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Revealed: Candidates with corruption cases lead race for Nigerian Senate President’s seat



A former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, is in the race for the Senate President’s seat with baggage of corruption allegations. Despite this, his party, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), on Monday, picked him as its choice for the office.

The party, which by convention stands to produce the senate president by virtue of its having the majority in that chamber of the incoming 10th National Assembly, now hopes that the would-be members of the Red Chambers would overlook Mr Akpabio’s pending corruption case, in addition to the task of convincing other five contenders for the high office to withdraw from the race.

Mr Akpabio, Orji Kalu, a former governor of Abia State; and Abdulaziz Yari, a former governor of Zamfara – are frontrunners in the race for the top seat of the Senate despite bearing the weight of corruption investigations that have lasted for between seven and 16 years.

The rest, who are serving senators and senators-elect – Sani Musa, representing Niger East Senatorial District; Mohammed Jubrin Barau, representing Kano North, and Osita Izunaso, representing Imo West – are not known to have pending corruption cases.

In his case, Mr Kalu was charged with corruption, tried for 12 years, and jailed. He was set free after the Supreme Court ordered a retrial of his case. The retrial is yet to commence.

Messrs Akpabio and Yari have yet to be charged, but face daunting corruption allegations for which they have been detained, and are always in the wait for the next summons by Nigeria’s frontline anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

None of these seems to be a factor in APC’s equation for choosing its candidate for the Senate President. The days when the anti-corruption profile of the outgoing leader of the party, President Muhammadu Buhari, was perceived to be a threat to the ambition of politicians with corruption-tainted records are long gone.

His party, which rode to power on the promise to tackle and disincentivise corruption in 2015, turned out to be a haven for politicians struggling to regain political relevance and seeking to be relieved of weights of corruption allegations. Mr Buhari himself led the way in appointing a number of candidates, including Mr Akpabio, burdened with corruption cases to top offices, even though his government vowed not to drop cases against anyone based on political considerations.

That the APC announced Mr Akpabio’s emergence as the APC’s choice on Monday underscores the party’s divorce from its “change” mantra that brought it to power in 2015, and setting the stage for the emergence of another Senate President entangled in corruption investigations and legal proceedings as it was in the 8th National Assembly.

Bukola Saraki became the Senate President in 2015 despite being dogged by various corruption allegations dating back to his time as the Governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011. He ended up spending over half of his tenure shuttling courtrooms to answer to charges, and battling forfeiture proceedings. He faced prospects of fresh investigations by the EFCC, while his associates faced relentless probes and prosecution.

His trial for alleged forgery of the Senate rules at the FCT High Court for four months, and the one at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on asset declaration breaches for over two years, became pivotal to the Senate’s business. While the forgery case was withdrawn by the federal government in October 2016, after four months, the CCT trial ended with a judgement of the Supreme Court exonerating him of the asset declaration-related charges in July 2018.

Mr Saraki inadvertently drew the Senate in as a co-suspect in his efforts to prove his innocence.

He attended his trial with as many as 50 senators, stalling the proceedings of the Senate whenever scheduled legislative sittings clashed with his court trials. The Senate attempted to gain control of the CCT and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and devised a series of legislative tactics to disrupt Mr Saraki’s trial at the CCT.

About four years after Mr Saraki ended his tenure as Senate President, the echoes are brought back to the present by the frontline candidates jostling for the high office.

It is likely that the emergence of any of the three candidates will upend hopes of possible retooling of the anti-corruption war of the APC government that has failed to tame entrenched corruption in the country.

What follow are the cases each of the three frontline candidates are facing.

Orji Kalu

Mr Kalu, 63, is the current senator for Abia North. He became the Chief Whip in the Senate in 2019.

He was one of the first to publicly announce interest in the Senate President’s seat after his re-election on 25 February.

He is spurred by considerations of ethnoreligious balance in the next government that favour ranking senators from either his South-east zone or neighbouring South-south zone.

A former governor of Abia State for two terms between May 1999 and May 2007, Mr Kalu left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the fallout of a rift with then President Olusegun Obasanjo, to form the defunct Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) in 2007.

Since leaving office in 2007, he has aspired, but failed to hold other public offices, until fortune started to smile on him after joining APC in November 2016.

Among other former governors in the race for the Senate President’s seat, Mr Kalu has the longest-running corruption case. He had been charged, tried, jailed, and still faces the prospect of a fresh trial.

His case traces back to his days as governor. EFCC filed money laundering charges against him within a month of his stepping down on 29 May 2007 from an office that clothed him with immunity from prosecution.

In the charges filed against him in June 2007, EFCC accused him, along with his co-defendants, of diverting over N3.2 billion from Abia State coffers.

After years-long stalling of the case, the Supreme Court on 18 March 2016 cleared the legal encumbrances for his trial to begin.

The trial began afresh at the Federal High Court in Lagos. As the trial grew in intensity, Mr Kalu’s chances of a political comeback also dwindled. Mr Kalu made the deft move of joining the APC in November 2016.

His defection, well received within APC, drew criticism from the Nigerian public.

At the time of his defection to the APC, details of his alleged plundering of the coffers of the Abia State government were being unravelled in court. The court heard how Mr Kalu allegedly perpetrated the fraud with the help of his co-defendants – his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Udeh Udeogu, who was Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House.

The EFCC said the defendants used Slok’s account to divert the funds from the Abia State’s accounts with Standard Trust Bank (now United Bank for Africa), Citizens Bank (later Spring Bank), and Manny Bank (now Fidelity Bank).

It said the defendants “converted” the funds into various bank drafts “before they were subsequently paid into the said company’s account.”

They denied the charges. But not convinced by their denial, the trial court found them guilty in December 2019. It sentenced Mr Kalu to 12 years in jail, his co-defendant to 10 years, and ordered the winding up of Slok.

But five months into serving his jail time, a Supreme Court decision nullified his conviction on technical grounds: that the judge who jailed him was ineligible to handle the trial having been elevated to the Court of Appeal’s bench as of the time he concluded the case.

The Supreme Court also nullified section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act enabling the judge to return to the Federal High Court to conclude the 12-year-old trial. The court, however, held back an acquittal and ordered a fresh trial in the case.

After using the Supreme Court judgement to get out of jail, Mr Kalu placed legal obstacles to the order of retrial given by the court. A ruling by the Federal High Court in Abuja in September 2021 helped him to stave off the re-trial, while EFCC continues its dogged quest to restart the trial.

The EFCC has since appealed against the decision, with the EFCC’s chair, Abdulrasheed Bawa, repeatedly vowing to ensure Mr Kalu is brought to trial.

If Mr Bawa’s hopes and Mr Kalu’s aspiration of becoming the Senate President materialise soon, the politician may end up being the second sitting Senate President to face trial in less than five years.

Mr Kalu, who backed the failed bid of the outgoing Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to pick the APC’s presidential ticket last year, has said it is his turn to lead the Senate. He is banking on the support of both President Buhari and the president-elect, Bola Tinubu.

Godswill Akpabio
The Akwa Ibom North West senator, 60, joined active politics in 2002 when then governor of Akwa Ibom State, Victor Attah, appointed him as commissioner.

He later succeeded Mr Attah as governor in 2007 and went on to win reelection in 2011.

A staunch PDP member, he won his election to the Senate months before completing his tenure as governor in 2015. He stepped down as governor on 29 May 2015 and was inaugurated as a senator in June.

A first-timer in the Senate, Mr Akpabio pulled his political weight to snatch the position of Minority Leader in the APC-dominated chambers from candidates who ranked higher by virtue of their record of previous election to the Senate.

But no sooner had Mr Akpabio left office as governor and begun to settle into his senatorial duties, than allegations of corrupt practices that he allegedly perpetrated while superintending over the treasury of his state began to emerge.

In June 2015, a lawyer, Leo Ekpeyong, who hails from Akwa Ibom, accused Mr Akpabio of stealing N108.1 billion of Akwa Ibom funds in a petition he sent to President Buhari and the EFCC.

The petition detailed how Mr Akpabio allegedly colluded with a former Government House Permanent Secretary and a former Accountant General of the state to steal the funds.

It said the trio of Mr Akapio and the two other officials “made illegal but substantial withdrawals of cash from a designated state government-owned account with Zenith Bank with account number: 1010375881 amounting to N22.1 billion.”

“For example, a whopping N18 billion was withdrawn fraudulently from the state FAAC account with the United Bank for Africa in trenches of N10 million and above by Mr Isobara in a surreptitious manner to conceal their dishonest intention.”

He also accused Mr Akpabio of expending over N50 billion taken from the coffers of Akwa Ibom during the 2015 general elections.

He claimed that Mr Akpabio withdrew a whopping N18 billion from the state coffers under the guise of special services, reception of very important guests and sundry items.

“The cumulative aggregate of these monies stolen by Godswill Akpabio from the coffers of government as pocket money is the annual budget of some states in Nigeria put together,” the petition reads.

EFCC invited the petitioner to adopt his petition in June 2015, signalling the start of investigations into the case.

As a follow-up to that, the commission, four months later in October 2015, detained Mr Akpabio for interrogation.

Coming out of detention, Mr Akpabio, however, said he was neither arrested nor detained as reported, but only honoured EFCC’s summons to answer corruption allegations against him.

In another two years, Mr Akabio had turned into a political alien in a state where he was once a king and a kingmaker. Pending EFCC investigations only added to his woes.

Like a humbled war commander, he turned to the adversary’s camp for protection. He dumped the PDP for the APC in August 2018. The move cost him his status as a principal officer as the Minority Leader of the Senate. For him, the future was more important than an extra luxury of the moment.

But things did not work out as he planned. Although, he managed to push aside the pioneer members of the APC in the state to pick the party’s senatorial ticket for his district, he lost the general election.

He, however, got succour from President Buhari, who appointed him as Minister of Niger Delta, despite EFCC’s ongoing investigations into his corruption case.

The appointment served its purpose for him as investigations immediately went cold, while he held a crucial cabinet position.

Time dulled attention on the case, but not its substance. With Mr Akpabio out of office and Mr Buhari in the twilight of his administration, EFCC recently dusted its files on him.

The EFCC in a recent letter asked Mr Akpabio to “personally report” for interrogation on 9 May.

But despite his burden of corruption allegations, the APC has picked Mr Akpabio, who is believed to be the closest to the president-elect, Mr Tinubu, as its preferred choice for the Senate President’s seat. Prelude to the party’s decision were the formidable endorsements he had received from APC governors, and separately from the outgoing APC governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, who dropped out of the race to back the former Akwa Ibom governor.

Abdulaziz Yari
Mr Yari, the senator-elect for Zamfara West, 55, served in various roles in his former party, the All Nigeria’s Peoples Party (ANPP), until 2007 when he won an election to the House of Representatives to represent his Anka/Talata Mafara Federal Constituency.

He was elected the governor of Zamfara State on the ANPP platform four years later in 2011. In 2015, his faction of the ANPP merged with other parties to form the APC. He contested and won his second term in office as governor on the platform of APC that year.

As governor, he became the chair of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) at a time the federal government refunded to various states, huge sums of money deducted from their accounts for the repayment of Paris Club and London Club loans between 1995 and 2002.

Unlike Messrs Kalu and Akpabio, Mr Yari had not been elected to the Senate, although he had been a member of the House of Representatives. Mr Yari’s ambition to go the Senate in 2019 after completing his second term as governor was truncated by a Supreme Court judgement that voided the victory of all APC candidates in the state.

But like Mr Akpabio, Mr Yari has teetered on the brink of corruption trial over the years. He piled up different corruption cases during his time as governor, although he has yet to face any charges in court. His name has featured in various court filings linking him to a slew of assets – cash and tangible ones – suspected to be proceeds of corruption.

He is a suspect in corruption cases under investigations by the EFCC and its sister agency, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).

In February 2021, EFCC detained him for a long interrogation session with detectives at its Lagos office, over an alleged attempt to illegally move N300 billion from a corporate account in a new generation bank.

About a month before his detention by the EFCC, the ICPC had, in an apparently unrelated case, obtained an order of the Federal High Court in Abuja for final forfeiture of suspicious funds found in bank accounts bearing his name and the names of his companies.

The forfeited funds included $56, 056.75 lodged in a Polaris Bank account. The rest are the sums of N12.9 million, N11.2 million, $301, 319.99; N217, 388.04 and $311, 872.15 were kept in different Zenith Bank accounts.

In April 2021, EFCC also held him at its Sokoto zonal office for hours-long interrogations. It similarly held him for another round of interrogation in May 2022, a year ago.

Although EFCC has yet to publicly disclose its case against Mr Yari, sources and court filings have provided a glimpse.

In 2017, about two years before Mr Yari completed his tenure as governor, EFCC traced to him N500 million and $500,000 believed to have been fraudulently taken from Paris Club refunds meant for the 36 states.

EFCC alleged in a court forfeiture filing that it received an intelligence in January 2017 alleging “conspiracy, criminal misappropriation of public funds” involving about N19.4 billion paid to the Mr Yari-led NGF for onward disbursement to the states.

The NGF allegedly mismanaged the funds through the spurious engagement of consultants for the recovery of the money. The funds were being paid to the states by the federal government.

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on 30 June 2017, issued an interim order of forfeiture of the N500 million and $500,000 traced to Mr Yari.

The judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, however, rejected EFCC’s further request for a permanent forfeiture of the funds, because third parties were able to establish their ownership of the money.

But the case of diversion of the Paris Club refunds remains one of the issues for which Mr Yari is being investigated by the EFCC.

The APC’s zoning of the Senate President to the South-south and narrowing its choice down to Mr Akpabio is a major erosion of the base Mr Yari is banking on.

But Mr Yari is not a politician that is swayed by zoning. In 2022, he defied his party’s zoning to pick the nomination form to contest for the national chairman of the party, although he lost out.

But in general, while zoning may matter to the APC, the question is whether the party will pay equal attention to the corruption profiles of the candidates jostling to be the Senate President and its implications for the nation in June.

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House Of Reps committee indicts oil firms for tax evasion….



….As FIRS rejects allegations by the House Committee that he is not doing enough to recover outstanding taxes and bring evaders to book..


The House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the Structure and Accountability of Joint Venture (JV) Business and Production Sharing Contract (PSC) of NNPC has indicted several oil companies for alleged tax evasion to the tune of trillions of naira.

The committee also blamed and seek the prosecution of the Chairperson of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mamman Nami, for allegedly not doing enough to recover the outstanding taxes from the oil companies, a charge the FIRS boss rejected, saying his agency is working hard to bring all tax evaders to book.

Responding to the allegations levelled against his boss by the committee, the spokesperson for the FIRS chairperson, Johannes Oluwatobi Wojuola, described the claim as untrue, telling PREMIUM TIMES the tax agency is investigating and prosecuting several tax offenders.

According to the report obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), investigation by the committee span 1991 till date with alleged tax evasion running into trillions of naira.

The report is expected to be laid before the lawmakers this week.

The ad hoc committee investigation, chaired by Abubakar Fulata, revealed that the JVs and PSCs of NNPC sold Nigerian oil at lowest cost to their own subsidiaries in a ”tax haven”.

The committee alleged that the company subsequently sold the same oil to other buyers at full price, while inflating the cost of their Nigerian production operations and under-reporting the volume of oil they produced.

This, apart from outright circumvention of the Nigerian tax laws, the committee said is abusive and contrived tax avoidance scheme to minimise their tax liability.

The ad hoc committee is praying the house to adopt the recommendations with a view to bringing sanity in the oil and gas operation in Nigeria.

This according to the report of the committee would be a greater benefit to the citizens.

The committee report also showed that all international and national oil companies who enjoyed capital allowance in Nigeria had no Certificate of Acceptance of Fixed Asset (CAFA) as prescribed by the Industrial Inspectorate Act.

The report, however, said all oil companies that benefited from capital allowance without obtaining CAFA as prescribed by the Industrial Inspectorate Act be made to refund all the monies to the government treasury.

NAN reports that on 1 November, 2022 the House ad hoc committee investigating the structure and accountability of the Joint Venture (JV) Businesses and Production Sharing Contracts (PSCS) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Limited began probing oil companies accused of tax evasion.

The probe was at the backdrop of alleged tax evasion by some oil companies operating in Nigeria, which led to the constitution of the committee by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.

Mr Fulata, at a meeting with stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, cited relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

“This committee is relying on Section 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and we are asking heads of agencies who failed to forward their submissions to do so.

“This committee cannot fail in its mandate and we might resort to the use of Police and other security agencies to compel heads of agencies to do so.”

Mr Fulata decried that tax evasion by oil companies, particularly the International Oil Companies (IOCs) has negatively affected the revenue for the country.

Mr Fulata has expressed disappointment that several letters of invitation sent out to some organisations were not responded to, revealing that those who responded did so shabbily.

NAN reports that on 16 November, 2022, the house committee summoned the chairman of the FIRS.

The representatives of the FIRS, a director and special assistant, were not permitted by members of the committee to make presentations as they insisted that only the chairman is expected to speak on behalf of the agency.

The FIRS representatives had earlier told the committee that the service does not have access to the Stock Certificate of crude oil being lifted.

The representatives said the tax agency only relied on the invoice produced and presented to it by the oil companies. The committee then described the arrangement as ridiculous.




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Dapo Abiodun, Amosun Trade Words Over Dangote Refinery Siting In Lagos



Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun and his predecessor, Ibikunle Amosun have traded blames over the siting of the Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemical Plant at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos State.

The refinery with capacity to produce 650,000 barrels per day which is owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote was inaugurated on Monday by President Muhammadu Buhari and four other African Presidents.

A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Segun Sowunmi reportedly blamed the Ogun State Government for losing the siting of the behemoth Dangote Refinery to neighbouring Lagos State.

Interestingly, both Amosun, who was the Ogun State governor from 2011 to 2019; and Abiodun who has been the governor since 2019, attended the inauguration of the refinery.

The two politicians are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) but operate from opposing camps in the state with Amosun preferring another candidate over Abiodun who won his re-election in the March 2023 poll.

‘Amosun Frustrated Dangote’s Efforts To Locate Refinery In Ogun’
In a statement, Abiodun’s Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin said it is painful that the huge investment that should have accrued to the state was lost, especially when the mega project had been initially planned to be located at the Olokola Free Trade Zone, in the Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of the state.

“In truth, everyone knows that Segun Sowunmi is referring to the immediate past governor, Ibikunle Amosun, as the man who frustrated the efforts to locate the refinery in Ogun State.

“We are all aware that the penultimate administration made appreciable and concerted efforts to ensure that the Olokola deep sea port and other ancillary projects in the OKFTZ, become a reality, by rallying major players in the oil and gas sector, including Dangote Group.

“The present governor, Dapo Abiodun, served as the Chairman of the Committee on the Olokola Free Trade Zone projects during the first term of the immediate past governor,” the statement partly read.

Dangote Took Business Decisions — Amosun
However, Amosun, in a counter-statement by his media office signed by Bola Adeyemi, said the Olokola Free Trade Zone project was not solely owned by the Ogun State Government.

He noted that Dangote took a business decision by siting the refinery in Lagos after initial consideration for the Olokola Free Trade Zone.

“From its conception in 2007, it was a Joint Venture. The Federal Government of Nigeria owned the majority 51%, Ondo State Goverment (14.5%), Ogun State Goverment (14.5%), and strategic core investors (20%). Alhaji Aliko Dangote, according to the information availed us when we took office, subsequently bought, and took over the 20% equity of the core investors,” the statement partly read.

“Ogun State was a minority equity stakeholder only, without proprietary strength and capacity to take sole decisions on the Joint Venture enterprise.

“As mere holder of 14.5% equity interest, it is most uncharitable for anyone to churn out lies that Ogun State was in a position to unilaterally frustrate the project or was responsible for the logjam.

“With respect to all sides, it accords more with logic to appreciate the fact that Alhaji Aliko Dangote took business decisions of his own in accordance with the goals of his business strategy and risk assessment.

“No amount of concocted lies, blackmail and orchestrated falsehood will blight these unparalleled facts.

“It is, therefore, interesting to read that the present Ogun State governor holds me responsible for allegedly scuttling the Olokola project.”

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FrieslandCampina WAMCO DDP Revolution Delivers Nigeria’s First Girolando Crossbreeds



FrieslandCampina WAMCO DDP Revolution

Delivers Nigeria’s First Girolando Crossbreeds


FrieslandCampina WAMCO has announced the successful crossbreeding and birth of 25 Crossbreed Girolando calves achieved locally across various farms in Oyo, Ogun and Kwara states, thus spearheading a production revolution and transformation of Nigeria’s dairy sector.  


The announcement made by the dairy company’s Executive Director, Corporate Affairs, Ore Famurewa, explained that the Girolando breed is a composite of ‘Milking Gir’ from Brazil and Holstein Friesian from the Netherlands and has produced tremendous results for many decades in Brazil, leading to its transformation to a world power in dairy production. 


“In addition to having a high milk yield, the Girolando breed is heat-tolerant, tick-borne disease resistant and possesses other characteristics ideal for production in tropical countries like Nigeria. The Girolando calves are the first generation of a new high milk producing breed in Nigeria” Famurewa said.


FrieslandCampina WAMCO continues to contribute to the development of the dairy sector and national food security through its Dairy Development activities and partnerships such as the Value4Dairy Consortium.


Launched in April 2021, the Value4Dairy Consortium made up of four strategic partners namely FrieslandCampina WAMCO (Nigeria’s foremost dairy Company), URUS (the largest cow genetics company in the world), Barenbrug (a leading grass seed company) and Agrifirm (a leading feed and supplement company in the Netherlands).


The consortium is making progress in implementing sustainable strategies to fast-track growth and development of the Nigerian dairy sector, with proven track records in various agri-related value chains.


Two partners of the Consortium, FrieslandCampina WAMCO and URUS Group LP, the global leader in cattle breeding and dairy herd management programs, selected the Girolando breed for introduction to Nigeria and subsequently signed an agreement with a local breeding farm-SMAP Farms Limited. The strategic partnership will maximize success in crossbreeding and increased milk yields on local farms in a sustainable way.


In 2022, 1400 Girolando semen straws were produced and 610 artificial inseminations achieved, and 25 Crossbreed Girolando calves have been birthed till date. FrieslandCampina WAMCO sees this key milestone achievement as an important step to give smallholder farmers access to affordable good yield dairy cows in Nigeria.


FrieslandCampina WAMCO and other partners of the Value4Dairy Consortium remain committed to providing scalable solutions to agri-related challenges in the Nigerian dairy sector. 

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