FG Confirms Chibok Girls’ Release

Lai-Mohammed-Nigeria-Minister-of-information, Chibok GirlsThe Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has confirmed the release of 21 girls out of the over 200 school girls abducted from the government secondary school in Chibok two years ago.

The Minister at a press conference in Abuja stated that the federal government secured the release of the girls through the collaborative efforts of the security agencies, a friendly European country and a renowned International Humanitarian Organisation.

“We can confirm that 21 of the girls were released, safely, to us by 5.30 this Thursday morning and they were flown to Kaduna from the location of their release.

“This is the most glaring manifestation to date of the unwavering commitment of Mr. President to secure the safe release of the girls and reunite them with their families.

“It is also a result of the round-the-clock efforts by the Administration to put a closure to the sad issue of the kidnap of the girls.

“We expect the released girls to land in Abuja shortly. Ahead of their arrival, we have assembled a team of medical doctors, psychologists, social workers, trauma experts, etc. to properly examine the girls, especially because they have been in captivity for so long.

“They will also be adequately debriefed. We have the list of the 21 girls but we are now contacting their parents as part of the necessary verification exercise.

“As soon as that is concluded, we will release the names to the public.

“As we have always said, we have been working on the safe release of the girls and following all the leads available.

“In this instance, the moment we had a credible lead, Mr President gave the green-light to the DSS to pursue it. We can confirm that the DSS pursued the lead in collaboration with a friendly European country and a renowned international humanitarian organization. The DSS was supported by the military,” he stated.

The Minister however clarified that the release secured by the government is based on confidence and not a swap arrangement with the terrorists group.

He added that as soon as the necessary confidence was built on both sides, the parties agreed on the date and the location of the release of the 21 girls.

“Please note that this is not a swap. It is a release, the product of painstaking negotiations and trust on both sides.

“We see this as a credible first step in the eventual release of all the Chibok girls in captivity. It is also a major step in confidence-building between us as a government and the Boko Haram leadership on the issue of the Chibok Girls.

“We want to thank all Nigerians for their support and for never losing confidence in the ability of Mr. President to secure the safe release of our Chibok Girls,” he concluded.

 

FG Dismisses Proposed Sale Of Assets As ‘Mere Speculation’

lai-mohammed on CorruptionThe Federal Government has described as mere speculation, talks of a proposed sale of national assets for the purposes of getting Nigeria out of recession, saying government is ‎yet to take a decision on the matter.

Speaking to State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting, the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said it was only discussed and endorsed as a Medium Term Expenditure Framework and remains a suggestion but not a solution decided upon by government to rebound the economy.

Contrary to reports that government has already listed conditions that must be met before the sale of certain national assets, top among them the insertion of a buy-back clause in the assets sales agreements, the Information Minister says government is yet to reveal elaborate plans to take the country out of recession.

The National Economic Council headed by Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo had last Thursday proposed and endorsed plans to sell some national assets, in line with government’s target to raise between ten to fifteen billion dollars to revamp the economy, following the drop in the nation’s monthly foreign earnings to about three hundred million dollars.

The proposed sale was swiftly rejected by the Senate in a thorough debate at its plenary, just as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) threatened to embark on mass protest against the proposed sale.‎‎

The Federal Executive Council meeting also approved three memos; the National Water Policy, the National Irrigation Policy and a draft National Water Resources Bill all aimed at tackling the numerous water challenges in the country.

The Water Resources Minister, Mr Suleiman Adamu, is positive that the three bills and policy will help Nigeria bridge the gap in the sector and enhance Nigeria’s current agricultural production agenda and the National Irrigation Policy Roadmap 2030.

You Don’t Collect Returned Loot Without Criminal Procedure – George Uboh

Looted funds, returned loot, George ubohThe Chief Executive of Panic Alert Security Systems, Mr George Uboh has condemned the manner in which the government has handled its recovery of looted funds.

He was on Sunrise Daily on Monday, reacting to the government’s decision to withhold names of persons involved in the list of recovered monies and assets released during the weekend.

He believes that concerned authorities are not being sincere with Nigerians in their handling of the anti-corruption campaign by the Nigerian government.

“If a minister on the run comes and says ‘look I have one billion Naira I want to return’, you don’t accept it without going through the criminal procedure,” he argued.

He explained that the removal of the sources of those monies meant that another government would not be able to ascertain that those persons who funds have been traced to have returned such monies traced to them.

He also accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of holding on to some of the recovered funds as he had several documents to back up his claims, having worked for the government to trace looted funds.

“I was engaged by the federal government to trace funds trapped in financial institutions and within 27 days I traced in different currencies aggregate 324 billion Naira. So if the government is coming as a government saying they traced a little over a hundred billion in one year, you be the judge,” he said.

Mr Uboh’s engagement has since been revoked by the Attorney-General of the Federation but he insisted that by recent happenings, he had been vindicated on his past allegations against the EFCC and details of traced loots which he has made public on several occasions.

“I have always accused the EFCC, I have the evidence…and with this (his) engagement I have been able to find the monies EFCC is hiding and more.”

Appointed In Error

The Attorney-General of the Federation, in a letter published in the media had asked the President to disregard Mr Uboh’s published claims that he had traced the amount totalling 1.9 trillion Naira.

Mr Uboh claimed that he was aware of this and had taken it up with the AGF who told him that there had been a public outcry and other ministers had demanded that his engagement for the tracing of looted funds should be revoked.

The AGF’s letter also stated that Mr Uboh was engaged in error as he was later discovered to have been “previously convicted in the United States for bank fraud and was recently jailed by an FCT High Court for fraud related issues”.

Mr Uboh said that the most convenient excuse is for anybody to say he is an ex-convict but “If the evidence I proffered against the EFCC is fake, arrest me. If the evidence I have proffered regarding my tracing is fake, arrest me.

“What has that got to do with anything? Is he denying that he signed the engagement letter?” he asked. He clarified that he was not contesting the issue of the revocation of his engagement but was only insisting on the recovery of what he had traced during his engagement.

“I have the record, names, and account numbers of all the monies I traced…the government has to answer, why are these funds traced not recovered?

He would not deny his conviction as stated by the AGF but insisted that the case was in appeal as he was wrongfully convicted. He vowed that he would win the appeal and clear his name.

On his conviction in the US, he further said, “I am celebrating my conviction. You know why? Because my conviction elevated me to the status of all the idols I admire all over the world who have been arrested, detained, in some cases jailed for fighting corruption and injustice globally. It comes with the territory.”

Distortion of Records

Meanwhile, a legal practitioner, Emeka Onohwakpor, agrees with Mr Uboh’s demand that names should have been published with the funds and assets recovered.

Giving a slightly different perspective, he believes that the names should have been published in order to ensure proper record.

While Mr Oboh earlier suggested there might be a cover up, Mr Onohwakpor believes that the decision to withhold names is a loop hole for more fraud to be committed as there are possibilities that some persons are concealing information.

Emeka-OnohwakporThe lawyer also warned that the manner in which the recoveries were declared will allow for distortion of the records.

He added that anyone who indeed returned money after discovering that monies paid for services were stolen, cannot at the moment be sure if what they returned have gone to the government..

“If somebody who has been accused of looting funds refunds one billion dollars and only 500 million is declared, then there is a problem,” he said.

“We cannot just leave it to only one side declaring what they got. The side that gave, you even owe them a duty to say ‘I got this from Mr B’.

Mr Onohwakpor disagreed with the government’s stance that they might be liable to litigation if they publish names of persons they have recovered monies and other assets from.

He said that publishing a list of recoveries and their sources does not mean the persons mentioned have been tagged looters or have been declared guilty of fraud.

“And the issue of whether it is going to tarnish their image; I don’t think it comes in here because if the money you’re returning to the government is gotten through legitimate means you put your case out there. Nobody is accusing you.”

He also stated that a media organisation or the federal government would not be liable to any form of litigation for naming persons they recovered monies or assets from as long as they truly returned such money. “The point is, let it not be a lie,” he said.

He admitted that no one can be declared guilty until the courts say so but having returned money, the burden of proof swings to the person to proof his innocence.

He also dismissed the view that some persons were not aware that the sources of the monies they were paid for services were illegal arguing that being overpaid should have been an indication that the sources were fraudulent.

“The way forward is to create a level playing field. It doesn’t matter who is involved,” he advised.

 

FG Releases Interim Report On Financial, Assets Recoveries

PresidencyThe Federal Government has finally released the interim report on funds and assets recovered from individuals who looted the nation’s treasury.

According to a statement from the office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the total cash recoveries comes to the sum of seventy eight point three billion Naira; one hundred and eight five million point one US Dollars, three point five million Pounds, and eleven thousand Euros, from May 29, 2015 to May 25, 2016.

This comes after the Federal Government failed to publish the list of individuals and the amount stolen on May 29, as earlier promised.

Full text here:

PRESS RELEASE 
LOOTING: FG RELEASES INTERIM REPORT ON FINANCIAL, ASSETS RECOVERIES

The Federal Government made cash recoveries totaling N78,325,354,631.82 (Seventy eight billion, three hundred and twenty-five million, three hundred and fifty-four thousand, six hundred and thirty one Naira and eighty two kobo); $185,119,584.61 (One hundred and eight five million, one hundred and nineteen thousand, five hundred and eighty four US Dollars, sixty one cents); 3,508,355.46 Pounds Sterling (Three million, five hundred and eight thousand, three hundred and fifty-five Pounds and 46 Pence) and 11, 250 Euros (Eleven thousand, two hundred and fifty Euros) from 29 May 2015 to 25 May 2016.

In a statement in Lagos on Saturday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also disclosed that Recoveries Under Interim Forfeiture (cash and assets) during the period totaled N126,563,481,095.43 (One hundred and twenty six billion, five hundred and sixty three million, four hundred and eighty one thousand, and ninety five Naira, forty three Kobo; $9,090,243,920.15 (Nine billion, ninety million, two hundred and forty three thousand, nine hundred and twenty Dollars, fifteen cents; 2,484,447.55 Pounds Sterling (Two million, four hundred and eighty four thousand, four hundred and forty seven Pounds, fifty five Pence) and 303,399.17 Euros (Three hundred and three thousand, three hundred and ninety-nine Euros, 17 cents).

According to the statement, which is based on the interim report on the financial and assets recoveries made by the various government agencies from 29 May 2015 to 25 May 2016, the Funds Awaiting Return From Foreign Jurisdictions total $321,316,726.1 (Three hundred and twenty one million, three hundred and sixteen thousand, seven hundred and twenty six Dollars, one cent); 6,900,000 Pounds (Six million, nine hundred thousand Pounds) and 11,826.11 Euros (Eleven thousand, eight hundred and twenty six Euros, 11 cents).

It showed that Non-Cash Recoveries (Farmlands, Plots of Land, Uncompleted Buildings, Completed Buildings, Vehicles and Maritime Vessels) during the period total 239.

The following is the breakdown of the recovered cash and assets: 

INTERIM REPORT ON FINANCIAL AND ASSET RECOVERIES MADE BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA FROM 29 MAY 2015 TO 25 MAY 2016

Cash Recoveries

SerialItemsNairaUS DollarGB PoundsEuro
1EFCC Cash at hand39,169,911,023.00128,494,076.662,35511,250
2Royalty/tax/payment to FGN account in JP Morgan account New York4,642,958,711.4840,727,253.65
3ONSA Funds Recovery Account in CBN5,665,305,527.418,000,000.00
4VAT recovered from companies by ONSA529,588,293.47
5EFCC Recovered Funds Account in CBN19,267,730,359.36455,253.80
6ICPC Revenue Collection Recovery in CBN869,957,444.89
7Office of the Attorney General5,500,000,0005,500,000
8DSS Recoveries47,707,000.51,943,000.53,506,000.46
9ICPC Cash Asset Recovery2,632,196,271.71
Total78,325,354,631.82185,119,584.613,508,355.4611,250

 

Recoveries Under Interim Forfeiture

SerialItemsNairaUS DollarGB PoundsEuro
1Cash in bank under interim forfeiture8,281,577,243.921,819,866,364.733,800.00113,399.17
2Amount frozen in bank48,159,179,518.907,131,369,498.49605,647.55
3Value of properties under interim forfeiture41,534,605,998.0077,844,600.001,875,000.00190,000.00
4Value of cars under interim forfeiture52,500,000.00
5ONSA Funds under interim forfeiture27,001,464,125.2043,771,433.73
6Value of Assets Recovered by ONSA512,000,000.00
7ONSA Assets under interim forfeiture260,000,000.00
8DSS Recoveries Frozen in Banks658,929,000.00226,476.20
9EFCC Cash in Bank under final forfeiture103,225,209.4117,165,547.00
Total126,563,481,095.439,090,243,920.152,484,447.55303,399.17
Grand Total204,888,835,727.259,275,363,504.765,992,803.01314,649.17

 

Funds Awaiting Return From Foreign Jurisdictions

JurisdictionUS DollarGB PoundsEuro
1Switzerland321000000
2UK6900000
3UAE31050111826.11
4USA6225.1
Total321,316,726.16,900,00011,826.11

 

Non Cash Recoveries    

SerialItems Quantity
  ICPCEFCCONSA
1Farmland22  
2Plot of Land4  
3Uncompleted Building1  
4Completed Building331454
5Vehicles223 
6Maritime Vessels 5 
Total821534

 

Segun Adeyemi

SA to Hon Minister of Information and Culture

Lagos

4 June 2016

Rivers APC Members Rejoice Over Tribunal Judgement

Rivers APCMembers of the Rivers State APC took to singing and dancing at the APC secretariat in Port Harcourt, the rivers state capital on Saturday following the election tribunal judgement that annulled the April 11 governorship election in the state.

Many of the Rivers APC members were seen carrying posters of their governorship candidate at the last elections, Dakuku Peterside, and singing solidarity songs but the PDP in the state has said that the merriment might be short lived.

In a press statement signed by the Media Adviser to the Chairman of the party, Jerry Needam, the party referred to the judgement as a travesty of justice, insisting that the party would exhaust all legal options to upturn what it called a conspiracy against Rivers people.

The Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state, Chris Finebone, however, stated that his party is not bothered by any legal move that the PDP might make.

According to him, the Rivers APC is confident that the tribunal judgement that nullified Governor Wike’s election has made the job easy for both the Appeal Court and Supreme Court.

Rivers Governorship Tribunal: PDP, Wike To Appeal Judgment

RiversThe Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike say that they will appeal the judgment of the Rivers State Governorship tribunal which nullified Wike’s election as Governor.

Addressing journalists after the judgment, counsel to the PDP, Chris Uche (SAN), said that Governor Nyesom Wike remains governor until the appeal processes are exhausted.

He added that the nature of the judgment delivered by the Justice Ambrosa-led tribunal makes appeal vital as the new position adopted by the tribunal must be tested in the interest of justice.

Mr Uche noted that the tribunal’s reliance on card reader accreditation to nullify the governorship election when evidence was led by both the respondents and the petitioners that both card reader and manual accreditation were used for the election requires testing at the court of appeal.

According to the lawyer, it is shocking that less than 24 hours after lawyers on all sides submitted nine written addresses and documents, the tribunal sent notice that judgment would be delivered this morning.

PDP Rejects Rivers Governorship Tribunal Judgement

pdpThe Peoples Democratic Party has declared the verdict of the Rivers State governorship election tribunal sitting in Abuja as bias, bizarre and unacceptable.



The party expressed its position on the judgement in a press statement that was signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh.

He said that the judgement is part of the ruling All Progressives Congress plot to manipulate the will of the people

The Peoples Democratic Party is also picking fault with the 24-hour time frame after the various counsels to the case submitted their written addresses to the tribunal, saying the judgement was delivered in a hurry.

Mr Metuh also called on the international community to note plots by the ruling party to upturn the party’s victory in other states including Taraba, Abia and Delta states.

The Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Saturday, nullified the election of Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party as the Governor of Rivers State, on grounds that his election did not comply with electoral guidelines.

Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Suleiman Ambrosa , ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in the state within 90 days of the ruling.

Deadly Blow To Impunity

However, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has described Saturday’s judgement of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that overturned the election of Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party as a deadly body blow to impunity and hooliganism.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said that the judgement has shown clearly that the era of impunity and hooliganism was over and that the only way for elections to have legitimacy is for them to be free, fair and credible.

The party hailed its governorship candidate in Rivers, Mr Dakuku Peterside, for his doggedness and strong conviction in the pursuit of his petition against the election of Wike that was not only marred by widespread violence and electoral malfeasance, but also acknowledged to be so by local and international observers and now, by the judiciary.

Wike To Appeal

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike say that they will appeal the judgment of the Rivers State Governorship tribunal.

Counsel to the PDP, Chris Uche (SAN), said that Governor Nyesom Wike remains governor until the appeal processes are exhausted.

He added that the nature of the judgment delivered by the Justice Ambrosa-led tribunal makes appeal vital as the new position adopted by the tribunal must be tested in the interest of justice.

Just as the PDP said, the lawyer also found it shocking that less than 24 hours after lawyers on all sides submitted nine written addresses and documents, the tribunal sent notice that judgment would be delivered on Saturday morning.

 

Rivers Tribunal Judgement, Deadly Blow To Impunity – APC

APCThe All Progressives Congress (APC) has described Saturday’s judgement of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that overturned the election of Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party as a deadly body blow to impunity and hooliganism.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said that the judgement has shown clearly that the era of impunity and hooliganism was over and that the only way for elections to have legitimacy is for them to be free, fair and credible.

”What has come across from this judgement is that there is no shortcut to free, fair and credible elections. This is part of the wind of change that is blowing across the land and touching all arms of government under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

”Elections are about the expression of the will of the people and they must always be free to express themselves, irrespective of what some desperate politicians may feel,” he said.

The APC said that politicians, especially those seeking or occupying elective office, must realize that they can only derive their legitimacy from the people and that unless they respect the wishes of the people, they would not go far.

The party hailed its governorship candidate in Rivers, Mr Dakuku Peterside, for his doggedness and strong conviction in the pursuit of his petition against the election of Wike that was not only marred by widespread violence and electoral malfeasance, but also acknowledged to be so by local and international observers and now, by the judiciary.

The statement urged all APC members and supporters in the state to remain peaceful, even in the face of provocation.

Senate Confirms 18 Ministerial Nominees

Ministerial NomineesEighteen of the 37 ministerial nominees from the list submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari have been confirmed by the Senate.

They include Udoma Udo Udoma, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, Audu Ogbe, Christopher Ogbonnaya Onu, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Lt.Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Amina Mohammed, Ibrahim Jubril, Babatunde Fashola, Aisha Alhassan.

Others are Senator Hadi Sirika, Solomon Dalong, Ibe Kachukwu, Kemi Adeosun, Abubakar Malami, Engineer Suleiman Adamu and Dr. Chris Ngige.

At the end of plenary on Wednesday, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki read out the names of the nominees who had fielded questions from the lawmakers. The senators in a vote confirmed all 18 nominees.

The lawmakers carried out the confirmation.

Former Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State was the first to take the stand at the Senate chambers today.

Mr Fashola held his audience spell bound for almost an hour and half answering questions from senators.

He told them that as governor for eight years in office he did not sign a cheque.

Mr Fashola also responded to questions on loyalty and on the 78 million naira allegedly sank to build a website.

Watch all videos of the Senates’s screening of the ministerial nominees on Channels Television YouTube channel.

 

APC Lists New Cases Of Looting Under Previous Administration

APCThe All Progressives Congress (APC) on Sunday listed what it calls “new instances of the insane looting of the treasury by some officials of the Goodluck Jonathan administration”.

The party maintained that the corruption mess that characterized the administration was so pervasive that until it is cleaned, Nigeria will not be able to actualize its potentials.

A press statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the cases are heart-rendering which needs the attention of all Nigerians.

“First is a mind-shattering $2.2 billion arms scandal perpetuated under the Jonathan regime.

“Another revelation is a $6.9 million fraud by the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to President Jonathan, Gordon Obuah, committed under the guise of buying three mobile stages for the President.

“Also a 2.5 billion naira scam involving the rent of house boats” was mentioned by the ruling party.

The party further noted that “while those charged with handling of these cases are finalizing the details of bringing the suspects to justice, the APC’s immediate concern is the attempt by the PDP to make a cover up.

“It is clear to all Nigerians that the debilitating impact of 16 years of PDP’s misrule cannot be reversed in just 3 months. It is an obvious truth that it is always easier to destroy than to construct, but nothing will stand in the way of the Buhari Administration’s commitment to improving the quality of life of Nigerians and making our country to function again,” the statement read.

The Party had earlier listed instances of alleged mass looting of funds in Nigeria, saying a total recovery will be acceptable to all patriotic Nigerians.

APC Lauds Service Chiefs Over Fight Against Terror

service chiefs
L-R: The CDS, Maj Gen AG Olonisakin, COAS, Maj Gen Gen TY Buratai, CNS, R Adm IE Ibas and CAS, AVM SB Abubakar

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has lauded Nigeria’s Service Chiefs for being at the fore front of the renewed fight against Boko Haram.

In a statement, the National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the report that the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, personally coordinating troops is the best news to have emerged in recent times.

The party said in that “there can be no bigger boost to the morale of the gallant troops who are combating Boko Haram than the sight of their Service Chiefs personally leading the charge from one village to another, battling the insurgents or flying in a reconnaissance aircraft coordinating the various NAF platforms involved in the operation to provide close air support to ground forces.

“By their actions, Lt.-Gen. Buratai and Air Marshal Abubakar have shown that they care deeply for their troops and are determined to lead them to beat the deadline set by President Muhammadu Buhari to end the Boko Haram insurgency.”

APC described the Service Chiefs and the troops as a pride to the military and indeed to Nigeria while calling on Nigerians to continue to support their efforts