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Abacha Loots: FG to Spend $320m Loot on the Masses

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Abdullahi Mohammed

In an attempt to improve the of living of an average Nigerians the federal government has promised to spend the that $320 million stolen funds by former late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, would be spent on the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme of the administration to support the poor.The Presidency made this promise in a statement on Monday.

As the special guest of honour in the official opening of the 8th Commonwealth Conference of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Africa, Buhari, who was  represented by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, said it was one condition given by the Switzerland authorities for the repatriation of the funds.

Buhari said that The Global Forum on Asset Recovery after its inaugural meeting in Washington, DC, in December 2017, had facilitated efforts toward asset recovery and return.

“The GFAR saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria and the Government of Switzerland for the return of an additional USD$320 million of the Sani Abacha loot.

“Included in that agreement is the commitment that the funds would be invested in one of the Nigeria’s flagship social investment programmes, the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme targeted at the poorest and most vulnerable households in our country.”

The President declared that corruption had continued to be one of the greatest challenges in the continent and called for international collaboration to stem the “scourge”.

He quoted a 2014 report by the One Campaign titled: “One Trillion Dollar Scandal”, which claimed that developing countries lost $1 billion annually to corporate transgressions, with most of them traceable to activities of companies with secret ownership.

The President recalled another report in 2015 by the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, which stated that Africa had lost over $1 trillion over a 50-year period.

The report added that Africa had lost more than $50 billion annually to illicit financial flows mostly perpetrated in the extractive sector and through companies with hidden ownerships.

Buhari noted that the cost of corruption imposed on all African countries and governments a moral obligation to fight it with vigour and political will.

He said it should be done by strengthening all institutions and systems involved in law enforcement as well as in promoting a culture of transparency and accountability.

According to him, while public sector corruption is the usual focus, the private sector’s complicity is significant, as when large multinational corporations engage in tax evasion or transfer pricing.

He noted that it was the complex web of public-private collusion and connivance that resulted in proceeds of corruption ending up in foreign countries and especially in their financial institutions and systems.

He said: “Dismantling the conspiracies that facilitate export of stolen assets is probably as important as the theme of this conference: “Partnering towards Assets Recovery and Return”.

“It underscores the fact that fighting corruption is futile if we do not ensure that the proceeds of corruption find no safe haven.

“Recovering stolen assets not only accomplishes the goal of restitution, it also serves as a potential deterrent to future corruption.”

Buhari decried the absence of a legal basis for cooperation in some countries, differences in legal and procedural frameworks, language barriers, bank secrecy, jurisdictional issues, a lack of funding as obstacles to effective mutual legal assistance.

He, however, expressed gladness on the renewed commitment to collectively identifying the most effective means of overcoming all of the existing legal and technical obstacles to asset recovery and return.

The President urged African countries to come together to keep the issue of asset recovery and return on the front-burner of international discourse and also work hard to build cooperation and mutual understanding with global partners.

He said: “We must insist that recovered stolen assets be returned to the country of origin, without any preconditions, in line with Article 51 of United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Buhari said that States should agree to apply the highest standards possible of transparency at all stages not just of the recovery and return process, but also in the management and disposal of recovered and repatriated assets.

He also called on governments of African States to adequately fund their anti-corruption agencies as the fight against corruption was far more sophisticated, vicious and nuanced than ever before.

He said: “We must provide adequate resources to investigate, adequately equip operatives, protect their families, protect whistleblowers and witnesses.

“Let me say to you Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa that you have found yourselves in roles that could change the destinies of your nation if you deliver on your mandates.

“You simply cannot afford to fail; on our part as the Government of Nigeria we are irrevocably committed to the fight against corruption.”

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Buhari Administration worst than Jonathan- Frank

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By Abdullahi Mohammed

 

 

The self acclaimed critic of bad governance, a suspended chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Timi Frank said the present administration is worst than the last administration while apologising to the former hPresident Goodluck Jonathan for contributing to oust him while in office.

Mr Frank asserted  that judging from events since President Muhammadu Buhari took over three years ago from Jonathan, the latter was a better leader than the former, hence his apology to the former Nigerian leader.

He had since November 2016 been suspended as a member of the APC for making disparaging comments in the media about the the party’s leadership.

As one of the then opposition leaders, the APC Chieftain had criticised Jonathan in the buildup to the 2015 election. He was a member of the National Working Committee, NWC, of his party while the APC was an opposition party.

Conveying his apology in an open letter, the Frank noted that life is worthless under President Buhari.

 

“I would first of all like to use this opportunity to formally apologise to the immediate past President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for all the tantrums and mistreatment orchestrated by me against his person while he held sway at the helm of affairs of our great country.

“Indeed, I and many others may have misunderstood Jonathan’s silence for weakness and thus pushed harder to malign his person and portray him as a weak leader.

“Having achieved the change agenda, it is now crystal clear, that the change we had clamoured for is not the change we got. Under your (Buhari) tenure the rule of law has been replaced with the rule of force. You have injected fear into the society. People who voted for you to save them from corruption and ineptitude have been barred from speaking up against the myriads of evil and wicked acts being perpetrated by officials in your government.

“Unfortunately, corruption is in the upward swing under your watch. This is why I had to apologize to Jonathan since events of the last three years have shown the former president was a better leader.

“People freely expressed themselves under Jonathan’s administration without fear of being branded cultists’ sponsors, gunrunners or aiding murderers. But not so under this administration.

“Under Jonathan, Nigerians enjoyed freedom of speech, association and right to hold dissenting views including organising and partaking in protests against unwelcome government policies. All these are no go areas today. Does it mean Jonathan was a better democrat? It is a fact that no member of the APC which was then in the opposition before 2015 was jailed or harassed for expressing dissent,” Frank said in his letter.

He also said the current government has shown disdain for court orders.

“El-Zakzaky and Dasuki will not be in jail today but for the present rule of force under this government. It is a pity that today democracy and freedom have become scarce. Insecurity continues unabated.

“Killings take place on a daily basis across the country either by kidnappers, Boko Haram insurgents, herdsmen, and other criminal elements having a free reign around the country. Life has become worthless and uncertain and people cannot speak out for fear of being labeled anti-government by your regime.

“Besides, instead of heeding the wise counsel of leaders like Obasanjo, IBB, TY. Danjuma, General Gowon, and religious leaders like Bakare and Oyedepo, you have again declared to seek reelection as President. You even boasted in Bauchi that you will be reelected which was akin to saying you will rig yourself back into office,” he said.

Frank added that history will not be fair to him if he had championed campaigns against Jonathan and remained silent in the face of “anti-democratic tendencies and sheer impunity”.

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It will be Dicey to Remove Buhari in 2019- Presidency

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In a bid to state the reason why president Muhammadu Buhari should be given second term in the office, thPresidency has warned Nigeria against the move to outers President Buhari  from office in the forth coming 2019 general election.

The presidency made this known  on Sunday by the Senior Special Assistant to the president on Media and publicity, Garba Shehu who  said if the president is removed out from office in the 2019 election, the gains of his administration will be lost.

Shehu said PDP politicians were busy going around the country with “Change the Change” campaign, canvassing for the removal of the All Progressive Congress (APC) led by the president whose campaign slogan was “Change.”

While acknowledging that the PDP government established the present anti-corruption institutions, he said the removal of the Buhari will mean a return to the old order where, according to him, corruption had a free rein while seized looted assets will be returned to corrupt individuals.

“The real meaning and cost of the “Changing the Change,” is that if they win the next election, they will not take us back to where we were in 2015, they will mostly reverse the progress the APC has brought to the nation.

“The main reason for the defeat of the PDP in 2015 was corruption. The present administration at the centre led by President Muhammadu Buhari has so far presented a corrupt-free image of itself. It has also succeeded in abolishing grand corruption at the top and as attested to by the American President, Donald Trump.

“The government has significantly brought down the level of corruption in the whole country. It has, however, warned over and again that corruption was fighting back.

“Many who are discerning would have read this from President Buhari’s speech when he inaugurated the impressive new headquarters building of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) a week ago. He narrated how and why he was overthrown as a military Head of State in the 80s.

“In that speech, he said not only was he kicked out because he fought corruption, the ones who took power freed all those that he had jailed, and whatever they stole was returned to them. He took their place in prison and stayed there without trial for 36 months, until that day when a journalist in Benin, now in Edo, broke the story that he had lost his mother. That was when he was allowed to go home.

“The real difference between the PDP and the current APC administration is that although they mouthed a flood of rhetoric against corruption, in fact rightfully lay the claim of founding the institutions now in the forefront of fighting corruption as a government, the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, they had intended to keep them as toys, or bulldogs which teeth had been removed. No, they never intended that the war against corruption would be taken this far.

“To change the change would mean that the teeth of the bulldog will be removed. It would then only bark but not bite.

“In this country, politics is often considered as a synonym of corruption. The previous government came under huge criticism for scandals like that discovered in arms procurements in the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA which transformed itself into a major source of funding of the PDP; NNPC crude oil thefts, broadband spectrum licensing scandal, oil subsidy scam and so many others but the present government has not faced any such corruption allegations.

“Although he said he was unafraid and would not bend, the President’s concern, and fear on the part of many is that if a corrupt leader takes over, it will be happy days all over again for former Oil Minister Diezani Allison-Maduekwe who has so far forfeited USD 153 million, N23.4 billion, and USD 4m and USD 5m in separate accounts. “Change the Change” would mean she will get the money back. So would the former Managing Director of the maritime agency, NIMASA get back GBP 578,080 seized from him and the Ikoyi apartment owners have back their USD43.4m; N23m and GBP 27,800.

“The hidden owner of the Lagos cash shop may then step forward to reclaim their N449.6 million; the ex-Naval Chiefs will have returned to them the already forfeited N1.8 billion; the Governors Forum paid back their N1.4 billion and the major oil marketers, from whom the EFCC has so far seized N328.9 billion will smile their ways to the bank.

“The banks themselves will equally join the party, happily getting back N27.7 billion they “ate” from taxes they failed to remit; the scion of the Akinjides, Jumoke will have N650 million awarded to her while those scammers in INEC who coughed out N1 billion will equally get money back and charges standing against them in court may be dropped.

“But the happiest of them all will be Mrs. Jonathan, who will get the first priority when the refunds start coming for obvious reasons. The former First Lady would not anymore need lawyers to keep her mountain of gifts, counted in huge millions of dollars, billions of Naira, hotels and buildings.

“The list of people who oppose the Buhari government and yearning to “change the change” include a number of parliamentarians, policemen, customs officials, immigration officials, civil servants now rooting for other political parties, not leaving out those various businesses and platforms owned by these political parties directly or indirectly.

“The Buhari win in 2015, and the possibility of four more years have crumbled their dreams of endlessly looting the state and the growing list of achievements of the administration is not doing any good for them.”

The Presidency also spoke of some other programmes being implemented by the current administration which it said could be jeopardized if Buhari does not return to office in 2019 including Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) and the Whistle Blower policy.

Shehu further argued: “Another formidable group unhappy with the change and wish it reversed are the importers of diesel and generators. Nigeria ranks as the second biggest importer of generators all over the world,” adding that the present administration has raised power availability to 7,000mw.

He said the government has continued to improve infrastructure through massive spending leading to the revival of railways services among others in the country.

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APC Will Never Take Over Ekiti State Olusola Advises Buhari

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By Abdullahi Mohammed

 

 

In what looks like a positive mood for the People Democratic Party(PDP),  Ekiti state Deputy Kolapo Olusola, has advised president Muhammadu Buhari  to perish the thought of winning or to take over  Ekiti State. Mr. Olusola  gave this advise in a statement released by his campaign organisation,in respect to the July 14 governorship election.

Olusola campaign spokesman   Lere Olayinka, on Thursday challenged President Buhari to tell Nigerians what he has done for the State in the last three and half years.

“President Muhammadu Buhari should perish the thought of his anointed candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi, wining the July 14 election and face the reality of his failed Presidency with a view to making amends before he is sent back to Daura next year.

“Even in Isan Ekiti, Fayemi’s hometown, nothing has happened to the Clay Kaolin that is there in large quantity despite that their son is in charge of solid minerals.

“Funny that the President said Ekiti must return to the fold of progressive states. Is he talking about the same so-called progressives States that are sacking workers in their thousands? Or the APC States where herdsmen are killing people in gruesome manner on daily basis is what he wants Ekiti State to join?

“Truly, Ekiti people are well known for their forthrightness, candour and integrity. They will never subject themselves to the whim and caprices of a President who looked the other way when thousands of people were being killed by herdsmen in Benue, Taraba, Plateau and other states.

“Having returned to the number one position in education, Ekiti will never go back to that era that it was in 34th position. Teachers will never use their votes to return the State to that perilous time when their jobs were constantly threatened with Competency Test and Principals demoted and sent to classrooms as mere classroom teachers.

“Local Government workers in Ekiti State will not allow a return of Fayemi’s ‘Boko Haram’ that made their lives impossible for over three years.

“Most importantly, Ekiti will never return to that inglorious era of APC government of Fayemi when over N500 million was used to plant flowers that have remained invisible up till today and over N60 billion loan taken with nothing to show.

“Finally, with Governor Ayodele Fayose and the PDP, it is evidently clear that Ekiti is already moving steadily to its promised land, with unprecedented infrastructural development and will never return to the land of despair, bloodshed, hunger and hopelessness that President Buhari and his APC represent,” Olayinka said.

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