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EFCC recovers N220 million in South South – Official

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says it recovered N220 million from fraud and corrupt cases in the South South zone in the last five months.

Nnagh Itam, the South South Zonal Director of EFCC, said this while briefing journalists in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Tuesday

He also said the commission had received about 166 complaints, in addition to already existing cases.

“We received 166 complaints from the zone from January till date and we have charged 28 of the cases to court and secured about 13 convictions.

“Within this period too, we have recovered little above N220 million and $15,000.

“We are still investigating some of the matters we have before us,’’ he said.

The EFCC boss also dismissed claims alleged by the Rivers State Government that the commission was making moves to close some of the state’s accounts.

He explained that the Rivers State House of Assembly was the only office that had the powers to call for probe into the government accounts based on ruling of a court of competent jurisdiction.

“I am not aware that EFCC either at Abuja or here is making any move to block any bank account belonging to the state.

“If there is a subsisting court judgment, it is only the state assembly that can call for investigation if they see that the state fund is not being managed properly,’’ Mr Itam said.

He also noted that the commission was investigating fake contractor syndicates in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

“We have people who had fallen victims and suffered by these fake NDDC contract staff and we expect the victims to come and make complaints.

“When they don’t, there is nothing or little we can do, this is a practice that must stop, its corruption,’’ he said.

He further warned members of the public against giving out their account details or Automated Teller Machine, (ATM) card for illicit transactions.

Mr Itam said that most people who had stolen funds transferred into their accounts did not have any link with the crime.

“We are warning people to stop giving out their account numbers in the name of helping friends or neghbours.

“I wonder why people still give their account numbers and ATM cards to others to receive illicit funds, it is unhealthy to give your account numbers to people for help.

“People who receive this stolen money are not the actual people who commit the crimes.’’

(NAN)

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Why Buhari did not attend presidential debate – Spokesperson

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The campaign office of President Mohammadu Buhari has explained why the president was absent for the debate slated to hold on Saturday evening.

According to a statement credited to the campaign spokesperson, Festus Keyamo SAN, FCIArb (UK), the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who is also the APC Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming Presidential Election, President Muhammadu Buhari, could not attend the Presidential Debate organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria which held today, Saturday, January 19, 2019 for the following reasons:

Firstly, out of several opportunities afforded our candidate to interact with the Nigerian people directly by different organisations, our presidential candidate has taken full advantage of another town-hall meeting organized by another group which held on Wednesday, January 16, 2019. He was also joined at that town-hall meeting by our Vice-Presidential candidate who is also the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. Nigerians from all walks of life who were physically present and through on-line platforms asked uncensored questions which were adequately answered. It was also transmitted live by various broadcast networks in Nigeria.

In addition, the busy and hectic official and campaign schedules of Mr. President clashed with this programme. Today, Mr. President commissioned the Baro Inland Water Port in Niger State and campaigned in Niger and Plateau States where his time was over-stretched by the tumultuous and mammoth crowds in both States, (as seen by Nigerians on live television) and only returned to Abuja late this evening.

Whilst we thank the organisers for the invitation, we want to assure Nigerians that we shall continue to hold these debate groups and Nigerians in high esteem which our candidate has demonstrated during past election debates when he honoured similar invitations. Nigerians will also recall that a few weeks ago, our Vice-Presidential candidate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, also attended the debate organized by the same organisations.

Lastly, we note the statement of the candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who actually came for the event and left the venue when he did not see Mr. President, who is our candidate. According to him, he would not want to “attack” Mr. President in his absence.

It should now be obvious to Nigerians that for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, this election is all about attacking the person and programmes of Mr. President and not about proffering their own solutions to the problems they created during their sixteen years of misrule, maladministration and looting of the nation’s resources. When they cannot see President Buhari to attack, the content of their campaign becomes hollow, empty and “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. Now that Atiku Abubakar had a unique opportunity to explain to Nigerians his own vision and mission without a President Buhari in the picture, he ran away. Afterall, he has his own eight years of crass and grand corruption as Vice President to defend before the Nigerian people.

On February 16, 2019 we urge Nigerians to demonstrate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, through their votes, how empty indeed their campaign has always been and to vote massively for President Muhammadu Buhari and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN who have started the rebuilding process of our great nation.

Thank you.

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Irregularities mar Paralympics Committee election – Obuh

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The Tuesday, 15th January 2019 Presidential election of Paralympic Committee of Nigeria has been dubbed fraudulent, full of irregularities and outcome totally rejected by the President of Para-powerlifting Federation of Nigeria, Queen Obuh.
Rejecting the election in its entirety, Queen Obuh told newsmen that the process of the election subverts the constitution and guidelines for election into the body.
The Para-powerlifting Federation of Nigeria President, Obuh who is one of the presidential candidates said delegates for the election were handpicked within the National Stadium venue of the election instead of from federations across the six geopolitical zones of the country as stipulated by the constitution of PCN.
She said: “One of the zonal representatives claimed Para Tennis but to my amazement Kano State Director of Sports said they don’t do such sport in Kano.
 “The elections lacked merit in all ramifications and the evidences are there. Most of the zonal representatives were not eligible to vote. Most of them were hand-picked by the officials of the Sports Ministry on the Election Day.
According to PCN election guideline, “The elections will be conducted by the electoral committee which shall comprise not more than (5) five persons and not less than (3) three persons or members.
“The Elections shall be monitored by the representatives of Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and members of the Nigerian Olympic Committee.”
Furthermore, it was clearly stated in the Conduct of Election in the Guideline for the election that “The chairman of states Para Sports Associations or The Director of state sports council/Commission shall Authenticate the zonal candidates letter for the zonal election, but all these were fragrantly flaunted.
The most shocking according to Obuh is why the election should be conducted by the Ministry instead of playing observatory role as the constitution stipulates.
Recounting her experience, Lucy Ejike, the team captain of Para-powerlifting of Nigeria said she stood for Athletes Representative election on the 10th of January against Flora Ugonwa which was declared inconclusive but to her dismay, at the PCN presidential election yesterday, Flora Ugunnwa was called to vote as Athletes Representative
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Why I’ll privatise NNPC if elected president – Atiku

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, said on Wednesday that he would privatise the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation if elected, describing the state-owned oil firm as a “mafia organisation.”

Atiku was quoted by TheCable as saying at an interactive session with the business community in Lagos that he would take the step even if doing so would cost him his life.

He explained that he sold the idea to President Olusegun Obasanjo whom he worked with as a deputy between 1999 and 2007 but that the former president did not approve of it.

Atiku said he was convinced that the NNPC would run better if not managed by the government.

He said, “Let me go back to my experience. When we got into office, I walked up to my boss and said, “Sir, there are two mafia organisations in government: one is the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation while the other one is the National Electricity Power Authority.

“I said unless we dismantle these mafia organisations, we cannot make progress. Let’s privatise them… the long and short of this is that I am committed to privatisation as I have said. I swear even if they are going to kill me, I will do it (privatise NNPC).”

Atiku also spoke on how an expert in the petroleum sector influenced his stance on the privatisation of the NNPC.

The former Vice President said, “I asked a Nigerian professor based in America; I said, ‘Prof, do you have a ministry of petroleum in America?’ He said no. I said, ‘Do you have an organisation like the NNPC over there?’ He said no. And America produces oil more than any country? He said yes.

“So I asked him, ‘How do they do it in America?’ and he said taxation, and I decided that I will go by taxation too.”

Atiku criticised the current administration for the delay in passing the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill.

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