United States President, Barack Obama is still making efforts to close the Guantanamo bay prison before he leaves office, as the United States says it has sent 15 detainees to the United Arab Emirates.
This is the largest single transfer during President Obama’s administration.
According to the pentagon, the transfer of 12 Yemeni nationals and three Afghans brings the total number of prisoners down to 61 at the US facility in Cuba.
Most of the inmates there have been held without charge or trial for more than a decade.
Obama revealed his plans to close the prison in February but many Republican lawmakers as well as some fellow Democrats have opposed his decision.
“In its race to close Gitmo, the Obama administration is doubling down on policies that put American lives at risk,” Republican Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.
“Once again, hardened terrorists are being released to foreign countries where they will be a threat,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Amnesty International’s U.S. Director for Security and Human Rights, Naureen Shah, said keeping Guantanamo open gave cover to foreign governments to ignore human rights.
“I think we are at an extremely dangerous point where there is a significant possibility this is going to remain open as a permanent offshore prison to hold people, practically until they die,” Shah told Reuters.
“It weakens the U.S. government’s hand in arguing against torture and indefinite detention”.
Former US President, George Bush opened it to accommodate foreign terror suspects after the September 11 attacks in 2001 on the US.
The Chief Executive of Panic Alert Security Systems, Mr George Uboh has condemned the manner in which the government has handled its recovery of looted funds.
He was on Sunrise Daily on Monday, reacting to the government’s decision to withhold names of persons involved in the list of recovered monies and assets released during the weekend.
He believes that concerned authorities are not being sincere with Nigerians in their handling of the anti-corruption campaign by the Nigerian government.
“If a minister on the run comes and says ‘look I have one billion Naira I want to return’, you don’t accept it without going through the criminal procedure,” he argued.
He explained that the removal of the sources of those monies meant that another government would not be able to ascertain that those persons who funds have been traced to have returned such monies traced to them.
He also accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of holding on to some of the recovered funds as he had several documents to back up his claims, having worked for the government to trace looted funds.
“I was engaged by the federal government to trace funds trapped in financial institutions and within 27 days I traced in different currencies aggregate 324 billion Naira. So if the government is coming as a government saying they traced a little over a hundred billion in one year, you be the judge,” he said.
Mr Uboh’s engagement has since been revoked by the Attorney-General of the Federation but he insisted that by recent happenings, he had been vindicated on his past allegations against the EFCC and details of traced loots which he has made public on several occasions.
“I have always accused the EFCC, I have the evidence…and with this (his) engagement I have been able to find the monies EFCC is hiding and more.”
Appointed In Error
The Attorney-General of the Federation, in a letter published in the media had asked the President to disregard Mr Uboh’s published claims that he had traced the amount totalling 1.9 trillion Naira.
Mr Uboh claimed that he was aware of this and had taken it up with the AGF who told him that there had been a public outcry and other ministers had demanded that his engagement for the tracing of looted funds should be revoked.
The AGF’s letter also stated that Mr Uboh was engaged in error as he was later discovered to have been “previously convicted in the United States for bank fraud and was recently jailed by an FCT High Court for fraud related issues”.
Mr Uboh said that the most convenient excuse is for anybody to say he is an ex-convict but “If the evidence I proffered against the EFCC is fake, arrest me. If the evidence I have proffered regarding my tracing is fake, arrest me.
“What has that got to do with anything? Is he denying that he signed the engagement letter?” he asked. He clarified that he was not contesting the issue of the revocation of his engagement but was only insisting on the recovery of what he had traced during his engagement.
“I have the record, names, and account numbers of all the monies I traced…the government has to answer, why are these funds traced not recovered?
He would not deny his conviction as stated by the AGF but insisted that the case was in appeal as he was wrongfully convicted. He vowed that he would win the appeal and clear his name.
On his conviction in the US, he further said, “I am celebrating my conviction. You know why? Because my conviction elevated me to the status of all the idols I admire all over the world who have been arrested, detained, in some cases jailed for fighting corruption and injustice globally. It comes with the territory.”
Distortion of Records
Meanwhile, a legal practitioner, Emeka Onohwakpor, agrees with Mr Uboh’s demand that names should have been published with the funds and assets recovered.
Giving a slightly different perspective, he believes that the names should have been published in order to ensure proper record.
While Mr Oboh earlier suggested there might be a cover up, Mr Onohwakpor believes that the decision to withhold names is a loop hole for more fraud to be committed as there are possibilities that some persons are concealing information.
The lawyer also warned that the manner in which the recoveries were declared will allow for distortion of the records.
He added that anyone who indeed returned money after discovering that monies paid for services were stolen, cannot at the moment be sure if what they returned have gone to the government..
“If somebody who has been accused of looting funds refunds one billion dollars and only 500 million is declared, then there is a problem,” he said.
“We cannot just leave it to only one side declaring what they got. The side that gave, you even owe them a duty to say ‘I got this from Mr B’.
Mr Onohwakpor disagreed with the government’s stance that they might be liable to litigation if they publish names of persons they have recovered monies and other assets from.
He said that publishing a list of recoveries and their sources does not mean the persons mentioned have been tagged looters or have been declared guilty of fraud.
“And the issue of whether it is going to tarnish their image; I don’t think it comes in here because if the money you’re returning to the government is gotten through legitimate means you put your case out there. Nobody is accusing you.”
He also stated that a media organisation or the federal government would not be liable to any form of litigation for naming persons they recovered monies or assets from as long as they truly returned such money. “The point is, let it not be a lie,” he said.
He admitted that no one can be declared guilty until the courts say so but having returned money, the burden of proof swings to the person to proof his innocence.
He also dismissed the view that some persons were not aware that the sources of the monies they were paid for services were illegal arguing that being overpaid should have been an indication that the sources were fraudulent.
“The way forward is to create a level playing field. It doesn’t matter who is involved,” he advised.
The Federal Government has finally released the interim report on funds and assets recovered from individuals who looted the nation’s treasury.
According to a statement from the office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the total cash recoveries comes to the sum of seventy eight point three billion Naira; one hundred and eight five million point one US Dollars, three point five million Pounds, and eleven thousand Euros, from May 29, 2015 to May 25, 2016.
This comes after the Federal Government failed to publish the list of individuals and the amount stolen on May 29, as earlier promised.
The Federal Government made cash recoveries totaling N78,325,354,631.82 (Seventy eight billion, three hundred and twenty-five million, three hundred and fifty-four thousand, six hundred and thirty one Naira and eighty two kobo); $185,119,584.61 (One hundred and eight five million, one hundred and nineteen thousand, five hundred and eighty four US Dollars, sixty one cents); 3,508,355.46 Pounds Sterling (Three million, five hundred and eight thousand, three hundred and fifty-five Pounds and 46 Pence) and 11, 250 Euros (Eleven thousand, two hundred and fifty Euros) from 29 May 2015 to 25 May 2016.
In a statement in Lagos on Saturday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also disclosed that Recoveries Under Interim Forfeiture (cash and assets) during the period totaled N126,563,481,095.43 (One hundred and twenty six billion, five hundred and sixty three million, four hundred and eighty one thousand, and ninety five Naira, forty three Kobo; $9,090,243,920.15 (Nine billion, ninety million, two hundred and forty three thousand, nine hundred and twenty Dollars, fifteen cents; 2,484,447.55 Pounds Sterling (Two million, four hundred and eighty four thousand, four hundred and forty seven Pounds, fifty five Pence) and 303,399.17 Euros (Three hundred and three thousand, three hundred and ninety-nine Euros, 17 cents).
According to the statement, which is based on the interim report on the financial and assets recoveries made by the various government agencies from 29 May 2015 to 25 May 2016, the Funds Awaiting Return From Foreign Jurisdictions total $321,316,726.1 (Three hundred and twenty one million, three hundred and sixteen thousand, seven hundred and twenty six Dollars, one cent); 6,900,000 Pounds (Six million, nine hundred thousand Pounds) and 11,826.11 Euros (Eleven thousand, eight hundred and twenty six Euros, 11 cents).
It showed that Non-Cash Recoveries (Farmlands, Plots of Land, Uncompleted Buildings, Completed Buildings, Vehicles and Maritime Vessels) during the period total 239.
The following is the breakdown of the recovered cash and assets:
INTERIM REPORT ON FINANCIAL AND ASSET RECOVERIES MADE BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA FROM 29 MAY 2015 TO 25 MAY 2016
EFCC Cash at hand
Royalty/tax/payment to FGN account in JP Morgan account New York
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, on Wednesday met with the United Arab Emirate (UAE) Ambassador to Nigeria, Mahmud Muhammad Al- Mahmud, to deepen the anti-corruption war.
At a meeting in Mr Magu’s office in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, both men discussed further cooperation that would see stolen funds returned to Nigeria.
The meeting came barely two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari signed a Mutual Legal Assistance agreement with the UAE on the repatriation of stolen funds and extradition of indicted officials.
At the meeting, the EFCC boss called for the strengthening of the existing relationship between Nigeria and the UAE, with a view to effectively tackling corruption within the African continent.
Mr Magu said: “The fight against graft requires the collaborative support of all and sundry, most especially the international community for it to be won”.
According to the EFCC boss, the present administration in Nigeria was poised to recover the nation’s commonwealth looted and laundered in foreign countries by corrupt elements.
He said the Commission had intelligence that the UAE was considered a safe haven by corrupt politically exposed persons in Nigeria.
“I have come to seek your support and cooperation just as we had in the case of Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha, James Ibori, among others to get the mission accomplished,” Magu told the UAE envoy.
On his part, the UAE Ambassador, Al- Mahmud, pledged the support of his country to Nigeria’s anti-graft war.
“No country can be an island on its own without the support of others,” he stressed.
Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed six agreements to enhance bilateral relations between them.
The signing of the agreements on trade, finance and judicial matters was witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs, Obaid Attayar, signed the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement, while the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah signed the Agreement on Trade Promotion and Protection with the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs.
The Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Bin Saeed Albadi signed the Judicial Agreements on Extradition, Transfer of Sentenced Persons, and Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters, which includes the recovery and repatriation of stolen wealth.
At a reception after the signing of the agreements, President Buhari reiterated his commitment to fighting corruption and restoring Nigeria’s dignity in the comity of nations.
The President also urged all Islamic countries to support the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and described the atrocities of Boko Haram as un-Islamic and against the teachings of the Holy Prophet.
In his remarks, Crown Prince Zayed Al Nahyan said that the relationship between Nigeria and the UAE would be strengthened by President Buhari’s visit and the signing of the agreements.
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, says Nigeria has made very significant progress towards ending Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast since his assumption of office on May 29, 2015.
The President made the statement in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), during a meeting with the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Mr Ban Ki-moon, on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit.
Buhari said that in collaboration with the Multinational Joint Task Force, the Nigerian Armed Forces have driven the terrorist group from Nigerian territory into “fall-back positions”.
“They are currently not holding any territory today as we speak, ” President Buhari told the UN Secretary-General.
According to a statement from the Media Adviser to the President, Femi Adesina, President Buhari also told Ban Ki-moon that Nigeria would persistently pursue global action to reverse the drying up of Lake Chad and save the lives of those who depend on it for survival.
“With all due respect to our neighbours, Nigeria has been worst hit by the drying up of the Lake Chad and we are hoping that the global community will support the process of halting the drying up of the lake.”
In response, Mr Ban Ki-moon commended the President for his courage in fighting terrorism and corruption.
The Secretary-General said that Nigeria had made amazing progress against terrorism since President Buhari assumed office, while the President’s war against corruption had also boosted global confidence in the Nigerian economy.
He urged President Buhari to integrate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into Nigeria’s economic and environmental vision.
President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on a three-day official visit where he will be attending the World Future Energy Summit on January 17, as a special guest of honour.
The Nigerian President was received at the President wing or the Abu Dhabi International Airport in United Arab Emirates by the third Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed and Ambassador of Nigeria to UAE, Ibrahim Auwalu.
In the course of the visit, President Buhari would join the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki Moon; Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi and other participants as a special guest of honour at the 2016 edition of the World Future Energy Summit.
The summit, which is now in its ninth year of existence, has developed into one of the world’s most influential events dedicated to advancing future energy, energy efficiency and clean technologies.
President Buhari would also lead a team of his ministers to bilateral talks with the government of the UAE, after which a number of agreements between both countries on economic, trade and bilateral relations are expected to be signed.
President Buhari was as well scheduled to meet with leading UAE businessmen who are interested in Nigeria with a view to encouraging greater investment inflows to critical sectors such as power supply, oil, gas and agriculture.
The President will be accompanied by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing Ministers of State for Petroleum, Minister of Environment, Justice, Trade and Investment, Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the National Security Adviser.
He would also meet with Nigerian professionals in the UAE before returning to Abuja on Tuesday, January 19.
Team Nigeria has won nine medals at the ongoing Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles. The medals are six gold and three silver.
The star boy of day-5 is Sunday Olowoniyi. The 20-year-old beat Panama’s Loaiza Tamir and South Korea’s Jeong Seong Jun by three games to top the men’s singles division six and win another table tennis gold for Nigeria.
Victoria White set the ball rolling on day-4 of the competition, winning gold in table-tennis. It was an almost flawless performance by the young Nigerian who defeated her opponents from India, Macau and the United Arab Emirates without dropping a game in her division.
Rasaq Muraina and Jeffrey Olu-Imaferami continued the gold rush for Nigeria with excellent displays in badminton, adding to the cycling gold won by Emuwa Chidubem in the 500 meters time trial.
Sikiru Sadiq threw a distance of 6.72 meters to win silver in the 4kg division mo8 shot put event, while the basketball team rounded off proceedings with an exciting 28-23 win over Belgium.
Once again, Moshood Popoola emerged the star of a good team performance scoring 10 points and recording 10 rebounds. The next game is a top of the table clash against Korea.
Team Nigeria started their campaign at the Special Olympics World Games with Tejumoluwa Ogunlela winning silver in division 15 of the 100 metres women’s freestyle.
Adebiyi Olatunji and Adedamola Roberts consolidated to win gold and silver in division 17 of the 100 meters men’s freestyle event.
On day-2, Nigeria crushed South Africa 6-0 in division one of the unified soccer event. Two first half goals from Daniel Osadolo ensured a great start at the Balboa Sports Center.
In the second half, Coach Stephen Adeyomo’s team turned up the heat on their opponents with further goals from Abubakar Adebayo and Eziema Chukwudi, ensuring a comfortable win.
On the same day, Nigeria defeated Canada 33-21 points in Basketball, to advance to the next round. The West African team dominated the first quarter 17-9, but the Canadians fought back in the third to reduce the deficit. The 4th quarter saw another close battle, before Nigeria eventually pulled away late in the game.
With athletes such as Sadiq Sikiru, Chidubem Emuwa, Fatai Fatimoh and Mbum Esther also receiving medals for successful outings in shot put, cycling and standing long jump.
Team Nigeria will be hoping the medal chase continues before the competition ends on August 2, 2015.
The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games opened on July 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The 2015 Games feature competitions in aquatics, gymnastics, track and field, basketball, football (soccer) and many other summer sports involving 6,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities from around the world.
The Egyptian government has announced plans to build a new capital to the east of the present Cairo.
Housing Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, said the project would cost $45 billion (£30bn) and take five to seven years to complete.
The Minister said the aim was to ease congestion and overpopulation in Cairo, over the next 40 years. The announcement was made at an investment conference that aims to revive the Egyptian economy.
The gathering, in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, attracted pledges worth $12 billion (£8bn) in aid and investment from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Mr Madbouly said the population of greater Cairo, estimated at about 18 million, was expected to double within 40 years.
The Egyptian parliament, its government departments and ministries, as well as foreign embassies, would move to the new metropolis, Madbouly said.
“We are talking about a world capital,” he added.
Developers say the new city, of which the name has not been revealed, would include almost 2,000 schools and colleges and more than 600 healthcare facilities. The project would create more than a million jobs.
It is planned to be built over 700 sq km (270 sq miles) and house about five million residents.
Investment Corp of Dubai (ICD), the state fund which holds stakes in some of the Emirate’s top firms, has agreed to buy a $300 million stake in top Nigerian cement producer, Dangote Cement, a spokesman for Dangote said on Monday.
Dangote’s Head of Investor Relations, Carl Franklin, did not give further details.
Dangote’s current market capitalisation is about $23.7 billion, meaning ICD is taking a stake of about 1.3 percent.
Dangote, owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, is Nigeria’s biggest company. It is expanding operations and plans to roll out cement plants across Africa.
This is the Friday edition of ‘Sports This Morning’ on your award winning Channels Television.
Yemi Adebayo takes us on a trip starting with top stories in the world of sports.
The countdown to FIFA World Cup, Brazil 2014 continues with 69 days to the biggest football event on the planet; we look at the readiness of Brazil to host the world and also focus one of the teams that the world would be expecting to make clear statements at the tournament, the Azzurri.
Meanwhile, the question on everybody’s lips is who wins the Women’s FIFA U-17 World Cup? Is it going to be Japan or Spain? You may have found out the winner but the analysis on this edition of the show would be a delight.
In the Nigerian Glo Premier League, the League Management Company has granted Nembe City FC provisional admission into the league after the club met conditions set by the body.
We also bring you some analysis of the great boxing match-up that promises to be a classic. Timothy Bradley says he is ready to prove doubters wrong by beating Filipino boxer Manny Pacquaio in their scheduled rematch.
Let’s also take you to South America, Argentina to be precise, as Boca Juniors takes on River Plate.