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PDP Caucus disowns senator over petition against EFCC chairman

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A fresh crisis has hit the Senate over a petition against the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, alleging diversion of N1trillion by the agency.

The petition is being promoted by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, believed to be an ally of the Senate President.

But the PDP Caucus, to which Nwaoboshi belongs, yesterday opposed the probe of the allegation.

The caucus made its position known in a statement signed by the Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Sen. Phillip Aduda (FCT), Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba) and Senator Abiodun Olujimi (Ekiti).

The statement said: “It has come to the notice of the PDP leadership in the Senate that the Senate Committee on Public Petitions would begin a public hearing on Wednesday, 26th of August 2015 and the Committee has invited the Chairman of EFCC to appear before it.

“The PDP leadership in the Senate is not against any committee of the Senate performing its oversight duties and or functions but we feel that this is not the appropriate time to embark on this most important assignment, particularly since this same action was mooted and has failed at previous plenary session.

“We therefore urge the committee to suspend its public hearing on this particular matter until further notice.

“The PDP Senate leadership reassures the Nigerian public of its support for the war against corruption by the Federal Government of Nigeria but hastens to add that such fight against corruption should be total and not selective.

“Nigerians need peace at this period of economic challenges precipitated by the falling oil prices and actions that will overheat the polity and generate unnecessary friction between the Executive and the Legislature should be guided.”

The intending probe of Lamorde caused a split among senators.

A Senator said: “The so-called petition came through an ambush procedure because it did not follow due process.

“If there is any petition, it ought to be sent to the President of the Senate and not an individual senator.

“We are suspecting that some people are trying to use the Senate to settle scores. This is not the type of process we voted for on June 9.”

Another senator said: “It is an abuse of the Senate rules after the same plot had failed at a previous plenary of the Senate. Certainly, some fifth columnists are at work.”

The EFCC yesterday described the allegations against Lamorde as “infantile” and “fabricated”.

It said the EFCC since its inception had not earned up to N1trillion.

A statement by the commission’s Head, Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said: “The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to a report captioned, Alleged N1tn diversion: Senate to probe Lamorde’s alleged diversion of N1tn, which appeared in a newspaper of Monday August 24, 2015 containing salacious claims of corruption against the person of the chairman of the Commission, Ibrahim Lamorde.

“The EFCC should ordinarily not dignify the publication with a response as the motives of the promoters and their media allies are to impugn the integrity of the EFCC boss with fabricated stories of corruption.

“However the Commission is constrained to respond, to expose the motive behind the sinister plot.

“In the first instance, claims of a N1trillion corruption in the EFCC is infantile and assaults the sensibilities of all reasonable stakeholders in the anti- corruption fight.

“Even if the EFCC had not returned a kobo of recovered assets in its 12 years existence in addition to the yearly appropriated funds from the federation account, it will be nowhere near a trillion naira.

“This clearly exposes the mission of the so called petitioner as nothing more than mischief, designed to smear Lamorde.

”More sinister is the discovery that the so-called petition did not follow the procedure for consideration by the Senate. It was sent, not to the Senate but to a member, Senate Peter Nwaoboshi, a first term senator from Delta North.

“Under the Senate rules, petitions meant for consideration by the red chamber are sent to the Senate, not to a member of the Senate.

“Also, petitions meant for the Senate are tabled at the plenary, before they are referred to the relevant committees for further consideration. In this instance, the Senate has been on recess and there is no evidence that the so called petition was considered at plenary and referred to any committee.

“The EFCC as an agency that is founded on transparency is not afraid of any ‘probe’ or request for information regarding its activities by individuals, groups or organs of government; so far as such requests followed due process of law.

“The EFCC under Lamorde did not need the prompting of anyone, when it commissioned a reputable international audit firm, KPMG, to carry out comprehensive audit of exhibits and forfeited assets of the Commission from 2003 to date.

“The report of the audit will be made public once it is ready. Were the Commission to be jittery about its records, it would not have embarked on such audit.

“The EFCC however warns that those who peddle false information with the intent to mislead should be reminded that there is a subsisting law on false information and the consequence for violation is grave.

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POLITICS

2023 Presidency: El-Rufai opens up on why Buhari loves Amaechi

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Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has disclosed why President Muhammadu Buhari loves Rotimi Amaechi, the outgone Minister of Transportation.

Rufai disclosed that Buhari loves Amaechi due to his decision to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, during the era of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He disclosed this when Amaechi met with APC delegates from Kaduna ahead of the party’s national convention.

El-Rufai recalled wooing Amaechi and some other governors into the APC during the PDP administration.

“Let me tell you my history with Amaechi. When we started discussing with the G-7, the seven governors that wanted to defect to the APC, I was holding nocturnal meetings with Amaechi and Governor Nyako of Adamawa State until we got five of them to move to our party, and that was the game-changer.

“And for you to understand how difficult it is, imagine Amaechi of Rivers State from the same South-South with incumbent President Jonathan.

“He made the sacrifice to move to our party. It was a game-changer. This is part of the reason President Buhari loves Minister Amaechi till tomorrow,” El-Rufai said.

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2023: Amosun denies stepping down for Tinubu

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Amosun denies stepping down for Bola Tinubu

Former Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has denied stepping down from the 2023 presidential election for the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu.

Amosun stated that he is not in the presidential race to align with Tinubu or any other aspirant of the APC.

Amosun also denied obtaining the APC senatorial form, saying he did not attend the screening exercise organised for APC senatorial aspirants, as being peddled by some individuals.

There were rumours over the weekend that Amosun had agreed to step down for Tinubu, having been screened and cleared for the Ogun Central senatorial race.

But, in a swift reaction, Amosun debunked the rumour spreading on social media, saying the “two news stories are false.”

According to a statement signed by his media aide, Bola Adeyemi, he said that the Ogun Central Senator “procured only the forms for the presidential ticket of the APC and did not attend the screening exercise for Senatorial aspirants because he is not one.”

While urging Nigerians to dismiss the “false news”, Adeyemi maintained that “Amosun is in the race for the presidential ticket of the APC and has no plans to align with any politician in the race.”

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Women affairs Minister, Pauline Tallen withdraws from senatorial race

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Dame Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs, has dropped her senatorial ambition.

Tallen made this known in a statement she issued on Monday.

The minister had purchased the All Progressives Congress (APC) form to contest the Plateau South Senatorial election.

According to her, after consultations with her constituents, she has decided to withdraw from the race.

The statement read in part: “I remain resolute as I continue to relish the opportunity to serve Nigerian Women in my capacity as Minister of Women Affairs under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Consequently, I wish to inform you all that following broad-based consultations and interventions from critical stakeholders, I have decided to withdraw from running for the senatorial seat, mindful of our accomplishments and the notable progress we have recorded under my stewardship at the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.”

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