President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate suspension of Ibrahim Magu as Ag. Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in order to allow for unhindered inquiry by the Presidential Investigation Panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.
Dr Umar Gwandu, Special Assistant to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice on Media and Public Relations disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
According to Gwandu, the President also approved that the EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, take charge and oversee the activities of the Commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation and further directives in that regards.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
APC UK optimistic of Diezani’s prosecution by British Government
The All Progressives Congress (APC), UK chapter, says it has received favourable response from the British Government to prosecute former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke and other Nigerians suspected of fraud, bribery and corruption offences, living in the United Kingdom.
According to a statement signed by Mr Jacob Ogunseye, the APC UK Publicity Secretary, issued on Tuesday in Abuja, the assurance was given by British Minister of State for Security, James Brokenshire.
In the statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria , the British government also promised to help Nigeria fight corruption to a standstill.
It said Brokenshire’s promise followed a petition initiated by the APC UK legal department to the British government on the need to prosecute the former petroleum minister and other Nigerians suspected of fraud, bribery and corruption.
The statement said the petition was sequel to a plea by Ibrahim Magu, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at a virtual meeting before his suspension.
It said that Magu had appealed to Nigerians in Diaspora to assist the commission in putting pressure on the British government to repatriate the former minister to Nigeria to answer charges against her.
It said the APC UK legal department took up Magu’s challenge by initiating a legal process reminding the British government of Alison-Madueke’s arrest on October 2, 2015 by its National Crime Agency (NCA) in London.
It recalled that Alison-Madueke was arrested along side four other persons on suspicion of bribery and corruption offences, but was released on bail.
The statement said the department also demanded for a speedy trial of the former petroleum minister in the UK or in the alternative, facilitate her immediate repatriation to Nigeria to face graft charges.
The statement quoted Mr Ade Omole, leader of the chapter, as saying that a fair trial as enshrined in Article 6 of the Human Rights Act would be followed if Madueke was repatriated to Nigeria to face trial.
“APC UK supported the legal process with petitions through Members of Parliament and Peers in the House of Lords, the British Government was left with no choice but respond promptly to the issues raised.
“The British government responding through its Minister of State for Security, Rt. Hon. James Brokenshire, promised to work with the Federal Republic of Nigeria in ensuring that corruption is fought to a standstill and persons involved in criminal acts are duly prosecuted,” Omole said.
He added that the response from the British government was a strong indication of good things to come regarding suspects hibernating in the UK.
He stressed that the APC in UK had a good strategy and dedicated legal team that would ensure that looters did not commit crime in Nigeria and run to the United Kingdom to hide.
He said Nigerians should expect some traction on the near comatose criminal case involving the former petroleum minister going forward.
The statement quoted Brokenshire, as saying that: “The UK is continuing to lead international efforts to combat corruption, as evidenced by the commitments in the UK’s Anti-Corruption Strategy and the Economic Crime plan.”
He said the UK was determined to ensure that its society and economy remained hostile to illicit financial flows.
“As you will know, in 2018 the Financial Action Task Force assessed the UK as having the strongest controls of any country assessed to date.
“I am acutely aware of the negative impacts of grand corruption, including on developing countries.
“The International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre, hosted by the NCA, is working to recover stolen assets, share intelligence across jurisdictions, and build capacity to support grand corruption cases in developing countries,” he said.
He added that the centre had supported a number of high profile arrests involving politicians and public officials across the world.
“We are working closely with the government of Nigeria to prevent corruption, including providing support in-country.
“The NCA runs a number of multi-agency projects in Nigeria which target corruption as one of the threats to the UK,” Brokenshire said.
According to him, these projects provided specialist training, equipment, buildings and infrastructure.
He said it also provided UK-based mentors and intelligence to fight corruption at all levels, adding that the Department for International Development funds programmes to tackle corruption in the Nigerian public sector and oil industry.
Brokenshire assured the APC UK of UK’s commitment to combating corruption in Nigeria and other African countries.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
Buhari mourns Khalifa Tidiane Niass, Senegal-based Islamic leader
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed deep sadness over the demise of Sheikh Ahmed Tidiane Niass, Grand Khalifa (leader) of Tijjaniyya Islamic movement in Africa.
The President’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said Buhari’s condolence message was addressed to President Macky Sall, government and people of Senegal as well as millions of members of the sect in Nigeria.
President Buhari said: “It is really sad news for all of us to learn that our beloved Khalifa, Sheikh Ahmed Niass, has passed away in Senegal.
“Sheikh Ahmed Niass, who took over from his father, Sheikh Ibrahim Niass, did not at all disappoint the large followers of his greatly adored father.
”He will be remembered for his impeccable service to Islam and passion towards the sect’s followers, which has a large body in Nigeria.”
The Nigerian leader recalled that June, 2018, Sheikh Ahmed Niass visited the State House, Abuja, accompanied by some eminent Nigerians including President of BUA Group of Companies, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabi’u.
President Buhari, on behalf of government and people of Nigeria, prayed “for the eternal repose of his departed soul.”
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Buhari writes Funtua’s family, says he’s pillar of support to his govt.
President Muhammadu Buhari has written a personal letter to the family of the late publisher and businessman, Isma’ila Isa Funtua, describing his demise as major national loss.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Monday.
In the letter, written in Hausa language, the president told the bereaved wife, Hajiya Hauwa, the children and the entire family members that the loss of Funtua was not theirs alone, but that of the entire country.
He said: “Malam Isma’ila was of great assistance to me and my administration. He helped in many ways to strengthen the government and the country before his ultimate demise.”
The president recalled that Funtua, in his active politics, served as a minister.
”He was also a businessman and contractor who built several government buildings in Abuja.
“He was a director of Funtua Textile Mills for 30 years and chaired the Zamfara Textile Company. He was also a life executive member of the board of the International Press Institute (IPI).
“Nigerians of all shades and backgrounds have nothing but kind words for him.
“The late Isma’ila was reputed throughout his life for his kindness, generosity and support for public causes, the big and the not-so-big,” he remarked.
Buhari urged all those left behind by the deceased not to allow division in their ranks.
He prayed Allah to forgive the departed and grant him Aljannatul-Firdaus (paradise).
Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq
School feeding programme gulps over N500m during Lockdown – Minister
The Federal Government expended about N523.3 million on school feeding programme during the lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic.
Farouk made the revelation against the rumours and speculations going around one of our key interventions of the government – the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
She said that the programmed was modified and implemented in three states following a March 29th, Presidential directive.
“It is critical at this juncture to provide details that will help puncture the tissue of lies being peddled in the public space.
“The provision of ‘Take Home Rations’, under the modified Home Grown School Feeding programme, was not a sole initiative of the MHADMSD.
“The ministry, in obeying the Presidential directive, went into consultations with state governments through the state Governor’s Forum, following which it was resolved that ‘take-home rations’, remained the most viable option for feeding children during the lockdown.
“So, it was a joint resolution of the ministry and the state governments to give out take-home rations.
“The stakeholders also resolved that we would start with the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states, as pilot cases,’’ the minister said.
According to her, each takes home ration was valued at N4,200 and that the figure was arrived at with proper consultation.
“So, each household is assumed to have three children.
“Based on the original design of the Home Grown School Feeding programme, long before it was domiciled in the ministry, every child on the programme receives a meal a day.
“The meal costs N70 per child.
“When you take 20 school days per month, it means a child eats food worth N1,400 per month.
“Three children would then eat food worth N4,200 per month and that was how we arrived at the cost of the ‘take-home ration’.
“The agreement was that the federal government will provide the funding while the states will implement.
“To ensure transparency in the process, we partnered with the World Food Programme (WFP) as technical partners.’’
“TrackaNG monitored and gave daily updates validating the programme.
“In the FCT, 29,609 households were impacted, 37,589 households in Lagos and 60,391 in Ogun, making a total of 124,589 households impacted between May 14, and July 6.
“If 124,589 households received take-home rations valued at N4,200, the amount will be N523,273,800.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)