The Ogun state government has confirmed the availability of 20,000 tonnes of fertilizer at 5,500 Naira per bag, to farmers across the state to ensure a hitch free 2017 planting season.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Adepeju Adebajo, mentioned this at a meeting with officials of the World Bank and members of the private sector in Abeokuta the state capital.
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr Bimbo Ashiru, also assured business owners in the state of right policies and programmes to support their investments.
“There is need to close the gap between the government and the private sector, which is very key and that is wha we are working on. You would see that you are our greatest asset.
“The Ogun state government wants to engage you, we want to know what your problems are. We will look at the issue of policy, where we have the wrong policies, you can come back to us and say this your policy is not moving business forward.”
While advising entrepreneurs not to leave everything to the government alone, he also noted that both the entrepreneurs and the government are partners in progress.
As reactions have continued to trail the ownership of funds recovered in an apartment in Ikoyi by the EFCC, Legal Practitioner, Femi Falana (SAN), believes that Nigeria is being exposed to unprecedented ridicule before the committee of nations.
“For me, Nigeria is being exposed to unprecedented ridicule before the committee of nations, if criminal elements, former public officers and departments of government are competing to hide American Dollars, millions of dollars, in private apartments or dump sites, we are in trouble.”
Meanwhile, reacting to the fact that the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) had laid claims to the cash, Mr Falana urged the government to act transparently and consciously on such matters because according to him, any other agency can equally come up and lay claims to discovered funds, saying that they were from covert operations.
“I think the National Intelligence Agency, should not be allowed by the Buhari administration to play on the intelligence of Nigerians – We’ve gone beyond all this petty level of an agency of the government trying to frustrate a serious policy of the government.
“If care is not taken and if this explanation is accepted by the government, you could just forget about the whistle-blowing policy.”
“What stops another agency tomorrow if you call on the EFCC or the ICPC, or even the office of the Attorney General, saying we have stumbled on money somewhere, can you go there? – What stops them from coming on to say, sorry, that is our money from covert operations?”.
He, however, predicted that the Attorney General would likely advise the agency, saying: “If you are sure that you can substantiate your claim to the ownership of the money, go to the Federal High Court and file a counter affidavit”.
Meanwhile, in response to whether or not he feels the EFCC knows the owner of the money, he said: “It goes beyond going to explain to the President, which in fact is an embarrassment – If after two years, the President as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the country, was not made aware of this covert operation, I think we are in trouble”.
Furthermore, in response to speculations as to whether or not the discovery of funds was a cover up, Mr Falana stated: “There is a procedure to know whether it is a cover up or not and that position must be followed by the government.
“I read yesterday that the President has referred the matter to the office of the honorable Attorney General for investigation, I think the matter has left that stage.
“Under the Money Laundering Act, once a suspected proceed of crime has been taken to court as in this case, the Federal High Court on the basis of the application of the EFCC, has made an order of interim forfeiture of that money, it is no longer a matter for the presidency”.
He, however, noted that what is important is the fact that the Presidency is just being briefed now, a situation which he feels is more than meets the eye – “It’s embarrassing,” the lawyer asserted.
The Senate has commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for responding to the motion moved during a plenary session by the Chairman, Committee on Petroleum Downstream Sector, Senator Kabiru Marafa, on the theft of petroleum products kept in the farm tanks of two oil companies and urged the corporation to take more radical measures to avoid a recurrence.
In a statement by its spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the legislative chamber advised that the NNPC should go beyond the sacking and redeployment of a few officials and rather, initiate a comprehensive restructuring of its operations which presently allow officials and other firms to appropriate national resources for their personal use, thereby contributing to the suffering of the people.
“The Senate is appalled that NNPC is not contemplating on doing something about the involvement of officials of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) which actually played key roles in the missing products case.
“It is instructive that NNPC did not do anything on the case until the matter was raised on the floor of the Senate and the press picked the matter up from the motion. The unauthorised sale of 132 million litres of fuel kept in the storage tanks of MRS and Capital Oil designated as strategic reserves is a grave occurrence. This probably is not the first time it is happening and NNPC must review its operations. It should in fact carry out a shake up in the PPMC”, Abdullahi stated.
Following the Senate’s debate of the motion on the theft of the fuel, the NNPC sacked two senior officials and redeployed a few others. Its spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu said the sack and deployment were in line with the on-going reforms the corporation initiated to cleanse it of corruption.
The NNPC lost 130 million litres through a breach in its throughput transactions with MRS and Capital Oil. However, MRS had returned the product it sold from the stock but Capital Oil is yet to refund the 82 million litres it sold. The Missing fuel sold by Capital Oil is valued at 11 billion Naira.
While Capital Oil insisted that NNPC owed it on past business transactions, the corporation vowed to recover the products, investigate the breach and set up new modalities to guide its engagements of throughput partners.
Legal Practitioner, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has said that the fight against corruption is something that must be done strategically and in such a way that the image of the country is not being hurt.
He said this while speaking on the recent cash haul in Nigeria by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), adding that “it makes too much of headlines and makes Nigeria look like a country of corruption.
“All the headlines in the last two years, are just about corruption and no country in its right senses would want to come and invest in your country if all they hear every day is corruption, corruption, corruption; because there ought to be sanity.”
Reduced To A Trafalgar Square
According to him, such hauls are eventually turning Nigeria into a subject of ridicule and a laughable show for the rest of the world.
“In fighting corruption, you must do it strategically, in such a way that you do not hurt the image of your country. When you begin to make hauls of money, a lot of these monies, orphaned from septic tanks, from canals, from ware houses, from shops from houses, abandoned, even as in the Osborne case, from flat 7A, in a seven-storey building, where you also have 7B and suddenly, 7A had about 43 million dollars, 23 million Naira and 27 thousand pounds, yet no one owns it; with the key to one of the safes showing clearly; it begins to make us a laughing stock – It becomes ludicrous.
“We are beginning to reduce the entire anti-corruption fight to one of a Trafalgar Square in London or one of a national theatre cinema or one of Hollywood, Nollywood and Bollywood, joined together – That is not how to fight corruption,” the lawyer asserted.
He made references to the United States, noting that in their fight against corruption, investigations are done secretly and thoroughly until facts are unraveled.
“The equivalent arms in the United States of America from where we borrowed our democracy, the Financial Action Tax Force, the CIA, the FBIA, the FBI; when they are fighting corruption, you hardly hear anything about it – They first investigate very thoroughly, they get the people, they carry out quiet sting operations.
“Many a time, until they have secured prosecution, until they have secured conviction or they are prosecuting, you can never hear the name of any citizen mentioned as regards corruption.”
He also made reference to a phone conversation he had with some foreign friends whom according to him, had asked: “Is your country all about corruption and nothing else, are you people so corrupt that there is nothing else in governance?”.
Mr Ozekhome who has faulted some of the methods through which corruption is being fought, however noted that he is against corruption and does not believe in it because according to him, it “downgrades a country’s existentialism.”
It was a bleak Easter for residents of Asso Community in Jemaa Local Government Area of Kaduna state, as about 12 people have been reported dead and others injured, following an attack by unidentified gunmen who stormed the village on a shooting spree.
The latest attack is coming few months after relative peace had gradually been returning to all troubled communities in the southern part of the state.
An indigene of the area told Channels Television that the incident occurred at about 6:00 pm on Saturday, after a peace and reconciliation meeting between locals and fulani people aimed at finding lasting peace in the area was held.
He said the 12 persons died of bullet wounds when the attackers stormed the village and opened fire on innocent residents who were preparing for the Easter celebration.
Also according to him, the three injured persons had been rushed to the Kafanchan General Hospital for treatment.
The spokesman for the Kaduna State Police Command, Aliyu Usman, who confirmed the incident, however stated that he was yet to get details of the number of casualties.
He also noted that more security operatives have been deployed to the community for a manhunt of the attackers also to forestall any further break down of law and order
Meanwhile, the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has condemned the attack, describing it as inhuman and callous.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan, the governor condoled with the victims and their families, while affirming that security operations are being ramped to rid the forest areas of the bandits.
Governor El-rufai also announced that a new security measure code named ‘Operation Harbin Kunama (II)’, would soon launched to help the Army deal with persons responsible for the attacks.
He, however, urged security agencies to double their efforts in fishing out those behind the killings, and to act promptly on carefully vetted intelligence.
Seventeen new cases of leprosy, have been detected in a small community in Bauchi state, consisting of not more than 2,000 people, in the month of March alone.
The alarm was raised by an agency in charge of the disease in the state, which also noted that one household alone, recorded about seven of the total number of cases.
Meanwhile, there are concerns over the possibility of eradicating the disease in Nigeria, despite the launch of a five -year National Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Strategic Plan in 2016 by the Federal Government, seeking to eliminate the disease in endemic states.
The new outbreak is coming at a time when some donor agencies have completely withdrawn their support in the fight against the disease in Nigeria.
According to The Leprosy Mission, an effective cure for leprosy has been available since 1982 in the form of multi-drug therapy – a combination of three drugs taken daily between a period of six to 12 months.
However, while treatment halts the progression of the cruel disease, it cannot turn the clock back in terms of disability.
The Edo State Commissioner of Police, Haliru Gwandu, has refuted claims of an alleged assault by police officers from his command on Professor Sunday Edeko, the Dean of Faculty of Law, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.
Addressing journalists at the state headquarters in Benin City, the Edo state capital, Mr Gwandu said the publications making the rounds on social media, cast aspersions on the current reforms by the Nigeria Police Force,especially in the area of human rights.
He recounted the police’ version of the events that led to the publications in the newspapers and online media on Friday April 14, 2017.
According to the Force, Professor Sunday Edeko had interfered with a police operation being carried out in Ekpoma, Edo state on March 13 2017.
“This same lecturer was coming from nowhere and he blocked the vehicle of the police, the police did not say anything to him, he said he must know why they are arresting that person. The suspect was not his relation, I doubt if he was even his student but he was exchanging altercation with my policemen. My policemen did not molest him.”
The CP also confirmed that a letter of apology was written and signed by the professor, which he (the CP), read during the briefing.
“I write to apologise over the incident that happened in Ekpoma on the 13th March 2017. I wish to say that it was not my intention at all to obstruct law enforcement being involved in law and order enforcing. Thank you, yours faithfully Sunday Edeko.”
One person has been reported dead while seven others are said to be receiving treatment after suspected members of the Boko Haram terrorists group ambushed a vigilante group in Yobe state, northeast Nigeria.
Witnesses told Channels Television that the vigilante group were on their way to conduct a ‘search operation’ in Wulle Village of Gujba Local Government Area of the state, when an Explosive Device allegedly planted by the insurgents went off, killing the driver of the Hilux vehicle conveying the group.
One of the vigilante members involved in the attack, Mr Baitu narrating the incident said: “We got a tip off that the terrorists group had a day earlier, snatched a vehicle in Wulle village, after which we then mobilized to carry out a search operation in the town.
“We were approaching a bridge very close to Wulle when an explosive buried by the insurgents went off and halted us from reaching the terrorists hideouts.”
Baitu, who is among the other six receiving treatment at the Damaturu Specialist hospital, confirmed that the driver died on the spot.
The Commander of the vigilante group, Mallam Awana, speaking to Channels Television, however noted that the incident would not frighten them from carrying out their onslaught on the terrorist group, rather it would serve as an encouragement to do more.
“We are sad with the regrettable happening but it will not deter us from fighting the insurgents. I can assure you that we have just started and we will continue to lookout for these criminals and we must ensure we wipe them off completely to restore normalcy in our localities.
“Our law abiding citizens must return to their ancestral homes to continue with their legitimate means of livelihood,” Awana assured.
Wulle village is located about 10 kilometers east of Buniyadi, the headquarters of Gujba Local Government Area south of Damaturu, the Yobe state capital.
Buniyadi was captured by the Boko Haram insurgents in 2013 but was reclaimed by security forces in 2016 which led to the return of the Displaced persons to the area.
Mr Dunoma said the committee is to investigate the entire incident, with a view to evaluating the immediate and remote causes of the fire, determining the extent of damage, and making recommendations to forestall future recurrence.
While the committee is expected to turn in its reports within the next two weeks, the FAAN MD said the Police will also continue their investigation to unravel the cause of the incident.
The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has disclosed details of his monthly salary as well as security votes and has challenged the National Assembly to do same.
He advised the leadership of the National Assembly to disclose the details of its budget, as well as the salaries and allowances of its leadership.
This was in response to the challenge from the Speaker of the House Of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, that governors should make public their security budgets and how they disburse local government funds.
The Governor released details of his monthly salary of 470, 000 Naira, and a summary of the state’s major expenditure.
He disclosed that expenses from security votes in 2017 came to 1.5 billion Naira for the procurement and installation of CCTV cameras for the metropolis and 193 million Naira for procurement of geo-position interceptor and location of GSM UMTS systems.
He further added that 265 million Naira went into the procurement of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and the establishment of a forensic laboratory.
In addition, 2.6 billion Naira was said to have been allocated to support the network of Federal Security Agencies in 2017 and the total was put at 4.459 billion Naira.
Justice Tsoho of the Federal High Court, has fixed May 18 to hear plaintiffs application in the Malabu Oil case between the Nigerian government and some oil companies.
The application was made ex-parte by plaintiff for leave of court to serve writ of summons and other processes on 3rd defendant at 21/22 Marina Lagos.
The plaintiffs also sought date for motion for application for interlocutory reliefs.
On March 17, Justice Tsoho had set aside EFCC chairman’s application in the case and directed parties in the case who had an issue with the Malabu deal (OPL 245), to file fresh cases to ventilate their grievances.
Ruling on an application filed by the EFCC, Justice John Tsoho, upheld the application filed by Nigerian Agip Oil Exploration and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited, challenging the order of forfeiture.
He held that the orders for forfeiture were initially made based on the ex-parte application filed by the EFCC which was irregularly filed.
The judge also dismissed an application filed by Malabu Oil and Gas Limited seeking to, among others, stay the earlier reserved ruling on the applications by Agip and Shell.