The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) says it will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to strengthen effort in fight against corruption in the country.
NEITI disclosed this in a statement signed by Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, Director, Communications and Advocacy, in Abuja on Wednesday.
It said agreement on signing of the MoU was part of the outcome of the meeting between the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Waziri Adio and the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu with top management team of the two agencies
It said that the MoU would strengthen the partnership and cooperation between the two agencies in the fight against corruption..
“The MoU will focus more on identified financial crimes disclosed by the NEITI reports in the oil, gas and mining industries.
“It will also specify how NEITI and the EFCC will deal with such crimes expeditiously through information and intelligence sharing as well as human capacity mobilisation, ‘’ it added.
Adio was quoted in the statement as drawing the attention of the EFCC to other emerging issues in the implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI) in Nigeria, which would require support of the EFCC to effectively implement in the best interest of the Nigerian economy.
He listed the emerging issues to include, Beneficial Ownership Disclosure, Contract Transparency, Commodity Trading and Oil Theft.
According to him, Beneficial Ownership disclosure seeks to provide information to the public on the real owners of businesses in Nigeria’s oil, gas and mining industries.
This, he said, requires the support of the EFCC towards its implementation.
He called on the EFCC Chairman to work with NEITI as the agency’s legitimate interest in deepening transparency in these areas was as a result of the strong linkages between corruption in the nation’s extractive sector and sabotage of the economy.
He commended the Chairman of the EFCC and his team for their hard work, courage and commitments resulting in the visible achievements so far recorded by the Commission in the discharge of its assignments.
In his remarks, Magu described NEITI and the EFCC as key partners in progress.
He said that the time to strengthen the partnership between the two agencies had become very urgent.
He described the extractive industries as not only the main source of revenues to the economy but also source of corruption and financial crimes.
The Chairman explained that the EFCC had established a special unit to advise the commission on financial crimes arising from the NEITI reports in the oil, gas and mining sectors for immediate action.
On the MoU, he said, it will be quite useful to define clearly the rules of engagement.
He added that this will be followed by the establishment of a joint operations committee to ensure effective implementation of the MoU.
He commended NEITI for what he described as useful and well researched information and data, which the agency had consistently placed in the public domain on process lapses and corruption in the nation’s extractive industry.
Edited by Felix Ajide (NAN)
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)
Alleged money laundering: EFCC files fresh charges against ex-AGF, Adoke, other
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Adoke, alongside an Abuja-based businessman, Aliyu Abubakar, was, on June 17, arraigned before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, over charges involving about N400 million.
Six out of the seven counts in the initial charge involved only the former AGF.
Although the trial was expected to begin on Monday, the amended charges by the EFCC stalled its commencement.
At the resumed trial, Counsel to the anti-graft agency, Bala Sanga, informed the court of an amended charge he filed on July 29 which was served on all the defendants.
Justice Ekwo, who frowned at the late filing of the amended charges, adjourned the trial till Tuesday on the ground that he was yet to sight the latest applications.
In the former seven-count charge, EFCC alleged that the defendants committed the money laundering offences involving over N400 million in Abuja in September 2013.
Part of the counts relating to Adoke accused him of receiving the dollar equivalent of N300 million from Abubakar, paying the dollar equivalent of N367. 3 million to one Usman Mohammed Bello, and allegedly using the sum of N300 million, which was alleged to be part of the proceeds of unlawful activities, all in violations of various provisions of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.
The former AGF was also accused of making “structured cash payments, in 22 tranches” amounting to N80 million, another of such structured payments in 13 tranches summing up to N50 million into his Unity Bank account.
The commission alleged that the funds were not only part of the proceeds of unlawful acts but they also exceeded “thresholds outside a financial institution” and that the payments were done with the intention of concealing the origins of the funds contrary to section 15(2(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same law.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Shipping Institute urges FG to re-engage Global West in fight against piracy
Onogharigho stated this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
He hinged the appeal on the recent acquittal of Chief Government Ekpemupolo and Capt. Enusoh Warredi of charges of corruption and seizure of their maritime security assets, including the surveillance and combat vessels, belonging to GWSV.
NAN also reports that the company and its operators were accused of embezzlement in 2015, while their assets, including vessels, were confiscated by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
According to him, re-engaging will not only be a resounding political score for the present government, but one that will timely address the challenges of piracy and maritime insecurity.
“The deployment of GWSV was an impressive outing within the period it partnered the Federal Government to combat piracy and maritime insecurity.
“This will reassure the international shipping community and international oil companies that this government can deliver on its assurance for safety of foreign investments and international merchant shipping,” he said.
“We thank God that Tompolo and Warredi have been acquitted of the charges of corruption filed against them.
“Global West was doing a very wonderful job in partnership with all the security agencies: EFCC, Navy, Marine Police and the Air Force. It was the best combination ever this country has put together to combat piracy and maritime insecurity.
“Now that they have been acquitted, my appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari is to re-engage Global West so that they can return to the sea, clean up the place and rid it of pirates.
“National security should not be politicized. It is a shame that Tompolo, who invested his money and his civilian partners like Warredi, were slammed with frivolous charges.
“Now that the court has acquitted them, Mr President should prevail on EFCC to release their seized vessels and platforms, and make them to return to sea.
“Global West was doing a great job by arresting sea robbers and pirates and bringing money for NIMASA.
“Working with Global West, Tompolo and his men will be one of the best political and security decisions the country will make,” he said.
Edited By: Nkiru Ifeajuna and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq
COVID-19 an opportunity to repent of our sins – Bishop Kaigama
Kaigama said this at his first Interaction Session with newsmen Abuja, since he became the substantive Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese.
He said: “God is giving us a second chance to begin again. If we sincerely repent and turn to God, just as He forgave the people of Nineveh, He will forgive and heal us.
“We should not be blind to our personal sins and the sins of the world.
“Let us turn the positive experiences being garnered during this pandemic, like the sense of solidarity, selflessness and community into policy and practice and be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
“The all too familiar bad news about social maladies such as embezzlement of public funds, kidnaping, banditry, militancy unemployment, cybercrime, immortality, violence and killings are still with us.
“We must ask the question whether all these leave our youths with any decent future.
“We can certainly do something differently and positively for Nigeria and Nigerians. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Let us all take that little but significant step forward.’’
According to him, COVID-19 has led us to the realisation that we are not masters of our fate and that ultimately, our lives are in God’s hands, which means far better hands than our own.
“In the midst of all the harshness the pandemic poses, perhaps we might feel a gentle nudge that will help dispel the illusion that we are in control.
“God wants us to draw lessons out of the evil of COVID-19.
“Nigeria is blessed with enormous natural and human resources and should be very ready at such critical times to provide and efficiently distribute palliative to the poor and the needy.
“Our politics must be further refined, to include high principles and values, and must become an offer of self to serve the people.
“The social cancer of corruption must give way for Nigeria to speed up her journey to join the league of developed nations.
“With the advent of pandemic, it became obvious that our medical facilities are highly insufficient to cater for emergencies like this; they are also below standard and need to be upgraded.
“Ideally, well equipped and functional medical facilities should be available and accessible in all the 774 Local Government Areas of the nation.
“We must resolve, as a country, to make access to health care possible for all.’’
In the same vein, he said the educational facilities in many of the public schools and institutions were not in line with global best practices.
The archbishop said that COVID-19 pandemic had forced schools globally to switch to online learning, saying that Nigeria must not be left behind.
“Education should be given a high priority, even though educating our students in the present circumstance will not be easy.
“It is good news that government is allowing the exit classes to resume and to sit for their final exams; all precautionary measures against COVID-19 must, however, be put in place.
“I believe strongly that the needed funds could come from the generous donations received, part sacrifice of salaries lavishly used by political parties before and during elections, recovered “looted’’ funds, etc.
“These could be used to improve or create structures for our students in public, private and faith based schools so that their academic life is not truncated.
“We cannot afford the adverse consequences of leaving our students idle for such an undetermined period of time,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Kaigama, who succeeded John Cardinal Onaiyekan, resumed his pastoral assignment in March during the lockdown from Archdiocese of Jos, where he had served for close to 20 years.
Kaigama has also celebrated his 39th anniversary as a Catholic Priest and clocked 62 years on Friday – July 31st, being a feast day of his Patron Saints, St Ignatius of Loyola.