Connect with us

Society

Lagos – To the Next Level

Published

on

By Act Now

 

The Nigerian economy has been rundown with massive unemployment, low oil prices, rising costs and an unstable Naira making headlines. Lagos as Nigeria’s commercial capital feels the pulse and the heat of a poorly managed national economy. Nationwide, it seemed the Federal Government abandoned its role to govern the nation. Our public space was filled with stories of public corruption. Confidence in the nation’s security was at an all-time low with our police force ill equipped to tackle crime. This was why the nation spoke in the presidential elections of March 28th 2015 to reject 16 years of failure of governance.

In contrast, Lagos has experienced superior governance. There has been a deliberate design and effort of the government to develop the State in spite of the challenge of a hostile Federal Government. Our security forces were equipped under an innovative security trust fund. Thousands of patrol vehicles and armoured personnel carriers enhanced the few that the Federal Government provided, keeping us safe from kidnappers, robbers and terrorists. The light rail from Okokomaiko to Marina will be ready in June, taking many cars off the roads. Lagos has five independent power plants (IPPs) that provide off-grid, uninterrupted electricity to public hospitals, buildings, waterworks, and streetlights. With good foresight, it has surveyed the energy needs of the various communities in Lagos. The environment has been improved with parks that used to harbour criminals, now providing relaxation to residents. Lagos has made great progress. The ambition of Lagos to provide social and infrastructural services to Lagosians has only been reduced by a hostile PDP-led Federal Government.

For the first time, Lagos has the opportunity to cooperate with a progressive government at the centre. General Buhari of the All Progressives Congress has outlined a party manifesto that indicates many benefits for Lagos. Flanked by Lagos’ own former Attorney-General, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Lagos has a unique opportunity to move to the next level of progress. For instance, the federal plan of the APC for electricity takes after the Lagos off-grid IPP model for its public facilities. With the energy needs survey already done by the Lagos Government, implementation of the APC’s off-grid community-based IPPs will almost be like plug and play. Imagine Alaba International, Ladipo, Tejuosho and Balogun Markets with their own power plants. This reality is very close and touchable. The APC federal government also wants to set up industrial and technology parks with free electricity, free Internet and business grants. Where better to initiate such a scheme other than Lagos? One can see Computer Village in the mix. A social safety net for the poor is also top on the agenda of the APC- free meals in public primary schools, conditional cash transfers of N5,000 each to the poorest. This is the next level that Lagos deserves.

But our progress in Lagos could suffer a setback if the wrong policies or party take hold. An assault on, or incursion into, Lagos by the party that has failed Nigerians will undermine the collective growth of Lagos. Those forces that pinched the peoples’ resources for 16 years and their right to a decent living are knocking on the door of Lagos. Nearly all the states that they ruled, from North to South, and from East to West, retain the memory of the failure of governance. Ask Edo, Oyo, Osun and Ogun States what failed governance under the PDP entailed and the cleanup operation required by the progressive governments. Can Lagos afford a cleanup operation in the next four years? Is Lagos not too big and too dear to us to fail?

That is the context for the April 11 election, and as glaring as it is, the choice is just as clear.

The APC government has shown a firm commitment to using government to help foster growth. Federally, the APC has formed sensible governance policies in its manifesto that are not dedicated to protecting the powerful, but will work to bring relief to the majority of Nigerians and Lagosians who are powerless. The APC government in Lagos has impressive achievements despite the implacable wall of hostility erected by a PDP-led Federal Government so intent on crippling Lagos that they risked crashing Nigeria’s commercial progress and held Lagos’ revenues and development hostage. Mr. Ambode has worked at the top of the accounting function of the APC Government that managed Lagos’ economic survival in the face of PDP’s antagonistic might.

Jimi Agbaje, the PDP candidate, has gotten this far with a guile that allows him to say whatever he thinks an audience wants to hear. But he has tied himself to the exploitative and vicious forces that control the PDP and embraced their electoral methods, including an unleashing of ethnic militia on Lagosians on March 16th 2015. Voters may still be confused about Mr. Agbaje’s true identity, but they know the Peoples Democratic Party, and an Agbaje administration would reflect its agenda. Mr. Agbaje’s choice of Musiliu Obanikoro, Bode George and Adeseye Ogunlewe as his political benefactors says volumes about that.

Mr. Ambode may come across as running a temperate campaign with his reluctance to pound on Mr. Agbaje’s membership of the inglorious PDP (that has cost Nigeria so much) and Mr. Agbaje’s repeated political migration and infidelity. But we know he has a stomach to fight for the policies that will shape Lagos in the next four years and take her to the next level. He approaches the election clearly ready for the cooperative atmosphere of working with a progressive Federal Government.

We are confident that Lagos will attain the next level. For the first time, we will have a federal government that has the genuine interest of Lagos at heart. An alignment of ideology, policies, politics and interest between an APC Federal Government and Lagos State Government is the only option that takes us to the next level. While we congratulate Nigeria for its deliverance from failure, this certainly is not the time for Lagos to invite, accept, or tolerate PDP’s failure. Let us all join hands to take Lagos to the next level.

Act Now Nigeria

 

Act Now is an action group supporting the cause of the All Progressives Congress.

See more about them at www.actnow.ng or www.actnowng.com

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Society

Alleged N15.5bn Fraud: Court Orders Police To Produce Bamise Ajetunmobi

Published

on

The Lagos High Court sitting in Osborne, Ikoyi has granted an application compelling a judgement debtor, Bamise Ajetunmobi, to appear before it on Thursday, February 2.

In October 2021, Bamise, his wife Elizabeth, and two firms linked to them, Imagine Global Holding Company Ltd and Imagine Global Solutions Ltd, had allegedly defrauded some Nigerian investors of over N18.8bn.

The couple, Bamise and Elizabeth, were accused of fleeing the country afterwards.

In July 2022, the investors obtained a court judgement in their favour, ordering the couple and their companies to pay back their investments with interest.

The whereabouts of the couple remained unknown, but following reports that Bamise was recently arrested in Côte d’Ivoire while trying to board a flight to the UK and detained by the Nigeria Police, counsel to the judgement creditors, Adetunji Adedoyin-Adeniyi, immediately filed a motion ex parte to compel his appearance in court.

Adedoyin-Adeniyi, who filed the ex parte application under the relevant provisions of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act, asked Justice Toyin Oyekan-Abdullahi to make an order for the Issuance of Judgement Summons to compel Bamise to appear before the court and be examined as to his means to pay back the judgement debt.

Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi granted the application and ordered Bamise to appear before her court on February 2 at 12 noon.

At his appearance, he is to be examined on oath as to his means, following his disobedience to an earlier order of the court made on July 14, 2022 and directing him to pay the Judgement Sum of N15,541,350,000 to the Judgement Creditors.

Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi also compelled the Assistant Inspector General Of Police FCIID, Alagbon, Lagos, the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), Inspector Aliyu, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos, all their deputies, assistants and all other officers under their command, control and supervision to produce, the judgement debtor, Bamise Ajetunmobi, who is currently in their custody.

In documents put before the court to support the ex parte application, a legal practitioner, Patrick Mgbeoma, in the 1st to 17th Judgement Creditors/Applicants’ lawfirm – AAA Chambers, deposed to an affidavit.

It states that the judgement sum has yet to be fully paid by the Judgement Debtors till date and the 3rd Judgement Debtor, Bamise whose whereabouts was unknown, was recently arrested and detained by the Assistant Inspector General of Police FCIID, Alagbon, Lagos and Inspector Aliyu (IPO), and is currently in their custody for criminal investigation.

He also averred that to date, the 4th Judgement Debtor, Elizabeth, and her children are currently not within the Jurisdiction of the Court as their present location and whereabouts remain unknown with the assets amassed by them.

Bamise, who is currently in the custody of the police at the Force CIID Alagbon, has failed to furnish the Judgement Creditors with details of how he intends to liquidate the judgement sum as granted by the court, despite having funds and assets available at his disposal, Mgbeoma stated.

Continue Reading

Society

Medicine After Death: Don’t Allow EFCC Sell My Property, Assets – Ex-Petroleum Minister, Diezani Urges Court

Published

on

A former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, has approached a Federal High Court, Abuja to withdraw an order granted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for final forfeiture of her seized assets.

In an originating motion, Alison-Madueke sought an order extending the time limit for seeking leave to apply to the court for an order to set aside the EFCC’s public notice to conduct a public sale on her property.

We had reported how Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon of the Federal High Court, Abuja ordered the final forfeiture of two properties and two cars belonging to Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to the Nigerian Government last October.

Alison-Madueke was Minister of Petroleum Resources under President Goodluck Jonathan.

Since the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari led-Federal Government took over the office in 2015, the former minister relocated to the United Kingdom.

The Nigerian government through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seized all her properties declaring that it was acquired through illegal means.

The EFCC in Suit No. 1122/2021 and Suit No 1123/2021, filed before Justice Olajuwon sought an order of the court for the final forfeiture of the assets belonging to the former Minister to the federal government.

However, in the motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/21/2023, dated and filed Jan. 6 before Justice Inyang Ekwo by her lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, the ex-minister sought five orders from the court.

While Alison-Madueke is the applicant in the case, the EFCC is the sole respondent.

The former minister, who argued that the various orders were made without jurisdiction, said these “ought to be set aside ex debito justitiae.”

She said she was not given fair hearing in all the proceedings leading to the orders.

“The various court orders issued in favour of the respondent and upon which the respondent issued the public notice to conduct public sale of items contained in the public notice most of which court the interest of the applicant were issued in breach of the applicant’s right to fair hearing as guaranteed by Section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as altered, and other similar constitutional provisions,” she said.

She claimed that she was not served with the charge sheet and proof of evidence in any of the charges, nor with any other summons in relation to the criminal charges pending against her before the court.

She also claimed that the courts were misled into issuing final forfeiture orders against her assets due to the suppression or non-disclosure of material facts.

“The several applications upon which the courts made the final order of forfeiture against the applicant were obtained upon gross misstatements, misrepresentations, non-disclosure, concealment and suppression of material facts and this honourable court has the power to set-aside same ex debito justitiae, as a void order is as good as if it was never made at all.

“The orders were made without recourse to the constitutional right to fair hearing and right to property accorded the applicant by the constitution.

“The applicant was never served with the processes of court in all the proceedings that led to the order of final forfeiture,” she said, among other grounds given.

But the EFCC, in a counter affidavit deposed to by Rufai Zaki, a detective with the commission, urged the court to dismiss Alison-Madueke’s application.

Zaki, a member of the team that investigated a case of criminal conspiracy, official corruption, and money laundering against the ex-minister and others involved in the case, stated that the investigation clearly demonstrated that she was involved in some criminal acts.

He said Alison-Madueke was therefore charged before the court in charge no: FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018.

“We hereby rely on the charge FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018 dated 14th November, 2018 filed before this honourable court and also attached as Exhibit C in the applicant’s affidavit,” he said.

The EFCC operative, who said he had seen the ex-minister’s motion, said most of the depositions were untrue.

He said contrary to her deposition in the affidavit in support, most of the cases which led to the final forfeiture of the contested property “were action in rem, same were heard at various times and determined by this honourable court.”

He said the courts differently ordered the commission to do a newspaper publication inviting parties to show cause why the said property should not be forfeited to the Federal Government, before final orders were made.

Zaki argued that one Nnamdi Awa Kalu represented the ex-minister in reaction to one of the forfeiture applications.

“We humbly rely on the judgment of Hon. Justice I.LN. Oweibo dated 10th September, 2019 shown in Exhibit C of the applicant’s affidavit,” he said.

The officer said that the contrary to her, the final forfeiture of the assets which were subject of the present application was ordered by the court since 2017 and that this was not set aside or upturned on appeal.

Upon mentioning the matter on Monday, Alison-Madueke’s counsel, Oluchi Uche, told Justice Ekwo that they were just been served by the EFFC on Friday and they would need time to respond to the counter affidavit.

Farouk Abdullah, who appeared by the anti-graft agency, did not oppose and the judge adjourned the matter until May 8 for hearing.

 

Continue Reading

Society

Witness Narrates How Couple Stole $4.7m From Hercules Offshores Nigeria Limited

Published

on

Trial of Mr. Amaechi Ndili, and Mrs. Njide Chizoba Ndili, Chief Executive Officer and Vice President, Lionstone Offshore Services Limited began with an accountant, Mr. Godwin Okon testifying against them.

The first prosecution witness, Mr. Okon who is also a business analyst manager at Hercules Offshore Nigeria Limited while giving evidence on Monday told Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe of the Special Offences Court, Ikeja, that the defendants; Mr. Amaechi Ndili, Mrs. Njide Chizoba Ndili, and their companies; Lionstone Offshore Services Limited and Lionstone Company Limited entered into a contract agreement with Hercules and after the execution of the contract paid part payment of the proceeds from the contract.

The witness also narrated that the defendants had converted the money into their personal use after they stopped remitting the payment that was made to their company Lionstone.

Being led in evidence in by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Simon Lough, SAN, the witness stated that Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria had a contract with Lionstone Offshore Services Limited which was executed by Hercules Offshore Nigeria Limited, based on a joint written agreement entered between Hercules and Lionstone on 14th January, 2010.

The witness in his testimony said, “Sometime in December 2009, Mr. Ameachi came to Hercules to discuss the possibility of collaboration between the two companies, can team up, and carry out some contracts in the Nigeria Oil and Gas field.

Okon also explained that the first defendant had based his reason on the expertise and experience of Hercules Offshore Nigeria Limited, in the field, and by 14th January, 2010, a joint bidding agreement was entered into and some terms were spelt out.

He also said Lionstone was responsible for the submission of tenders and receiving of payments, while Hercules, was responsible to provide technical information and financial information.

Mr. Okon said,”Some of the other joint bidding agreement was the fees spelt out, Lionstone will be entitled to one time flat fee of $75,000 on the execution, then an annual amount of,$150,000, for three years.

“The duration of a fee equal to 2 per cent of the net charted higher to be received by Lionstone. The contract was entered into by Lionstone and Addax, in October 2010, but it was executed by Hercules based on an agreement.

“On the execution of the contract when there is payment, the payment will go to the Lionstone account then Lionstone on receiving such amount will remit the net amount after taking 2 per cent of the net chatter higher.

“Lionstone paid the invoices from Addax from the inception of the execution of the contract up till June 2012 to Hercules, then from July 2012 to September 2013, Lionstone did not remit any money again.

“Based on the invoices after Lionstone had failed to remit the money to Hercules, and after making calls and nothing happened, our senior management went to Addax to inquire and it was from there that we were told that Addax, had paid all the invoices to Lionstone and that they were not owing Lionstone any money,” he said.

The couple was arraigned alongside their companies in October 2022 and were re-arraigned on an amended charge and they pleaded not guilty.

The couple and their companies are standing trial for alleged stealing and conversion of the sum of $4.7m, belonging to Hercules Offshore Nigeria Limited, to their use.

The couple who are the Chief Executive Officer and Vice President of Lionstone Offshore Services Limited are standing trial on a four-count charge.

The defendants were arraigned on a four-count charge bordering on conspiracy, converting to personal use, and stealing, preferred against them by the Inspector General of Police.

They were alleged to have dishonestly converted $4,666,234.28 received from Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria Limited on behalf of Hercules Offshore Nigeria Limited.

The prosecution led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Lough SAN alleged that the defendants obtained the money for the contract that the duo and their companies, Lionstone Offshore Limited, entered into with Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria Limited, which was executed by Hercules Offshore Nigeria Limited but failed to deliver the money to Hercules.

The offences were committed at Lionstone Offshore, of A58 Road 2, Victoria Garden City Lagos, and Lionstone Offshore Services Limited at No 38/39 Bull Plaza 19, Floor Marina Lagos between July 2012 and September 2013 in Lagos.

According to the prosecutor, the offence committed is contrary to Section 516, 387 and punishable under Section 390, of the Criminal Code Law, Cap C38 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Ebun Shofunde, SAN, the Defence Counsel had represented the defendants at proceeding.

Meanwhile, further hearing of the matter has been adjourned till January 31, for the continuation of trial.

Continue Reading

Trending