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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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2019 Election: PDP Panicking Over Imminent Defeat In Akwa-Ibom

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In the face of imminent defeat in the forthcoming 2019 governorship and legislative election in Akwa Ibom State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has resorted to falsehood and propaganda against All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders in the state in its desperation to remain in the reckoning of the Akwa Ibom electorate.

In statement signed by the Ag. National Publicity Secretary Mr. Yekini Nabena said the APC view PDP’s wild and unsubstantiated allegations against former governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Sen. Godswill Akpabio,Atuekong Don Etiebet and the 2019 APC governorship candidate, Obong Nsima Ekere as one of the falsehoods and propaganda by the PDP.

The PDP alleges that the APC chieftains are planning to foment violence in the state in order to ensure the postponement of the forthcoming elections. The allegation itself is a classic case of the aggressor playing the victim to cover up his misdeeds.

Since the issue is security,Mr Nabena said “we may as well expose the PDP and their leaders in Akwa Ibom state for who they are: purveyors of violence. We are aware of several petitions in the office of the Inspector General of Police against the PDP National Legal Adviser, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem, a former commissioner in Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration.

In the petitions, the PDP National Legal Adviser is alleged to have sponsored cultists and militant gangs that have gone out of control in Etim Ekpo, his home local government area and neighbouring Ukanafun. The activities of these cultists have resulted in several deaths in the last three years and displaced many families who now live as displaced persons in Iwukem.

The Governor Udom Emmanuel-led administration has ensured the cover up of the security crisis despite the increasing number of deaths and displacements. This is no longer acceptable. The PDP administration in the state must accept its failure to provide security in the state.

According Mr Nabena , it is silly that the PDP ascribes the current spate of violence to APC when its (APC) members are at the receiving end. It is on record that a day after Senator Akpabio joined the APC, his home was attacked by gun-wielding who shot into his compound. The numerous cases of politically-motivated attacks against APC supporters, members and leaders in the state are in the public domain and has been well-reported.

According to Mr Nabena the Akwa Ibom electorate cannot wait for the 2109 General Elections to vote out the incompetent PDP government. The tide has turned in Akwa Ibom State. As at today, APC, a party that did not win any councillorship seat in 2015 now has in its fold:

The spokesperson of the ruling party cited some important decamped members viz below;
Two out of three serving senators
Many serving members of the House of Representatives
Many serving members of the state House of Assembly
A majority of political leaders in the state, including Sen. Akpabio; immediate- past deputy governor, Noble Lady Valerie Ebe; former petroleum minister, Atuekong Don Etiebet; former secretaries to state government, Obong Umanah Umanah and Etekamba Umoren; many commissioners and aides have joined the APC family.
371,000 registered members and counting.
It is laughable that the PDP continues to delude itself that Akwa Ibom state is a “core PDP state” and by implication canvassing for the coronation of the incumbent governor. The Akwa-Ibom electorate and indeed the political structure have rejected PDP and no amount of falsehood and propaganda can reverse their lost appeal in the state.

“No attempt by the current PDP administration in state to cause crisis and disrupt the 2019 election will be tolerated. The PDP has already lost the forthcoming election as a result of the pedestrian performance of the Udom Emmanuel administration. The party should face its fate rather than engage in scare mongering” Nabena said.

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FG Assures Of Concerted Efforts To Free Leah Sharibu, Aid Workers

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has assured the families of kidnapped Dapchi schoolgirl Leah Sharibu and two abducted aid workers that the Federal Government will leave no stone unturned to secure their release.

The Minister gave the assurance during the weekend, when he led a three-member Federal Government delegation to Maiduguri in Borno State and Dapchi in Yobe State.

In Dapchi, the delegation, also included Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, who also oversees Women Affairs, and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hajiya Khadija Abba Bukar Ibrahim, met with Mrs Rebecca Sharibu, Mother of Leah, as well as other members of their family at an emotion weighed down ceremony.

Alhaji Mohammed said President Muhammadu Buhari sent the delegation as a follow up to his phone call to Leah’s mother a few days ago, adding that the government will not rest until Leah has been reunited with her family.

Also visibly excited students of the Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, from where Leah and about 109 of her colleagues were abducted on 19 Feb. 2018, trooped out to welcome the delegation when the chopper that ferried them to Dapchi landed in the school premises.

Earlier, the delegation also met with the families of the three aid workers who were abducted in March 2018.

At the meeting, which was held in the Borno State Government House, the minister reassured them of the government’s efforts to secure the release of the two that remained in captivity, Alice Loksha and Amina Liman.

He also condoled with the parents of the third aid worker, Saifura Hussaini Ahmed, who was killed by her abductors last month.

The Minister said this is a trying time for the government and people of Borno State, but praised the government’s resilience in tackling the challenges arising from the Boko Haram insurgency.

The Deputy Governor of Borno, Alhaji Usman Durkwa, who received the delegation, expressed gratitude to President Buhari for sending the delegation to the state, noting that this was an evident to show that the President is a true leader.

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Executive Order 06: Obasanjo, IBB, Atiku, Saraki, others real targets, says Frank

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…Says Buhari may truncate democracy again
…Urges international community to intervene

Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has stated that former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former President Ibrahim Babangida, Presidential candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, are among the major targets of the Executive Order 06 now being implemented by President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Other names Frank mentioned include Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, General Aliyu Gusau, Ge. TY Danjuma, Pastor David Oyedepo, Rev Fr Mathew Hassan Kuka, Sheik Gumi and so many other traditional rulers, businessmen and women sympathetic to the quest by Atiku Abubakar emerge President in the 2019 elections.

In a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja, Frank while reacting to the implementation of the Executive Order 06 banning about 50 high-profile Nigerians from travelling abroad described it as “a reminiscent of the infamous and draconian Decree No. 4 of 1984 which was cruelly pursued and enforced by the incumbent President who was then the Military Head of State.”

Frank said it is obvious that the main purpose of the said EO6 is to weaken the leaders of opposition political parties ahead of the 2019 general elections.

According to him, the ealier list released to the media was a distraction from the real targets which he assured will soon be made public.

He, however warned that unless the international community and well meaning Nigerians speak up now against acts of dictatorship of the Buhari administration, democracy in Nigeria may soon end.

According to Frank, the ruling APC has been rattled with the rising popularity of the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, hence its resort to autocratic tactics to cripple the opposition leaders in the guise of fighting corruption.

While assuring that Nigerians will resist what he called the tyrannical-governance-style of President Buhari, Frank alerted the international community of “plot to truncate democratic system of government in Nigeria by the APC’s administration.”

The former APC spokesman who described the latest order as a “draconian measure to frighten the opposition elements from challenging him in the coming election, stated that if care is not taken the action of the president might engineer the military to takeover power.

“Unknown to gullible ones, President Buhari is playing godfather to corrupt people in his administration. For Nigerians to take this order serious, I hope the ban will include Adams Oshiomhole, Rotimi Amaechi, former SGF Babachir Lawal, Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, his former Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun, Lai Muhammed, former DSS boss Lawal Daura, GMD of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru and the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu – for skipping the mandatory NYSC service – among others.

“I also hope President Buhari will explain to Nigerians how his wife got N2.6billion that was stolen by her ADC.”

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