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IGP Idris to Saraki: “Do not interfere with police investigations”

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IGP, Ibrahim Idris
IGP, Ibrahim Idris

The Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris appears ready to assert the independence and authority of the Nigerian Police even as he waves aside the allegations of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki that the Police is working to implicate him on criminal charges.

Do not interfere with Police investigations, the IGP counsels the Senate President.

In a statement, the Force Public Relation Officer, ACP Jimoh Moshood stated that “The attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to Press Statement credited to the Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, of “Plot Against Him by IGP”.

“The Nigeria Police Force is shocked at the unbelievable claims, unverifiable allegations and unfounded accusations being peddled against the IGP by the Senate President, accusing the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris of plot and strategies against him to settle scores.

“The Force therefore wishes to categorically state that, there is no iota of truth in the allegation and false assertion by the Senate President of plot against him by the IGP to implicate the Kwara State Government and the Senate President in any criminal matter.

“Until investigation is concluded, any person, persons or group who tries to interfere in the investigation process by action or utterances is committing an offence.

“To set the records straight, the Kwara State Police Command on the 11th of May, 2018, paraded the following suspects before the Media and the Public, namely;

Abolaji Safti Ojulari of Kankatu area, Ilorin;
Lanre Mohammed Soliu a.k.a Askari of Ile Nda Compound, Ilorin;
Azeez Moyaki of Moyaki Compound, Gambari Area Ilorin.

Others are:
Suleiman Babatunde of Gambari Area, Ilorin;
Yusuf Habeeb of Kangile Village, Kulende, Ilorin;
and Umar Yahaya of Kangile Village, Kulende, Ilorin.

“The suspects admitted and confessed before the press and the public to have killed Eleven (11) innocent persons in kwara State and other States of the country.

“The victims according to the suspects were targeted and killed on the instructions of their sponsors.

“Find attached names of victims killed in cold blood (i) Bukola Ajikobi killed on 18/01/2016 at ajikobi Area in Ilorin

(ii) Azeez Lawal killed in February, 2018 at Oja oba area of Ilorin

(iii) Lateef (Surname unknown) killed February, 2018 at Ode Alfa Nda area of Ilorin

(iv) Jamiu (Surname unknown) killed in February 2018 at idi ape area, Ilorin

(v) One segun (Surname unknown) killed in September, 2017 at kankatu area of Ilorin. Others are

(vi) Wasiu (Surname unknown) killed in September 29, 2016 at Shao garage of Ilorin

(vii) Musiliu (Surname unknown) killed in February, 2018 at Shao Area Ilorin

(viii) Bayo Ajia killed in January 18, 2018 at taiwo Road, Ilorin

(ix) Another Lateef killed in January 2016 at Baboko Area of Ilorin

(x) Abbey a student of Kwara Polytechnic killed in April, 2017 at Niger Road, Ilorin

(xi) Lanre (Surname unknown) killed on 23rd August, 2015 at Isale Aluko Area of Ilorin.

“Consequent upon the public confessions of these vicious and notorious killer squad to the killings in cold blood of more than Eleven (11) innocent people in Kwara State and other States of the Federation, the statutory procedure and practice in the Force is that such a heinous crime and capital offence is transferred to the Force Headquarters for further investigation.

“This is to enable a thorough and discreet investigation into the crime.

“However, it is pertinent to state that, there is no vested interest by the Inspector General of Police in the ongoing investigation into the several murders committed by this killer gang, other than ensuring that justice prevails in the matter.

“Nobody, no matter how highly placed would be allowed to interfere or obstruct Police investigation to pervert the course of justice.

“It is also imperative to let the public know that last year, suspects arrested over the mayhem and killings of innocent people in Ile-Ife, Osun State and those arrested in Southern Kaduna crisis in Kaduna State and suspects arrested in connection with Zaki-biam killings in Benue State were all transferred to the Force Headquarters, Abuja for further investigation before they were arraigned in court of competent jurisdiction.

“Therefore, transferring this hired assassin gang masquerading as cultists in kwara State to Force Headquarters, Abuja for further investigation is in accordance with Police investigation procedures.

“It is also important to underscore that the statement credited to the Senate President can dissuade and discourage living victims/deceased families of those who must have been killed by this vicious hired assassin gang from coming forward to give evidence against them.

“The Nigeria Police Force hereby implores members of the general public to disregard and discountenance the claim of plot by the IGP against the Senate President as a ruse, unfortunate and an attempt to divert Police investigation into the killings of more than Eleven (11) innocent people from kwara State and other States of the Federation in the recent past by the killer squad who operate under the guise of a cult group.

“The Force will leave no stone unturned and will do everything within the ambit of the law to ensure justice in this matter, no matter whose ox is gored.”

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$8.1 billion MTN Sanction: Secret plans to reduce fine to $800 million

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While the country is still outraged over the unlawful repatriation of $14 billion dollars by South African telecoms giant, MTN, development unfolding has revealed that there are behind the scenes arrangements to slash a fine placed on its Nigerian subsidiary from $8.1 billion to $800 million.

The new report drew the attention of the Nigerian Senate who resolved to seek explanations on the planned reduction by the federal government from a mammoth $8.1 billion to the new figures.

Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, Senate Committee Chairman on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, while addressing journalists on Tuesday said it became pertinent for the Senate to wade into the ‘back door’ arrangement between MTN and the Nigerian government.

“It was gathered that the federal government, working through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, may have concluded arrangements to cut the $8.1 billion fine to $800 million through the back door. The Senate said it was interested in knowing the percentage of reduction from $8.1 billion to $800,” he was quoted as saying, by Vanguard.

Mr. Ibrahim also called for detailed report to enable the Senate fully understand what transpired between MTN and CBN that led to the sanction.

The CBN ordered MTN to refund the $8.1 billion to its coffers as sanctions for repatriating $14 billion using fraudulent Certificates of Capital Imports (CCIs). For their roles in the illicit transfer, MTN’s bankers were sanctioned by CBN with Standard Chartered attracting a fine of N2.4 billion, Stanbic IBTC N1.8 billion, Citibank N1.2 billion and Diamond Bank N250 million respectively.

While a Lagos court adjourned the hearing on the $8.1 billion dispute between Nigeria’s apex bank and MTN until December 4, THISDAY newspaper reports that both parties have reached a tentative agreement on the fines imposed on the Nigerian subsidiary.

Concerned about the negative impact the refund would have on the South African economy, MTN Group CEO and President, Mr. Rob Shuter, was in Abuja to discuss the risks the sledgehammer hit on South Africa’s cash cow would cause the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

In February 2018, SATELLITE TIMES brought to public attention secret documents of MTN’s financial dealings found so outrageous it was tagged a national security issue, forcing the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to request the Department of Security Services (DSS) to step in.

In July, President Cyril Ramaphosa, in a disguised visit to Nigeria however came with dual interests in MTN.

As President of South Africa, his intervention was needed to save one of South Africa’s biggest cash cows in foreign land. The other is that as a businessman, Ramaphosa has substantial interest in MTN.

In September, SATELLITE TIMES also exclusively reported how there were plans by some ultra-powerful lobbyists recruited from within and outside Nigeria, and from a few foreign governments including those of South Africa, UK and The United Arab Emirate (UAE) to stop the fine that threatened the existence of MTN’s operation in Nigeria.

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Corruption: Emir Sanusi Lamido was under secret probe by govt. – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

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Emir Sanusi
Emir of Kano and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido [Photo Credit: Guardian Nigeria]

Almost all through his 5-year tenure as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido did his best to uphold a squeaky-clean image as a public servant. He even put on a new toga, assuming the role of the country’s anti-corruption czar, speaking out against public and private sector corruption as well as supporting policies towards strengthening best practices.

 A startling revelation however, in a new book, paints a diametrically-opposing picture of Sanusi with strong suggestions of sleaze and brigandage at the apex bank where he held sway from 2009 to 2014.

The level of corruption was ostensibly on a large scale; so much so that the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), a financial oversight body located in the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment initiated a probe.

The book, released 2018 and titled “Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines,” was written by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a World Bank economist who herself was a cabinet insider at the time Sanusi was the CBN governor.

Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines

Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines

 Ngozi was Finance Minister, first in the Olusegun Obasanjo administration and returned to serve a second time in the same position but with an expanded portfolio as the Coordinating Minister for the Economy under the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

For political expediency and also not to send the wrong signal to international investors, the Jonathan administration chose to keep the probe quiet.According to Ngozi, the President said “if the situation became public, it could reflect badly on the Central Bank Governor.”

While the outcome of the probe was being given official consideration at the highest level, Sanusi sprung a surprise. He wrote a letter on September 2013 to President Jonathan, alerting him that there was $49.8 billion missing from the country’s oil accounts between January 2012 and July 2013.

The new development spurred efforts towards reconciling the accounts by a joint task force comprising the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, The Finance Ministry and the CBN; but was hit by a major setback when Ngozi got a call from a Financial Times of London African correspondent, William Walis, of a leaked letter to the President (Jonathan) which alleged that $50 billion was missing from the country’s oil accounts.

File Photo: Former President Goodluck Jonathan [Photo credit: Daily Post]

File Photo: Former President Goodluck Jonathan [Photo credit: Daily Post]

Before she could act accordingly, the story of the alleged missing funds had spread like wildfire, leading to widespread outrage all over the country.

In December 2013, reports by the task force were ready and after professional consideration, the parties involved agreed that the unaccounted funds were between the ranges of $10.8 billion to $12 billion.

Though this reconciliation had been made, the country was already thrown in an uproar over the initial report of the missing $50 billion which led the National Assembly to call for a hearing.

To water down the attendant reactions that embraced the initial report, a press conference was organized where Sanusi admitted that his staff had erroneously tampered with the figures but after proper investigations by the task force, the CBN came to a resolution that only about $12 billion of the funds were unaccounted for.

Efforts to exonerate all wrongdoings by the parties involved were short-lived a day after the press conference following a television advert by the NNPC distancing itself from the controversy which further complicated the already dicey situation.

In February 2014 during their appearance before the Senate ad-hoc committee chaired by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Sanusi in his defense when asked to speak, made a surprise u-turn and countered the initially agreed figure of $12 billion, Ngozi said.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala [Photo Credit: Guardian Nigeria]

In his defense, Sanusi said that while the unaccounted funds were not $50 billion, he argued that the money could not have been $12 billion either, tendering new exhibits alleging the figures to be $20 billion.

Sanusi fingered a subsidiary of the NNPC, the Nigeria Petroleum Development Corporation (NPDC), for the non-disbursement of $6 billion to the Federal Account.

Thrown off balance by the new revelations, Ngozi called for an independent forensic audit, a move she opined was the last resort to regaining lost public trust.

Though Sanusi was suspended for ‘financial recklessness’, his act was interpreted as punishment for whistle blowing, Ngozi added.

In June 2014, embattled Sanusi was eventually crowned the Emir of Kano after the death of his grand uncle, Ado Bayero.

On assumption into office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari vowed that his administration will probe the missing $20 billion allegedly unaccounted for from the country’s oil accounts. Buhari said that though the former governor of the apex bank had already assumed the position as the new Emir of Kano, the probe for the missing monies fraudulently unaccounted for became expedient, adding that the figure was too huge to ignore.

Efforts to reach Emir Sanusi’s Spokesperson, Munir Sanusi, were unsuccessful as he did not pick calls or reply a message sent to his mobile telephone for official response.

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CSO calls for action as Nigeria ranks among 14 countries where killers of journalists go unpunished

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A cross-section of participants at the event
A cross-section of participants at the event themed "Impunity for Crime against Journalists, a Threat to Democracy"

A civil society organisation (CSO), Safer-Media Initiative, has called on the federal government of Nigeria to take stringent actions to end impunity for crimes against journalists as Nigeria ranks among 14 countries where killers of journalists go unpunished.

The charge was made on November 2 in Abuja by the Executive Director of the organisation, Peter Iorter during a press conference with the theme “Impunity for Crime against Journalists, a Threat to Democracy”. The event was held as part of its activities to mark this year’s International Day to end Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

Participants at the event comprised representatives of the media, other civil society organisations, and the private sector.

In his opening remark, Iorter cited a UNESCO report which revealed that between 2016 and 2017, 182 Journalists lost their lives in the line of professional duty while in 2018; 86 of them were killed between January and October.

In a press release made available to SATELLITE TIMES, Iorter said that “shocking and infuriating is that in nine out of ten cases, the killers go unpunished. Even more disturbing is that Nigeria has consistently remained a contributor to those stunning global figures.”

In 2017, data collected by the International Press Centre (IPC) showed that at least two Nigerian journalists were killed while 12 journalists and media organizations in the country suffered various forms of assault.

A group photograph of some of the participants at the event

The slain journalists are Famous Giobaro of Bayelsa State-owned radio station, Glory FM 97.1, who was shot dead on April 16; and Lawrence Okojie of Nigerian Television Authority, Benin, who was shot dead while returning from work on July 8.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in an annual global impunity index published few days ago said Nigeria ranked 13 out of 14 countries in the world where journalists are slain and the killers circumvent justice.

According to Iorter, the alarming global reports propelled his organisation to raise concern that the Nigerian press is under “grave threat”.

“It is unfortunate, worrisome, and unacceptable that violations and assaults on journalists have continued unabated under a supposedly democratic system of governance,” he said.

He further condemned the incessant harassment, physical violence, arrest and detention of journalists by agents of government including the Department of State Service (DSS), the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), among others.

“Their salaries are paid with tax payers’ money to protect citizens; any action of theirs to the contrary amounts to breach of the social contract,” he added.

Furthermore, Ioter also insisted that the rights of journalists must be protected at all times.

He called on the National Assembly to recognize the urgent need to strengthen the laws that promote media freedom and provide protection for journalists.

While fielding questions from journalists at the event, Iorter said his organization is poised toward press freedom, safety of journalists and advancement of responsible media.

Mr. Peter Iorter is also an Editor at SATELLITE TIMES newspaper.

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