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Alleged corruption: Untold story of how DSS held Oshiomhole hostage for eight hours

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Details have emerged of how the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, was held hostage at the Department of State Security Service (DSS) for eight hours last Sunday at the behest of some governors and some forces in the party to force him to resign.

Oshiomhole, however, stood his ground and rebuffed the pressure mounted on him to resign.

He told the DSS that he committed no crime and would therefore not resign, no matter the intimidation.

Although the APC chairman was caught unawares, he maintained his stand even when DSS officials tried to invoke the name of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He pointedly told them that the President was in the know of all that happened during the APC primaries and that it was their collective resolve not to allow imposition of candidates by anybody, no matter his status in the party.

It later turned out that some security operatives had plotted Oshiomhole’s resignation with about six APC governors.

According to report by The Nation, plot to lay ambush for him was hatched by the affected governors in connivance with some powerful forces who were aggrieved over the outcome of the recent primaries of the APC.

The governors are from Southwest, Northcentral, Southeast and Northwest.

Four of them are angry with the party for not allowing them to impose their favourites as the party’s candidates in their states.

One Southwest governor is in sympathy with a fellow Southwest governor for standing by him recently when it mattered most.

The Northcentral governor is up in arms with Oshiomhole for insisting on direct primary.

There were insinuations that some former APC elements in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gave tacit backing to the plot by the APC governors in order to render the party weak ahead of the presidential campaign beginning from November 18.

It was gathered that the plotters knew that the APC national chairman was due for a private visit abroad, hence they opted to seal his fate before the trip.

The President was said to have been kept in the dark till the coup was hatched.

The plan was to hoodwink Buhari and present him with Oshiomhole’s resignation letter to prevent any intervention.

A reliable source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Some of the governors behind the ambush had relocated to Abuja ahead of the invitation of Oshiomhole by the DSS. I

“In fact, one of them told a member of the Election Committee in his state to expect a major news on Sunday. He was quoted to have said ‘by Sunday, Oshiomhole is gone and all of you will be put to shame.’

“They opted for forcible removal of Oshiomhole to take advantage of the substitution window for candidates.

“The two options considered against Oshiomhole were either to get the DSS to arrest or invite him.

“Some of the governors actually felt that arresting him on spurious charges of fraud would make greater news and prevent Buhari from intervening like he did in the case with some judges.

“Unknown to the plotters, the APC national chairman had travelled to lyamho, his village in Edo State, to spend the weekend before jetting out to meet with his family abroad on Tuesday.

“The trip to Edo frustrated the first leg of the plot as it was too late for the DSS operatives involved in the plot to stop him from traveling to Edo State.”

Another source gave insight into how Oshiomhole received DSS invitation and why he reported to the agency on Sunday.

The second source said: “Last Saturday, a call was put to Oshiomhole by a DSS operative in Iyamho with an urgent tone that he should report at the DSS headquarters. But the APC chairman was not moved because he did not commit any crime.

“On Sunday, he returned to Abuja and honoured DSS invitation where he was told about a petition against him bothering on fraudulent activities.

“For about eight hours, it was a ding dong affair between the DSS interrogators and Oshiomhole over a demand for his resignation letter.

“Being an intelligent leader, Oshiomhole pointedly asked for a copy of the petition against him for his response, because he knew he did not engage in any fraud.

“No petition was presented to him. He rebuffed all attempts to force him to resign.

“While the drama was going on, the governors behind the set up were using some proxies to monitor Oshiomhole’s engagement with the DSS.

“The Northcentral governor was said to be in his house in Abuja with an official of the party from a state also in the North who they had hoped to appoint as acting chairman.

“The governor’s impunity in his state was condoned by the party before Oshiomhole took over but now, the governor is being asked to do things in accordance with the APC constitution.

“He is also not happy that Oshiomhole is insisting on direct primaries.

“His fear is that when his election is due later in 2019, direct primary will not favour him. He was one of the governors who told the public that the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) opted for indirect primaries some months back as against direct primary which was the preferred option.”

After being adamant for many hours, Oshiomhole was let off the hook by the DSS.

He insisted that he would not resign without hearing from the President and they could not provide any evidence that the President knew about their action.

On how he left DSS custody, the source said: “In fact, a governor of the APC came to pick him. There was no issue of surety at all.

“It was uncertain if the governor was just being benevolent or was one of the plotters.

“The governors who were in Abuja had already put a media plan in place to force the NWC to issue a statement that Oshiomhole has resigned.

“The governors later realised that the plot had failed as soon as Oshiomhole survived the siege in DSS headquarters.

“Curiously, some forces in PDP were also in a hotel trying to know the outcome of the unfolding drama in APC, having been told of the plot by their collaborating governors.

Findings, however, confirmed that the President was not aware of either his invitation or the demand for his resignation.

A presidency source added: “The President was shocked and angry when Oshiomhole met with him on Monday on his ordeal. He promised to look into the incident.

“What the aggrieved governors did not know is that the APC chairman was always briefing the President on the challenges facing the party in some states. So, the President and Oshiomhole are always on the same page.

“There was a time one of the governors went to meet with the President and raised some issues. After the governor’s narration, the President made a call and gave the phone to the governor, saying: ‘The chairman on the line. Speak with him.’

“The affected governor was speechless and left the Presidential Villa in shame.”

Buoyed by the backing of the President, Oshiomhole left the country on Tuesday to meet his family.

A party source said: “He had already scheduled his personal trip. He was undaunted. He is not on exile. He has not committed any fraud.”

The embattled party chairman is however expected in the country from London today.

SOURCE: NEWSGURU

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BUSINESS

Diamond Bank confirms merger talks with Access Bank

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Diamond bank has confirmed its merger with Access Bank Plc, stating that the development is in the best interest of all stakeholders including, employees, customers, depositors and shareholders.

In a statement signed by Chioma Afe, Head, Corporate Communications of Diamond Bank, and made available to THE WITNESS on Monday, the lender said that the proposed merger would involve Access Bank acquiring the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank in exchange for a combination of cash and shares in Access Bank via a Scheme of Merger.

 

Read the full statement below:

The Board of Diamond Bank Plc (“Diamond Bank”) today announces that following a strategic review leading to a competitive process, the Board has selected Access Bank Plc (“Access Bank”) as the preferred bidder with respect to a potential merger of the two banks (“the merger”) that will create Nigeria and Africa’s largest retail bank by customers.

The Board of Diamond Bank believes that the merger is in the best interest of all stakeholders including, employees, customers, depositors and shareholders and has agreed to recommend the offer to Diamond Bank’s shareholders. Completion of the merger is subject to certain shareholder and regulatory approvals.

The proposed merger would involve Access Bank acquiring the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank in exchange for a combination of cash and shares in Access Bank via a Scheme of Merger. Based on the agreement reached by the Boards of the two financial institutions, Diamond Bank shareholders will receive a consideration of N3.13 per share, comprising of N1.00 per share in cash and the allotment of 2 New Access Bank ordinary shares for every 7 Diamond Bank ordinary shares held as at the Implementation Date. The offer represents a premium of 260% to the closing market price of N0.87 per share of Diamond Bank on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”) as of December 13, 2018, the date of the final binding offer.

Immediately following completion of the merger, Diamond Bank would be absorbed into Access Bank and it will cease to exist under Nigerian law. The current listing of Diamond Bank’s shares on the NSE and the listing of Diamond Bank’s global depositary receipts on the London Stock Exchange will be cancelled, upon the merger becoming effective.

Diamond Bank expects the transaction to complete in the first half of 2019.

Uzoma Dozie, the Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank, said: “The proposed combination with Access Bank will create one of Africa’s leading financial institutions.

There is clear strategic rationale for the proposed merger and strong complementarities between the two institutions. While Diamond Bank has pioneered Nigeria’s largest technology-led retail banking platform, Access Bank is one of Nigeria’s leading full-service commercial banks. Consolidation in the Nigerian banking industry is an inevitable, natural progression in a sector where the gap between Tier 1 and Tier 2 banks has been widening and scale has become critical; where technology will disrupt the traditional business model while enabling broader financial inclusion.

The board of Diamond Bank believes that the proposed combination of the two operations provides an exciting prospect for all stakeholders in both businesses and will create a financial

institution with the scale, strength and expertise to capitalise on the significant opportunities in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa more broadly.”

Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Bank, said: “Access Bank has a strong track record of acquisition and integration and has a clear growth strategy. Access Bank and Diamond Bank have complementary operations and similar values, and a merger with Diamond Bank, with its leadership in digital and mobile-led retail banking, could accelerate our strategy as a significant corporate and retail bank in Nigeria and a Pan-African financial services champion. Access Bank has a strong financial profile with attractive returns and a robust capital position with 20.1% CAR as at 30 September 2018. We believe that this platform, together with the two banks’ shared focus on innovation, financial inclusion and sustainability, can bring benefits to Access Bank and Diamond Bank customers, staff and shareholders.”

Exotix Capital acted as international financial advisor to Diamond Bank, and Templars acted as Nigerian legal counsel.

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NEWS

FG, Labour to build 200 housing units for workers in Katsina

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The federal government through the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) in collaboration with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and other affiliated unions in Nigeria Saturday flagged off the construction of 200 housing units in Katsina State.

This was even as FMBN said it has committed N1.9 billion through its Estate Development Loan (EDL) to construct 492 housing units situated in estates across the state through selected developers.

The 200 housing unit project is part of federal government’s effort at providing affordable houses to its workforce across the country via the National Affordable Housing Delivery Programme (NAHDEP).

Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony at Kambarwa, in Batagarawa Local Government Area of the state, the Managing Director of FMBN Ahmed Dangiwa said the houses when completed would be in the selling range of between N3.1 million to N8.3 million.

According to Dangiwa, “The housing units would be in the mix of three, two, one bedroom semi-detached bungalows and block of flats that can assuage the sufferings of the beneficiaries.

“The Katsina project is the first phase of the NAHDEP which is to be run as a pilot to deliver 1,400 housing units across the six geopolitical zones in the country.”

Dangiwa reiterated that each zone would have 200 houses with 100 units in two selected states, adding that Katsina is one of the benefiting states due to its tremendous contributions to the National Housing Fund (NHF).

On his part, the state Governor Aminu Bello Masari said the state in collaboration with stakeholders, constructed 500 housing units in line with the culture and religion of people in the state.

“We are also planning to construct hundreds of housing units in seven old local governments of the state,” he said.

The event climaxed with the distribution of N266.5 million cheques to 318 beneficiaries under the FMBN Home Renovation Loan.

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NEWS

Court orders ICPC to unfreeze Pinnacle Communications’ account

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The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered ICPC to unfreeze the account of Pinnacle Communications Limited and counselled anti-corruption agencies of government against taking drastic action that could prevent private enterprises from flourishing prior to concluding investigations to justify such action.

Delivering his ruling in the case instituted against ICPC by Pinnacle Communications Limited for instructing Zenith Bank to freeze it’s account Friday, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba maintained that the anti-corruption war was as beneficial to the society as flourishing private enterprises pointing out that scuttling the operations of major private organizations like Pinnacle Communications Limited also sends negative signals to the international community about Nigeria’s business environment.

Justice Dimgba described ICPC’s action against Pinnacle Communications Limited as “an overkill just like using a sledgehammer to kill a fly” considering that even after six months since the case was instituted and despite lèeway provided by many adjournments by the court, ICPC could not file any charges against the company, emphasizing that it should not have frozen the account without establishing a prima facie against it.

The judge remarked that anti-corruption agencies should not base their actions on rumours or “beer parlour stories” but on thorough investigations that could sustain judicial scrutiny

It would be recalled the media was agog over a statement credited to the spokesperson of the ICPC, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, who claimed that the agency is investigating an alleged N2.5bn fraud levelled against the DG of NBC, Dr Moddibo Kawu, and other top officials of the corporation.

She added that the money involved was a grant released to the agency by the Federal Government for its digital switch-over programme.

The statement further said “The Presidency in 2016, released N10bn to the Ministry of Information and Culture for the digital switch-over programme which entails migration of telephone lines from analogue to digital platforms and a White Paper was issued directing that the process be specifically handled by government-affiliated companies.

“Based on the guidelines provided by the White Paper, two companies were nominated to handle the process, one of which was ITS, an affiliate of the Nigerian Television Authority. N1.7bn was released to it as seed grant for the commencement of the switch-over.  Okoduwa added that the agency discovered that the process was fraught with alleged corrupt practices.”

The statement also alleged that Kawu fraudulently recommended a private company, Pinnacle Communications Limited, to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, for the release of the money against the guidelines contained in the said White Paper.

The ICPC’s statement was debunked in a statement by the spokesperson of NBC, Hajia Maimuna Jimada, She said “The NBC is not aware of any fraud case involving the DG, and therefore not aware of any ICPC investigation on the DG.”

Jimada said the commission had been carrying out the digital switch-over scheme with utmost diligence and transparency, and would continue to do until the project is completed across the country.

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