Former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Pius Anyim left the House of Representatives abruptly on Friday, following heated arguments with the committee on federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He had honoured the summons of the committee, which is investigating the over $18 billion Centenary City project under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Bala Mohammed, the immediate past minister of the federal capital territory (FCT), was also in the green chamber.
Herman Hembe, chairman of the of the committee, alleged several infractions in the agreement signed by the office of the SGF and management of the Centenary City Company Plc.
According to him, the spirit of the said agreement violated the federal government gazette on land swap programme, which ought to be the guideline for the project.
The committee also established that the former minister signed the right of occupancy and the certificate of occupancy of the land on the same day in violation of provisions of the gazette.
According to Hembe, the lifespan of the project implementation as contained in the gazette should be between 24 to 48 months as against 60-120 weeks stated in the contractual agreement.
He also noted that the private developers were not allowed to sell any portion of the land until it attains 35 percent development level, but the company was also granted a waiver in that regard.
The chairman added that that there was no evidence that the company paid the 15 percent of 18 billion dollars expected as initial payment for the development of the city.
Responding, Anyim accused Hembe of “deep-seated personal bias”, and demanded that he should resign from the panel, and allow his deputy take over.
He also alleged that Hembe was conducting the hearing to pursue personal vendetta, saying the chairman had pushed for the sack of a former director-general of Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), thought to be Arunma Oteh .
Anyim alleged that Hembe solicited bribe from him, but that he did not give in to his demand.
At this point, the atmosphere became rowdy, as members of the committee started protesting.
When calm was restored, Anyim continued with the allegations.
“Mr chairman, what I expect is that I should be able to state my position and you rule,” he said.
“Mr Chairman I said one, you have told everybody who cared to listen that when the former DG of Security and Exchange Commission accused you of demanding bribe from her, you pushed for her to be sacked and I refused to sack her while I was SGF and this is an opportunity to pay me back,” he said.
“Mr Chairman I will not allow you to use the National Assembly platform to pursue personal vendetta. It is unacceptable and I will not submit to it. All I am asking for is fair hearing.
“You have been threatening to conduct this public hearing for over a year now, in fact you ended last year with it, and this year you started with it. You scheduled it for January 27, but later moved it to February 1, and now moved it to February 3.
“Mr Chairman, we only discovered your game plan for all the postponement, when you started sending message to the managing director of the project to see you privately, and it was after all your efforts to get the managing director to see you privately failed, that you confirmed this date.
“I want you know that nobody will see you privately, and we are here for the hearing, and we will have the hearing.
“I am convinced that Mr chairman has a deep-seated personal bias in this matter and he is not going to give a fair hearing to my self, to the centenary city management and the entire matter, I accordingly demand that Mr chairman should disqualify himself and vice-chairman take over and let us continue.”
On his part, Hembe said he would not allow Anyim usurp his position as chairman of the committee.
He expressed dismay that the SGF accused him of being biased, even before the probe began.
“Let me say that we are a house of laws. We are a house of order. We are a house of due process. Let me just say it to former president of the senate and former SGF that in my opening remarks I have tried to show you courtesy,” the FCT chairman said.
“Please don’t interrupt. As far as this hearing is concerned, I am chairman, and I will not allow you usurp that position.
“I have shown you respect. I even made a comment at the beginning, which I ought not to have made by saying that ‘It was brought to my attention in certain quarters that we shouldn’t have invited the former senate president to a hearing like this, out of sheer respect’.
“Now, before we started the process, Mr former senate president, you have begun to input bias without knowing what we are doing here.
“We haven’t said a word, we haven’t even introduced the probe and you already in putting bias, I’d like to ask you to hold your horse. Let me finish. Don’t interrupt me! Don’t interrupt me! Let me finish! Sit down! Sit down!
“I am a little dismayed that someone who was invited for this programme, felt he ought not to be invited.”
Though the hearing continued, Anyim took his leave.
Fire guts documents, furniture, others at Nigerian National Assembly
he management of the National Assembly has confirmed the fire outbreak at the new wing of the House of Representatives on Thursday evening.
The incident happened at a storeroom in the lower chamber’s section of the complex in Abuja.
Passers-by around 6pm who noticed smoke coming out from a store on the second floor of the New Building, House of Reps Wing of the Complex, raised the alarm.
The wing houses the offices of the lawmakers, committee rooms, banks and other private businesses.
The office of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and principal officers are on the fourth floor.
Firefighters from the Federal Fire Service within the premises and other first responders rushed to the scene.
The inferno was later put out by the firefighters and other responders.
Agada Rawlings, Director, National Assembly Information in his reaction to the Incident in a late-night statement, said that the situation was immediately brought under control.
He said the fire was suspected to have resulted from an electrical fault which was noticed by one of the staff members working with the Clerk of the House of Representatives.
He said the employee quickly alerted the Federal Fire Service Unit in the complex.
Rawlings explained that the fire was put out with the assistance of staff members on duty who immediately broke into the affected office and used fire extinguishers before the arrival of the fire service officer.
He said; “There was a fire incident this evening (Thursday) in one of the Janitors, located on the 2nd floor, Room 227 in the new-wing, of the House of Representatives, suspected to have resulted from an electrical fault which was noticed by one of the Staff to the Clerk, House of Representatives, who promptly alerted the Federal Fire Service Unit stationed in the National Assembly Complex.
“Consequently, the combined prompt efforts curtained the fire to the affected office only and power supply to the wing put off to enable a full assessment and investigations into the incident.
“It is expected that after due assessment by the fire service and the Estate and works directorates, normalcy in the New Wings, housing all principal officers of the House of Representatives and Honourable members offices will be restored immediately.
“Management wishes to commend the prompt response/actions by the first responders particularly, National Assembly staff and the Fire Service Unit in helping to curtain the fire outbreak.”
El-Rufai writes Buhari, says terrorists creating ‘parallel’ govt in Kaduna
Terrorists are consolidating their grip on communities in Kaduna with a parallel government and permanent operational base, according to Governor Nasir El-Rufai in a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari.
El-Rufai in the memo, warned the president of the terrorists’ consolidation in a late July memo, according to online platform, Premium Times.
The terrorists belonging to Ansaru for short, are believed to have moved to Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State in 2012 when they broke away from Boko Haram.
In the memo, the governor laid bare how the terrorists have infiltrated and dominated communities and formed “a parallel governing authority,” exercising control over social and economic activities and dispensation of justice in the area.
He said the terrorists had advanced in their plans to make Kaduna forest areas their “permanent operational base” for the North-west region, citing a “series of intelligence reports.”
“Observed movement patterns and intercepted communications of migrating terrorists have shown a clear interest in setting up a base, with the stretches of forest area between Kaduna and Niger states strongly considered,” he wrote.
Law banning political activities
As the political activities towards the 2023 general elections pick up steam, the terrorists, El-Rufai told Buhari, have promulgated a law to ban residents from participating.
“The insurgents enacted a law in the District, banning all forms of political activity or campaign ahead of the 2023 elections, especially in Madobiya and Kazage villages,” the governor wrote.
The Ansaru terrorists are known to have an extremist ideological posture against democracy and secular authorities.
In 2021, the census enumeration exercise could only hold in two of the 11 wards that form Birnin Gwari due to the threat of armed banditry and terrorism, officials in both Kaduna State government and the population commission had said.
The ban on political activities, the governor said, followed a recent wedding ceremony involving the terrorists.
“According to actionable intelligence, members of the Jama’atu Ansarul Musulmina Fi’biladis Sudan (aka Ansaru) are hibernating in Kuyello district of Birnin Gwari LGA, which recently conducted a nuptial ceremony during which they married two yet-to-be-identified female residents of Kuyello village,” Mr El-Rufai wrote.
“The ceremony was attended by various Ansaru members and witnessed by residents of the area. After the marital rites, insurgents in attendance reportedly conveyed the brides to the dreaded Kuduru forest, in the same District.”
In the area of adjudicating disputes, Mr El-Rufai said the terrorists “fined one Mu’azu Ibrahim, a resident of Kuyello community, the sum of One Million Naira for selling plots of land without the consent of the owners.”
In addition, with the government becoming removed from rural communities, leaving them at the mercy of violent criminals, terrorists, Mr El-Rufai suggested, are manning the ungoverned space and extracting revenues from the people.
“Multiple reports also exist of bandits and terrorists exacting protection levies and similar taxes from farmers and communities, in return for permission to cultivate their fields,” the governor said.
Terrorism researchers say that revenues from taxes and levies forced on ungoverned spaces – created by the failure or limited capacity of the government – are a major source of financing and sustenance for terrorists.
Like the Kaduna situation described by El-Rufai, ISWAP terrorists based on the Lake Chad islands are also extracting huge revenues from the fishing activities and pastoralists operating in the area.
El-Rufai, when contacted, said he would not comment on this story because his correspondence was supposed to be confidential communication to the president.
In 2016, he wrote a similar confidential letter to the president, warning that the Buhari administration was losing momentum just about a year after coming to power
Soludo suspends LG Chairman over alleged killing of wife
Anambra State governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has suspended the transition committee chairman of Nnewi North Local Government Area, Hon Mbazulike Iloka.
Iloka, who is popularly known as Mba Mba, was suspended over the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death last Sunday morning.
Iloka’s wife, Chidiebere, was said to have slumped and died on Sunday morning, after serving her husband breakfast.
But those who know the coupe insisted that Iloka may have killed his wife, as he has a record of consistently battering her.
Signs of violence was also found on her body, while a huge wound on her head aroused suspicion, leading to public outcry over her death.
In a letter of suspension, which was signed by Anambra State Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affair, Tony Collins Nwabunwanne, the chairman was asked to hand over to the head of Local Government administration, to avoid interfering in investigation.
The letter read: “Following the sad news of the death of your wife, late Mrs Chidiebere Iloka on 7th August 2022, there have been a massive outcry over the circumstances leading to her death, including alleged possible homicide.
“While you are presumed innocent until the completion of investigations, it has become imperative that you step aside to allow unfettered investigation and justice.
“Consequently, you are directed to step aside and to hand over the affairs of the local government to the head of local government administration, not later that 12th August 2022, until further notice.”
Iloka has only recently been appointed chairman of the local government. He has only been in office for about a week before his eventual removal.
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