The 2023 Labour Party, LP, presidential candidate, Peter Obi, on Friday, said the N15 billion budgeted for the new residence of the Vice President could be deployed to fuel police operational vehicles.
Obi said the money could be used to increase police officers’ allowances from N5,000 to N15,000 per day.
Posting on X, the former Anambra State governor faulted the money budgeted for the office of President Bola Tinubu, Deputy Kashim Shettima and their aides.
According to Obi: “Good morning Nigeria. While I am still waiting for the receipt of the full details of the 2024 budget for examination and to ensure the prioritization of the items for growth, I wish to comment on some of the items that are already in the public domain.
“The sum of N15.961 billion has been budgeted for trips for the aides of the president and the vice president. If the aides are spending this much, one can extrapolate that their principals, the President, and the Vice President, will spend twice as much, which will be about N30 billion.
“This means that in 2024 the office of the President and Vice President, and their aides will be gulping over N45b for trips alone. Furthermore, the office of the Chief Of Staff budgeted N20 billion for the renovation of the President and the Vice President’s offices in Lagos and Abuja and their full ‘digitization’.
“If you add N45 billion, being the least that will be spent on transportation, and N20 billion earmarked for renovations, it comes to about N65 billion, which is more than N57 billion, being the amount passed by the Senate last week for the Police Trust Fund, to secure over 200m people. Join me in figuring out the alternatives of what this amount can do in real productive terms for our dear country, especially in a critical area like internal security.
“We have over 5000 Police stations and operations, across the country. Half of these police stations have no functional vehicles. Even those that have are given less than N5000 for fuel in a day, which is why if you are lucky, for prominent people like me, to call the police for any intervention in an emergency, the first thing they tell you is – ‘we have no fuel’.
“Assuming we decide to prioritize our lists and use these resources as most of the trips and the renovations are of no value to our growth and productivity, we can approach local manufacturers like Innoson and others and order 2500 4×4 trucks which as of today cost about N30 million.
“We will be able to get a 20% discount because we are buying in large quantities and paying them upfront. It will amount to N25 million each, which will be N62.5 billion for half of the police stations that do not have operational vehicles today, and which will be taken care of by the money we save from the budgeted travel and renovations.
“The N15 billion budgeted for the new residence of the Vice President can be used for fuelling police operational cars by tripling their fuel allowances from about N5000 presently to N15,000 per day, which will come to N13.687 billion.”
Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, has raised the alarm over the consequences of ongoing divestment of multinationals in Nigeria, saying no fewer than 20,000 direct employees have lost their jobs to such divestments in recent times.
The umbrella body for employers and the voice of business in Nigeria raised the alarm in a statement titled “Urgent action to arrest the growing unemployment rate rate”.
NECA warned that the consequences of the massive job losses across sectors would continue to create insecurity challenges, and increase the occurrence of child labour among others.
The statement by its Director-General, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde said: “We are concerned at the growing rate of unemployment in the country, made worse by the continuous divestment of global businesses and closure of local ones.
“It is worrisome to note that in the last three years, over 15 organisations with a combined value-chain staff strength of over 20,000 employees have either divested or partially closed operations.
“This has dire consequences not only for organized businesses but also for labour, government revenue and the households.”
Expressing the Association’s deep concerns, Mr. Oyerinde warned that “the consequences of this massive job losses across sectors will continue to create insecurity challenges, increase the occurrence of child-labour (as children will be forced to become bread-winners), adversely affect the disposable income of families, erode the purchasing power of individuals and drastically reduce economy’s output.”
While proffering solutions to this malaise, the NECA Director-General urged the Government to urgently address the multi-facet challenges currently being faced by organized businesses.
He noted that “the harsh business environment has made local businesses to be uncompetitive. The government must urgently address regulatory and legislative bottlenecks that tend to stifle businesses rather than promote them.
“Continuous efforts must be made to promote locally-made goods through the provision of critical infrastructures; urgent stabilization of the foreign exchange market and ensuring that Ministries, Departments and Agencies are appraised not only by how much income they generate but also by how many businesses they facilitated or promoted.
“The private sector creates reight out of every 10 jobs and deliberate effort must be made to ensure its sustainability and competitiveness.”
The Nigeria Defence Headquarters has made a promise to Nigerians.
It said it would no longer bomb any target unless it was 100 percent sure.
This followed the accidental bombing of civilians in the Tudun Biri community, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State by unmanned drones of the Nigerian Army, last Sunday,
“Henceforth, we will be 100 percent sure of our target before we carry out bombings,” Director of Defence Media Operations, Major Gen Edward Buba, said as he revealed the casualty figure of the aerial bombardment.
According to him, 81 persons were killed and 70 were injured.
“We, as the Armed Forces of Nigeria, will continue to conduct our operations consistent with the rules of engagement, which we have always done and our operations wËll always be joint.
“Regarding the incident that happened in Kaduna, the military always learns from its operations and continues to build from it. The military will deal with it squarely. We will ensure that we have zero occurrences in the future.”
On allegations by an Arewa group that the bombing was aimed at reducing the population of the North, Gen Buba faulted such thinking, saying: “The armed forces of Nigeria is a professional force. We have members from every tribe, ethnic group from all parts of this country. Whatever that group is saying, it is faulty, it is in error and unpatriotic.
“We should realise that it is not just the military that is at war, all the country is at war. We are in it together. The country is taking part in the war. We will make sure that going forward, we get more training, more understanding of the processes and protocols involved to make sure that next time, we are 100 per cent sure before we carry out bombings.
“For now, we will continue to urge communities to pass information to us. Ie you see something, know something, give us information, and timely, too.”
On Thursday, December 7, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), secured the conviction and sentencing of Eze Harrison Arinze in court.
Arinze was convicted by Justice J.K Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for defrauding 34 victims in 13 countries of $592,000 (Five Hundred and Ninety-Two Thousand United States Dollars).
Arinze was re-arraigned on one count bordering on impersonation and obtaining under false pretence.
The amended count charge reads: “That you, Eze Harrison Arinze alias Charlotte Brain, sometime between April 2021 and December 2022 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, did fraudulently impersonate one Charlotte Brain a purported owner of digitrades.netxxxxxxxxxxxxxx investment platforms on telegram and in that assumed character obtained cryptocurrency worth $592,000.00 (Five Hundred and Ninety-Two US Dollars) from Coinbase exchange users, through your bitcoin address - 333AgHuT8wAhowRBQZ2ASxxxxxxxx domiciled with Coinbase, a Virtual Asset Service Provider and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(3)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (4) of the same Act.”
The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to him.
Given the guilty plea, prosecution counsel, Christopher Mshelia urged the court to convict and sentence the defendant as charged.
Earlier, Ogunjobi Olalekan, a prosecuting witness and a detective of EFCC, while concluding his testimony -in -chief told the court that the evidence gotten in the course of the investigation was based on the printout from the defendant`s email, other digital currency platforms, his telegram page code-named `Digi-trade, including response from banks which was in a cumulative sum of $592,000 worth of cryptocurrency as at December 4, 2023.
He added that the defendant was afterwards invited to make statements under words of caution.
Justice Omotosho convicted and sentenced Arinze to three years imprisonment, with an option of N3,000,000.00 (Three Million Naira only) fine. He added that 11.07 Bitcoins valued at $461,280.70 as of December 4, 2023 be restituted to the 34 victims from 13 countries as identified.
Furthermore, the judge ordered that a total sum of N37,977,108 domiciled in his bank accounts be forfeited to the Federal Government, including a plot of land located at plot No. 34 Anioma Layout, Umuchigbo Iji-nike in the Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State, measuring approximately 1380.609 squares meters.
According to the EFCC, Arinze’s journey to the correctional centre started when he impersonated one Charlotte Brain and created a fictitious investment platform, digitrades.netxxxxxxxxxxxxxxon telegram and in that assumed character obtained cryptocurrency worth $592,000.00 (Five Hundred and Ninety-Two US Dollars) from Coinbase exchange users, through his bitcoin address.
His victims are from Burundi, Cameroun, Costa Rica, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Rwanda, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, the United States of America and Zimbabwe.
The Oyo State Police Command said it has apprehended the policemen sighted in a now-viral video demanding money from a female biker who was on a tour of Nigeria from the Netherlands.
The command, in a post on X on Thurday, said the operatives will face disciplinary actions.
“Viral video portraying the regrettable misconduct of certain policemen along Moniya-Iseyin Road has been accessed. All those involved have been apprehended for immediate disciplinary actions. Supervision will be increased. Please report any misconduct to Xsquad on +2348023535470,” the post read.
In the video, the officers had flagged down the biker, asking her where she was from and where she was heading.
The Dutch replied that she was from the Netherlands and she was on her way to Abuja, apparently surprising the two officers.
Interacting with the biker further in pidgin, the officers said: “Wetin you bring come? Wetin you won give me. O yah give me something nah.”
The tourist appeared not to comprehend the officers’ message until they clearly said, “Give me money, money,” to which she asked, “Why?”
The 1:26-minute video drew reactions from Nigerians who felt embarrassed by the policemen’s actions.
For the first time in the history of the governorship election in Edo State, the aspirants are over 68 in the three big political parties, with more expected to join the race before the sales of forms begin. ADEYINKA ADEDIPE writes on the return of the seasoned campaigners and the new aspirants who are hoping to upset the old order
Politicians are die-hard optimists. Even when the odds are stacked against them and their chances look slim, the belief that they will win every contest is unshaken. One cannot blame them for this in a country where a candidate who finished third in an election was eventually sworn in after a court adjudged that he scored the “highest valid vote”.
It is such optimism that is driving the old guards and the new aspirants in Edo State as they continue to declare their intention to run for the governorship seat in 2024. As of Monday, the intending aspirants from the Peoples Democratic Party, All Progressives Congress, and the Labour Party are 68 with more expected to join the race. The LP has 28 aspirants, the APC has 29, and the PDP has 11, while it is certain that more aspirants will join the race from other smaller parties.
The aspirants are made up of old guards and new entrants while the decision by the APC not to heed the clamour to zone the ticket to Edo Central may see more aspirants joining the race.
Unexpectedly, the state APC chairman, Col. David Imuse (retd) has also thrown his heart in the ring with serving senators and members of the House of Representatives also joining. Spokesman to General Ibrahim Babangida (retd) and former Commissioner for Information, Kassim Afegbua; Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who was the APC candidate in 2020 are also said to be in the race.
Battling for the APC ticket too is Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (retd), a former Accountant General of the Nigeria Army and Director of Finance administration of NDDC.
One of the seasoned campaigners, Kenneth Imasuagbon, who has aspired most (four times), under different political parties is now gunning for the seat for the fifth time under the LP. He caused a stir last week when he urged party faithful not to give the ticket to political neophytes while on a visit to Igarra in Akoko Edo Local government.
Imasuagbon said people should not compare him to a former Nigeria Bar Association, Olumide Akpata or the first member House of Representatives, Dorry Okogie, both of whom, he described as ‘newbies in politics,” adding, “don’t make a mistake of giving your vote to unpopular candidates. We need a popular candidate that can take on the PDP and APC.”
Okojie, in a statement over the weekend, had urged Imasuangbon to focus on promoting a culture of respect and professionalism in political discourse.
He advised Imasuangbon to promote inclusive politics rather than personal attacks and innuendos.
Okojie said, “I strongly believe that it is essential to promote a culture of respect and professionalism in political discourse. I acknowledge the passion and dedication of all individuals involved in the political landscape, and I firmly believe in the importance of maintaining a respectful and constructive dialogue.
“As such, I advise we foster unity and mutual understanding rather than resort to personal attacks or divisive language.
I hope that we can collectively work towards a future that prioritizes healthy and respectful interactions, enabling us to focus on the issues that truly matter to the people,” he added.
Apart from Imasuagbon, the deputy governor of the state, Philip Shaibu who is at loggerheads with Governor Godwin Obaseki over his ambition to succeed his principal, declared his intention last week Monday. He said he had been in politics for 30 years and was ready to continue the giant stride taken by his boss.
An ally of the deputy governor, Immam Babangida said that Shaibu had the chance to pick the PDP ticket if the party provided a level playing ground for all the aspirants.
He said: “I am happy that the governor said that it is the members of the party that will determine Shaibu’s fate. But Governor Obaseki and the PDP must ensure there is a level playing ground for everyone to operate. Shaibu has the pedigree to win the ticket at the primaries.
“He has done well throughout his career and he is the only one who can help the PDP to remain in the saddle in the state. Without him, the PDP cannot win the election.
In all of this, Governor Obaseki has thrown his weight behind the Chairman, Sterling Bank, Asuen Ighodalo, whom he had introduced to leaders of the party in the three senatorial districts.
Though Ighodalo has yet to make a formal declaration, he has been consulting with leaders in Edo Central where he hails from as a springboard to realise his ambition. His plans, according to his close aides, is to visit all stakeholders in the three political zones, before he makes a formal declaration. He is a technocrat with a national reach who can also ensure the state moves on the part of development.
Among the first timers, Dennis Idahosa, the member representing Ovia Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, stands out on account of his popularity, vibrancy, and youthfulness. He is also believed to be in the good books of the party leaders to clinch the APC ticket. He battled the Igbinedion’s political dynasty, won the election twice, and with projects he brought to his constituency he has warmed himself into the heart of the electorate.
Another contender, Johnson Agbonayinma, a former Senior Special Adviser to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, a former member of the House of Representatives, a former member of the Board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, and acting chairman, the Code of Conduct Bureau.
The women are also not left out in the jostle for the state’s top seat as Dr Angela Ason-Aburime, Dr Loretta Ogboror-Okor, and Dr Emily Okojie are pulling their weights in the LP.
Speaking on the high number of aspirants and what this means for the fight to succeed Governor Obaseki, the state PDP Chairman, Dr Tony Aziegbemi said it is good for democracy as many people are getting more involved in politics either as aspirants or electorate.
He said, “I imagine that people are taking that conscious step to be aspirants in a political party. In the PDP, we are excited that we have aspirants with capacity, character and content. Right now, we have 11 aspirants, nine from Edo Central, and one each from Edo South and Edo North. There was a Special Edo Central Committee meeting on Sunday with the aspirants and out of the nine that have expressed interest in the contest, seven showed up and two sent in apologies. This shows that people want to identify with a successful party.
“The high number is good for democracy, people believe in the system the PDP has put in place, they believe the party will organise a credible congress and primaries and that is why they are showing interest. So we are excited that there are many aspirants. We are not worried that there are so many aspirants as we still expect more people to join the race.
“All the aspirants in PDP have content and are credible. Anyone who emerges as the candidate of the party can win the governorship election, he added.
Aziegbemi also noted that the registration of new members currently ongoing in the state would strengthen the party.
He added, “We don’t have a target for new members. We feel that many people are excited, they are happy with what the governor has done for Edo State so they want to join the party the governor is in. We are the ruling party, the party you have to beat in Edo State, which gives us some edge so you expect many people to gravitate towards success.”
Publicity Secretary of the state LP, Sam Uroupa also said that the high number is a good one, noting that his party is the only one that can bring succour to citizens of the state.
He said, “The high number of aspirants in our party is a good one. When people are fed up with what they have been experiencing, they seek something new and fulfilling. It is only mad people that do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. The Edo people are fed up with insecurity, decaying infrastructure, and economic downturn brought about by the misrule of PDP and APC in the state over the years.
“So the LP seems to be the only party that can reverse this ugly trend. Our logo depicts the family and when the family is taken care of, then the larger society will benefit. So the aspirants see the LP as a place where their plans for Edo State can come to light hence the high number of aspirants.
“There will be no confusion in getting a suitable aspirant as we are going to provide a level playing ground. Confusion can only erupt when the process of selecting a candidate is not transparent. We are going to carry out a primary election that is devoid of rancour. The party will set up a screening committee that will look at those who are qualified to take part in the primaries. They are all aspirant for now as the purchase of forms, meeting, and all other criteria will also determine those ready to contest,” he added.
The APC publicity secretary, Peter Uwadiae, noted that the level playing ground the party has was pulling aspirants towards it.
He said, “I believe the level playing ground our party provides is the reason there are so many aspirants in the race. By the time we come out with guidelines, the serious contenders will emerge. It has also been made clear that there is no zoning. So members who feel they have the requisite capacity and credentials to lead Edo are indicating their interest.
“The reason we also have so many aspirants is because the party has become attractive in Edo. It is the belief that anyone who picks the ticket will eventually become the governor after the polls because of what transpired in recent elections.
“The APC has put a machinery in place for a smooth primary election. We have assured all intending aspirants who buy the governorship form that due process will be followed in electing the party’s standard bearer. What I am saying in essence is that Edo people should not be worried about the high number of persons who are indicating interest. It shows that Edo people are becoming more politically aware which they will benefit from in the end,” he added.
Nigerian youths who are scamming unsuspecting people are enemies of the nation’s progress, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said on Friday.
The EFCC’s South-East Zonal Commander, Mr Aliyu Nuhu, stated this in Enugu while speaking on this year’s International Anti-Corruption celebration, which holds on Dec 9 every year.
He said such youths, popularly called ‘Yahoo Boys’, create a bad image of Nigeria both within and outside the country.
According to him, “We lay much emphasis on Yahoo Boy, the same way we check both public and private sectors. Some of them call their victims on the phone, claiming to be bank officials.
“They demand certain codes sent through phones, and when they get what they want, they empty their victims’ bank accounts. Some of their victims work day and night to save money, and suddenly, they are swindled.
“We fight such. Yahoo boys affect our integrity as Nigerians. You travel outside the country, and you are seen as fraudsters. We do everything to fight this scourge. There is no justification to resort to ‘yahoo yahoo’ because one has no job. We should stop thinking towards that perspective. Unemployment is no justification to scam. EFCC will continue to fight cybercrimes.”
He said complaints at EFCC attract no charges, adding that, “We provide our services free of charge. What we need is credible information. We carry out investigations and prosecute. Even when stolen funds are recovered, we don’t demand charges.”
International Anti-Corruption day is observed annually, on 9 December, since the passage of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on 31 October 2003 to raise public awareness on anti-corruption.
The Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ahmed Audi, Thursday launched a special squad, the Safe School Response Team to protect schools from all forms of attacks in the North Central region of the country.
This is coming on the heels of the urgent need to strengthen security operations across schools and colleges of education in the region.
The squad, which includes officers from the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Police Force, and the Department of State Security Services, among others are expected to tame the spate of attacks on schools, students and teachers in the six states of the North Central region, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Audi, while speaking in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital at a one-day sensitisation workshop for strategic stakeholders in the North Central geo-political zone on activities of the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre and Safe School Project In Nigeria, said the federal government had domiciled the coordination of the project with the Corps.
The CG expressed confidence that the smooth implementation of the initiative would reduce the burden of out-of-school children in the region while calling on stakeholders to support the Safe Schools implementation project to enable the security agencies to achieve their set objectives.
“The National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre is a product of the National Plan on Safe Schools in Nigeria. The menace of violence and attacks on schools in Nigeria is not a new phenomenon to us. For more than a decade, Nigeria has experienced deliberate targeting of education and destruction of facilities; disrupting schools and keeping children out of school.
“The risk of keeping children out of schools continuously and the consequences thereof can only be imagined. It is in an attempt to address this ugly situation that the Centre was created by the government and domiciled under the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps with the responsibility of coordinating safety and security responses against violence in schools and host communities.
“So far, about 48 cases of planned attacks on schools have been thwarted through the collaborative efforts of the Centre. This workshop is one in the series of several advocacies, awareness creation and sensitization programmes being carried out by the Centre to galvanize support, synergy and collaborations towards tackling the challenge of school attacks and violence which has kept a lot of our children out of schools over a long period,” the NSCDC Commandant General added.
On his part, Brigadier General MBG Martins said in a keynote that the issue of kidnapping and banditry in schools across the nation will soon be a thing of the past while commending the federal government for initiating the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre.
“The prevalent state of attacks around the world and schools in particular has been on the rise in recent years. This activity being undertaken by the NSCDC is in response to having safe, secure and violent-free schools. The proactive step taken by the Corps to organise this programme will remain a noble and outstanding one,” he said.
Corroborating him, the Nasarawa State Commandant of the NSCDC, Abbas Bappa-Muhammed, stated that all personnel in the command are committed to ensuring the protection of schools across the 13 Local Government Areas of the state.
Earlier, the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, donated a building structure to the Commander of the NSSRCC, Tersoo Shaapera, and his team for the smooth take-off of the project in the state. Governor Sule was represented by his deputy, Emmanuel Akabe at the occasion.
The founder of a branch of Celestial Church of Christ in Lagos State, Aderemi Dabiri, has said the reason why he invited Fuji singer, Alabi Pasuma, and street-hop artiste, Portable, was to gain new converts.
The cleric made this known in a video where he was seen addressing a delegation of the church’s task force who visited his parish to have an audience with him.
The white garment church came under heavy criticism recently for inviting secular artistes to its praise night event.
While explaining the rationale behind the decision, Dabiri revealed that the choice of the two artistes was to attract deviants in the society.
According to him, the pattern of evangelism had worked for him over the years and also resulted in the growth of his church membership.
He said, “It is not our first time inviting guest artistes. We have been doing it without a problem and I can give you a series of instances. We cannot go where they sell palm wine or alcoholic drinks and ask them to accept Jesus Christ. If I don’t apply wisdom, they will hit a bottle on my head. That was why I thought of a way to bring them into the church.
“I also noticed that there are some notorious boys who cause trouble in the community, disturbing the authorities and engaging in cultism. I wondered how can we draw their attention so that they would have a change of heart. We have gone to places where they are and they ended up beating us. Most of the members of my church are new converts and it was through that pattern that I converted them.”
Dabiri, who criticised some gospel ministers for being disrespectful said he preferred to invite secular musicians.
“Some gospel ministers are rude. If you talk to some of them, they respond rudely, but the day I called Pasuma, he sounded respectful on the phone and also agreed with my stance,” he said.
Responding to the concerns raised by the task force team about the raging controversy caused by the development, Dabiri indicated that he had no plans to cancel the invitation.
However, he explained that he would reduce the excesses of the artistes at the event, especially Portable.
He said, “We will tell Portable not to dye his hair and he should not sing vulgar songs but to sing gospel music. We will also caution him not to dress inappropriately or climb the speakers.
“We will also warn him not to allow his boys to smoke here. We have invited close to 30 military personnel to man the event.”
The cleric also appealed to the Celestial Church worldwide to support his vision, as he would use his style of evangelism to make the church proud.