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Mining Union faults FG on planned sale of ASCO, wants CBN Gov sacked

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The umbrella body responsible for the affairs of mines workers in Nigeria, the Nigerian Union of Mines Workers (NUMW) has called for the resignation or outright sack of the Governor of the Central Bank (CBN) of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele over what it described as the inability of the apex financial institution to articulate policy measure that will lead to the rejuvenation of the moribund Federal-Government owned Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASCO), adding that government’s disposition to selling ASCO, a decision supported by the CBN, reflects the intellectual poverty of the country’s apex financial institution.

It could be recall that while briefing the Nigerian delegation at the end of the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Group meetings in Bali, Indonesia, recently, Emefiele said Ajaokuta Steel Company and other national assets will be sold to service the 2018 deficit budget.
While describing ASCO as the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialization which must be nurtured and prioritized as an emblem of National Pride, the National President of the Mining Union, Comr. Hamza Mohammed called on government to ensure that ASCO remains under domestic ownership and control, adding that countries which developed their indigenous steel sectors have become better for it.

He tasked Emefiele and the Minister of Finance to articulate a policy direction for the funds needed to resuscitate ASCO, he called on the Senate to intervene by ensuring that the nations institutions in the finance sector work toward articulating a poly measure to address the problem.
“The Nigerian Union of Miens Workers entirely kicks against any form of sale or transfer of ownership of ASCO to foreign bodies or organizations as it is not the best for the development of Nigeria’s industrial sector,” he said.
Hamza who commended the Nigeria Metallurgical Society (NMS) and other professional bodies in the sector for condemning the idea of selling ASCO, called on the federal government to urgent articulate policy measures for the utilization of ASCO in the industrialization of Nigeria, adding that unless Nigeria develops her industrial sectors, it will not be able to play big in the committee of nations.
Hamza noted that it is not a good policy proposal to say that ASCO should be sold for the purpose of financing the 2018 budget, adding that only a mindless government will sell such a highly strategic institution to finance a year’s budget.

While stating that “the industrialization of ASCO, National Iron Ore mining Company (NIOMCO), Delta Steel Company (DSC) and the development of Nigeria’s iron and steel sector have never been negotiable and is still not negotiable, and will never be negotiable,” Hamza warned that the National Executive Council of the Mining Union will soon convene to deliberate on the necessity of embarking on a nationwide strike action if government does not heed the clarion call to shelve plans of selling the steel complex.
Hamza said: “It is socially, industrially and economically injurious to Nigeria to transfer in any way the ownership and control of ASCO to any individual or corporate entity,” adding that the federal government must ensure that it retains one hundred percent ownership and control of the systems.

Hamza who explained that Nigeria’s current economic challenges are the result of the failure of various governments to utilize the country’s human and natural resources, adding that government must act beyond the rhetoric of saying that ASCO can create huge number of jobs. “We know that ASCO can create huge number of jobs and we know that government also knows that, what we want government to do is to resuscitate ASCO so that it will deliver the beautiful promises of the sector to Nigerians.”
“No country can join the rank of super powers unless it develops its steel sector. I expect that government knows that the development of a country’s steel sector is will ignite the development of all industrial sectors of the country’s economy,” he said, and explained that it is only when ASCO begins the production of liquid steel that Nigeria can become a manufacturer of steel products like motor vehicles, airplanes and various steel instruments that symbolize national power and glory.

Discussing the strategic nature of ASCO to the industrial development of Nigeria and the African continent, Hamza said: “The Mining union laments that government handles with levity the importance of ASCO,” saying that ASCO is reputed as the largest steel plant in Africa.

Discussing other advantages of resuscitating ASCO, Hamza noted that apart from being able to generate more than five hundred thousand direct and indirect jobs, ASCO has the ability to become a major revenue earner for the government while also improving the Nigerian economy, if resuscitated.
Recalling one of the campaign promises that thrilled the union during the electioneering campaign of General Muhammadu Buhari, Hamza said Gen Buhari has assured that the steel sector will be developed as a major revenue earner for the country. He therefore tasked the federal government to live up to expectation of Nigerians in the steel sector saying that if ASCO is sold, it will augur well for the industrial development of Nigeria.
While calling on government to stop the exportation of unprocessed solid minerals, Hamza stressed the need to ensure value addition to solid minerals before they are exported to other countries, adding that a lot of jobs will be created for Nigerians if government effectively outlaws the export of processed solid minerals.

While he lamented that Nigeria suffers huge revenue losses when businessmen foreigners mine and export undeveloped solid minerals, he said government must exercise the strong will requisite for the resuscitation of ASCO, stating that if ASCO was resuscitated, steel raw materials will be mines and used to feed the production needs of the integrated steel complex.
“It is only when Ajaokuta Steel Company is resuscitated, the iron ore is mined in Itakpe would be easy moved to ASCO for onward use in the production of steel,” he said.

While he specifically noted that the potentials of the Nigerian steel industry have dastardly abused by foreign nationals, notably Indians, who were entrusted with the task of managing it, he tasked the Buhari administration to activate its institutions to develop a framework for the urgent activation of Ajaokuta Steel Company, Delta Steel Company and the National iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO), Itakpe, stating that apart from these, government should stair up the interest of the organized private sector to participate in the development of the country’s steel sector.

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Frank Urges IGP To Resign Over Illegal Money Drop-off by Police Helicopter

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Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has called on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to resign his appointment over his illegally turning the police into the armed-wing of ruling party.

Frank in a statement in Abuja, said the recent deployment and use of a Police Helicopter to ferry cash to the candidate of the APC in the Irepodun/Ekiti/Oke-Ero/Isin Federal Constituency bye-election in Kwara South on Saturday show that the police is working in cohort with the leadership of the APC to forcefully rig the elections.

It would be recalled that a police Helicopter had on Wednesday landed at the St. Paul Primary School in Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of the state which is one of the LGAs where a bye-election is scheduled to take place tomorrow.

The police Helicopter crew on arrival at the school were met in the field by the candidate of the APC in the bye-election, Mr. Tunji Ajuloopin, with his Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV). He later drove off after five huge Ghana-Must-Go bags, believed to be stashed with cash, were off-loaded into his vehicle.

Curiously, the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, confirmed the illegal job in a statement in Abuja saying the chopper was there on “surveillance patrol and the Airlift of Police Officers for the Election.”

However, the Kwara State Police Command, under whose jurisdiction the election is to be conducted, denied any knowledge of the deployment of police helicopter to Omu-Aran, in sharp contradiction of the claims by Moshood.

Frank called on Nigerians and the members of the International Community to note that this is not the first time the police under Idris is playing shameful partisan roles in aiding the APC to rig elections in the country.

“The use of the police to unduly influence the outcome of elections in any democratic setting is unacceptable and therefore the police must immediately purge itself of partisanship ahead of the 2019 general elections, beginning with the urgent resignation of the IGP.

“Come to think of it, where did the the IGP get the money that he sent a police chopper to drop-off in Omu-Aran for the APC candidate? If it is from the police budget, is that the purpose for which the money was allocated? If it is not from the police coffers, where is the money from?

“Is the police now the new Father Christmas in town, helping to fund elections in parts of the country, while its personnel are obviously lacking adequate remuneration, operational vehicles, communication, crime detection and prevention gadgets? Or is the police taking responsibility for the vote buying saga that has characterized recent elections in the country?

“They did it in Ekiti, Katsina, Bauchi, and recently in Osun. The police was established to serve and protect all Nigerians, irrespective of race, creed or party affiliation. The police under Idris have not only failed in their statutory duties of securing the lives and property of Nigerians but have been turned to an armed-wing of the ruling APC,” he stated.

He called on the presidency to urgently cause the probe of the police helicopter’s suspicious movement and the source of the funds it conveyed to the APC’s candidate as a way of proving to Nigerians that the police did not act at its behest.

He also called on Nigerians to rise and resist police harassment, intimidation, arrest and detention of leaders of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ahead of the Saturday’s bye-elections in Kwara State.

He further urged the European Union, Britain, USA, Germany and and relevant Non-Governmental Organizations in the country to massively deploy observers to monitor and ensure that the the bye-election is conducted in a free, fair and credible manner.

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Frank: How Oshiomhole allegedly collected $50m from aspirants, candidates during Primaries

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Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has exposed how the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, allegedly collected over $50million from different aspirants and candidates during the primary elections of the party.

Frank said a large percentage of the money was paid to Oshiomhloe through proxies from Imo, Zamfara, Adamawa and Ogun states among others.

Recall that the nation’s secret police had interrogated Oshiomhole, and reportedly did ask him to resign over allegations of bribery and corruption against him.

In a statement signed in Abuja on Thursday, the former APC spokesman threatened to publish the names and amounts paid to lobby the National Chairman to clear aspirants and substitute the names of duly elected candidates with those that failed.

According to Frank, the Department of State Services (DSS) has presented its report and findings against Oshiomhole to President Muhammadu Buhari but the President is still in dilemma on what to do.

“I dare say that this singular act of refusing to order the prosecution of Oshiomhole over sundry acts of bribery and corruption he committed as contained in the DSS report, President Buhari has shown that his APC-led administration is a stinking house of corruption.”

While expressing surprise at Oshiomhole’s latest ordeal, he said the former Labour leader will go down in history as a party chairman who had allegedly received such humongous bribe within a short period of time in office.

Frank, however, called on the President to act on the recommendations of the DSS by ordering : Oshiomhole’s sack and prosecution, if his (Buhari) government is actually fighting corruption or opposition.

“We are in the know that President Muhammadu Buhari has received the DSS report on Adams Oshiomhole and Nigerians are patiently waiting for the action or inaction of his government because this is an administration that has claimed fighting corruption as an achievement.

“In the history of party administration in Nigeria, no party chairman has been accused of collecting the jaw-breaking amount of money allegedly collected within a short period in office like Comrade Oshiomhole has allegedly done.

“Instead of Oshiomhole to clear his name, he has taken to diversionary path asking the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki to resign. Nigerians are not gullible. We shall wait to see how the acclaimed anti-corruption regime will act on this particular issue.

“This same Oshiomhole has been attacking the Senate President, calling on him to resign on moral ground, can Oshiomhole now step aside while investigation into his financial malfeasance is on going to justify his much talked about morality?” Frank asked.

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N5.8bn NEMA scam: Frank Gives Osinbajo 7 days to resign

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…Calls on NASS to Impeach him

Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has given the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, seven (7) days to resign over his flagrant violation of the Constitution and the Public Procurement Act in the approval of N5.8billion as intervention funds for the North East in 2017.

It could be recalled that the House of Representatives in its investigative report had indicted the Vice President following its investigation into the disbursement N5.8billion for intervention food programme in the north east in 2017.

According to the report on the emergency intervention in food security in the North-East to support the population ravaged by insurgency, “a sum of N5,865,671,939.26 was approved and released in June 2017 via a memo raised from the Office of the Acting President, directing the Minister of Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation to so act.

“The details further specified a directive to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from the Ministry of Finance to pay the sum from the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account which the AGF is to raise a mandate for.

“This is in contravention of the approval of the National Assembly on the issuance of Euro, Bond from which the Minister authorised payment. The Euro Bond is for specified infrastructural projects and not for discretionary intervention. Furthermore, there is no specific appropriation by the National Assembly.

“This contravenes Section 80 (4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which states, ‘No money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.”

Frank in a statement in Abuja, called on the National Assembly to immediately commence impeachment process against the VP based on the House report and in line with its constitutional mandate to act as a check and balance on the Executive.

He said that with the revelations about Osinbajo’s role in this high level sleaze and the many corruption cases against top aides and appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari, “it is safe to say that the present administration is the worst so far in terms of corruption and circumvention of due process laws in the nation’s democratic history.”

He insisted that the fact that Osinbajo is a senior lawyer and Chairman of the Board of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) – now alleged to have diverted the funds – makes it mandatory for the Vice President to immediately step aside to allow for thorough criminal investigation to determine the veracity or otherwise of the issues collusion and core raised in the House report by security and anti-corruption agencies.

He noted that it is appalling to hear that Osinbajo – despite his public anti-corruption posturing – could be remotely mentioned in a such a scam where funds meant to provide succour for hunger-ravaged Internally Displaced Persons in the North East were allegedly diverted in such brazen manner.

“As a learned gentleman, Osinbajo cannot say he did not know that it is illegal for any government official to spend funds not appropriated by the National Assembly. He should have known that it is intrinsically illegal for anybody to divert funds raised through the issuance of Euro Bond – approved by the National Assembly for specific capital projects – to fund his ‘emergency intervention.’

“What is most telling is that it now appears that the VP used his brief stay as Acting President to open up the nation’s coffers for fleecing in this manner with the approval of the N5.8billion to be disbursed from the Euro Bond account and another N17billion he caused to be released from the Ecological Fund.

“These acts of financial recklessness are most unbecoming of a person of the Vice President’s standing. He has a lot of explanations to render to his Principal – who was on medical vacation at the time – and to Nigerians – whose trust has been rudely shaken by this stinking corruption affair.

“Being a man who enjoys immunity by reason of his office, I call on him to immediately resign his position to enable him appear before the anti-corruption agencies to state his involvement or otherwise in the scam.

“To hide under the toga of Vice President and not face prosecution alongside other NEMA officials indicted by the House of Representatives report on the investigation would amount to a travesty of justice and the selectiveness that has unduly characterised the war against corruption since the inception of the present administration.

“I give the VP seven (7) days to resign his position to enable him face the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission – like ex-Governor Ayodele Fayose did recently – to clear his name.

“Should he fail to heed my humble appeal, I shall have no choice but to commence the process of making available to the public other corruption related information concerning the Vice President that will most certainly shock Nigerians,” Frank stated.

Besides, the National Assembly cannot afford to shirk on its sacred responsibilities to Nigerians, one of which is to hold the executive accountable to the people.

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