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Anyim Pius Anyim, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF)

The house of representatives on Thursday recommended the prosecution of Pius Anyim, a former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) over the Abuja centenary city project.

The recommendation came in form of a resolution directed to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Anyim  played a huge role in the project, which cost over $18 billion.

According to PUNCH, the resolution by the lower legislative chamber followed the consideration and approval of a report presented to the house by the committee on the federal capital territory (FCT) which probed alleged infractions in the project.

On February 3, Anyim, while appearing before the committee, accused the Herman Hembe, the committee’s chairman, of “deep-seated personal bias”.

The former SGF described the probe into the project as a vendetta carried out on him by Hembe.

He demanded that Hembe resign from the panel, and allow his deputy take over.

“Mr Chairman I said one, you have told everybody who cared to listen that when the former DG of Security and Exchange Commission accused you of demanding bribe from her, you pushed for her to be sacked and I refused to sack her while I was SGF and this is an opportunity to pay me back,” he had said.

However, at plenary, the committee’s report said Anyim and others involved in the project “abused” the detectives of former president Goodluck Jonathan who during his tenure approved the project.

The committee also said Anyim and his associates flouted existing laws guiding the Abuja land swap policy for personal gains.

The house further approved the recommendations after it was voted on.

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Radio Biafra will go live in America from Sunday, Leonard Anemene, a leader of the organisation, said in a statement issued on Friday.

Anemene said but for some challenges, the project would have been out earlier.

He did not say the exact location where the station will be operating from.

“On the 12th of January 2017, the leadership of IPOB in unison with the leader, deputy leader and the Directorate of State (DOS), decided to expand the broadcasting services of the Biafran struggle through the creation of a new broadcasting service in the Americas,” he said.

“So, a live broadcast of Radio Biafra International (RBi) from the Americas has been imminent for a very long time now but was delayed due to logistic bottlenecks.

“However, we are proud to announce to you all today, that we are going live on air on Sunday, the 19th of March, 2017 with a maiden broadcast, starting from 10.00 am Biafra time.”

In July, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) jammed Radio Biafra signals as a result of inciting messages transmitted by the station.

“Right now the signals from radio Biafra have been jammed successfully by the NBC,” she had told state house correspondents in Abuja.

“The commission is also working with security agencies to get those that are behind that radio because it is an illegal radio. It is not licensed by anybody to be on the airwave in Nigeria.”

But dismissing the claim, the station said the federal government cannot silence it.

“NBC lied to their master. Radio Biafra is live in BiafraLand. They cannot even ban our local station, do they even know we also transmit via satellite and online as well,” the group said in a statement.

Nnamdi Kanu, a director of the station, is currently in custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Last month, a court ruled that he should be tried for treason.

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Andrew Yakubu, former NNPC GMD who admitted ownership of $9.8m cash found in a house in Kaduna

Andrew Yakubu, a former Group Managing Director of the state oil firm, NNPC, was earlier today arraigned on a six-count charge of fraud at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The former head of Nigeria’s state-owned oil company was charged by the anti-graft EFCC after he admitted owning over $9.8 million cash found in a house that also belongs to him in Kaduna State.

On Thursday, he pleaded not guilty to the charges filed by the EFCC.

The presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, then ordered he be remanded in Kuje prison pending the determination of his bail application on March 21.

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Hameed Ali, Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service

The senate has asked Hameed Ali, comptroller general of the Nigerian Customs Service  (NCS) to reappear before it on Wednesday, March 22, in his customs uniform.

The senate, presided by Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy senate president, took a voice vote on Ali’s refusal  to appear before the house in uniform, and many voted against listening to him on policies, until he appeared in uniform.

The upper legislative chamber has been having a running battle with the Customs boss over appearing before it in uniform. Ali has insisted on going on mufti, saying he is heading Customs as a political appointee, and not a career Customs Officer.

Earlier, the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who was presiding over the affairs of the legislative house, had asked Ali why he appeared before the Senate without uniform, Ali replied that there was no law that compelled him to dress in uniform.

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Ahmad Ahmad, new CAF President

Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar has emerged the president of Confederation of African Football (CAF), defeating long-time incumbent, Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou.
Ahmad Ahmad polled 34 votes against Issa Hayatou’s 20 votes to beat the incumbent who has refused to step aside even as the continent’s fortunes in global football dwindled under his watch.

Hayatou, in charge for nearly three decades, has often been re-elected unopposed. On the two occasions when he did face a challenge, he won with landslides amongst the electorate of presidents of Africa’s football associations.

In 2000, he beat Angola’s Armando Machado by 47-4 votes and four years later he defeated Ismail Bhamjee of Botswana by 46-6 votes.

Caf former presidents

Abdel Aziz Abdallah Salem (1957-1958)

Abdel Aziz Moustafa (1958-1968)

Abdel Halim Muhammad (1968-1972)

Yidnekatchew Tessema (1972-1987)

Abdel Halim Muhammad (1987-1988)

Issa Hayatou (1988-2017)

Ahmad Ahmad (2017)

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President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has resumed duties after a 49-day vacation in the UK.

Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

“In compliance with section 145 of the 1999 constitution (as amended), the president has formally transmitted  letters to the senate and the house of representatives, intimating the national assembly ‘that I have resumed my functions as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with effect from Monday, March 13, 2017, after my vacation,’” read Adesina’s statement.

Last Friday, Nigerians across the country celebrated the president’s safe return to the country.

While he was out of the country, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo acted in his stead.

At a brief ceremony at the presidential villa, Buhari disclosed that he had been very sick, and that he might return to the UK for more medical checks “within some weeks”.

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President Muhammadu Buhari recently returned to Nigeria after nearly 2 months abroad

 The Presidency has assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari will resume work today, although it tried to downplay expectations about the president’s speed at work.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu gave the assurance last night that Buhari will resume work today. But he was also reported by This Day to have cautioned against expecting the president to resume work in a “dramatic way”. Garba reportedly said the president needed a careful and slow resumption of duty.

 Shehu also said  that Buhari would transmit a letter to the National Assembly today in order to formally notify the legislature of his return to the country.

“God willing, the letter will be sent there (the National Assembly) tomorrow (today). God willing, Mr President will be in the office tomorrow (today),” Shehu stated.

President Buhari had returned to the country in the wee hours of Friday, 50 days after he departed for the United Kingdom on a medical vacation.

While Buhari was away, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo acted as president.

Buhari had, at a reception held at the First Lady’s Conference Room of the State House on Friday, explained that he deliberately returned to the country towards the weekend “so that the vice president will continue and I will continue to rest.”

Daily Trust reports that President Buhari had, since his return, retired to his official residence at the Aso Rock Villa.

The president did not attend the Jum’aat prayer at the State House Mosque on Friday.

His Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, had Friday said via his Twitter handle, @FemAdesina, that Buhari would transmit a letter to the National Assembly today in order to make his return to work formal and constitutional.

Adesina was then dismissing reports that President Buhari had asked Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to continue as acting president.

The Constitution requires the president to transmit a letter to the National Assembly notifying it that he wish to resume his functions as president.

 

 

 

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Nigeria may lose the oil production exemption granted it and Libya by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as a result of production disruptions, it was gathered at the weekend.

These disruptions were occasioned by attacks on infrastructure in the two countries.

Nigeria’s exemption may have to go because the peace moves of the Federal Government in the Niger-Delta region have started yielding dividends, as the militants have agreed to give peace a chance. Crude oil production has moved to about 1.8million barrels per day (bpd), according to government sources.

An oil industry stakeholder, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Nigeria, has demonstrated strong resolve to settle its internal problems, as well as improving crude oil production greatly.

He said the country may by May 25 stop enjoying production exemption once it is able to stop violence perpetrated by militants and its resultant effects on oil production.

The source said: ‘’Nigeria appears well on the way to full restoration of its output that could see it pressured by its fellow OPEC members to end its exemption from the production agreement.” An energy accountant with the University of Ibadan, Prof Adeola Akinnisiju, said the development is good for the country, which has seen its oil output fall drastically in recent times.

He said the country is fighting militancy and recession in the global oil market and its attendant fall in the international prices of crude oil, adding that the problems are going to be over soon.

Akinnisiju said: “If the prices of crude oil can increase from $20 per barrel of crude oil to $52 and later $56 per barrel within two weeks and militant activities dropped significantly, all in one year, then brighter days are ahead of Nigeria. Oil is the major source of revenue in the country, providing over 70 per cent of Nigeria’s exports.  The Federal Government is having problems getting money for its budget, a development, which has slowed down current and capital expenditure.’’

He urged stakeholders to provide an enabling environment for the industry, arguing that the sector can only thrive in a crisis-free environment.

The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), MaikantiBaru, said OPEC is monitoring the exemptions granted Nigeria and Libya. He said the development became necessary, in order to determine the next line of action for the two countries.

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Former Attorney-General Mohammed Bello Adoke

Former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Mohammed Bello Adoke has said that three former Presidents endorsed the Settlement Agreement on the controversial $1.6billion Malabu Oil Block.

They are Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Yar’Adua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

Adoke said none of the three Presidents has disowned the agreement.

He listed ex-ministers who played key roles in resolving the conflict on the oil block. They are a former AGF and Minister of Justice Bayo Ojo,  former Minister of Petroleum Resources King Edmund Daukoru; ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and former Minister of Finance  Olusegun Aganga.

He said the recent actions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) tended to impugn the Settlement Agreement.

He insisted that the Ministry of Justice, which he superintended, only facilitated the Settle Agreement.

The EFCC has filed charges  against Adoke,  a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Dan Etete, a businessman, Aliyu Abubakar and eight others over alleged $801million bribe in respect of the auctioning of Malabu Oil Block.

The others are Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited;  Nigeria Agip  Exploration Limited; ENI SPA; Malabu Oil and Gas Limited; Ralph Wetzels(ex- Director of SNEPCO), Casula Roberto(Italian) whilst being the Director of AGIP; Pujatti Stefeno(Italian) while being the Director in AGIP; and Burafato Sebastiano(Italian).

But  Adoke, in a March 6 letter to Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami (SAN), asked the AGF to determine whether he had committed any offence for carrying out presidential approvals.

He asked Malami to tell Nigerians whether his predecessors in office from 2006 to May 2015 acted in the national interest when they brokered and implemented the Settlement Agreement.

He urged Malami to clarify to Nigerians the import of Section 5 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) with respect to the vesting of all the Executive powers of the Federation in the President to exercise by himself and or through his Ministers and appointees.

He said: “It will be recalled that the Terms of Settlement encapsulating details of the Settlement between the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and Malabu Oil & Gas Limited (Malabu) was executed on 30th November, 2006.

“The Terms of Settlement, which was later, reduced into a Consent Judgment of the Federal High Court; Abuja was brokered by our predecessor in office, Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN and signed on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria by the then Honourable Minister of State, for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Edmund Daukoru, during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

”When I assumed office on 10th April 2010, I inherited a Consent Judgment, which had undergone the scrutiny of three Presidents and Attorneys General. I was therefore restricted to the implementation of the Settlement as the issue of ownership of OPL 245 had already been resolved in favour of Malabu by the Terms of Settlement dated 30th November 2006 and the Consent Judgment of the FHC, Abuja.

“I also inherited an on-going Investor/State Arbitration at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Dispute (ICSID) in which SNUD had initiated arbitral proceedings against the FGN claiming damages in excess of $2billion for taking back OPL 245 re-awarded to them when Malabu’s title was initially revoked by the FGN. SNUD’s claims were also premised on the fact that they had substantially de-risked the Block.

“Malabu also instituted Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/420/2003, before the Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja to enforce its claim to OPL 245. Although, the suit was struck out by the FHC, Malabu lodged Appeal No. CA/A/99M/2006 before the Court Appeal, Abuja, Division.

“During the pendency of the Appeal, an amicable settlement was entered into between Malabu and the Federal Government and in compliance with the Terms of Settlement executed by the Parties on the 30th of November 2006, OPL 245 was fully and completely restored to Malabu in consideration for its withdrawal of the Appeal. (Copy of the Terms of Settlement dated 30th November is attached as Annexure ‘A’)

”Apparently dissatisfied with the Terms of Settlement between the Federal Government and Malabu, SNUD commenced arbitral proceedings against the decision of the Federal Government to restore/re-allocate OPL 245 to Malabu at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington DC, and made representations to government on the impending arbitration. It is instructive to note that SNUD’s claim before ICSID was in excess of US$2billion. It also commenced a suit against the Government before the Federal High Court, Abuja

“Although, several meetings were held between the Presidency, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, SNUD and Malabu, to resolve the dispute, no satisfactory outcome was achieved. Attempts were also made in 2007 to resolve the dispute by a Committee comprising the Honourable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Minister of Energy, Group Managing Director, NNPC and DPR, during the administration of Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, without success

“ To resolve all the contending claims in a satisfactory and holistic manner, due regard was given to the Terms of Settlement of 30th November 2006 which had been reduced to Orders of the Court, the underlying policy of encouraging the participation of indigenous oil and gas companies in the upstream sector of the oil industry and the fact that Shell had substantially de-risked Block 245.

“To accommodate all these interests, a Resolution Agreement dated 29th April, 2011 was executed wherein the FGN agreed to resolve all the issues with Malabu in respect of Block 245 amicably and Malabu also agreed that it would settle and waive any and all claims to any interest in OPL 245. (Copy of the Resolution Agreement is attached as Annexure ‘D’).

“ In furtherance of the Resolution Agreement, SNUD and ENI agreed to pay Malabu through the Federal Government acting as an obligor, the sum of US$ 1,092,040,000 Billion in full and final settlement of any and all claims, interests or rights relating to or in connection with Block 245 and Malabu agreed to settle and waive any and all claims, interests or rights relating to or in connection with Block 245 and also consented to the re-allocation of Block 245 to Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited (NAE) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCO).

Adoke insisted that the Federal Government and its agencies and officials only served as facilitators of the Settlement Agreement.

He added: “It is therefore quite evident from the foregoing that the role played by the Federal Government, its agencies and officials in relation to Block 245 was essentially that of facilitator of the resolution of a long standing dispute between Malabu and SNUD over the ownership and right to operate Block 245.

“At all times material to the resolution of the dispute, the Federal Government was not aware of any subsisting third party interest in Malabu’s claim to OPL 245 and neither did any person or company apply to be joined in the negotiations as an interested party.

”I wish to reiterate that the resolution of the lingering dispute over Block 245 was in furtherance of Government’s demonstrable commitment to attract investment in the oil and gas sector of the economy and encourage genuine investors (local and foreign) by creating the enabling environment for their business to thrive.

“ The Office of the Attorney General superintended over the process to ensure that the implementation was holistic by ensuring:

(a)  that the requisite Presidential Approvals were sought and obtained;

(b) that all the relevant MDAs such the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Finance, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were involved in the resolution and final implementation of the Settlement;

(c) that the relevant Agreements such as OPL 245 Resolution and Re-allocation Agreements were duly executed by line Ministers and Departments;

(d) that the Signature bonus was duly paid to the Federal Government of Nigeria as required by law, and

(e) that disbursements from the escrow account were jointly approved by the Federal Government and SNUD.”

Adoke urged the AGF to find out why he was singled out by the Economic and Financial Crimes for prosecution.

He said: “ In view of the foregoing, I anxiously want to know where I went wrong that I have been singled out by the EFCC for prosecution.

”I wish to use this medium to appeal to the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation to be mindful of his overarching powers over public prosecution and the need to ensure that state institutions do not become persecutors or instruments in the hands of those pursuing personal vendetta.

“The Constitution and the traditions of our noble profession demand your oversight over public prosecution. Consequently, if you find that I had breached my Oath of Office or abused my office, please do not hesitate to bring me to justice.

“However, if it is the contrary, as I strongly believe, that certain individuals who had vowed to even scores with me are now being aided by state institutions such as the EFCC; I deserve protection from these unwarranted attacks and dehumanising treatment that I am being subjected to merely because I chose to serve my fatherland.”

Adoke faulted the filing of separate charges against him by the EFCC and asked Malami to speak out.

He said:  “As the Chief Law Officer of the Federation, you have a public duty to speak on this matter so that Nigerians would know whether I acted mala fide or abused my office in the entire transaction leading to the final implementation of the Settlement.”

 

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CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen being sworn in by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo

Walter Onoghen was today sworn in as substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). He was equally bestowed with the Nigeria’s second highest national honour, the Grand Commander of the Order of Niger ( GCON).

The swearing-in was conducted by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo inside the council chambers of Aso Rock presidential villa, Abuja.

Mr. Onnoghen, a native of Cross River state, was first appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as acting CJN on November 10, 2016 after the retirement of former CJN, Mahmoud Mohammed.

Mr. Osinbajo returned his name to the Nigerian Senate for confirmation as substantive CJN on February 8.

The Senate screened and confirmed him on March 1.

Mr. Osinbajo said President Muhammadu Buhari had asked him to let the new CJN know that he was assuming office at a time “when all arms of government suffers from loss of confidence from the people”.

He also said Mr. Buhari expressed the belief that the tenure of the new CJN will help revive and sustain the people’s confidence.

Mr. Osinbajo said it was time to show Nigerians that the choice they made in bringing in the administration was the right one.

Speaking earlier, the new CJN said his complete loyalty was with the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He pledged to continue to keep to his oath of office and solicited the cooperation of all Nigerians.

Mr. Onnoghen said the key to achieving good governance in Nigeria lies in respecting the rule of law.

“To Nigerians who had kept the faith, some have even fasted, I say a big thank you,” he said.