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FG links 123 companies, 33 BDC to terror Financing



Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government, on Thursday, revealed that the analysis carried out by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) in 2020-2021 revealed that there are 96 financiers of terrorism in Nigeria with about 123 companies and 33 bureaux de change also involved.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammad, stated this at a media briefing in Abuja, adding that 424 associates/supporters of the financiers were also identified. He said 45 suspects have been arrested as a result of the analysis and will be prosecuted soon.

Similarly, the Minister said 26 suspected bandits/kidnappers and seven co-conspirators have been unearthed.

The minister was speaking in the first of the series of briefings to highlight the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

He pointed out that the reason “naysayers” dismiss the administration’s war on corruption is the nature of the phenomenon, which he said fights back when it is fought.

Mohammed went on to itemise the key achievements of various anti-graft agencies.

He stated: “Let me now highlight the much more-visible activities of some of the various anti-corruption agencies, all of which have been effectively carrying out their mandates. In 2021 alone, the EFCC secured a total of 2,220 convictions. That represents a 127 per cent increase in the number of convictions (976) recorded in 2020, and a far cry from the 195 convictions secured in 2016, the 189 in 2017, the 312 convictions in 2018, and the 1,280 recorded in 2019.

“The 2021 figure of 2,220 convictions represents a 98.49 per cent success rate, with only 34 cases (representing 1.51 per cent) discharged. On Monetary recoveries, in 2021 alone, the EFCC recovered a total monetary amount of N152,088,698,751.64; 1,182,519.75 Pounds Sterling, 50 Emirati Dirham, 1,723,310 Saudi Riyal, 1,900 South African Rand; US$386,220,202.85; 156,246.76 Euros; 1,400 Canadian Dollars; 5.36957319 Bitcoin and 0.09012 Ethereum. The last two are digital currencies.

“The ICPC has played a pivotal role in bringing about structural changes in the operations of the government, especially regarding improvements in MDAs budget utilization, better value for money, improved project completion, service delivery and higher level of anti-corruption awareness.

“Recall, gentlemen, that the Commission established the Constituency and Executive Projects Tracking Initiative in 2019 to ensure value for money for the Nigerian people and full execution of projects. Between 2019 and 2021, ICPC traced 2,000 projects worth over N300 billion. During the same period, 326 contractors of abandoned projects across the six geo-political zones were forced by the Commission to return to the site to complete projects worth N32.183 billion. Also, the ICPC’s Assets Tracing, Recovery and Management (ATRM) project led to the recovery of cash totalling N34.346 billion and US$1.62 million between 2019 and 2021.

“Also, the Commission’s System Study and Review of personnel and capital votes of MDAs resulted in savings of N261 billion to the government between 2019 and 2021. ICPC has also secured 66 convictions from the 243 cases
it filed in court during the same three-year period.

“For its part, the analysis by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), in 2020-2021, revealed 96 financiers of terrorism in Nigeria, 424 associates/supporters of the financiers, involvement of about 123 companies and 33 bureaux de change, in addition to identifying 26 suspected bandits/kidnappers and 7 co-conspirators.

“The analysis has resulted in the arrest of 45 suspects who will soon face prosecution and seizure of assets.

“Also, from its analysis of tax evasion and tax avoidance linked to corruption, NFIU has identified N3,909,707,678,112.43 in VAT and N3,737,918,335,785.82 in Withholding Tax due to the Government. NFIU has also sent 1,165 intelligence reports on cases of corruption, money laundering and other serious offences to 27 domestic agencies for investigation, prosecution and asset recovery.

“On terrorism financing, NFIU had intelligence exchanges on Boko Haram, ISWAP, banditry, kidnapping and others with 19 countries. During the same period, 2020-2021, the organization returned fraudulently-obtained funds totalling US$103,722,102.83, 3,000 Pound Sterling; 7,695 Singapore Dollar and 1,091 Euros to 11 countries of victims who came into the country.”

Mohammed also highlighted the performances of other anti-corruption agencies as well as the implementation of various initiatives to stop the looting of government funds.

He noted that even though the past administration initiated the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), and the Bank Verification Number (BVN), they did not gaintraction until the advent of the Buhari administration.

The minister added: “Gentlemen, the Buhari Administration has taken bold measures to streamline cumbersome bureaucratic processes in the implementation of government policies, check corrupt practices and ensure accountability in the implementation as well as delivery of these policies.

“These reforms are all-inclusive, cutting across all spheres of governance and not excluding even the private sector. They are the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), Petroleum Industry Act, Financial Autonomy for State Legislature and Judiciary (2020), Whistle-Blower Policy, Assets Recovery, Justice and Law reforms, Nigeria’s membership of the Open Government Partnership as well as the various instruments at the disposal of the Federal Government to track, trace and stop the flow of illicit funds used in financing terrorist activities within Nigeria, among others.

“For those who may say that some of these reforms, like the TSA, predate this Administration, our response is
that what’s the use of a policy that is not implemented? This Administration has implemented these reforms with fidelity, and the reforms have made a huge impact in preventing corruption.

“For example, upon assuming office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari operationalized the TSA, a public accounting system that enables the Government to manage its finances (revenues and payments) using a single/unified account or a series of linked accounts domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“The President issued a directive to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to close their accounts with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and transfer the funds therein to the CBN on or before 15th September 2015. The TSA system was launched in 2012 but failed to gain traction until President Buhari gave it a fillip.

“The TSA system has now been implemented in more than 90 per cent of all Federal MDAs and it has resulted in the consolidation of more than 17,000 bank accounts previously spread across Deposit Money Banks in the country and monthly savings of an average of N4 billion in bank charges.

“Also, against stiff opposition, the Buhari Administration has expanded the coverage of IPPIS. TSA and IPPIS remain an unfolding revolution in public finance in Nigeria that have incorporated transparency and accountability into the system. The use of BVN to verify the Federal Government’s payroll on the IPPIS platform has so far led to the detection of 54,000 fraudulent payroll entries.

“The Federal Government has also utilised the BVN system to verify beneficiaries and vendors in the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), the N-Power Programme and the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP), among others.”

While reasserting the main three-pronged policy of the administration including the fight against corruption, tackling insecurity and revamping the economy, Muhammed added: “It is common knowledge that one of the most difficult tasks for any government is to fight corruption, because when you fight corruption, corruption will fight you back!

“This explains why naysayers have continued to belittle or dismiss the Administration’s anti-corruption efforts.

“Let me say here that fighting corruption is a marathon, and never a sprint. Also, investigations, arrests, prosecutions and asset forfeiture – which are the immediate, visible indices by which many measure success in tackling corruption, constitute – as important as they are – just a part of the strategies to combat corruption.”


2023: Buhari may meet Osinbajo, Tinubu, Amaechi, others



President Muhammadu Buhari would this week meet with all the preidential aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The meeting was called with a view to reducing the number of presidential hopefuls and also ensuring that all of them pledge to accept the outcome of the primary as was done during the APC presidential primary in 2014.

“The President will meet with the aspirants a few days to the primary with a view to ensuring that there is unity and harmony. He will also meet with the governors separately. The date is not fixed yet, but it should be this week if INEC doesn’t extend the deadline for the primary as we are all hoping,” said an APC chieftain who wished to remain anonymous.

“The President has a candidate. How to present the idea to the likes of Tinubu will be the challenge,” he added.

Buhari’s most senior spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, had said last week that the President indeed had a preferred candidate.

He stated, “In a previous interview when the President was asked whether he had a favourite candidate, he answered yes; but he will not mention him because mischief may happen to that person.

“That shows you that the President himself is interested in the process and he has a preferred candidate; but whether he will impose his candidate is what you cannot determine at the moment.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said he was not aware of any meeting the President would be having with the aspirants.

“I am not aware of any meeting as of now,” he said.

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Gunmen behead abducted Anambra lawmaker from Governor Soludo’s constituency, hang head in motor park



Gunmen who abducted a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Okey Okoye, have beheaded him.

After beheading him, his head was reportedly displayed at a motor park in Nnobi, Idemili South Local Government Area of the state.

The incident, which happened on Saturday, created panic in the community, which had been witnessing a series of violent killings since last year.

Sources added that his body was not there and indications were that the killers removed the body.

“The Anambra lawmaker representing Soludo’s constituency, Okechukwu Okoye who was earlier kidnapped, has been beheaded by gunmen; the late lawmaker’s head was mounted at Chisco Park in Amichi community,” a military source said on Saturday.

Gunmen had last Sunday abducted the lawmaker who was representing Aguata II state constituency in Aguata alongside Cyril Chiegboka, his campaign director.

Governor Charles Soludo had said during the week that efforts were ongoing to rescue the Anambra lawmaker from his abductors.

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MC Oluomo allegedly demands N100million to support re-election of Oshodi Rep member



Chairman of the Lagos State Parks Management Committee, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly called MC Oluomo, is allegedly demanding N100 million to support the re-election of the member representing Oshodi Federal Constituency 1 in the House of Representatives, Hon. Bashiru Dawodu.

Dawodu, a medical doctor, rode on the back of MC Oluomo to win the election in 2019 after series of attempts in the past.

Dawodu presenting his Certificate of Return to MC Oluomo

Both, however, fell apart few months after Dawodu was elected due to irreconcilable differences .

MC Oluomo is said to be angry with Dawodu for not honouring agreements he (Dawodu) had with him prior to his victory in 2019.

MC Oluomo, who is seen as de-facto leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oshodi was said to have vowed to work against Dawodu’s re-election in 2023.

He is believed to be working for the emergence of a former Chairman of Oshodi/Isolo Local Government, Afeez Ipesa Balogun to emerge as the APC’s candidate for the House of Representatives election in the constituency.

However, party leaders in the local government including the Chairman of the council, Kehinde Oloyede Almoof had appealed to MC Oluomo to tone down his opposition to Dawodu and support his re-election.

It was gathered that MC Oluomo did not turn down the fence-mending approach because he said he did the same with Oloyede who was his former arch-enemy.

It was further gathered that MC Oluomo demanded N100 million from Dawodu before he gets his support.

The money according to MC Oluomo is to settle his aides and loyalists, who supported Dawodu in 2019 but were abandoned by the Rep member.

According to sources at the various fence-mending meeting, appeals to MC Oluomo to reduce the amount were rebuffed.

Another dimension has, however, been added to the involvement of Oloyede in the matter.

The sources revealed that the council chairman, Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own interest.

Oloyede has been eyeing the Rep seat before his election as the council chairman.

Oloyede’s calculation according to the sources is that should Dawood gets the second term, it would be easy for him (Oloyede) to contest for the seat in 2027.

One of the sources who does not want his name in print because of backlash said : “Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own personal interest. He believes supporting Dawood may work for him in 2027.

Continuing, the source noted that Oloyede would rather support Dawodu over any other candidates because others eyeing the seat are first timers, who may want to seek for re-election in 2027.

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