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ABIA GOVERNORSHIP: NGWA RENAISSANCE SEEKS BALANCE OF POWER

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Against the clamour for the governorship seat to remain within the precinct of old Aba province in Abia State, the leader of Ngwa Renaissance Group, a socio-political movement in Abia South senatorial district, Chief Charles Nwanga, has called on all stakeholders in the state to allow reason to prevail by ensuring the emergence of an indigene of the district as the next governor. Giving a breakdown analysis on the structural framework in the Ukwa -Ngwa council constituting both the Abia South and Abia Central districts, Nwangwa pointed out that it would be wise for stakeholders in the state to stick to Abia South.
According to him, even though the zone is the most dominant among Ukwa-Ngwa extraction, it is the only senatorial district that has not produced the governor. To this end, he noted with dismay, the exclusion of the people in the political calculation of the state and described the continual neglect of his people since the creation of the state as against the principle of fairness and equity.
“It is sad that nobody from our zone has governed the state despite our huge contribution to the socio -economic growth of both the state and Nigeria as a whole. In fact, a greater percentage of the population and revenue accruing to the state is largely accounted for by Ukwa-Ngwa council,” he said.
He nonetheless emphasised on equitable rotation of power among the three senatorial zones to avoid rancour, pointing out that it is now the turn of Abia South to occupy the exalted seat. “Ukwa-Ngwa constitutes the largest sub-clan in Nigeria. The largest percentage of the state revenue comes from this zone. Sixty per cent of the population is from there. But funny enough, they have never been reckoned with in the sharing of power. All appointments were given to Old Bendel division except the recent appointment of Emeka Wogu as Minister of Labour and Productivity,” he added. “Now, if we are to look at Ukwa-Ngwa on the strength of Local Governments’ allotment, Abia South has six Local Government Areas while Abia Central has three Local Governments. Based on this, Abia South stands on a vantage position. Apart from that, it would be wrong for aspirants within Abia Central to capitalise on a purported agreement reached to cede power to Ukwa Ngwa bloc having failed to secure the slot during the last election, ” he said. According to Nwangwa, the view of these set of people amounts to absolute greed. “I see this as selfish, and being myopic on the part of these leaders. It smacks of lack of vision to have considered themselves worthy. I see these set of people as collaborators, conspirators against Ukwa-Ngwa people which has always been the bane of the Ngwa man,” he enthused. He however urged stakeholders to rise above partisan interest by allowing equity, justice, fair play to prevail in the distribution of power in the state particularly among the senatorial districts. “Equity, fairness, common sense, and justice dictate that Abia South automatically gets the gubernatorial slot. We have been largely short-changed in the past, so it would be unjust to deny them of that opportunity,” he said. Commenting on the number of qualified aspirants in the zone, Nwangwa identified a long list of suitable candidates that are prepared to take over the mantle of leadership from the incumbent governor. “There are enough competent hands that can handle the affairs of the state in the zone. We have distinguished personalities which include the former deputy governor of the State who is now a senator, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Dr. Nyerere Anyim, a philanthropist, the present Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, Chris Nkanta, among others. While paying tributes to the impressive work done by the present governor since assumption of office, Nwangwa commended the effort of the administration in bringing the state back on the path of peace as opposed to what was witnessed in the inglorious era of the former governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.

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Nigerian Bank MD’s colluded with government officials to re-loot recovered Abacha loot – EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has accused commercial banks of colluding with government officials to re-loot recovered loot of the late dictator, Sani Abacha.

In December 2017, the Federal Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Switzerland on the return and monitoring of the $322 million Abacha loot.

The proceeds were intended for Conditional Cash Transfer under the Social Investment Programme which began in December 2016, under ex-president Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The looted funds were meant to provide N5,000 monthly stipends to the most vulnerable Nigerians across the country.

However, on Sunday, a spokesperson for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, in a statement, said that the anti-graft agency opened investigations into other alleged financial malpractices from the ministry; involving the COVID-19 funds and the World Bank- assisted loan coordinated by the Humanitarian Ministry to assist poor Nigerians.

The EFCC said, “Discreet investigations by the EFCC have opened other fraudulent dealings involving COVID -19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate. Investigations have also linked several interdicted and suspended officials of the ministry to the alleged financial malfeasance.

“It is instructive to stress that the commission’s investigations are not about individuals. The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices. Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions. Those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly. Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily. The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary.’’

The commission also revealed that N32.7 billion and $445,000 had been recovered from both past and suspended officials of the humanitarian ministry.

It added that the commission initiated investigations into the affairs of the humanitarian ministry inviting former minister, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, and her successor, Beta Edu, suspended by President Bola Tinubu in January for alleged abuse of office.

 

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EFCC recovers N32.7bn, $445,000, faults Betta Edu, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, Halima Shehu

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has faulted suspended Humanitarian Minister, Betta Edu, her predecessor, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, and the Coordinator of the National Social Insurance Programmes Agency, Halima Shehu, while revealing that a combined total of N32.7bn and $445,000 has been recovered so far from ministry.

The commission made the development known on Sunday via its official X handle in response to rumours concerning the progress of its investigations into the alleged financial misappropriation in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

The statement signed by the spokesperson for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, read, “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has noticed the rising tide of commentaries, opinions, assumptions and insinuations concerning its progressive investigations into the alleged financial misappropriation in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

“At the outset of investigations, past and suspended officials of the Humanitarian Ministry were invited by the Commission and investigations into the alleged fraud involving them have yielded the recovery of N32.7billion and $445,000 so far.

“Discreet investigations by the EFCC have opened other fraudulent dealings involving Covid -19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate. Investigations have also linked several interdicted and suspended officials of the Ministry to the alleged financial malfeasance.

“It is instructive to stress that the Commission’s investigations are not about individuals. The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices. Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing Directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions. Those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly.

Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily. The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary.

“On the issue of the works of the Commission against Naira abuse, dollarization of the economy and the enforcement of all extant laws relating to them, the EFCC appreciates the avalanche of public awakening, support and involvement demonstrated so far. Increasingly, members of the public are drawing the attention of the Commission to video recording of abuse of the Naira by Nigerians from all walks of life. These gestures amply demonstrate rising consciousness of the public to the sanctity of our national currency and the need for collaborative engagement to sustain the tempo.

“To this end, the Commission will always investigate and prosecute anyone involved in the abuse of the Naira. Old videos being exhumed and flying around for the attention of the Commission are noted as the Commission is sensitive to the fact that its Special Task Force against Naira Abuse and Dollarization of the economy commenced operations on February 7, 2024. However, going forward, new videos of such infractions will be investigated and prosecuted.

At the moment, the Commission is investigating several celebrities involved in Naira abuse. Many of them have made useful statements to the Commission and many more have been invited by investigators working on the matter. The EFCC will not relent in its no-sacred-cow mode of operations and the public should be wary of running afoul of laws against the crime.”

 

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CAC Places First Bank Records On Caveat Over Litigation

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The Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, has placed the records of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Holdings on caveat pending the resolution of the crisis rocking…

The Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, has placed the records of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Holdings on caveat pending the resolution of the crisis rocking the board of the bank as a result of multiple court cases filed by aggrieved directors.

The crisis rocking the bank stemmed from protests by shareholders who were kicking against the bank’s internal governance and shareholding structure, as a result of which some of them have taken their grievances to the court.

One of such is the case of Olusegun Samuel Onagoruwa v. FBN Holdings Plc in Suit No. FHC/L/CP/1271/2022), which is challenging the capacity of the Board of Directors of FBN to appoint new persons to fill vacant slots.

Onagoruwa in his suit is seeking “an order setting aside, nullifying, annulling and/or quashing the appointments and approvals of Mr. Olusola Adeeyo, Mr. Viswanathan Shankar, Mrs. Remilekun Adetola, Mr. Anil Dua and Mrs. Fatima Ibrahim as Non-Executive Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited made on the 20th day of March, 2024, by FBN Holdings PLC during the pendency of this action and in defiance of the subsisting order of this Honourable Court made on the 15th day of July, 2022.”

The motion also seeks an order restraining the above-named non-executive directors from acting or taking any steps as non-executive directors of the bank.

The current court case follows similar four other cases pending at the Federal High Court in Lagos and Abuja challenging the internal governance of FBN Limited, in addition to existing court injunctions restraining the bank from holding the last two Annual General Meetings which the bank went ahead to hold.

In a new twist to the crisis, the Corporate Affairs Commission in a letter entitled.

“Re: notification of pendency of suit no. fhc/l/cp/1575/23 against FBN holdings plc, and subsisting interim orders of the Federal High Court made on the 9th day of August 2023 restraining FBN holdings plc from holding or proceeding with its annual general meeting purportedly held on the 13th day of August 2023”, weighed in on litigations threatening to tear the old generation bank apart.

Signed on behalf of the Registrar General of CAC by Chidimma Maureen Nwite, the Commission in a letter to lawyers to some of the parties in court against FBN Holdings said: “This is to inform you that the record of FBN Holdings PLC RC: 916455 has been placed on caveat pending the determination of Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1575/2023.”

A shareholder, Mr. Olalekan Babalola, said “it is imperative for the authorities to find a solution to this lingering crisis as Nigeria cannot afford another major bank’s collapse at this critical time

He called for urgent resolution of all court cases in the overall interest of depositors, shareholders and other stakeholders of the bank before further damage is done to the oldest Nigerian bank.

 

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