All posts by Jide Courage

EFCC arrests federal accountant-general for N80b fraud

EFCC arrests the nation’s accountant-general (AGF) for allegedly pinching N80billion federal funds. EFCC, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, is a federal agency that manages Nigeria’s war against financial fraud.

Agency officials said the AGF, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, diverted and subsequently laundered N80billion federal funds in his care.

The AGF initially funneled the funds into bogus consultancies executed by friends and family members, officials said.

EFCC arrests federal accountant-general
Alhaji Ahmed Idris

Subsequently, he allegedly laundered the money through real estate property purchased in Abuja and Kano cities.

The Agency said it had no option than to pick up Alhaji Ahmed after he disregarded invitations to respond to the allegations against him.

President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Idris, a professional accountant and civil servant, on 25 June 2015, to look after the nation’s finances

In doing so, he fired Idris’ predecessor, Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, for allegedly pinching N2.5 billion of security agencies’ funds.

Controversies trailed Idris himself, ranging from failure to respect mandatory retirement age and lax audit of MDAs to fraud allegations.

Senior civil servants accused him of staying beyond the mandatory retirement age of 60. He rejected the claim with a counter that the AGF is a political appointee not bound by age rules.

An NGO also called him out and demanded explanations for over N106billion allegedly missing from the budgets of MDAs in 2018. 

At some point, the Academic Staff Union of Universities asked Idris to explain how he financed his massive real estate investments.

EFCC arrests federal accountant-general over N80B fraud

What Nnamdi Kanu told Soludo about sit-at-home

What Mazi Nnamdi Kanu told Gov Chukwuma Soludo on Friday: “I’m against brutal enforcement of sit-at-home in Southeast.”

Leader of the separatist group, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, is against enforcement of sit-at-home in Southeast.

Kanu is being held at a Department of State Security (DSS) facility in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, while facing treason trial.

Kanu also expressed sadness over “sacrilegious killings of innocent persons, kidnappings and all forms of criminalities.”

If given an opportunity, he volunteered to make a broadcast to ask his followers “to maintain peace.”

Anambra State Governor Chukwuma Soludo made these revelations yesterday after a visit to the detainee.

The visit to sue for peace took place on Friday, 13 May 2022, Governor Soludo said in a Facebook post.

Here’s the full text of the statement:

“I visited Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, yesterday, (Friday, 13th May, 2022) to felicitate with him and also as part of the wider consultations with critical stakeholders in search of lasting peace and security in the South East.

“He was in very high spirits and we had quality and frank discussion in a very convivial atmosphere.

“(Kanu) expressed sadness over what he described as “sacrilegious killings” of innocent persons, kidnappings and all forms of criminalities, including the brutal enforcement of the senseless “sit at home” perpetuated by sundry groups claiming to be acting for or on behalf of IPOB.

“He assured that if the opportunity arises, he will be glad to personally broadcast to his followers to maintain the peace.

“Together, we shall restore peace, security and prosperity in Anambra and the Southeast.

“It is well indeed!”

What Mazi Nnamdi Kanu told Gov Chukwuma Soludo on Friday

How kidnappers nabbed Ekweremadu

…his testimony at 60

Senate Ike Ekweremadu yesterday recalled how he was nabbed by kidnappers but saved by God’s grace in year 2000.

He gave a testimony of the experience at his 60th birthday anniversary thanksgiving service held in Enugu yesterday.

“When His Lordship, the Bishop, spoke about some of my travails, he didn’t remember to say that I was kidnapped in the year 2000 at Onu Asata in Enugu Metropolis.

“I was taken to Anambra State. I went to one bush with the kidnappers and passed the night with them.

“The next day, I was taken to Benue State from Anambra.

“We later returned to Nsukka and just by the single grace of God, they let me go and gave me N1,500 for my transport.

“Not many people can be that lucky. So, I thank God and trust him.”

Enugu Metro dug out a record of the incident which took place on 10 September 2000. He was at the time the chief of staff to former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani.

No ransom was paid for his release, fueling speculations that the kidnappers wanted to use him to send a message to Governor Nnamani.

Yesterday, the Senator used his ordeal in the hands of the daredevil kidnappers to emphasize the necessity to give youths employment.

This, according to him, is because the high rate of crimes is directly linked to high unemployment rate across the nation.

He promised to meet the unemployment challenge in his home state if he is elected as governor.

Why I run

The Senator said he aspires to be governor of Enugu State to continue his prior efforts to transform the State.

He said he has a lot to offer the state from his “national and international experience, exposure, goodwill, and contacts.”
 
“Today, by the grace of God, I am seeking the office of the governor of Enugu State.

“The idea is to create a completely new Enugu State where good governance will be showcased.
 
“We intend to deal with the issues of unemployment, which is affecting our society and creating the opportunity for crimes to thrive.
 
His blueprint for transformation includes promoting at least two industries in every local government to create jobs.
 
He will also harness agricultural and tourism potentials of the state which will boost revenue collection for development.

And he will make life easy for the people by building and maintaining world-class infrastructure, he said.

“By the grace of God, we will achieve more.”

The Senator asked for prayers and support but said that, ultimately, it is God’s will that will prevail.
 
“I submit myself to the will of God in this endeavor. Whatever is His will, may it be so in Jesus’ name.”

My testimony

Ekweremadu reminded his audience that he was raised from “a highly challenged part of Enugu State.”

As a young man, he said that he beseeched God to lift him so he could upift his people

“I had a covenant with God early in life and asked for his mercy and favour so I could lift others up. I prayed God to give me an opportunity to be able to transform society and assured Him that if he did that for me, as a testimony and a constant reminder, I would build a church for Him.

“Since that covenant, God has never looked back in matters concerning me.

“That is why I pass through tribulations, I pass through water, and I pass through fire. Yet, none has been able to consume me because God is with me.
 
“So, this 60th anniversary is 60 years of thanksgiving. It is about 60 years of grace and God’s favour,” he stated.

He also said he fulfilled his part of the deal he made with God.

“God fulfilled his part of that covenant. I also fulfilled mine by building a Church for him at Mpu, my community.”

He’s the best, says Chukwuma

Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma conducted the service at Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd (Anglican Communion) yesterday, 12 May 2022.

The Archbishop said he finds Ekweremadu as an outstanding legislator in Nigeria and best in the history of Enugu State.

He blessed the Senator for his contributions to the development of Enugu State and Nigeria and wished him well.

Sight and sounds..

The sights and sounds of a celebration, as recorded yesterday. See photos

How kidnappers nabbed Ekweremadu

IPOB not proscribed in UK, official says

The UK government has not proscribed IPOB – the Indigenous People of Biafra – an official said yesterday in Abuja.

An embassy spokesperson described as “inaccurate” reports that the UK government designated IPOB as a terrorist group

The report quoted a UK Country Policy and Information Note (CPIN) on separatist groups in Southeast Nigeria.

The spokesperson, Atinuke Akande-Alegbe, explained that CIPN relies on publicly available information to assess risks faced by asylum seekers.

The information could come from “UK and other governments, local, national and international organisations, and non-government organisations,” she said.

Thus, CIPN observed that Nigeria proscribed IPOB and further accused its members of using violence to press its case. 

CIPN therefore advised closer scrutiny of asylum applicants to weed out those who may have participated in violent activities.

The Statement

Akande-Alegbe, Senior Communications and Public Diplomacy Officer, signed the statement reproduced below:

“We are aware of inaccurate reporting circulating in the media and online that the UK Government has added the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to the UK’s list of terrorist groups or organisations banned under UK law. These reports are untrue. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is not a proscribed organisation in the UK.

“The inaccurate reporting relates to the 13 April 2022 publication by the UK Government of a revised Country Policy and Information note (CPIN) on separatist groups in SE Nigeria, including the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). CPINs provide country of origin information (COl) and analysis of COI for use by UK Government decision-makers handling particular types of protection and human rights claims.

“All asylum and human rights claims made in the UK are considered on their individual facts in accordance with our obligations under the UN Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights, taking into account relevant background country information and case law.

“The CPIN on separatist groups in the South East, including the Indigenous People of Biafra, provides a general assessment of risks faced by individuals belonging to those groups. These assessments are based on an analysis of publicly available country information obtained from a wide range of reliable sources including media outlets; UK and other governments; local, national and international organisations; and non-government organisations.

“This CPIN also acknowledges that the Nigerian government has proscribed IPOB as a terrorist organisation, some members of IPOB have reportedly used violence against the state and members of the public, and advises that persons who have committed human rights abuses must not be granted protection.”

Cover Photo: Ms Catriona Laing, British High Commissioner to Nigeria

IPOB names sponsors of unrest in Southeast

Independent Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, names Autopilots, the Simon Ekpa-led splinter group, as sponsors of unrest in Nigeria’s Southeast Region.

IPOB’s spokesperson, Emma Poweful, therefore accused the rogue group of kidnapping and robbery in the region.

He variously described the group as “agents of darkness” as well as “criminals, kidnappers and robbers.”

“Those disturbing the peace of our people are not IPOB members.”

The IPOB spokesperson consequently asked the authorities to treat them as criminals.

“IPOB doesn’t shed blood. We are a peaceful movement.

IPOB names sponsors of unrest in Southeast
Simon Ekpa

Powerful addressed Anambra State Gov Chukwuma Soludo directly in his statement, asking the new leader to deal with the threat.

“We … wish to tell Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State that IPOB is not responsible for the criminality in Southeast”

“The Governor should know that our enemies are committing atrocities using our name in their desperation to blackmail IPOB.”

He restated that rogue groups are “using the name of IPOB to enforce a non-existent sit-at-home” every Monday in the region.”

“We wish to reiterate once again that IPOB has cancelled Monday sit- at-home order.

“Anybody or group enforcing the relaxed order is neither from IPOB nor from IPOB volunteer group,” Powerful said.

Powerful said the authentic IPOB calls for sit-at-home only on days that its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, makes a court appearance.

Message to Governors

He therefore gave tacit support to efforts by governors in the region to end the security crisis in their states.

“… any governor in the region who deemed it fit to stop non-existent Monday sit-at-home is free to do so,” he said.

He also said his group will join in the effort to bring order to the region.

“Anyone caught adding to the pain of our people in the name of enforcing Monday sit-at-home order will be treated like the enemy that he or she is.

“Why should such unpatriotic elements be inflicting pain on our people and dragging our image to the mud?”

IPOB specifically denied responsibility for the this week’s attack on Nnewi South Headquarters and Secretariat.

IPOB is a separatist group campaigning for the restoration of Biafra, the secessionist movement crushed during Nigeria’s Civil War. Nigerian authorities outlawed the group and controversially labelled it a terrorist organisation

IPOB names sponsors of unrest in Southeast

Enugu loses former Speaker, Chief Cletus Enebe

Enugu loses a former speaker, Chief Cletus Enebe, aged 59, on Tuesday, 29 March 2022 at a hospital in the Coal City.

Political debates momentarily halted on Tuesday when news filtered out that Enugu lost a former House of Assembly Speaker, Chief Cletus Enebe

Enebe, an administrator and lawyer, passed on Tuesday, 29 March 2022 at the Neo Hospital and Dialysis Centre in Enugu.

His younger brother Christian, an engineer and a lecturer, confirmed the death to Enugu Metro.

News of his death came as a surprise to family and friends. Everyone believed that Chief Enebe recovered from kidney complications for which he received a transplant in India four years ago.

Family and other medical sources however informed Enugu Metro that he did not directly die from kidney-related complications.

Instead, four different consultants battled to restore him to health from a massive stroke.

He subsequently recovered and was about to be discharged when he suffered a relapse from which he failed to recover.

His family deposited his remains at the Eastern Nigerian Medical Centre morgue, in preparation for burial.

Pioneer Speaker of Fourth Republic

Chief Enebe became speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly at the dawn of this Republic in 1999.

He later lost the position under the tempestous politics of the Chimaroke Nnamani Administration. A resilient politician, Enebe nevertheless outlasted the administration to serve three terms of 12 years as representative of Awgu North.

The former Speaker who died Tuesday aged 59, was from Ihe, in Awgu LGA of Enugu.

He left behind a wife and three children, two boys and a girl.

‘A devastating loss’

Engr. Chris Enebe, his younger brother, was with him in hospital all through the period leading to his eventual passage.

Chief Enebe’s death came as “a devastating blow to both his family and the siblings,” he said.

“My brother sowed peace and love throughout his life.

“He showed us love and was the ultimate father figure to us his siblings. I’ll describe my brother as intuitive and very wise, being close to him as I was.

“He bore no grudges or ill will towards people and I’m yet to meet anyone who described him as an enemy.”

The family has not announced burial arrangements yet.

EDITORS NOTE

Do you have kind words or memories of Speaker Enebe? Scroll below to leave a comment.

Enugu loses former Speaker, Chief Cletus Enebe

Nigerian oil vessel on fire with 10 men aboard

Shebah Exploration and Production Company Ltd reports its Nigerian oil vessel on fire at their Ukpokiti Terminal, near Lagos Coast.

A company official said in a statement that 10 men were on the rig at the time of the incident.

However, the statement said there were no casualties.

“At this time there are no reported fatalities, but we can confirm that there were ten crew men on board the vessel prior to the incident.”

”We are prioritizing investigations with respect to their safety and security,” CEO Ikemefuna Okafor who signed the statement said.

COMPANY STATEMENT

The Company asked the public to stay away from the area as efforts are made to douse the flaming vessel.

Ikemefuna also confirmed in the stateement that the fire came from an explosion in the early hours of Wednesday.

Consequently, he said investigation will continue while the company works with “necessary parties to contain the situation,” he said.

The Vessel

Trinity Spirit is a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel at the Ukpokiti Terminal.

The 46-year old vessel can process up to 22,000 barrels of oil and inject 40,000 barrels of water daily.

It also has capacity to store up to two million barrels of oil.

Prior to the accident, the vessel was the main production facility for Oil Mining License (OML) 108.

SEPCOL acquired the vessel alongside 40 percent of ConocoPhilips’ 40 percent equity in OML 108 in 2004.

The Company is however currently under receivership.

Nigerian oil vessel on fire with 10 men aboard

Significance of Kanu’s N1billion win in Umuahia

Of what significance is Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s N1billion win today at an Abia State High Court presided over by JudgeBenson Anya?

An Abia High Court today asked the federal government to pay Kanuu N1.0billion as damages for violation of his fundamental rights. Government is to also tender a public apology to Kanu for the invasion.

Barrister Aloy Ejimakor said in Umuahia after the judgement that the ruling will radically affect Kanu’s Abuja trial for treason.

Other lawyers suggested that this may account for why government filed eight additional charges against Kanu today.

The Army invaded Kanu’s father’s house in Umuahia in September 2017.

Kanu managed to escape from the deadly assault, and subsequently bolted from Nigeria.

Government accused Mazi Kanu of jumping bail and thereafter mounted a global manhunt for his re-arrest.

The Abia Judge ruled that Kanu did not jump bail but rather escaped from a military assault.

He therefore asked government to render a public apology for violating Kanu’s fundamental human rights.

The apology to Kanu, he said, is to be published in three national dailies.

However, the judge disallowed another request to censure government for arresting and forcibly transporting Kanu back to Nigeria.

The judge said the request was beyond the powers of his court to consider.

Kanu’s lawyers expressed satisfaction with the judgement as it disproves government claims that Kanu jumped bail.

They promised to take the ruling to continue with the cases in Abuja and Kenya, where a dual battle is being waged to free Kanu.

On his part, Army lawyer, Amos Tori, told newsmen that government would study the judgement before disclosing their next move.

Govt introduces new charges against Kanu

Meanwhile, government today increased the charges against Kanu from seven to 15.

The charges include treasonable felony which is a capital offense that could also be commuted to life imprisonment.

Lawyers on both sides complained about delay in serving papers to each other, which forced the judge to adjourn sitting today.

The defense team, now led by a senior advocate, Chief Mike Ozekhome, objected to the proposal that the trial should commence immediately.

Ozekhome said the defense was only served yesterday with documents on the additional charges thus denying them time to study the new charges before coming to court today.

At any rate, he said the court should hear and rule on two pending applications before going to trial.

The applications are for the release of Kanu on bail, and to dismiss the original charges against Kanu because they were defective.

On his part, lawyer representing government, Shuiabu Labaran, also objected to the hearing of the applications on the same grounds.

He said he was similarly served with two defense applications yesterday and needed time to study them before responding.

The judge, Binta Nyako, agreed with Chief Ozekhome that the applications should be heard first before the trial.

She however said she is not disposed to hear the application for bail today.

Accordingly, she adjourned the case for 16 February 2022 to consider the defense applications.

Significance of Kanu’s N1billion win in Umuahia

Ex-Army chief faces N13b fraud charge

Ex-Army Chief, Gen Kenneth Minimah, faces N13b fraud charge at an Abuja High Court over alleged misappropriation of army funds.

The EFCC accused Minima and two others of pinching N13billion arms procurement funds from the Army till.

Minimah however argued that courts cannot prosecute officers who did not undergo a military trial for offences committed in service.

High Court trials must be preceded by a military trial as provided for in the Armed Forces Law, his defence said.

The court will hear the lawyers’ arguments on this question today, 9 December 2021.

EFCC charged the ex-Army Chief and two of his subordinates to court for diverting N13billion arms procurement funds to themselves.

Minimah’s alleged accomplices include AO Adetayo, former Army chief of accounts, and Col. RI Odi, former Army director of accounts.

EFCC said it investigated a report from a presidential panel that audited Army’s defence equipment procurements between 2007 and 2015.

The Panel, chaired by retired AVM Jon Ode, referred the report to EFCC on 15 August 2016 for further investigation, the Agency said.

The panel noted that “several billions of Naira” released for procurement of Military hard-wares were “misappropriated by Senior Army Officers.”

EFCC named Minimah, Adetayo and Odi in court as ringleaders of the alleged heist.

The Agency said it establish that the trio allegedly misappropriated a total of N13,798,619,309 of the arms procurement funds.

They diverted the funds to “company accounts of entities that had no business relations with the Nigerian Army,” EFCC said.

EFCC further alleged this was a huge loss to government as the Officers “converted the monies for their personal use.”

The court approved hearing on the matter and gave the parties 21 days to file their pleadings.

Accused challenge trial

The trio however filed a counter suit to challenge their trial which they said violates the Armed Foces Act.

The suit, filed by a team led by a senior advocate, Mahmud Magaji, was to be heard today.

They argued that both the Constitution and Armed Forces Act require that offending military officers first undergo a court martial.

This protocol restrains regulad courts at State and Federal levels from initiating trials of military offenders, the lawyers argued.

They further submitted that the Army law bars EFCC and other agencies from initiating investigations and prosecution of military officers.

The Minimah legal team argued that their clients ought to have been reported to their commanding officer after the audit investigation and not hustled to court.

They asked the court to rule on whether the officers can be prosecuted under any other law apart from the Armed Forces Act.

Their pleadings were embodied in a court-sworn affidavit by a Mr. Benjamin Anchi.

In the affidavit, the accused persons said they were not allowed to “explain their side of the story before EFCC rushed the matter to court.”

They said they overheard their names mentioned in the course of the work of the Presidential Panel.

Next they heard was that the panel had finished its work and “referred the case to … EFCC for further investigation.”

The EFCC, they said, concluded its investigation without reference to the accused and alleged that they misappropriated N13.79b.

The accused persons said nobody asked them “to explain their side of the story” before EFCC concluded that “there is a prima facie case against them.”

EFCC thereafter charged them and “requested the Nigerian Army to release them to collect their Charge sheets in other to prosecute them in the regular Court”.

The trio insisted that they are still under the military service law. Therefore, any matters concerning them ought to be referred to their commanding officer for investigation or trial.

“… Nigeria Army has its rules and statutory mechanisms for the administration of Criminal Justice. 

“…Military officer under the service law can only be prosecuted in the Court Martial … a special court specifically made for prosecution of persons in the Nigerian Armed forces”.

The EFCC, they said, “does not have powers to arraign them on the alleged offences committed in the course of their official duties.

“The law is clear on the mode of prosecuting military officers,” they concluded in the affidavit.

Ex-Army chief faces N13b fraud charge

Govt to vaccinate in supermarkets and religious places

The Nigeria Govt may vaccinate citizens in areas with high footfalls such as supermarkets, churches and mosques, an official says.

Health Minister Dr. Nosa Ehanire said last night that government may set up vaccination centres at markets and holy places.

The idea is to meet up with Presidential objective to vaccinate 70 per cent of the population against coronavirus.

Dr. Ehanire said the country currently stocks about 100 million vaccine doses which are being delivered to Nigeria in phases.

Dr. Ehanire also disclosed that government is seeking collaboration with the private sector to locally manufacture vaccines.

He warned those travelling during the December festival window to be mindful of the risks of Covid-19 infection.

Consequently, he advised holiday makers to remember to wear their masks, maintain social distancing and frequently use hand sanitisers.

This is important because Nigeria may have entered the fourth wave of spread with discovery of the Omicron variant.

“We had the so-called third wave already with the Delta variant.

“This is what we are looking at as the 4th wave.

“It was predicted … a month ago that there might be a 4th wave in Nigeria and perhaps the world and it is already accurately manifesting.

“We hope it doesn’t get to be that and if it becomes the 4th wave, it will not be deadly to our citizens.

Last night, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed 55 new infections nationwide.

Nigeria has therefore recorded 214,622 cases of Covid-19 infections, out of which 97 percent survived.

On the other hand, the death toll slowly inches up to 3,000 cases since the pandemic began, NCDC figures show.

Govt to vaccinate in supermarkets and religious places