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HOW EMEFIELE ALLEGEDLY AWARDED MULTI-BILLION NAIRA CONTRACTS TO FAMILY & ASSOCIATES-WITNESS

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A Seventh Prosecution Witness, PW7, in the trial of a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele on Monday, March 11, 2024 told Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court, Abuja, how Emefiele allegedly signed and approved award and payments of contracts to April 1616 Investment Limited and Architekon Nigeria Limited,  companies that allegedly belong to Sa’adatu Ramalan Yero,  his wife,  Margaret Emefiele and his in-law respectively.

 The witness,  Agboro Michael, an investigator with the ICPC,  led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo,SAN, was part of the investigation team that comprised the EFCC, ICPC, CCB, DSS and the Nigerian Police .  He testified on the count-charge of abuse of office and conferring  an unfair advantage to a public officer and relatives, preferred against Emefiele.

“My Lord,  these companies were awarded about 45 contracts to supply Toyota Vehicles. We were worried as investigators as to how a particular company would get bids concurrently to supply vehicles. We did our investigation, and discovered that the company was not even accredited by Toyota.

“In the companies my Lord, one has Sa’adatu’s husband and siblings as directors, and the other one has Sa’adatu as the director of the company while she is still a civil servant.

“Document ‘F1’ shows the signature and approval of the defendant to pay the sum of N854, 700,000 (Eight Hundred Fifty-Four Million, Seven Hundred Thousand Naira)  His signature was number three on the document”,  he said.  Testifying further, Michael said in ‘F3’, the defendant approved 1, 85,700,000 (One Billion, Eighty-five million, Seven Hundred thousand) for the supply of 47 units of Toyota Hilux.

While ‘F4’ was the defendants approval to purchase for the bank an armoured Toyota Avalon car at the cost of N99,900,000 (Ninety-Nine Million, Nine Hundred Thousand Naira), and ‘F5’ was the approval to procure two units of Toyota Hilux for the bank, and all were bought from April 1616 Investment limited.

Speaking on the findings of the investigative team on exhibit P26, page 86 of 107 on November 6, 2021. Michael said; “It is a credit into the account from the CBN to the tune of N41, 943, 400, 34 (Forty-one Million, Nine Hundred and Forty-three Thousand, Four hundred and Thirty four kobo).

“Page 87 was also a credit in April 2016 from the CBN, N304, 853, 50 (Three Hundred and Four Million, Eight Hundred and Fifty Three Thousand naira, Fifty kobo).

“26 January, 2021, April 1616 Investment Nigeria limited also received N304, 853, 720, 55 (Three Hundred and Four Million, Eight Hundred and Fifty Three Thousand Seven Hundred and Twenty Naira Fifty-Five kobo) from the CBN.

“On the 10th of February, 2021, the CBN paid N201, 23, 323, 31 (Two Hundred and One Million, Twenty-Three Thousand, Three Hundred and Twenty-Three Naira, Thirty-One kobo).

The approval of payment of March 24, 2021 was  N304,843,720,85, April 27, 2021 was 60,976,744,17 (Sixty Million, Nine hundred and Seventy Six thousand, Seven hundred and forty-four naira, Seventeen kobo) May 31, 2021 was a payment of 60,976,744,17 (Sixty Million, Nine hundred and Seventy Six thousand, Seven Hundred and Forty-four Naira, Seventeen kobo), and February 21, 2021 was a payment of N50,547,508,30 (Fifty Million, Five Hundred and Forty-Seven Thousand, Five Hundred and Eight Naira Thirty kobo) were equally approved by the defendant.

The witness further told the court that the team recorded the defendant’s statement under caution and video recorded in a conducive environment.

Testifying further, the witness said; “In 2019, again,  we discovered the defendant also used his office and position to confer a corrupt advantage to one of the staff of CBN, Sa’adatu Ramalan Yero to supply  one unit of Toyota Land Cruiser V8 at the cost of N73, 800,000 (Seventy-Three Million, Eight Hundred Thousand to her company April 1616 Investment Nigeria limited where she is a director, and equally a director in the CBN.

“Again my Lord, the defendant also approved the payment of renovation of the CBN Governors’ residence at No 2. Global road, Ikoyi Lagos to a company named; Architekon Nigeria Limited where his wife and brother-in-law are both directors.

“Sometime in 2020, the defendant used his position as CBN Governor to confer on his wife and brother in-law corrupt advantage by awarding their company landscaping of the CBN governor’s residence in the sum of N39,46,000 (Thirty-Nine Million, Forty Six Thousand Naira”,he said.

Continuing, Michael said a contract to procure furniture items was also awarded to his brother in-law in the sum of 97,000,000 (  Ninety Seven Million Naira), and again, a contract to procure a power line at the same CBN Governor’s residence in the sum of N68,568,740 (Sixty-Eight Million, Five Hundred and Sixty-Eight Thousand, Seven Hundred and Forty naira).

While cross examining the witness, counsel to the defendant, Matthew Burkaa SAN queried the witness  that though there are many signatories in the memo only his client was on trial. In response, the witness told him that the defendant was on trial because he was the approving authority, while others only minuted on the documents to justify the process and didn’t  have the power to make such payments and approvals.

Burkaa also wanted to tender the defendant’s statement at the Nigerian Police force before the court,  but Oyedepo objected, stating it was a public document and needed to be certified before it can be tendered as an exhibit.  Burkaa then withdrew the document and promised to provide the true certified copy at the next adjourned date.

Justice Muazu thereafter adjourned the matter till 25 and 26 April, 2024 for continuation of trial.

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Just In: President Tinubu approves N70,000 minimum wage

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President Bola Tinubu has approved N70,000 as the new minimum wage for Nigerian workers with a promise to review the national minimum wage law every three years.

 

More details later…

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Gov. Zulum Clarifies Son’s Purported Killing Of Chinese National At Indian Nightclub

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The Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has denied reports alleging that one of the sons has been arrested and sentenced to prison for the murder of some Indian citizens.

Reports has it that there were unverified rumours, especially on social media platforms, alleging that the first son of the governor, Umar Zulum Umara, killed the Chinese national during a fight at an Indian nightclub.

However, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on New Media, Abdurrahman Ahmed Bundi, dismissed the reports in a statement on Wednesday.

According to him, no son of the governor was arrested or charged with any crime.

The statement read, “attention of the Borno State Governor’s Media Unit has been drawn to rumours circulating that the son of the Borno State Governor has been arrested for the alleged murder of some Indian citizens.

“This misinformation was published in an online blog, Nairaland, titled “Son of Borno State Governor Murders Someone In India—Politics.” The blog claimed that the Governor also travelled to India, attempting to use diplomatic status to resolve the matter.

“It is on record that Governor Babagana Zulum was on a one-month vacation in Saudi Arabia for the 2024 Hajj and later travelled to Egypt to attend the annual ASUWAN forum conference in Cairo.

“The Media Unit would like to clarify and set the record straight that Nairaland and other online blogs have mischievously spread defamatory content without any speck of truth.

“We hereby warned Nairaland and all those who have spread the false information to pull down this misinformation from its website and platforms within the next 24 hours and offer an unreserved apology to Governor Zulum, his son, and the entire family, or risk legal action. The Governor shall also not hesitate to take legal action against any media outlet that continues to publicise this defamatory information on its platform.

“We would like to inform the public that none of Governor’s Zulum’s son was either arrested or charged with any crime, or involved in any unlawful activities anywhere.

“We urge the public to exercise caution when consuming and sharing information, particularly when it comes from unverified sources and blogs instead of credible media outlets.

“We enjoin all media organisations to engage in responsible journalism of truth and factual verification while recognising the potential harm and psychological trauma the spread of false information might have caused to the Governor’s family.”

 

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Over 600,000 Nigerians sought asylum abroad under Buhari – Report

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Over 600,000 Nigerians filed for asylum in other countries between 2016 and 2023, which were years under the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari was President from 2015 to 2023 and handed over to President Bola Tinubu who was sworn in on May 29, 2023, after winning in the general elections the same year.

According to a report released on Wednesday, July 17, 2024, by Statisense, a data collection organisation, of a total of 664,384 in eight years, 355,792 persons sought asylum between 2016 and 2019 while 308,592 sought asylum between 2020 and 2023.

On a year-by-year basis, 66,862 sought asylum in 2016, 91,924 in 2017, 84,624 (2018), 112,382 (2019), 73,233 (2020), 83,105 (2021), 83,402 (2022), and 68,852 in 2023.

The figures indicate a surge from the past years, as Statisense noted that within 12 years – 2004 to 2015 – only 204,791 Nigerians filed for asylum in other countries.

In total, 869,175 Nigerians filed for asylum in the last 20 years, notably from 2004 to 2023.

The report was posted on the organisation’s X.com handle @StatiSense, citing the United Nations Refugee Agency.

In another report shared by the organisation on Wednesday, it was stated that the Republic of Niger topped countries with the most Nigerian refugees in 2023 with about 200,497 Nigerians and a total of 1,268,464 Nigerian refugees between 2015 and 2023.

Niger, a border country, shares proximity with Nigeria’s north, where residents battle a spate of insecurity in the region ranging from banditry, terrorism and herdsmen-farmers crisis.

Another report also revealed that Nigerians topped the list of African countries who sought asylum in Canada in 2023 with about 10,111 asylum seekers followed by Kenya with 1,345.  It stated that 1,345 Nigerians however sought asylum in the United Kingdom and 5,136 in the United States of America.

Source: The Punch

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