CACOL Lauds Anti-Corruption Bills To Strengthen EFCC

EFCC Tasks Women On Anti-Corruption WarThe Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), has commended the steps being taken by the House of Representatives, on four consolidated bills seeking to strengthen the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as the fight against corruption surges on.

This was revealed in a statement issued on Monday by the CACOL Media Coordinator, Mr Wale Salami.

Speaking on behalf of the centre, the CACOL Chairman, Mr Debo Adeniran said: “It is indeed impressive to see to the House taking practical steps to disencumber the fight against corruption.

“We had always called for amendments to some of our laws which apparently are not restrictive enough to deter or debar people from engaging in corrupt practices.

“Some of these laws actually pamper corrupt tendencies and encumber the progress of the anti-corruption drive leading to corruption criminals wriggling through the labyrinths of the judicial and enforcement systems to evade justice willfully”.

The bills before the House are seeking to strengthen the EFCC in combating economic and financial crimes, shield the agency from undue interference by the Presidency and for its financial autonomy.

Part of what is expected to form the amendments, is that convicts of corruption crimes shall serve an imprisonment of a term not less than 20 years, as well as have their loots, accounts or investment forfeited to the government.

The Chairman further stated that: “At this period when the Senate has become a house of tragic comedy based on the pro-corruption character of the leadership and a large chunk of the membership of the Upper Chamber, it is indeed refreshing to see the House of Respresentatives (HOR) attempting to focus on matters worthy of attention.

“We call for expeditious actions towards the enactment of the bills into law.

“We add that President Muhammadu Buhari must ensure that stolen funds so far recovered by the government are not looted back by the incurably corrupt elements that are clearly still lurking around in very powerful positions in the present government.”

CACOL had consistently called for life imprisonment for convicts that stole any amount above 1 billion Naira, and that such big thieves should be made to work diligently for their own upkeep while in prison via whatever skills they possessed previously or have been able to learn behind the bars.

“For us, 20 years maximum imprisonment is not enough, particularly for those corrupt elements who remained recalcitrant and impenitent during trials, those that consciously made the country to expend undue energy, resources and time before their conviction.

“They should be used as objects to educate the young, the youth and all, when they go on excursion to the prisons.

“Seeing former corrupt leaders in such situation will certainly serve to deter the potentially corrupt. And assets traced to such convicts should be deemed to be proceeds of corruption and confiscated by the Nigerian state”.

Although Mr Adeniran commended the war against corruption thus far, he added that recovered funds should not be stolen, rather they should be channelled back to the original projects or purposes for which they were meant.

“In cases where the original projects have been fixed, such funds should be put in Treasury Single Account (TSA) and used for other important needs of the nation.

“It would be a double tragedy if recovered funds or loots end-up getting re-looted. The processes involved in the recovery must be made transparent and accountable,” he stressed.

Change Should Come From President’s Cabinet – Chima Nnaji

Change, Chima NnajiAs Nigerians continue to react to the change agenda of President Muhammad Buhari’s administration, a lawyer has proposed that the change should come from the Presidency.

Mr Chima Nnaji, who made the observation on Wednesday, said that most of those in the President’s cabinet were not doing well enough.

He told Channels Television that if the government was unable to address some of the challenges, it should be as a result of circumstance.

“I like the word ‘change starts from the President’. Many people have said that this President has not looked at the geography of this country.

“We want him and his cabinet to do a lot of things that Nigerians have complained about that have not been done.

“The fact that you are somebody’s biological father does not confer your authority over him.

“There has to be something that you (as a father) are doing to show that child that you are actually his father.

“If you are not able to put certain things on the table, it is because of circumstance (and) not that you will never think of that,” he said on Sunrise Daily.

Cabinet Reshuffle Long Overdue

The legal practitioner also stressed the need for a cabinet reshuffle and asked the government to define its change agenda.

Though he said he did not have a problem that the government made the statement, he, however, noted that the government ought to make such exaltation with basis.

“He (President Buhari) should have been able to reassess the cabinet now.

“A cabinet reshuffle is long overdue (and) so, that change too should come to the cabinet.

“When you want to talk about change, define what is change (because) this one is not yet clearly defined,” he said.

President Buhari had launched a new national orientation programme, Change Begins With Me, as a determination of his administration to carry all Nigerians along on the journey to a better and greater society that everybody can be proud of.

The President said that the programme was the best way to sustain the effort his administration had made in the fight against corruption.

Digital Broadcasting: FG Reaffirms Determination To Switch By June 2017

Digital switchoverThe Federal Government has reaffirmed its determination to meet the June 2017 deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for migration from analogue to digital broadcasting.

The Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, said this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammad Buhari.

Council’s decision is following a briefing by the Minister on the process of the migration to digital broadcasting.

According to the Minister, the pilot scheme in Jos, the Plateau State capital is working out very well as 15 stations can be viewed on a digital platform.

According to the minister the relevant ministers are enjoined to work with the Ministry of Information to ensure a smooth transition.

Rescued Chibok Girl: Hunger Forced Alleged Husband To Surrender

Recovered_GirlFresh facts have emerged as to how Mohammed Hayatu, alleged husband of rescued Chibok girl Amina Ali, was arrested.

Hayatu, one of the Boko Haram commanders also known as “Amir” reportedly escaped with his wife from the Sambisa forest and surrendered to Civilian Joint Task Force members in Balle, a village in Damboa.

This is according to military sources in Damboa, who also accompanied Amina to Maiduguri.

The commander of the outlawed group stated hunger and ill health as reasons for his action as according to him his family would have starved to death following the blocking of supply routes by intensive military operations.

Ali Gwoza and Apagu Chibok are some of the vigilante members, who identified Amina, when her captor gave himself up.

Amina and her four-month old baby, Safiya, was accompanied by the General Officer Commanding, 7 Division, General Victor Ezugwu to the Borno state Government House to meet Governor Kashim Shettima.

Shettima is expected to proceed with her to Abuja on Thursday where he would hand her over to President Muhammad Buhari.

Journalists have been barred from filming or taking pictures of the rescued girl.

Dressed in a loose gown, pale and frail, Amina walks with difficulty to the governor’s office.

Governor Shettima, who interacted with Amina, has declined comments on the latest turn of events.

House Of Reps Approves $300m Diaspora Bond

House of Representatives on Diaspora BondThe House of Representatives in Nigeria has approved the increase of the diaspora bond from $100 million euro bond to $300 million Euro bond.

The request was made by President Muhammad Buhari, as part of the Federal Government’s external borrowing plan for the 2016-2018 period.

The new approved Diaspora Bond was in a recommendation submitted to the House on Tuesday by an ad-hoc committee set up to consider the President’s request.

Addressing reporters on the development, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yusuf Lasan, said that the Diaspora Fund was expected to reduce the cost of government borrowing.

He said that the proceeds of the issuance would be used to finance capital projects in priority sectors of the economy such as roads, railways and power projects among others.

Insurgency: Shettima Extols Borno Residents’ Courage

Borno Governor Kashim Shettima UIMAIDGovernor Kashim Shettima says the residents of Borno State in northeast Nigeria have earned the respect of the world.

Governor Shettima made the statement during the 22nd convocation ceremony of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) held in the state capital.

The Governor also commended both staff and students of the University for their courage, despite the security challenges in Borno State.

“The people of Borno and anyone living in Maiduguri, including the students of this university have earned the respect of the world.

“To live in the circumstances under which you lived in the past few years with bombings and shootings and insecurity, and to have the courage to continue to come and teach and learn, and continue with your lives is indeed a remarkable achievement for any people,” he said.

Governor Shettima and his Niger State counterpart, Abubakar Bello, who are both alumni of UNIMAID, renewed the hopes of undergraduates and the newly inducted alumni from their personal experiences.

The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Professor Julius Okojie, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, urged Nigerian universities to intensify research.

In his speech, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Ibrahim Njodi, appealed for sustained support and funding of the institution to improve learning standards.

The university also conferred honorary degrees on the Chancellor of the University, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, and Professor Russel Galen while former Head of State, late General Murtala Mohammed, bagged a posthumous Doctor of Laws award.

In acceptance remark, the Emir of Kano saluted the courage of the new graduates and the university community for defying insecurity threat to pursue their goals.

The University is graduating a total of 37,259 students spread across five sets of 2009/2010 and 2014/2015 academic sessions from 12 colleges and faculties, distance learning centre and 23 affiliated colleges. In all 172 students obtained first class degrees.

According to officials, UNIMAID’s 22nd combined convocation was a fallout of the improved security situation in Borno State.

The 21st convocation ceremony was held in October 2010 as the university could not hold any convocation due to the lingering security challenge in the region.

Insurgency: Army Publishes Images Of 100 Suspects

wanted-Boko-Haram-terroristsThe Nigerian Army has published the photograph of 100 suspected insurgents declared wanted by the ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, made a public show of the suspected terrorists’ images in Maiduguri on Wednesday at the closing ceremony of a three-day engagement, organised for Army Public Relations Officers from across Nigeria.

‘Winning The War’

The Army Chief said that troops on the front lines were doing all they could to put an operational end to the counter terrorism war.

Lieutenant General Buratai, however, said that the insurgents had been greatly decimated, assuring Nigerians that ‘the Army is winning the war’.

He, nonetheless, stressed the need for the recognition of the sacrifices being made by federal troops on the front lines.Wanted Boko Haram terrorists

Lieutenant General Buratai urged Nigerians to show patriotism and support the efforts of the Nigerian military by providing information that would lead to the arrest of suspected insurgents.

He also said that the December deadline required the cooperation of all Nigerians to achieve the desired results.

President Muhammad Buhari had in August given the army a three-month ultimatum to end insurgency in the north-east which was later extended to December 2015.

 

Forces Of Corruption Produced The So Called 100 Days Promise – Obono-Obla

Okoi Obono-OblaA former member of the Legal and Security Directorate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla on Monday blamed “forces of corruption” for producing the “so called 100 days promise” by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We don’t know about that document. I was in the APC Presidential Campaign Council and there was no document that emanated from the Presidential Campaign Council saying that the President will transform Nigerian into a land of milk and honey.

“As far as I am concerned the 100 days is nothing. How do you expect a government to transform the country in 100 days? It is far-fetched, it is a gimmickry by those people who were afraid of APC, who portrayed the APC maliciously and falsely as a northern and Muslim party.

“It is far from the truth”, he maintained.

Mr Obono-Obla, who made the claim on Tuesday while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, alleged that since the “PDP devastated the country in 16 years of misrule”, neither the APC nor the President would have produced such a document because “it is unrealistic”.

He further argued that President Buhari’s administration has “in 100 days, made Nigeria to earn a lot of respect from other countries”, adding that “the amount of stealing going on now has reduced compared to five or six months ago”, maintaining that “everyone is on his toes.

“We have seen a lot of gains from the fight against corruption. Fighting corruption is not all about putting people into jail. But I know that a lot of people are returning money that was illegally taken out of the treasury” he said.

Mr Obono-Obla’s views are coming days after President Muhammadu Buhari distanced himself from two documents containing promises on what he would achieve in his first 100 days in office.

A statement from his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu titled: “Understanding Buhari in 100 days” said he has no knowledge of the two campaign documents which reportedly emanated from the party’s “many centres of public communication which, for whatever reason, were on the loose.”

According to the statement, “There is a certain document tagged “One Hundred Things Buhari Will Do in 100 Days” and the other, “My Covenant With Nigerians.”

“Both pamphlets bore the authorised party logo but as the Director of Media and Communications in that campaign, I did not fund or authorise any of those. I can equally bet my last Kobo that Candidate Buhari did not see or authorise those publications.

“As a consequence of these publications, expectations have been raised unreasonably, that as President, Muhammadu Buhari, will wave his hand and all the problems that the country faces — insecurity, corruption, unemployment, poor infrastructure would go away.

“But that notwithstanding, President Buhari has given the job his best shot and the whole country is saying that we never had it so good. He has re-instituted the values of hard work and administrative efficiency. The President says times without number that this country needs to fix governance and that he won’t tolerate laziness.

Borno Government Holds Talks With Military Over Command Relocation

BornoThe spate of bombings in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital has not dampened the hope of residents that insurgency in the region would soon be history.

The government of Borno State, North-east Nigeria, has been holding talks with military authorities over the relocation of Army Command Center to the state.

According to Borno State Deputy Governor, Zannah Mustapha, plans had been concluded to receive and support the Command Center in its quest to flush out insurgents from the region, as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Suspected terrorists had killed Seven people and injured eight others in a bomb explosion late Wednesday night, at a military check-point in Maiduguri.

Mr Mustapha expressed that the renewed attack by the terrorists was in response to the Presidency’s pronouncement concerning the state.

He assured the people in the state of government’s resolve to collaborate with relevant agencies to end the carnage.