government would do everything possible to sustain the peace in the communities.

He urged the repentant cultists never to go back to the world of crime and violence.