Witness Gives Evidence In Ladoja’s Trial

Court, Rashidi Ladoja,The trial of a former Governor of Oyo State, Mr Rashidi Ladoja, continued on Friday at the Federal High Court in Lagos, with the prosecution witness Adewale Atanda giving evidence in the case.

He said Mr Ladoja in 2007 allegedly sent the sum of 600,000 pounds sterling to his daughter, Bimpe in London.

Mr Atanda, who was at that time a Senior Special Executive Assistant to Ladoja, told the court that the money was part of the sum of 634 million Naira, which some stockbrokers contributed for expenses during the former governor’s impeachment process.

According to him, Ladoja had earlier instructed the sale of some shares belonging to the Oyo State Government to the stockbrokers.

However, under cross-examination by Ladoja’s lawyer, Mr Atanda said he did not receive any acknowledgement for the payment of the £600,000 from Ladoja’s daughter.

The case has been adjourned till April 12 and 13.

Mr Ladoja, alongside a former Oyo State Commissioner for Finance, Waheed Akanbi, is accused of conspiring to siphon 4.7 billion Naira from the State’s Treasury.

Court Adjourns Trial Of Ladoja, Aide Till March 1

Court, Rashidi Ladoja, Waheed Akanbi, FraudThe Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed March 1 for the commencement of trial of former Oyo State Governor, Mr Rashidi Ladoja, alongside one of his aides, Waheed Akanbi, over an alleged 4.7 billion Naira fraud.

The date was fixed after counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Oluwafemi Olabisi, urged the court for an adjournment to enable him supply to the defence team the names of witnesses that would testify in the matter.

The former governor and his aide were arraigned before the court by the EFCC on an amended eight-count charge of alleged money laundering and unlawful conversion of funds belonging to the Oyo State government.

Mr Ladoja and Mr Akanbi, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Attempts made by the prosecution counsel on Tuesday to examine the first prosecution witness in the case was rebutted by lawyers to the defendants, Mr Bolaji Onilenla and Mr Olumide Fusika.

The lawyers argued that the witness could not testify on grounds that his name was not on the list of witnesses earlier supplied to them by the anti-graft agency in 2008.

They also insisted that what the EFCC was trying to do was to set an ambush for them, stating that it was contrary to the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

Although Mr Olabisi admitted the error, he pointed out that as at the time they filed the case nine years ago, the Administration of Criminal Justice Law had not been promulgated.

He therefore urged the court to adjourn the proceedings to enable him file additional proof of evidence to rectify the error.

After listening to the counsel, Justice Idris adjourned the case till March 1 for commencement of trial.

Offences

  • In one of the counts, Ladoja and Akanbi were accused of converting a sum of 1,932,940,032.48 Naira belonging to Oyo State government to theirs, using a Guaranty Trust Bank account of a company, Heritage Apartments Limited.
  • The EFCC claimed that they retained the money sometime in 2007, despite their knowledge that it was proceeds of a criminal conduct.
  • In another instance, the former governor was accused of removing a sum of £600,000 from the state coffers in 2007 and sent it to one Bimpe Ladoja, who was at the time in London.
  • He was also accused of converting a sum of 42 million naira belonging to the state to his own and subsequently used it to purchase an armoured Land Cruiser jeep.
  • Mr Ladoja was also accused of converting a sum of 728,600,000 Naira and another 77,850,000 Naira at separate times in 2007 to his own.
  • The EFCC claimed that he transferred the 77, 850,000 Naira to one Bistrum Investments, which he nominated to help him purchase a property named Quarter 361 in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
  • The anti-graft agency stated that the offences are contrary to sections 17(a) and 18(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004.
  • They added that the crimes are liable to be punished under sections 14(1), 16(a)(b) and 18(2) of the same act.

Olaniwun’s Death Decimates True Yoruba Leadership Hierarchy – Ajimobi

Olaniyun, true yoruba leadership, ajimobiGovernor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has described the death of the foremost leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Sir Ajayi Olaniwun, as a huge blow that has decimated the hierarchy of true Yoruba leadership.

A statement by the Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy to the Governor, Mr Yomi Layinka, said that Afenifere, the entire Yoruba and the country at large have lost a rare, committed and disciplined leader of repute.

Although the late Isara Remo-born Yoruba leader passed on at a ripe age of 91, the governor lamented that he died when the country was in dire need of sages, required to proffer solutions to the myriads of its socio-economic challenges.

Eulogizing Olaniwun as urbane and affectionate, the governor said that his modest lifestyle was a lesson in humility, despite his accomplishments as a distinguished writer, great Yoruba leader and philosopher.

The governor recalled that the late leader proved to be a dependable rallying point when patriots were in the trenches to wrest power from the military, which made him one of the very few heroes and heroines of the democracy the country now enjoys.

Olaniyun, true yoruba leadership, ajimobi
Afenifere, Sir Ajayi Olaniwun

Ajimobi said, “I visited you at Isara Remo in February to tap from your rich repertoire of knowledge and to drink from your fountain of wisdom. But, little did I know that your warm welcome, as you ushered me into the inner recess of your modest home, was a way to bid me farewell.

“You were bubbly, energetic and full of life, with a strength that belies your nonagenarian status.

This, definitely, is an attestation to your disciplined and Spartan lifestyle.

“How I wish the young ones of today can emulate your way of life, which was a lesson in path to gerontology, piety, discipline, hard work, modesty, love for humanity, dedication to the course of Yoruba and fear of God. I have no doubt that you fought a good fight and you finished your course.

“Your death has created a huge vacuum in the hierarchy of true Yoruba leadership. You left us when your wisdom and experience was badly needed to pilot our dear country into safety, from this turbulent socio-economic weather.

“You will be sorely missed,” Ajimobi stated.

The governor condoled with the family, friends and associates of the legendary Olaniwun and prayed for the repose of his gentle soul as they plan on giving him a befitting burial.

Oyo Government Partners China On Solar Project

Oyo state, China, solar project, Free trade zoneGovernor of Oyo state, Abiola Ajimobi has sealed a mega deal with China Polaris, for a two billion Dollar Free Trade Zone Project, sited along the Lagos/Ibadan expressway, Ibadan.

The FTZ is expected to deal exclusively with the manufacturing of automotive products, solar power generation, medi-care and allied products, ornaments among others.

Already standing on a massive 1,000 hectares of land in Ibadan, the state capital, the governor’s vision to industrialize Oyo State and raise the standard of living is now having some semblance of reality.

Just before commencement of construction on the site, Governor Ajimobi had expressed optimism that the project tagged ‘Polaris Pacesetter Free Trade Zone’, would be “the new hub of the African economy” when completed.

Royalty, security chiefs, and members of the diplomatic corps all defied the scorching sun to witness history being made by the Governor at the groundbreaking ceremony.

The event marked the commencement of serious construction work on the Free Trade Zone, one which is described as the first of its kind in Africa.

Mr Ajimobi said the event was the outcome of a journey of five years of intensive hunt for investors in core economic activities, and a result of his determination to achieve growth and sustained development in the state.

Oyo state, China, solar project, Free trade zoneDescribing China as the fastest growing economy in the world, Ajimobi said that the industrial template to be propelled by the Polaris-Pacesetter Free Trade Zone, would enhance agricultural, commercial, educational and infrastructural development in the state.

The President of China Polaris, Mr Zhang Wendong, and the Leader of Delegation who is the representative of the Chinese government, Ms Zhang Xuemei, assured the state as well as people of Oyo, of the investors’ irrevocable commitment to the project.

They confirmed that the first phase of the project, which comprises of five factories, would gulp about 159bn Naira ($500m), and is expected to be completed before the end of the first quarter of 2017, while the entire project is expected to be completed in the next two years.

Mr Wendong hinted that the conglomerate would ensure the completion of the last phase of the project within the given timeline.

While giving the project profile, project facilitator, Dr. Mufutau Raheem, said the Oyo FTZ is unique in every sense, and a sister Free Trade Zone in Guye, China, would also be working in synergy with the one created in Ibadan.

This according to him is also aimed at strengthening bilateral ties between China and Oyo State.

For Sons and Daughters of Oyo state, especially inhabitants of Oluyole local government area, a major hurdle militating against appreciable development has been surmounted.

Army Commits To Lasting Peace In Northeast Nigeria

Nigerian_MilitaryThe Nigerian Army has assured Nigerians of its determination to ensure lasting peace in the northeast and other troubled zones.

The General Officer Commanding 2 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Kasimu Abdulkarim, gave the assurance while addressing military personnel on Sunday at the closing session of the 2 Division’s Inter-Brigade and Formation Sports Competition in Ibadan the capital of Oyo State.

The competition took place at the Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment Sports Complex in Odogbo, a community in Ibadan.

Major General Abdulkarim stressed that the military’s commitment to ending insurgency remained unwavering, which he said was being demonstrated by the onslaught against the Boko Haram sect that has terrorised communities in the northeast.

He commended the Chief of Army Staff for his support for the age-long traditional games of the Nigerian Army.

He told the gathering that the Nigerian Army had been able to restore normalcy in most parts of the northeast where the Boko Haram Sect have gained ground before.

“We will not give up until the battle is over,” he reiterated.

On the games, the General Officer Commanding 2 Division described the competition as crucial to the mental and physical development of soldiers and urged the military personnel to continue to exhibit the spirit of sportsmanship at all times.

The Inter-Brigade Sports Competition was organised to prepare officers of 2 the Division for the coming Nigerian Army Sports Festival and rekindle the spirit of commitment and sportsmanship within the 2 Division.

Maintenance Of Communal Peace

Also at the occasion was the Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi.

He declared open the games and urged the officers and men of 2 Division to be the best at all they do by harnessing the strength and talent within them.

Governor Ajimobi, who was represented by the Secretary to the state Government Mr Olalekan Alli, lauded the efforts of the Nigerian Army especially at fighting insurgency.

He advised them to commit all energy necessary to the games, as it had the potential of promoting greater dedication and renewed commitment to peace and security of Nigeria.

The Governor also promised to collaborate with officers and men of the 2 Division for sports development and maintenance of communal peace within the state.

Highlights of the week-long competition include, football, volleyball, squash, combative games, chess, athletics and more.

At the end of the championship, the traditional campfire night was organised to celebrate successful completion of the Inter-Brigade Competition.

Those who emerged winners would represent 2 Division at the Nigerian Army Sports Festival coming up in September.

Ajimobi Visits Slain Oyo Lawmaker’s Family, Promises To Apprehend Perpetrators

Ajimobi_visits
L-R: Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Michael Adeyemo; and widow of the slain member of the Assembly, Mrs. Bukola Aremu (extreme right)

The Governor of Oyo State, Mr Abiola Ajimobi on Monday paid a condolence visit to the family of Gideon Aremu, the slain member of the Oyo State House of Assembly in Ibadan, the state capital.

Governor Ajimobi assured that the people involved in the murder of the lawmaker will be apprehended and dealt with.

While sympathizing with the widow, Mrs Bukola Aremu, and the children, he stated that the family will be supported by the government.

The Governor said,” It was an untimely and tragic death that has disrupted the otherwise peaceful environment, adding that it is “a moment the state is not proud of.”

The 40-year-old House of Assembly member, was said to be returning from a function at Bodija to his Akobo residence where three gunmen waylaid him on a motorcycle and shot him several times before fleeing the scene.

The late Aremu will be buried at his home town, Igboho, Oorelope Local Government, on Thursday.

The burial will be preceded by a valedictory plenary at the chamber of the House of Assembly as well as lying in state.

Transport Union Rallies For Peace In Oyo

NURTWThe members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Oyo State are advocating peace and a truce in the ongoing crisis between labour and government over alleged privatisation of some schools.

Several transporters in their hundreds engaged the public for hours in what they called a ‘walk for peace’, sensitising residents along major roads on the need to shun violence.

The rally was led by the chairman of the union, Mr Taofeek Oyerinde, who condemned the faceoff that took place last week, leading to the indefinite closure of all primary and secondary schools in the state.

The union urged labour unions to choose the path of decency and stop violent protests.

The Governor of Oyo State, Mr Abiola Ajimobi, while addressing the union at the entrance of the Government Secretariat sought labour unions understanding and advised them to dialogue even though they had refused several previous advances.

The Governor also expressed his surprise and pleasure that those who were involved in violence were now leading a good cause to strengthen peace in the state.

Known flash points like Beere, Molete, Mapo, Challenge, Oke Ado, Dugbe, Gate and Agodi- the seat of government, were some of the places the union visited, calling for peace in the land.

No Intention To Sell Schools

Disagreement between labour unions and government started after the government made a decision to involve private sector in the running of schools in the state currently managed by the government.

But the Governor Ajimobi has cleared the air over the raging controversy about the new education policy, which the labour union said was aimed at selling public schools.

In a no holds barred consultative forum on June 8, Governor Ajimobi said the government had no intention to involve private group and individuals in the management of public secondary schools.

He apologised to the people of Oyo State over the crisis which erupted as a result of various misconceptions, admitting that advertorial should not have preceded the forum.

The Governor reiterated that no school was for sale or transfer to any concern and called on residents to join hands with the government to salvage the education sector in the state.

 

President Buhari Arrives In China

Muhammadu-Buhari-Arrives-ChinaNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has arrived in the People’s Republic of China for a state visit.

According to the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, President Buhari was welcomed at the Beijing Capital International Airport by China’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Cheng Guoping, alongside other senior Chinese government officials.

Also at the airport were the Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, and the Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Geidam.

Other Nigerian government’s functionaries at the airport were the Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, and Minister of Defence, Dan Monsur Ali.

The President left Abuja on Sunday for a working visit to China aimed at securing greater support from Beijing for the development of Nigeria’s infrastructure, especially in the power, roads, railways, aviation, water supply and housing sectors.

Considering Chinese Panda Bond

It is expected that in the course of the visit, several new agreements and memorandums of understanding to boost trade and economic relations between Nigeria and China would be concluded and signed.

The agreements include a Framework Agreement between the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the National Development and Reform Commission of the Peoples’ Republic of China to boost industrial activities and infrastructural development in Nigeria.

Others are a Framework Agreement between the Federal Ministry of Communications and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, and a Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria and China on Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

Kemi-Adeosun-Minister-of-finance
Minister of finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said Nigeria was also considering Japanese bond

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, had told reporters after a meeting with the business and investment community early on Saturday in Lagos, that the government was considering the possibility of issuing Chinese panda bond to make up for the deficit in the 2016 budget.

She said that the government’s objective was to borrow the cheapest possible money.

The breakfast meeting focused on the imperatives for fiscal discipline, investment and diversification of the domestic economy in the face of strong local and international headwinds such as the steady decline in oil prices and weak global economic growth.

Nigerian Governors To Reduce Salaries Of Political Appointees

GovernorsThe Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has announced plans to reduce the salaries of political office holders as a means of reducing the huge overhead costs of state governments in the face of declining fiscal revenue.

The chairman of the forum, Abdulaziz Yari, announced the decision on Thursday after a 4-hour meeting at the Presidential Villa.

The forum said that it has plans to hold a round-table meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari to find a solution to the economic situation confronting the country.

The governors also commended the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for its strict enforcement of the law with regards to the over one trillion naira fine imposed on telecommunications giant, MTN.

The NCC had slammed a fine of 1.04 trillion on MTN Nigeriafollowing overwhelming evidence of non-compliance and disregard to the rules of engagement by the telecom company.

The governors said that something must be done to address the revenue constraints confronting the economy, promising their commitment to ensuring that a new roadmap is worked out.

Governors Lament Mounting Wage Bill, Plan To Meet Buhari Again

Nigerian-Governors-ForumjpgNigeria’s Governors say they will seek more solutions to the inability of some states to pay their workers and meet other responsibilities.

The decision was reached at a meeting of the governors held in Abuja, which began at about 8:00pm local time on Wednesday.

At least 22 governors or their representatives were present at the Governors Forum seen as crucial, as some governors are still owing some workers salaries of several months.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, the governors said that they discussed sustainability of the wage bill of some states, which had been affected greatly by the dwindling revenue and allocation to states.

Channels Television’s Correspondent, Lanre Lasisi, said that the “dwindling funds of the states and the complaints that have been made by some states concerning their inability to meet their wage bill and keep the state running,” topped talks at the meeting.

The Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, said most states sincerely were bankrupt and needed quick solution to the paucity of funds they were facing.

“Solution has to be found to address the problems,” Lanre quoted the governors as saying.

The governors said they would need to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to look for a solution and tackle the problem once and for all.

The Federal Government had some months back approved a bailout fund for the states finding it difficult to pay their workers. It is not clear if all the states have accessed the funds.

Another key issue that the governors discussed was the fine imposed on the MTN telecommunication group by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The Forum met with the Acting Executive Vice Chairman of the commission and they pledged to work with the commission to ensure that the telecommunication company paid the fine.

They expressed satisfaction with the commission over the fine and insisted that there would be no leeway.

The governors also said the law should be obeyed fully and that the fine should be paid.

Ajimobi Inspects Apete Bridge Project, Demands Faster Process

Apete BridgeThe Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, has demanded a faster process towards the completion of the Apete Bridge, which was washed away in 2011, and is now under construction.

Accompanied by members of his cabinet, Governor Ajimobi inspected the on-going construction work on the bridge, to assess the extent of the damage and to assure the people that government has not abandoned them.

During the visit, he disclosed that Government had paid a substantial part of the contract sum to the contractor but halted further payment to ensure the contractors give value for money.

A cross section of residents who spoke to Channels Television implored Government to speed up efforts on the bridge as they have been cut off from the rest of the city.

Meanwhile the Commissioner of Works, Mr Bimbo Kolade, explained that the Apete brigde project would be all encompassing, as 3.5km road leading to the bridge was also under rehabilitation and expansion. He assured residents of the area that it would be completed by year end.

Meanwhile, Governor Ajimobi also berated some politicians, he said, had been tampering with the pedestrian bridge under the guise of showing concern, warning that the Government would not allow any breach of peace.

The Governor thus directed the contractor handling the bridge to ensure that a temporary pedestrian bridge was put in place within a few days, and that the main bridge should be completed before the end of the year.

He explained that the completion period for the project was the end of the year in view of his administration’s resolve not just to rehabilitate the bridge but to also expand and modernize it in line with his government’s transformation agenda.

Governor Ajimobi frowned at the vandalism of the properties of the contractors handling the project, warning that people should desist from taking laws into their hands.

The President of the Students’ Union Government of the Polytechnic, Ibadan, Mr. Iyiola Mubarak, implored the Governor to speed up work on the bridge as students are billed to resume on July 21.

Ogun Announces Nat’l Conference Delegates

The Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun

The Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun has announced the names of the state representatives to the forth coming National Conference scheduled to hold in the nation’s capital, Abuja later in the year.

Governor Amosun charged members of the delegation to use their wealth of experience to chart a course for the continued existence and unity of the country.

Members of the state delegation include, Sir Olamiwun Ajayi, Senator Biyi Durojaiye, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Mr Fola Adeola, Mr Bisi Adegbuyi, amongst others.

The Yoruba Assembly on National Conference had over a week earlier unveiled its agenda for the National Conference, with issues of parliamentary system, fiscal federalism and regional police taking pre-eminence.

The meeting which held at the residence of Sir Olanihun Ajayi in Ishara, Ogun State, was attended by the Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi and other notable Yoruba leaders from the six states of the South West.