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EFCC begins probe of APC, PDP support groups for money laundering

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EFCC writes INEC, demands APC, PDP, other aspirants’ bank details

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is investigating various support groups, which bought nomination forms for aspirants in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for suspected money laundering.

The EFCC was said to be working on signals that the interest groups were being used to carry out money laundering activities.

For instance, a group known as the Association of Fulani-Almajiri, which is a northern group comprising nomadic pastoralists and Almajiri communities, on Monday obtained the N100m APC presidential forms for former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The group said it paid the exorbitant price of the forms with funds raised from the sale of cows to ensure that Jonathan, whom it described as the best President for Nigeria, returns to Aso Rock in 2023.

Similarly, three interest groups, the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Emefiele Support Group and Friends of Godwin, purchased the presidential nomination forms for the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele.

Also, a coalition of 28 groups, including the Youth Arise Movement, Nigerians in Diaspora, One Nigeria Group, Prudent Youth Association of Nigeria, as well as women groups and farmers reportedly procured the APC presidential forms for the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, last Saturday in Abuja.

Similarly, the Tinubu Support Organisation (TSO) procured the N100m forms for a national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. The leadership of the South-West Agenda for Asiwaju led the groups that picked the forms for Tinubu, who was at the time in Saudi Arabia for the lesser hajj.

The Director-General, TSO, Aminu Suleiman, said the groups paid for the forms because they were sure that Tinubu would win. “I, Hon. Aminu Suleiman would like to officially state that I have signed a cheque to the tune of 100 million naira for the purchase of nomination and expression of interest forms for our leader @officialABAT. God bless,” he tweeted.

No fewer than 28 aspirants bought the APC presidential forms, which closed on Friday.

The trend of groups purchasing forms for aspirants did not start this year. In 2018, the Nigeria Consolidation Ambassadors Network purchased the N45m presidential form of the APC for the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), when he was gunning for a second term.

In the PDP, no fewer than 17 aspirants purchased the party’s N40m forms, two of whom were screened out.

They are governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State; Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State; and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State; investment banker and economist, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen; and a former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi.

Others are a former Senate President, Pius Anyim; ex-President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Sam Ohuabunwa; a United States-based medical doctor, Nwachukwu Anakwenze; the Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu; former Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Cosmos Ndukwe; Charles Ugwu and Chikwendu Kalu.

Also in the race are former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar; a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; a former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, and the only female presidential aspirant in the party, Teriela Oliver.

When asked to respond to the ongoing probe, the spokesman for the APC, Felix Morka, said he was in a meeting and promised to speak later. He had yet to respond to a text message sent to him on the issue as of the time of filing this report.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, declined comment, saying he was not aware of the EFCC investigation. “I’m not aware of it and I don’t want to comment on it,” he said on the telephone on Friday.

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PHOTOS: Buhari on condolence visit to UAE

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President Muhammadu Buhari is currently in Dubai on a condolence visit over the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates.

Zayed Al Nahyan died at the age of 73 on May 13, 2022.

The country’s ministry of presidential affairs had declared a 40-day state mourning with flag flown at half-mast and the suspension of work in the public and private sectors for three days.

Buhari departed Nigeria on Thursday and arrived in Dubai in the early hours of Friday.

He was accompanied by Zubairu Dada, minister of state foreign affairs; Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy; Mohammed Bello, minister of federal capital territory, and Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation.

Below are photos.

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Protest in Abuja over council chairmen tenure extension

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Some residents of the Federal Capital Territory have taken to the streets to protest the tenure extension of six area councils’ chairmen and councillors.

The chairmen and councillors’ terms in office elapsed on Thursday and the newly-elected officials were supposed to be sworn in today.

But the FCT minister, Muhammad Bello, cited a court judgement and extended the officials’ tenure by one year.

Displeased by the extension, residents in the Gwagwalada Area Council on Friday morning took to the streets.

The residents, who barricaded the roads and made bonfires, are demanding a reversal of the decision.

The incident, it was gathered, obstructed vehicular movements in the area.

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Nigerian government moves to end ASUU, poly lecturers strikes, begins arrears payment

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ASUU

The Federal Government has commenced the payment of minimum wage arrears, which it owed lecturers under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as part of efforts to end ongoing strikes by the unions, The PUNCH has learnt.

The National President of ASUP, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, and the Chairman, ASUU FUTMinna, Dr. Gbolahan Bolarin, confirmed this in separate interviews in Abuja on Thursday.

The two unions are currently on strike following the inability of the government to meet their demands including the payment of minimum wage arrears and release of revitalisation funds, among others.

While ASUU commenced its strike on February 14, 2022, ASUP is currently on an initial two-week warning strike.

Confirming the payment on Thursday, Ezeibe, however, said that was just the beginning.

He said, “The government has started responding. They just started paying the salary/minimum wage arrears, the one they have refused to pay.

“However, that is just one of the demands, so we have not reached anywhere. They have not attended to the others, but I can confirm that people have started receiving alerts of the arrears owed.”

Also, Bolarin, said, “Some of my members got alert of their minimum wage arrears; their salaries are still pending.”

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