The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun is confident that Nigeria will neither experience another civil war nor break-up.
Speaking on Wednesday while receiving the League of Imams and Alfas in the state at his Iperu country home, the governor declared that the socio-economic challenges confronting the country will also be eventually surmounted.
While admitting that the country was going through a difficult time owing to insecurity and other challenges, he expressed the faith that Nigerians would overcome the situation in the end.
Governor Abiodun called on Nigerians not to give up, but continue to have faith and trust in God, saying no problem is too big for God to solve.
“This country will not break into two; nothing will happen to us in this country, we will not go into civil war, the unity of this country is non-negotiable, God will give us peace in this country, He will give us rest,” he said.
“I have a mountain-moving faith in God because He alone can do the impossible he said. As a government we will try our best, please continue to pray for us.”
Abiodun emphasised the need for Nigerians to unite and fight their common enemies as the diversity of the country remains her strength.
He also sued for religious tolerance among adherents of different faiths, admonishing Nigerians to imbibe the virtues of Prophet Ibrahim who was regarded as the Father of Faith by having absolute trust and faith in God.
The governor explained that his administration in the last two years has been fair to all irrespective of religious beliefs, adding projects had been executed in each of the 236 wards of Ogun in line with the inclusive approach of his administration.
The Ogun State government has called on the Federal Government to immediately secure the release of a Nigerian citizen currently languishing in detention in the Benin Republic.
In a press statement on behalf of the state governor, Dapo Abiodun signed by his chief press secretary, Kunle Somorin also called on the national boundary commission to step up action to demarcate Nigeria’s border with the Republic of Benin.
He however called on Nigerian security agents to promptly ensure the security of border communities from external invasion.
Last week, pastor Kunle Garb, a resident of Igbokofi village in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun state was abducted at the village market, by gendarmes who crossed illegally into the Nigerian territory to carry out the daring act, after scaring away traders and other Nigerians at the market.
Pastor Garb, an activist, who has been consistently campaigning against the incessant harassment of Nigerians by the Beninese in attempts to forcefully annex the Nigerian territory was taken away in a Gestapo manner by the armed security agents from the neighboring country.
He has allegedly been charged to a court and remanded under inhuman conditions in the Benin Republic and prevented from having access to his lawyers, doctors, and members of his family.
In a protest to the Federal Government, Gov. Dapo Abiodun narrated the ordeal of Nigerians living in the borders towns of the State and Benin Republic. He also called for prompt action by relevant Federal authorities to prevent further harassment of Nigerian citizens and encroachment on the Nigerian territorial borders.
“The Governor also called on the National Boundary Commission to step up action to clearly demarcate Nigeria’s international borders with the Benin Republic, while calling on Nigeria’s security agents to properly secure Nigerians in the border communities and our country’s borders with the neighbouring country” he concluded
“The Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, has received the very disturbing news of the arrest of one of his political appointees, Mr Abidemi Rufai, in New York over alleged unemployment benefits fraud in the United States,” he said.
“In view of the gravity of these allegations, the Governor has ordered the immediate suspension of the accused appointee.
“The Governor wishes to restate his commitment to an open, transparent, accountable and morally upright Administration and will not condone any act bordering on criminality by anyone.”
Abidemi Rufai, the Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties to Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has been arrested in the United States of America over $350,000 employment fraud.
Rufai was quizzed by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation on Friday evening at the John F Kennedy International Airport in New York following a criminal complaint.
He was subsequently charged with defrauding the Washington State Employment Security Department of over $350,000.
The suspect was said to have used the stolen identities of more than 100 Washington residents to file fraudulent claims with ESD for pandemic-related unemployment benefits.
Rufai was accused of using variations of a single e-mail address in a manner intended to evade automatic detection by fraud systems.
US law enforcement agents said more than $288,000 was deposited into an American bank account controlled by Rufai between March and August 2020.
“Since the first fraud reports to our office in April 2020, we have worked diligently with a federal law enforcement team to track down the criminals who stole funds designated for pandemic relief,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gorman.
“This is the first, but will not be the last, significant arrest in our ongoing investigation of ESD fraud.”
See the statement issued by the Washington Department of Justice below:
Nigerian citizen charged with defrauding Washington State Employment Security Department of over $350,000
Arrested at NY airport on a criminal complaint
Seattle – A Nigerian citizen was arrested Friday evening at JFK Airport in New York on a criminal complaint charging him with wire fraud for his scheme to steal over $350,000 in unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Abidemi Rufai, aka Sandy Tang, 42, of Lekki, Nigeria, made his initial appearance Saturday, May 15, 2021, in New York. He is scheduled for a detention hearing Wednesday.
“Since the first fraud reports to our office in April 2020, we have worked diligently with a federal law enforcement team to track down the criminals who stole funds designated for pandemic relief,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gorman. “This is the first, but will not be the last, significant arrest in our ongoing investigation of ESD fraud.”
The criminal complaint alleges that Rufai used the stolen identities of more than 100 Washington residents to file fraudulent claims with ESD for pandemic-related unemployment benefits. Rufai also filed fraudulent unemployment claims with Hawaii, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania. Rufai used variations of a single e-mail address in a manner intended to evade automatic detection by fraud systems. By using this practice, Rufai made it appear that each claim was connected with a different email account.
Rufai caused the fraud proceeds to be paid out to online payment accounts such as ‘Green Dot’ accounts, or wired to bank accounts controlled by “money mules.” Some of the proceeds were then mailed to the Jamaica, New York address of Rufai’s relative. Law enforcement determined more than $288,000 was deposited into an American bank account controlled by Rufai between March and August 2020.
“Greed is a powerful motivator. Unfortunately, the greed alleged to this defendant affects all taxpayers,” said Donald Voiret, Special Agent in Charge FBI Seattle. “The FBI and our partners will not stand idly by while individuals attempt to defraud programs meant to assist American workers and families suffering the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Wire fraud is punishable by up to thirty years in prison when it relates to benefits paid in connection with a presidentially-declared disaster or emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG). The fraud on ESD is being investigated cooperatively by the FBI, DOL-OIG, Social Security Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations. The Washington Employment Security Department is cooperating in the investigation.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Seth Wilkinson, Cindy Chang, and Benjamin Diggs of the Western District of Washington, and Trial Attorney Jane Lee of DOJ’s Cyber Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS).
The Ogun State government has taken delivery of an initial set of 50,000 doses of the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Governor Dapo Abiodun received the vaccines on Monday at the Government House in the Okemosan area of Abeokuta, the state capital.
He gave an assurance that the vaccines would be deployed immediately across the 236 wards of the 20 local governments of the state.
The governor was delighted that Ogun was the first to receive the first batch of the vaccines among the comity of states in the country.
According to him, the vaccines will be promptly distributed to ensure seamless vaccination exercise as the state awaits another set of 50,000 doses.
Governor Abiodun commended President Muhammadu Buhari for what he described as his purposeful leadership in the fight against the pandemic.
While he also appreciated the efforts of development partners and critical stakeholders, the governor asked residents of the state to continue to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 safety protocols.
Amid the rising figure of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the fight against the outbreak received a major boost on Tuesday last week as Nigeria took delivery of its first batch of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX, a World Health Organisation (WHO)-backed initiative set up to procure and ensure equitable distribution of vaccines for free among countries across the world.
The first shipment of 3,924,000 doses of the vaccines arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja via an Emirates airplane from India.
In preparation for the distribution, the Federal Government had said the vaccines would be administered in the order of priority, with the frontline health workers on the top of the list.
It noted that it would also consider the elderly and the strategic leaders in the country – such as the President and other key public office holders in the country.
The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun has ordered the security agencies in the state to investigate the recent clash between herdsmen and farmers in the Yewa area of the state that led to the loss of life and destruction of properties.
He has also set up a Special Task Force that will maintain a presence in all areas of the state prone to herders/farmers conflict to maintain peace and quickly respond to any form of violence or crimes.
In a press statement issued by his chief press secretary, Kunle Somorin, the government is immediately setting up a joint security patrol team/task force involving all security agencies in the state to not only deal with the situation but to also nip in the bud any threat to violence or criminality.
“Our first priority in Ogun State is the safety of lives and properties of everyone, and we will not compromise on that,” he said
The governor who gave the order in Abeokuta at the end of the state Security Council meeting, also directed that those behind the recent violence in Eggua in Yewa North area local government area of the State should be brought to justice.
“We will not condone any act of criminality in the state no matter who is involved. The police and other security agencies have been directed to go after the perpetrators of this act and bring them to book. ”
“We will not allow anybody to disrupt the peace in Ogun State, and anyone who tries to test our resolve to maintain peace in our state will have himself or herself to blame”,
While commiserating with the family of the deceased, Governor Abiodun also expressed his sympathy to those who lost their farmlands as well as cows during the unfortunate incident.
“Our State is known for being a haven of peace, security, and harmonious relationship amongst people of different ethnic groups whether citizens or settlers who consider the State their home. This is a long and cherished tradition that we are proud of and which this Administration is committed to sustaining.
“We, therefore, condemn in strong terms the recent unfortunate violence orchestrated by certain elements by whipping up and capitalising on divisive ethnic sentiments to perpetuate an agenda that is inimical to public security and safety,”
While recalling the efforts of the state government to ensure the sustenance of the age-long peaceful co-existence between the local farmers and the herdsmen, the governor has convened an expansive stakeholders’ meeting to hold next week, involving farmers, herdsmen, and other stakeholders to bring about a lasting peace.
“Our hearts go out to the family of the deceased and those who lost their properties in the needless violence. This Administration is determined to end this unfortunate cycle of violence and we are hopeful that all the inclusive Stakeholders’ meetings will identify specific and practical initiatives that will achieve the desired end.
“In the meantime, all residents of the State are enjoined to continue to go about their lawful businesses and report any strange movements or threats to peace in their neighborhoods to the security agencies who have been put on red alert to respond swiftly and act decisively”, the statement concluded.
As Christians across the world celebrate Christmas and New Year season, Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun has enjoined Nigerians to make moderation and thanksgiving their watchwords during and beyond the festive period.
The Governor, in his Christmas goodwill message to the residents of the state, maintained that as the Year 2020 has been a most challenging one, those fortunate enough to survive the vicissitudes of the year, especially the COVID-19 pandemic, must return glory to God and approach the season with thanksgiving and celebrate with moderation.
The governor cautioned that with the second wave of COVID-19, Christmas celebrations should be done with strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines and protocols issued by the federal government and adopted in the State to keep up the fight against the dreaded virus during the festive season.
He cautioned the increasing numbers of coronavirus infections and urged people to think very carefully about their holiday season plans, especially merrymaking.
“The festive season is normally a time to show love, relax and celebrate but the current situation as occasioned by COVID-19 is far from the ideal,” he said
“Celebrations in approved size of social gatherings without observing the precautions such as social distancing, use of face masks and regular hand washing can very quickly turn to avenues for the super spread of the virus and undermine the gains we have recorded so far in the fight against this common enemy”
“Christmas is a season of love and giving. And I think the best way to show love and the best gift to give this season is the gift of health to ourselves and our loved ones during this Yuletide season and beyond.”
The governor urged all to continue to give thanks to the Almighty from the depth of their hearts as survivors of the dreaded coronavirus and 2020
” we are all beneficiaries of divine benevolence, grace and glory. So as we honour and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we must not be carefree in our conduct and we must be considerate about public health and safety.”
Above all, Gov. Abidoun admonished Nigerians to embrace the virtues and essence of Christmas. “The season symbolizes Jesus Christ – the harbinger of peace, love, good tidings and hope. It therefore behoves us all to manifest the essence of this season by showing love, being our brother’s keeper and keeping hope of a better future alive” he said.
He further urged all residents of the State to ensure that all the positives of Christmas do not end with the festive period but that they consciously act to keep the generosity, restraint, modesty, love and the happiness that make Christmas a special season into their daily lives and living, so that every day after Christmas would be a special day.
According to Bello, Nigeria has continued to witnessed infrastructural development across all the geopolitical zones of the country under President Buhari’s administration.
On his part, the Ogun Governor wished President Buhari well in what he described as the arduous task of nation-building.
“As you continue to serve our nation with an uncommon sense of patriotism and unwavering dedication, I thank Almighty God for granting you a life of great accomplishments and abiding fulfillment,” Governor Abiodun was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin.
“I have no doubt that as you celebrate your birthday, you will be more concerned about the myriad of challenges facing the nation and how to resolve them to the advantage of our people”, he said.
“We in Ogun State share in both the joy and challenges and pray that this birthday will bring you the good fortune to address the security, economic and political challenges facing our country. Happy Birthday Mr President and many happy returns.”
Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun has congratulated world boxing champion, Anthony Joshua, in his title defence against his Bulgarian opponent, Kubrat Pulev in London on Saturday.
The governor in a statement issued on Sunday by his media aide, Kunle Somorin, in Abeokuta said Joshua displayed the “Ogun standard of excellence.”
According to Governor Abiodun, the victory is a well-deserved Christmas gift, adding that the victory will inspire others to do more.
“All of us in the state, irrespective of our religious affiliations prayed for his success. That the feat happened in London, last night can be regarded as a worthy Christmas gift from God and AJ to all of us in Ogun State. God answered us,” he said.
“God still answers prayers. We return all glory to God Almighty for granting our hearts’ desire for our brother, Anthony Joshua, to retain the IBF, WBA and WBO titles.”
Abiodun said the Ogun-born Joshua made Nigerians proud and restored confidence that in spite of the country’s challenges, the nation will overcome.
The governor also commended Joshua for his determination, hard work, resilience and focus, which he described as virtues ingrained in the DNA of Ogun people.
“May he, continue with the winning streak ad infinitum. My joy is unquantifiable. Our government has always dimensioned sports as not only a unifying factor but a socio-economic imperative.
“He has made us proud by exhibiting these traits and the can-do spirit of Ogun people. On our path, we would provide the necessary incentives to all our ambitious young men and women to become World Champions in all considerable areas of sports, not only in boxing.
The Ogun governor also reiterated his administration’s commitment to developing sports in the state, noting that doing so would pull more people out of poverty and tame insecurity, social strife and crimes.”
“We are poised to fix our stadia, upgrade facilities, train sportsmen and women, motivate coaches and develop talents starting from the grassroots,” the governor added.
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom; Ogun State governor Dapo Abiodun and Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade has felicitated with Muslims as they celebrate Eid-El-Maulud to commemorate the birth of Prophet Muhammad.
Governor Ortom in his message urged the Muslim faithful to use the occasion to pray for peace and unity of Nigeria.
He said what Nigeria needs at this time is justice, fairness, equity, and an end to impunity, beginning from leaders to those led.
Governor Abiodun in his goodwill message urged all citizens to rededicate themselves to the teachings and exemplary life of the Holy Prophet.
The governor reminded the public that the Holy Prophet stood for peace and unity during his lifetime, hence, he urged Nigerian youths to remain law-abiding and resist the temptation to be used as tools of wanton destruction.
Governor Ayade, however, said there is a need for every Nigerian citizen to pray and forgive one another, irrespective of religious, ethnic, or political belief at this trying time in the country.
He urged Muslim Ummah to use the period of the celebration for sober reflection and pray for peace, stability, and togetherness in the country, saying that a prosperous Nigeria hinges on peaceful co-existence irrespective of the grievances.
The Ogun State Government has warned groups against insightful and provocative statements capable of causing an ethnic crisis in the state.
This is according to a statement issued on Sunday by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Dapo Abiodun, Kunle Somorin.
Somorin noted that the warning is sequel to video clips, making the rounds on the social media posted by certain individuals and groups to the effect that some ethnic groups should leave the South-West region within 48 hours.
The governor’s spokesman advised those concerned to “desist from heating up the polity, fanning the ember of discord among ethnic groups in the state.”
For Somorin, the state government considers such pronouncements unfortunate, provocative, reckless and irresponsible.
“Ogun will remain home to all Nigerians and foreigners who have legitimate reasons to live, work, visit or do business here. We shall also protect their lives and properties and look after their wellness, welfare and wellbeing,” he said.
“It is a well-known fact that Yoruba, especially of Ogun state extraction, are cosmopolitan, urbane and too civilized to discriminate against people on account of their ethnic origin, religion or circumstances of birth.
“These unpatriotic individuals neither represent the views of the Yoruba race that is reputed to be accommodating, tolerant and hospitable. They are definitely not speaking for the Yoruba and the good people of Ogun state.
“We advise that rather than dissipating energies on divisive ventures, YYF and their ilk should deploy more time and resources to support causes that promote Nigeria’s unity especially good inter and intra ethnic relations within the context of our unity in diversity.”
Somorin explained that security agents have been put on red alert to be more vigilant, apprehend and deal decisively with people disguising as promoters of self-serving Yoruba agenda.