A legal practitioner, Mr Isaac Anumudu, has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to reveal the identities of the owners of all the moneys being discovered by the Commission.
Mr Anumudu made the call on Sunrise Daily, in reaction to the series of cash recoveries made by the EFCC in the past few weeks, one of which was the discovery of a huge sum of money in an apartment in Ikoyi area of Lagos State.
He believes that the inability of the anti-graft agency to clarify the ownership of the recovered cash in Ikoyi is giving room for suspicion.
The lawyer wondered why the whistleblower could not reveal critical information as to who dropped the money and how it got to the apartment.
“First of all you look at the recoveries, the way and manner they came. There is a whistle blowing 49 million in Kaduna airport, how come someone would carry that humongous amount of money in Naira and not in Dollars to an airport?
“Why did the whistleblower identify and was able to blow whistle as to where the fund is, without information as to who dropped the money and how it got there?” Anumudu questioned.
He further criticised the funds found in a Bureau De Change at the Balogun Market in Lagos, stressing that the place was meant for exchange of all forms of currency.
“You tell me you found a million of Dollars in a Bureau De Change, what do they sell in a Bureau De Change? pure water, vegetable, cosmetics, provisions, no.
“What goes on in a Bureau De Change is exchange of all forms of currency, Dollar, Naira, Euro, Pound.
“So telling me you found, you didn’t tell us how that became illegal, you didn’t tell us whom you are pursuing, what lead you are pursuing that led you to finding that kind of money, you now suspect it was money gotten from corrupt practices.
“What whistle are you blowing if you whistle that you found law books in my office as a lawyer? There is nothing illegal in finding money in a Bureau De Change”, Mr Anumudu stated.
As part of Ondo State Government’s efforts to restore orderliness to the forest reserves across the state, a verification exercise has commenced to identify and clear allotees in the forest reserves.
To achieve this, allotees who have compartments in the forest reserves have been charged to bring all the necessary documents needed for clearance.
The Permanent Secretary, Ondo State Ministry of Natural Resources, Mr Dally Salau, made this known in Akure, the state capital, where he warned that the era of lawlessness and disobedience has gone.
He stressed that the verification became necessary in order to identify true owners of compartments, saying this would go a long way to putting a stop to the issue of encroachment in the Forest Reserve.
Mr Salau said the Task Force has been able to impound some vehicles in the forest and on the roads carrying logs, while logging activities is still on hold.
He warned that no logging activity should be carried out until the forest reserves are reopened.
“I want to use this opportunity to advice our allottees to come out early for the verification exercise. They should bring out all the documents required for the exercise, so they can be cleared.
“This is vital so that the government would have a better position to formulate policies particularly in the Forest reserve.
“To avoid encroachment into the Forest reserves, government has inaugurated the Task Force on Forestry and Anti- Encroachment. They are put in place in the state to ensure that people do not move into the reserves until it is reopened by the state government.
“Now that the free areas have been opened, the Task Force would be more active to ensure that the order is enforced and obeyed.
“Let them (allotees and contractors) obey this order first, then the government would decide.
“The regime of orderliness has come. We cannot be operating in a state of anarchy, disobedience or lawlessness. We have to ensure that law, justice, fairness, peace and equity are restored and obeyed in our Forest Reserves”, Mr Saliu stated.
As part of efforts to give back to its host community, the Nigerian Navy Shipyard (NNS) pathfinder has extended free medical services to residents of Mgbu-Edohia Community in Obio Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers state.
Over 300 men, women and children, including the elderly were seen at the venue of the exercise attended by the Naval medical staff.
Some of the free health services to the people include consultation and treatment, eye check with free glasses, basic laboratory investigation and immunisation.
The medical officer of the Naval Medical Centre, Surgeon Lieutenant Commander, Chijoke Ogu said the Navy is appreciative of the cooperation of the community.
“We are here today to interact and give back to the community, our host community. For over the years, they have harboured us, shown us hospitality, so today, we are here to appreciate the community.
“We have five doctors on ground who will attend to their vital signs, and take their samples to the lab for further investigation and treatment. We have a section for immunisation for children and eye care for the elderly”, he said.
The King of Mgbu-Odohia Community, Amadi-Ekwena, who also benefited from the eye check and free glasses service expressed gladness for the exercise.
“On behalf of the entire Council of Chiefs of Mgbu-Odohia, one of the communities in Rumuelumeni, we are grateful for this programme, and we hope that it will continue, so you people can check on how we are doing.”
The Navy further said that the free medical service to the community and other communities will be an annual exercise.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture has charged Nigerians to take livestock as a business, rather than considering it as a tradition.
Mr Ahmed Salihu Ahmed of the Department of Animal Husbandry Service of the Ministry, gave the charge in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital.
He said the Federal Government has set machinery in place to mitigate some of the issues that often causes skirmish between herdsmen and farmers in the country.
The representatives from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Miyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, are in Lokoja to interact and sensitize the herdsmen on the need to live and operate peaceful without any crises, but first they pay a courtesy call on the Commissioner of Police.
In his keynote address at the State Police Headquarters the leader of the delegation disclosed that the Federal Government has concluded plans to commercialize production of livestock, which he noted will be stationed in one location to avert the incessant crises between cattle rearers and the farmers.
“The population of the country is growing astronomically, and there is need to cultivate land for crops production and massive investment in livestock.
“I call on the leaders of the Miyeti Allah Cattle Reares Association to always sensitize their members on the need to live with farmers peacefully”.
In his remark, the State Commissioner of Police, Wilson Inalegwu said the command under his watch is in support of the initiative, while calling on Miyeti Allah Cattle Rearers Association, Kogi state chapter to warn their members against indulging in criminal activities.
“I want to assure you that my command will continue to maintain neutrality between the herdsmen and the farmers, so that the state can continue to enjoy absolute peace”.
The College of Security Management of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp (NSCDC), has graduated 308 officers in weapons handling, to give backing to the protection of national critical assets of government.
At a ceremony held in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, the Commandant General of the NSCDC, Abdullahi Mohammodu, represented by the Assistant Commandant General (Zone F), Waheed Popoola, challenged officers on the rule of engagement and civility.
He also charged them to continue to exhibit a high sense of integrity, patriotism and exemplary service to their fatherland.
In his message delivered by the Assistant Commandant General, the NSCDC Commandant General challenged them on the rule of engagement, asking them to shun corruption and other vices that could put the body in disrepute.
“I wish to thank our wonderful instructors for the high level of discipline imbibed into the graduands and techniques to actively engage enemies while protecting public utilities.
“You have indeed made us proud. Furthermore, being part of the college Composite Arms Training Programme 001, is not license for you to molest civilians.
“You must at all times abide by the rules of engagement, in knowing when, where, how and against whom force may be used.
“Always remember that there are procedures and standards in weapons handling, therefore, as you step out of this noble institution, your character will determine how far you will go – Endeavour to exhibit the highest sense of integrity, patriotism and exemplary service to all and sundry”, he said.
The provost of the college on the other hand, believes that the college Composite Arms Training Programme is a wake up call to the need of building professional capabilities for better service delivery.
“It is no longer news that our country is presently being faced with various security challenges which requires concerted effort by everyone to enable us confront it head on.
“In this regard, the need to train and retrain our men and officers on arms and other security areas cannot be over looked, it is therefore important to expose our officers to modern techniques of fighting terrorism and other forms of crime.
“The corps has trained you for a purpose that clearly differs from killing and maiming of innocent Nigerians.
“It is important to know that to whom much is given, much is expected. I therefore urge you to desist from intimidating and molesting the civil populace, shun corruption, and never see yourselves as a rival to any sister agency.
“But instead, be the change agent who would work relentlessly towards achieving a peaceful Nigeria,” the provost stated.
Officers were drawn from Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Lagos and Edo states for the programme and it is expected that they would make professionalism and patriotism their watch word in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities, henceforth.
The Enugu Government said it has demonstrated commitment and competency in the management of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the state.
Speaking during a one day training for entrepreneurs in the state, the Special Adviser to Enugu Governor on SMEs and Investment Promotion, Mr Anayo Agu, said the state has funded over 2500 companies totaling about 2 billion Naira.
Mr Agu said the state made funds available for running and starting up business irrespective of where the individual comes from.
He said the state is ready to take advantage of foreign partnership because of its abundance in trainable individuals who are willing to grow in business and contribute their quota.
He noted the state has attracted a lot of foreign investments which are at the preliminary stages citing the U.S solar power plant at Nachi.
“We have a U.S company that is still at the beginning stages of establishing a solar plant in Enugu state and to be precise at Nachi, the reason these investors are coming to the state is because of the full assurance that is coming from the state. Not only that the state will protect the investment but also to enable it.
“In terms of international business, we have international airport; the Akanu-Ibiam International Airport which is thriving, we have Ethiopian airline that operates twice weekly, and just by the airport we have the free trade zone”.
Mr Agu further explained that the free trade zone will give manufacturers opportunity to sell goods at duty free and equally export to another countries. He said the state will continue to provide enabling environment to ensure the ease of doing business.
The Foreign Direct Investment drive of Akwa Ibom State Government, has received a quantum leap as the state government has concluded plans to partner with General Electric Global Operations, for the establishment of a world class training institute to address man power need and boost capacity of Akwa Ibom indigenes in the power sector.
The Executive Director, Government Affairs, General Electric Global Operations – West Africa, Dr. Joyce Shyngle-Wigwe, dropped the hint during an interaction with Government House correspondents shortly after a meeting with Akwa Ibom state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, at his office.
Dr. Wigwe said, “General Electric has watched with keen interest the pace of development in the state as regards infrastructure under the watch of a seasoned entrepreneur governor Udom Emmanuel, and the company has decided to partner with the state in the provision of electricity, health care services and in other development programmes of the administration”.
She explained that, “The company had been involved with the installation of turbines at Ibom Power Plant and has undertaken the rehabilitation of power infrastructure to facilitate speedy transmission and distribution of electricity in the state”.
The Chairman of Ibom Power Company, Engr. Etido Inyang, who facilitated the meeting described the interaction as fruitful, explained that Akwa Ibom Governor has given approval for the state government to collaborate with the firm to boost power generation at Ibom Power Company.
“The collaboration would make the state a Power hub and the first phase of electricity generation would be at 240 Mega Watts while the second 240 would provide a total output of 480 Mega Watt for sufficient power generation”.
Engr. Inyang indicated that the Governor has directed the company to work out a functional modality to actualise the vision and expressed delight at the company’s decision to establish a training Centre in the state.
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Works, Mr Ephraim Inyang, who also spoke said the company would help fast track the development matrix of the state’s administration.
The Chief Operating Officer of the company, Mr Ahmed Zakari, who congratulated Governor Emmanuel and his Executives on the development strides witnessed in the state, hinted that, “The state’s vision on infrastructure and industralisation informed their decision to partner in the development agenda of the state’s administration”.
“The partnership would boost the power sector to enable small and medium scale business operators carry out their businesses and provide employment to the youths of the state”.
A consortium of Chinese Companies have concluded arrangements for the take-off of construction of an International Market at Ikot Ekpene and Eket local government, areas of Akwa Ibom state.
The consortium companies comprises of China Railway and Airport Construction Company, Yiwu International Market Group, Ande Logistics, Forte Energy and Jaagris Nigeria Limited.
The leader of the Chinese Group, Mr Hou Jang, who spoke through an interpreter, announced this while briefing Governor Udom Emmanuel on the state of preparedness for the project at the Governor’s Office, Uyo.
He stated the readiness of the Chinese firm to collaborate with Akwa Ibom state government in its development programmes and expressed delight at the opportunity given them to contribute to the development of the state, assuring of quality service delivery.
Governor Emmanuel thanked the Chinese companies for their decision to partner with the state in the various aspects of industrialization and other development programmes and assured them of safety, transparent legislation and conducive operational environment for the project execution.
He said, “I am glad to hear that you are commencing operations on the construction by first week of May and I will do everything possible to ensure a smooth take-off.
“Be rest assured that those things needed to allow you invest and make profit in place. We’ve already promulgated laws to support and protect your businesses, provide adequate security for your safety. As much as we can, we will develop infrastructure to provide market for your investment.
“The state has put in place a technical committee on Foreign Direct Investment to attract investors and provide enabling environment for them to operate. Everything would be put in place to facilitate the commencement of the project by the end of May as promised by the Chinese firm”, the governor said.
The Certificate of Occupancy for Eket project would be ready by the end of April and appealed to the construction company to expedite action on the project execution, adding that the state looks forward to the commencement of commercial operations in the market by September 23 when the state will be celebrating her 30 years of statehood.
Speaking with Government House Correspondents, Stakeholders in the benefiting local government areas, Mr Lawrence Udofa, a member representing Eket State Constituency in the House of Assembly and the Chairman Ibom Power Company, Engr. Etido Inyang, commended the Governor for his investment drive in the state and the take-off of construction of the International Market as promised the people during his election campaign.
Engr. Inyang said,” The state government has allocated about 25 hectares of land for the construction of the market which is to be sited along Calabar-Itu highway in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area”.
The Bayelsa State House of Assembly has taken another step to stop the lingering boundary dispute between the people of Nembe in the state and Kalabari in Rivers state.
The State Assembly passed a two point resolution which urged the state government through relevant ministries, department and agencies to work closely with members of the National Assembly from the area and the National Boundary Commission to quickly resolve the boundary disputes.
The lawmakers also directed the executive arm to mobilise adequate security to the Oluasiri area of Nembe and adjoining riverine communities in the area to protect the people from frequent attacks by armed men from Rivers State.
The resolutions followed a motion raised by Mr. Iniyobiyo Obiene representing Nembe constituency 3 in the State House of Assembly and unanimously adopted by the lawmakers as read out by the Speaker, Mr Konbowei Friday Benson.
Mr. Obiene, had told his colleagues that the people in the two oil-bearing communities, Oluasiri in Nembe and Soku in Kalabari were fully aware of the boundary and wondered why the Kalabari people would want to step out of the boundary.
“Given the fact that Oluasiri, Robert Kiri, Ekulama I, Ekulama II, and their environs are border communities cum settlements that bids the eastern boundary of Bayelsa state, it is true that these communities are in the volatile area prone to threats and attacks from their Rivers state neighbours even in the presence of security men deployed to the area by their government.
“Regrettably, our government has not been able to send security personnel to the area to ensure protection of lives and property of our people living there.
“This is evident in the kidnapping of one Charles Demi along Oluasuri waterways in December 2012, the destruction and burning of Ijaw-Kiri in the same year, the attack on one Mr.Amaebite Obiene and his colleagues at Sand-Sand village among others”, Obiene stated.
The lawmaker who said the hostilities in the disputed area had led to waste of lives, expressed worry that residents live in fear of intimidation and frequent harassment. According to him, “Recently during the Phase II of the Enumeration Area Demarcation exercise conducted by the National Population Commission (NPC), in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa state, there were serious security threats.
“As the exercise proceeded to our border communities with Rivers state such as Robert Kiri, Belema I, Belema II, Ekulama I, Ekulama II, Ijaw-Kiri and Soku in the Oluasiri axis, there were attacks on our people which led to serious setbacks on our part. Mr. Speaker, if nothing is done urgently, the ugly scenario will replay itself in the census proper, scheduled to take place in 2018”.
In another development, the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr. Konbowei Benson, has reacted to media reports that the House did not hold a public hearing as well as consult widely before passing the State Education Tax bill recently signed into law by Governor Seriake Dickson.
The Speaker said the relevant committees held public hearings and reached out to key stakeholders to get their inputs into the bill.
He said the education tax law was a good thing to have happened to the state in the quest to protect the future of millions of Bayelsa youths.
The Speaker insisted that the lawmakers were working for the collective interest of the state and would continue to support other arms of government to fast track development in the state.