The New Nigeria Project (NNP) on Tuesday urged Nigerians not to jump to conclusions on the U.S. indictment of Mr Allen Onyema, the Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace airline until the allegations levelled against him were proven beyond reasonable doubt.
The National Coordinator of the organisation, Alh. Mohammed Danjuma who gave the advice at a news conference in Abuja also urged Nigerians not to castigate Onyema until he is found guilty of the allegations.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that Onyema was charged with bank fraud and money laundering for moving more than $20 million from Nigeria through U.S. bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes.
The international airline’s Chief of Administration and Finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha, has also been charged with bank fraud and committing aggravated identity theft in connection with the scheme.
“Onyema allegedly leveraged his status as a prominent business leader and airline executive while using falsified documents to commit fraud.
“We will diligently protect the integrity our banking system from being corrupted by criminals, even when they disguise themselves in a cloak of international business,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.
Speaking further, Danjuma said that the indictment was not consistent with the person of Onyema considering how his activities had benefited the country, especially when he provided an aircraft for free transportation of Nigerians from South Africa after the xenophobic attacks on them in September.
He described Onyema as a selfless, passionate, humble, responsible, and law-abiding man who could not have changed overnight to become “what he is being accused of”.
“We dare to say that Mr Onyema has been instrumental to the relative calm and peace we enjoy today in the Niger Delta region through his leadership and training of restive youths.
“The selfless contributions and standing of Onyema do not in any way align with the allegations being levelled against him by the U.S.
“It is vital to drive home the fact that our position as promoters of NNP is not to join issues with the U.S. in any way as we are confident that Mr Onyema, being a lawyer will seek the best legal means to acquit himself.
He said that the group would be closely monitoring developments to see the means that would be deployed in handling the matter in the best interest of the country.
He said that the group would also provide Mr Onyema with all the support he would need within the ambit of the law to be able to present his case against the charges.
NAN further reports that NNP is a platform established to contribute to charting a new course in the quest to unite the various ethnic and religious groups in the country through strategic engagements.
(Edited & Vetted By: Emmanuel Yashim)
APC lauds NGF leadership, urges Nigerians to disregard Wike’s comment
The All Progressives Congress (APC), has lauded the leadership of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) headed by Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, saying that the forum is well alive.
APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yekini Nabena, who said this on Tuesday at a news conference in Abuja,urged Nigerians to disregard the comment made by Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers who described the forum as a “toothless bulldog”.
Nabena was reacting to Wike’s comment on Monday in Port Harcourt, describing the NGF as “a toothless bulldog”.
Wike had accused the APC-led federal government of destroying the NGF, alleging that the forum lost its strength immediately the ruling party came into power in 2015.
However, the APC chieftain urged Nigerians to disregard the comment, saying that the NGF is well alive under civilised Fayemi.
He urged Wike to open up on the major role he played when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government introduced the “16 is greater than 19 political formula”.
“Does he thinks that Nigerians can forget in a hurry the major role he played as a PDP minister when the then Rivers Governor, Rotimi Amaechi scored 19 votes, but former Plateau Governor, Jonah Jang who scored 16 votes was recognised as NGF Chairman?
“Wike also needs to be reminded of the major role he played as a foot soldier who engineered the banning of the then Gov. Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa from participating in the PDP governorship primaries in 2011.
“If the NGF has been “killed” as Wike states, it is clear who the killer and grave digger is,” Nabena said.
According to him, Wike needs to wake up to the reality of a new era of justice, fairness and true democracy under the administration of the APC.
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Senate is determine to ensure Nigerians benefit from power sector -Lawan
Senate President Ahmad Lawan, on Monday said the National Assembly would ensure that Nigerians benefited maximally from the nation’s power sector for improved supply.
Lawan said this when he declared open an investigative hearing on Federal Government interventions in the power sector organised by Senate Committee on Power.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the investigative hearing, Title: Power Sector Recovery Plan and COVID-19 Pandemic was designed to investigate the viability of N1.8 trillion Federal Government interventions in the sector since privatisation.
Lawan, who said that the nation was yet to get it right in power, noted that Nigerians could not be competitive in international trade and make significant progress without electricity.
He said the National Assembly was concerned hence it mandated its committee to investigate the sector, adding that the senate would soon consider the report of the committee on resumption at plenary.
The senate leader said there was need for Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to look at the share purchased agreement undertaken with the stakeholders at privatisation to make the sector better.
According to him, there is need to review the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) as Nigerian was losing billions of naira monthly without supply of electricity because of the PPA.
“We must remedy to the situation, it is either we ask the DisCos to look for more partners, or government divest its 40 per cent share to other investors to manage.
“We must revisit the PPAs, ” Lawan said.
The Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed in her presentation said the Federal Government had initiated various projects with multilateral agencies to revamp the sector.
She listed the projects to include the 486 million dollars World Bank approved Nigeria Electricity Transmission and Access Project, 350 million dollars World Bank Nigeria Electrification Project and African Development Bank 200 million dollars that was undergoing approval process.
Other projects, according to the minister, are the 26 million dollars World Bank North Core Dorsale Nord Inter Connector project under approval process.
Also, 170 million dollars, AFD Abuja Power Feeding Scheme that is also undergoing approval process,750 million dollars Power Sector Recovery Program and the 700 mega watts hydro power project already approved by the China Exim Bank.
She said it was expected that services in the power sector would improve as the aforementioned projects moves into various stages of implementations.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Sen.Gabriel Suswam (PDP Benue) said the various interventions of government for the sector did not result into success as was expected after privatisation.
He said this was occasioned the investigation by the Senate.
Some of the agencies of government expected to make presentation at the two-day public hearing include the Ministry of Power, its agencies, the Electricity Generation Companies (GenCos) and Distribution Companies (DisCos) among others.
Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Grace Yussuf (NAN)
Medical expert urges Nigerians to embrace blood donation
Dr Madewa Adebajo, Medical Director, Alimosho General Hospital, Igando, on Monday urged Nigerians to embrace blood donation as a regular practice to help sustain patients in need of blood.
Madewa made the remarks during an event organised by the hospital to mark the 2020 World Blood Donor Day in Igando, Lagos state.
The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the World Blood Donor Day, commemorated every June 14, globally is to create awareness on the need for regular blood donations to save lives.
The event was also used to appreciate the voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gift of blood.
Adebajo said that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic should not deter people from donating blood, noting that blood samples taken from donors did not enhance cross transmission of the virus to other patients.
The Medical Director said: “Blood donation should be a regular practice among the citizenry, especially for those who actually require it, because it is a life saving gesture that should be embraced.
“COVID-19 is not identified in the blood following various studies, but, rather, the respiratory tract.
“The virus is only predominant in the respiratory tract of infected carrier, so such blood samples are bereft of any form of cross-transmission to users.
“The blood could only have antibodies, probably from previously infected people, but definitely, not one that poses danger to prospective patients using such blood samples.”
Madewa said that the hospital already had a committee that sensitised communities within the locality to the importance of blood donation to meet its demand for blood.
He said that the Lagos State Ministry of Health had always called for constant blood donation to meet the 260,000 units of blood required for victims annually in the state.
“Alimosho is a rather large community, which calls for 24 hours weekly supply of blood. We are already sensitising communities to imbibed voluntary blood donation culture for ample blood supply,” he said.
Mr Abdulsalam Mubarak, the President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jumat blood donating team, told NAN that blood donation was a binding practice for its members.
Mubarak said that the practice was an inculcating habit since childhood for all its members, even as blood building strategies were put in place to sustain such doctrine amongst them.
“This is a worldwide Islamic Society that has a motto, “Love for all, hatred for none.
“It is imperative to imbibe a non-monetary valued gesture and preserving humanity is a priority to us through blood donation,” he said.
Edited By: JaneFrances Oraka/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
NEMA cautious Nigerians against building houses under power line
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has cautioned Nigerians against building houses under high tension power transmission lines to avoid electrocution.
NEMA South-East Coordinator, Mr Fred Anusim, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu on Monday.
Anusim noted that electricity transmission and high tension wires could snap (break/cut) and fall anytime without given notice or pre-warning.
According to him, it will be difficult to imagine the disaster such an incident would cause if the wire fall on the roof of an inhabited building.
The coordinator noted that Nigerians must observe and take note of structures within an environment before investing in building or renting apartment therein.
“As NEMA moves from reactionary to proactive emergency response, it is pertinent that those already living under Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) electricity power lines or power lines right-of-way should make haste to relocate and leave in a safe place.
“NEMA is also discouraging Nigerians from building under electricity high tension wires or close to it.
“Nigerians must think safety first especially in choosing or finding a place to build or reside with their families.
“Building and estate developers should not build under or very close to these high tension wires; as they risk their lives and that of others that will unsuspecting inhabit such a place,’’ he said.
Anusim also urged Nigerians to desist from erecting make-shift structures, such as trading shades or shops, under high tension wire or close to power line right-of-way.
NAN reports that one Mrs Patience Ugbana, 55, and her 10-year-old granddaughter, Adaeze, were electrocuted after a high tension wire fell on their shop in Nnewi, Anambra state on May 8.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)