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Dickson Akor: Sinner or Saint?

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Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) headed by Dickson Akor has been embroiled in controversy over a number of years and the controversy which has lingered has almost consumed the corps and its head. PowerSteering went to town recently to take another look at allegations leveled against Dickson Akor.
Unemployment is a very big problem that has bedeviled Nigeria over the years and presently there are about 60million Nigerians that are unemployed. Among this unemployed, are about 10 million that are graduates and the figure is growing every year. It is a source of concern that unemployment has pushed young Nigerians to engage in all manner of vices like armed robbery, cultism, kidnapping, drug pushing, prostitution and cybercrimes. A few years back some Nigerian youths were arrested on the border of India and Iraq on their way to join ISIS. As a result of unemployment Nigerians are now being recruited as terrorists.
Some individuals and organizations have also taken advantage of the unemployment situation in the country to extort money from unsuspecting job seekers. It will be recalled that there was a huge recruitment scandal involving the Immigration service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs that boarded on collection of money from applicants amounting to hundreds of millions of naira. While the applicants were fleeced of their money, many of them lost their lives at the recruitment exercise that was held at the National Stadium, Abuja.
The allegations against Dickson Akor are similar to what happened in the immigration recruitment. The Peace Corps under Dickson Akor at a particular time was collecting various sums of money from applicants seeking recruitment into the corps. The money collected from applicants was under the guise of providing them with uniforms and training kits amounted to millions of naira. This development led to various allegations being levelled against the commandant of the corps. He was also alleged to have criminal records against him way back in the 90s which was the reason approval was not given to his organization by the President Buhari’s administration.
It will be recalled that the Federal government filed a 90-count criminal charge against the Commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, Mr. Dickson Akor and the Incorporated Trustees of the Corps for alleged conversion of N1.4 billion.
In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/45/2017 filed by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the defendants were further accused of wearing uniforms and other identification marks contrary to section 24 (1) of the Private Guard Companies Act Cap P30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and punishable under Section 32 (1) of the Act.
The charge filed by an Assistant Chief State Counsel, Aminu Alilu, on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, also accused the defendants of laundering funds obtained through unlawful activities. PowerSteering investigation has revealed that Mr. Dickson Akor bought so many landed properties from the profits of the fraudulent recruitment exercise both in Abuja and other cities; one of such properties is a massive structure in Otupko in Benue State alleged to have been owned previously by one prominent Idoma politician who is now a paramount ruler in Benue State. He was also alleged to have bought the building along clerical road by federal road, Otukpo for half a billion naira in 2016. These are just few out of the numerous properties Mr. Dickson Akor owned through the laundering of the recruitment proceeds including other massive ones in Abuja.
The Federal Government also accused the defendants of obtaining money by false pretense contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related Offences Act, Cap A6 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.
They were also charged in count 86 for organizing and training of members of Peace Corps of Nigeria as a quasi-military organization. Count 88 of the charge accused the defendants of unauthorized display of flags contrary to Section 7(4)(b) of the Public Order Act, Cap P42, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.
In count 89, the prosecution accused the defendants of operating as a private guard without license. Under the offence of obtaining money by false pretense, the Federal Government alleged that Dickson Akor and Incorporated Trustees of Peace Corps of Nigeria, had, between January 1, 2013 and March 6, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, Abuja, did commit an offence to wit: by false pretense and with intent to defraud, obtained for yourselves the sum of N274,712,126.18 from unsuspecting citizens of Nigeria who paid into Eco bank’s account No. 4582022099.
The leader of the embattled Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), Dickson Akor and its Incorporated Trustees, have been formally slammed with a 90-count charge by the Federal Government.
It was against this backdrop that Akor and some 46 members of his group were arrested and paraded by the police in Abuja on allegations they were operating illegally.
In count 1 to 32, Akor and PCN’s Incorporated Trustees are accused of converting money derived directly from extortion, contrary to Section 15(1)(a)(ii) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 and punishable under the same section of the Act.
They are, in Count 33 to 42, accused of transferring money derived directly from extortion contrary to Section 15(1)(a)(ii) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 and punishable under the same section of the Act.
In Count 43 to 75, they were accused of “obtaining money by false pretense contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences Act, Cap A6 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act”.
They were in Count 76 to 85 accused of “laundering of funds obtained through unlawful activity contrary to Section 7(1) (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences Act, Cap A6 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act”.
They were in Count 76 to 85 accused of “laundering of funds obtained through unlawful activity contrary to Section 7(1) (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences Act, Cap A6 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act”.
Mr. Dickson Akor who has been working hard to ensure that the Bill establishing the Peace Corps be passed into law was alleged to have bribed some Senate members with cash and slots to pass the bill.
The two Chambers of the National Assembly, as part of the legislative processes, organized Public Hearings in their respective Chambers in respect of NPC Bill.
So far over 570 Memoranda were received and 300 oral submissions made during the Public Hearings. In all of these, it was only 4 submissions and presentations that were against the passage of the Bill. Public Hearing is one of the most important parts of Bill making processes. The Bill establishing the Peace Corps is yet to see the light of day.
The Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), is a youth organization in Africa, and has network of branches in all the States Capital in Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja with current membership strength of over 157, 000 comprising of both regular members and volunteers.
PCN and its activities established since 1998 in Kaduna, was accorded Federal Government recognition, under the Federal Ministry of Youth Development, since 2004 and is a member of the National Youth Council of Nigeria.
The Corps was in 2012 accorded a Special Consultative Status by the United Nations and assigned desk offices at the UN Headquarters in New York City, USA and regional offices in Geneva, Switzerland and Vienna, Austria.
The African Union, in the same vein, accorded PCN a special Conservative Status in 2016 on the occasion of its 18th Anniversary. Also, the Federal Ministry of Education granted PCN approval to establish its activities in all the Federal Government Colleges (Unity Schools) in the Federation since 2011. It is also affiliated to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide emergency relief and humanitarian services.
The Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) may have met every requirement to be given approval and accent by the president, but the previous criminal record by the personalities behind the Corps is the greatest stumbling block to its existence. However, PowerSteering investigation has revealed that Mr. Dickson Akor after selling to get the Corps recognize is now angling to pick the ticket of a Deputy Governorship of Benue State from the slot of Zone C in Benue State. It was revealed that he has donated hundreds of million to the party chieftains in Benue State including the state Chairman and Senators in Benue State to pave way for his emergence at the forthcoming primaries. All these time and chance will tell if he will realize his dreams. Every attempt to reach Mr Akor to respond to these allegations proved abortive as he attacked our reporter and cautioned him not to ever call him on this matter again as he is fed up with the antics of Nigerian journalists. He advised the journalist to go and put pressure on the federal authorities to approve the operation of the Corps.

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Group calls on govt to quell Nigeria’s Crisis

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Human rights Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, known as Association of Youths for Justice and Equal Rights, AYJER, has called on government at all levels to quell the current looming crisis in the country.

In a press statement, Chairman of AYJER from USA, Mr. Julius Gbolahan Motajo, who reiterated that the current state of Nigeria’s polity, condemned the gross ineptitude and misconduct shown by the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, during the recent Osun guber elections, which he described as threat to democracy as it was characterized by violence perpetrated and malpractices of vote buying by politicians under the supervision of an electoral umpire that is expected to conduct free and fair elections.

He charged for an enabling voting atmosphere for eligible Nigerians who have attained the universal suffrage age of 18, also urging the youths to be resilient in their mandates of selecting credible candidates of their choices.

Mr. Motajo also called on for government’s intervention on security, through the enforcement of patriotic security agencies that would ensure the safety of Nigerians, mostly those in the north east/north central zones, urging them to beef up the security apparatuses to quell the onslaught of insurgency meted on innocent citizens, as he made reference to a recent case of massacre that took place in Jos, plateau state, where a family of nine were gruesomely murdered.

“During the just concluded osun state Governorship election, having denounced the activities of the INEC, and the intimidation meted on the electorate does not portray the electorate umpires in conducting a free and fair election.

“This organization reiterated that the recent political landscape is blowing an ill wind that is capable of disturbing the tents of Democracy.

“In Nigeria it is time to provide conducive atmosphere for those that had attained the age of 18, and above to confidently cast their vote for candidates of their choice. We call on all eligible voters especially the youths to be steadfast and ensure that they vote for the party that will deliver the dividends of Democracy to its citizens.

“It is no doubt that we vehemently condemned any party leader that is involved in the selling of the highest bidder of vote, this singular act does not encourage growth and development in the community.

“The media had been awash with snatching of ballot boxes, and shooting of gun at the polling stations by scaring the electorate is not healthy for our democracy.

“We urge the Government of the day to mobilize the law enforcement agencies to arrest culprits and bandits that go to polling stations to disorganised the polling state that sometimes culminate to stampede and stress.

“Government needs to send a large number of our law enforcement agencies to the crisis torn states to forestall and quell the insurgencies. Security apparatuses should be impartial in the discharge of their duties, rather than taking side on the part of the ruling party.

“The carnage for the herdsmen and farmers dual had caused untold hardship to the people of the Northeast, northwest and the north central. Only recently a family of about nine members were murdered in cold blood in plateau.” Motajo said.

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Alleged corruption allegations: Oracle Magazine withdraws suits against Aiteo Group

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…Commends Benedict Peter’s patriotism

The management of National Oracle Magazine said it has withdrawn suits filled against a foremost indigenous crude oil exploration company, the Aiteo group, compelling some government agencies to disclose all information and documents pertaining the business activities of organization.

The media house had sought an Order of Mandamus from the Federal High Court, Abuja to compel the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to release some vital information and documents pertaining the business activities of Aiteo Group.

But in a statement signed Saturday in Abuja, the Editor-in-Chief, National Oracle Magazine, Dr. Blessing Agbomhere, said his media organisation has discovered that “the corruption allegationsallegations leveled against Aiteo is an alarmist hoax being peddled by a pocket of individuals with vested interest to wear Aiteo Group and its promoters a black garment before the Nigerian and British governments.”

Dr. Blessing Agbomhere, who is also the Executive Secretary, Gatekeepers Foundation, while commending the promoter of Aiteo group, Benedict Peters, said investigations revealed that Aito group and it promoters have been in the petroleum business since year 2000, and about same time have invested billions of Naira, though borrowed, into the Nigerian oil sector.

While calling on Nigerian government to give the indigenous oil company all the necessary support, the statement said that “In furtherance of its investigation, National Oracle Magazine has discovered conspiracy by highly placed individuals against Aiteo Group and its promoters. All corrupt allegations against Aiteo is an alarmist hoax being peddled by a pocket of individuals with vested interest to wear Aiteo Group and its promoters a black garment before the Nigerian and British governments.

“National Oracle Magazine investigation reveals that the Aiteo Group and its promoters have been in the petroleum business about the year 2000, and about same time have invested billions of naira, though borrowed, into the Nigerian oil sector. What Aiteo Group has achieved today is a result of hard work, business intelligence and commitment to growing the Nigerian economy.

“Aiteo Group, an indigenous company, has contributed immensely to the development of the Nigerian oil and gas sector; empowering Nigerians in so many aspects of life. Rather than allowing individuals no matter how highly place to orchestrate clandestine plots to bring down Aiteo Group and its promoters, the Nigerian government must give Aiteo Group the needed support to continue to grow as Nigerians and the Nigerian government are the biggest beneficiaries of Aiteo’s growth.”

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International Road Transport Organisation (IRU) Media Prize awarded to journalist Mike King from Breakbulk, USA

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Mike King is a multi-award-winning journalist, as well as a shipping and logistics consultant

International Road Transport Organisation (IRU), the world road transport organisation today announces the winner of the 2018 IRU Media Prize on the future of transport and trade.

The IRU Media Prize celebrates the significant contribution of journalists to current debate within the transport sector, and coincides with the upcoming IRU World Congress in Oman, 6-8 November 2018, the new global event for road transport, mobility and logistics.

Mike King (@Break_Bulk) is a multi-award-winning journalist, as well as a shipping and logistics consultant. His piece, entitled “Trouble with Truckers” , addresses issues such as driver shortage and new opportunities for transport through e-commerce.

IRU received entries from across the world, signifying a strong interest in the industry among journalists. Mike King’s entry was one of three shortlisted. The other two finalists were Ilker Altun from Kargo Haber and Jonathan Andrews from Cities Today.

“I am looking forward to personally congratulating Mike in Oman at the IRU World Congress, where we will recognise his and the media’s important work to push debate around the critical issues for the road transport industry – and beyond,” said IRU Secretary General, Umberto de Pretto.

The competition was open to journalists from international and regional media who published or broadcast original reports. Articles or broadcasts were submitted in English or Arabic, with eligible works published between 19 June and 10 October 2018. Stories were judged on content, writing, analysis, creativity, human interest and clear reporting.

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