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Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Ambode’s N500m works out Edgar return, Presidency, new IGP, Idris major players

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

A last minute order that had Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgar Imohimi, announced redeployment suspended, may not had served as a good development among police officers within and outside the state, particularly within public domain, after last week incident reported to had claimed lives.

The action, to politicians of bigwigs, who understand the implication, after a drama over office control ensued between Edgar and Acting Commissioner of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, who was earlier directed to take over the command, may be a bad omen for Lagos State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) at the forthcoming election.

In their conclusion, the development was evidence that one of the party’s member was deliberately working against Lagos APC to deliver the state to opposition.

Besides, circumstances surrounding last minute change of order as linked to the Force Headquarters in Abuja, was alleged to have been orchestrated by Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, whom was claimed to had monetarily induced immediate past Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, his successor, Adamu Muhammed, alongside an undisclosed aide of President Muhammadu Buhari, in order to have Edgar return, back to Lagos police command.

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode (right), presenting a souvenir to Inspector General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, during the I.G’s visit to the Governor at the Lagos House, Ikeja.

As gathered from Nigerian Police Commission, Ambode was said to had visited Abuja on Monday, not for political business as usual, but to perfect the commissioner’s redeployment reversal, and that N500 million was placed on table in exchange for the deal.

It was also learned that the former IGP connived with his successor, the newly appointed police boss, to make the earlier directives un-effective, on learning that his request for tenure elongation was turned down by the president.

Perhaps, investigation by the Guild after a mild drama between Edgar and Egbetokun at the Lagos Command yesterday further revealed that Ambode’s visit to Abuja was not coincidence with Edgar’s appearance at the force headquarter on Monday, but to work out the latter way back to Lagos.

Through the moves, it was discovered that the governor had since after APC primary election in the state, recently, not been on same page with his party and those who campaigned for him to ensure he wins 2015 gubernatorial election.

It would be recalled that Ambode and the commissioner of police relationship was reported, with the latter been alleged of undermining the state security system to favour the opposition.

The raised concerns against the duo were from the role played by Edgar during primary election and that of free for all encounter among hoodlums recorded during Lagos APC campaign flag-off, the situation of which was linked to breach of security at the venue.

In our exclusive report barely a week ago, the Guild reported that both Ambode and Edgar may be actively involved in undermining the party’s efforts to furnish the campaign venue with needed adequate security.

However, mixed reactions among political parties, over yesterday’s development, particularly from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members in Lagos, held that Edgar’s redeployment suspension was targeted at aiding electoral manipulation and that the move could put Lagos in bad light during forthcoming election.

Furthermore, they claimed that Edgar may aid violence during election due to his alleged involvement in recent crisis at the Lagos APC campaign flagged off and relationship with Ambode.

For APC members in the state, who separately spoke to the Guild over the action, the embattled commissioner should not be allowed to control police affairs in Lagos and that his return to the state pose danger on lives of people.

A source from the police, who pleaded not to be mentioned considering sensitive nature of the issue, disclosed that Edgar return to Lagos came with price from the state governor, whom he said wanted to retain the commissioner based on personified plans and otherwise moves.

He hinted that the plan to return Edgar to Lagos was perfected after Ambode visited Abuja on Monday and secretly danced to monetary demands of former IGP who had learnt of his tenure elongation denial.

The source added that Idris, who was said to have been lobbying APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, for tenure elongation, backtracked on his earlier directive to redeploy Edgar after Ambode placed on table substantial amount of money.

“The action was as a result of Idris’ expectation that his tenure elongation request would be granted, but met otherwise.

“From what I know, about five people are involve in the process, and Ambode’s fund was shared by Idris, new IGP, and one of the President’s aide.”

Another source from the force headquarters, who also spoke under anonymity, explained that the process leading to Edgar’s redeployment reversal emanated from the presidency in conjunction with Oba of Lagos, Riliwan Akiolu, who was said to have been discreetly supporting Ambode’s moves.

He explained that the plan was to ensure former IGP reverse the order, so as to prevent any suspicion before leaving office, while Muhammed maintains the status quo on Edgar, confirmed to be his course mate,  as commissioner of police in charge of Lagos command.

However, a source from Lagos police command indicated that officers from the premises were not satisfied with Edgar’s return and that they believed senior officers at the Force headquarters must have manipulated the process to aid the return.

He stated that some of his colleagues, who had had encounters with Edgar, expressed displeasure after news on the commissioner’s returned filtered in, particularly the superiority display between the commissioner and Egbetokun.

Apart from police personnel within the Command, who expressed displeasure over the action, Lagos APC senior members also condemned the development, alleging Ambode of making moves to deliver the state to PDP.

They alleged that the governor’s body language after suffering defeat during primary election in the state was an obvious indication that he was no longer interested in APC and that he had since been working secretly against the party.

One of the party member from the governor’s office revealed that Ambode had since after his defeat been at par with the state APC and its EXCOs, particularly the party’s governorship candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, whom was reported to had not enjoyed goodwill from the governor.

He stated that the Ambode had embarked on desperate moves to deliver his office to another party since his party, APC, denied him chance to contest for second term

“Some of us have persuaded him to accept the party’s decision and work with Sanwo-Olu. But he refused and promised to fight on.

“From what I know, there are some people who have wrongly been advising him on reasons he needed to retaliate and ensure the party does not retain the seat,” he hinted.

In another revelation, a civil servant disclosed to The Guild that the state governor had intentionally allowed power crisis within state secretariat to linger than expected after refusing to approve funds for procurement of gas to power the Independent Power Project (IPP), forcing civil servants to leave work earlier than expected.

“The governor has done worst than good lately. I do not understand reasons for his actions. He has deliberately shutdown government because what is the essence of the ministry that is opened for operation and yet the staffs do not have power supply to perform their duties.

“The power supply crisis has lingered for over six weeks without solution in sight. This is part of the punishment he felt he can inflict on us.”

Also in the metropolis, a staff of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), hinted that gridlock had returned without any plan from the governor to ameliorate the challenge which could reduced if larger percentage of traffic lights erected across the state functions effectively.

Another top civil servant, who did not want his name in print because he was not authorised to speak, stressed that rather than address gridlock challenge, the governor however directed Vehicle Inspection Officer (VIO), LASTMA, Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC)  to intensify enforcement machinery across the state.

He said: “85 percent of the traffic lights are down begging for repairs. Also, the streets lights on major and inner roads have malfunctioned. And weeks after, no one is talking about fixing them.

“While we are awaiting plans to address traffic, the governor issued a strict directive to VIO, LASTMA, LAGESC and other enforcement agencies to intensify their activities which can further discredit APC in Lagos.”

In our effort to have clear evidence on the said Ambode’ N500 million and  those involve, a reliable source from the APC national leader’s house confirmed the transaction and also listed Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, among people assisting Lagos state governor in working against the party.

He said that leaders from the party were aware of both Ambode and the CP underground countered role against the party but decide to treat it silently and that they may call the governor to order or take necessary action, should he fails to adjust, so as not to allow more damages.

“Tinubu is aware of everything that transpired on Monday in Abuja and he was phoned while Ambode was lobbying with N500 million, to have his friend back to Lagos”.

“Listed of the people within the police, including the former IGP, the new and another person from villa, and others involve, got to him before the deal was completed”, he added.

Turkey donates military equipment to Gambia

By News desk

The Turkish Government has donated military equipment to Gambia at the latter’s military headquarters in the capital Banjul.

According to local officials, as many as 7,500 Gambian soldiers have been trained by the Turkish military both in the country and in Turkey.

The Turkish Ambassador to Gambia, Ismail Sefa Yuceer, who disclosed the donation on Tuesday, explained that the items handed over to Gambia include military boots, jackets and bags.

He said: “This cooperation scheme is a technical assistance program that has been going on for over the last 16 years and in that respect the total volume of the assistance has reached $1.4 million,”

The small West African country is in a political transition and the country’s military is being reformed as it progresses from its dictatorship past.

“The support is huge in our efforts to ensure that the Gambia Armed Forces is fully equipped and ready to be able to take of its responsibilities both at home and abroad,” said Gambia’s army Chief of Defense Staff Masanneh Kinteh.

Boko Haram attacks military base, kill 10

By News desk

At least 10 people were killed and several others injured when Boko Haram militants attacked a military base in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno on Monday, local media reported on Tuesday.

It was gathered that the militant group also set fire on resident’s houses, to ensure non survive the attack.

The attack was followed by a clash between the militant group and the military.

Nigeria has been battling Boko Haram insurgency since 2009 when the group turned violent following the death of its former leader Mohamed Yusuf in police custody.

More than 20,000 people have been killed, mostly civilians, while 2-3 million have been displaced from their homes across the Lake Chad region.

Currently, Boko Haram has allegedly split into two factions being led by Abubakar Shekau and Abu Musab al-Barnawi.

FG installs tracker to ascertain petrol consumption

By News desk

Following disparity in statistics of Premium Motor Spirit  (PMS) also known as fuel consumed in Nigeria, the Federal Government has said that its new installed Sensor Monitoring Project will end the challenge facing the country.

According to Petroleum Equalisation Fund  (PEF), the sensor will help to track the exact quantity of the product consumed within the country.

The PEF Executive Secretary, Ahmed Bobboi, who disclosed this while addressing newsmen, on Tuesday in Abuja, said that the adoption of the monitoring mechanism was the outcome of the project embarked upon after a study to determine the technology gap assessment of its operations.

Bobboi added that PEF did the project in collaboration with other agencies in the petroleum industry.

According to him, the Sensor Monitoring project will address the diversion of petroleum products and provide consumption data to critical agencies of government to help in economic planning.

“Up to today, it is difficult to determine the actual quantity of fuel consumed in this country. Different agencies give you different figures and I think it is not tidy.  With the introduction of the Sensor Monitoring project, we believe it would serve to answer all the questions.

“The project for the Sensor Monitoring which was approved by the Federal Executive Council was supposed to last for three years, but work has already started.

“Work has started, some of the equipment we are going to use,  such as the ICT equipment are being produced now; the contractor has already mobilised on site, work has started already.

“The question is when do we begin to see the effect?  By six months, we would begin to feel something, at the end of one year, we would begin to see something. Maybe before the end of this year, we would begin to see some of the landmarks of this project.” he said

He further noted that the Fund had planned to commence equalisation of petroleum products through the railway  but was suspended due to the proposed policies of the Federal Government.

He said that PEF was waiting to determine the direction of the government as regards the rail system, so that it could enter into discussions with the eventual managers of the railway on the modalities for the transportation of PMS  and Liquefied Petroleum Gas,(LPG) through the railways.

“We planned to introduce the railway equalisation programme last year, but certain developments delayed it.  One of the development is the government policy of divesting from that area, because government is considering the concessioning the management of the railway system.

“We want to wait and see who will end up managing the railway, whether it is governments or the private sector, so that we would discuss with them and agree on the modalities.” he added

Bobboi said that  PEF was also considering transportation of petroleum products through the waterways, adding that the introduction of alternative means of transportation of the products would reduce the pressures on the roads and create employment opportunities for Nigerians.

“We are also thinking about marine transportation in the near future.  This is because we believe that if we introduce alternative means of transporting the products, it would reduce the pressure on our roads, reduce the wear and tear of the roads.

“It  will also create job opportunities for people who want to work in those areas,” Bobboi noted.

Commenting on Aquila 2 project , he said that the project had not been abandoned but had been subsumed inside the Network Sensor Monitoring project

‘Aquila 2’ project, was expected to monitor products movement from receiving depot up to the retail outlet of the oil marketers.

ICC acquits former Ivory Coast president, Gbagbo

By News desk

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday acquitted former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and the then youth minister of all charges and ordered their immediate release.

“Having thoroughly analysed the evidence, the Chamber concluded by majority that the Prosecutor has failed to demonstrate several core constitutive elements of the crimes as charged,” said a statement issued by the ICC.

The Chamber also decided that Gbagbo and Charles Ble Goude don’t need to submit further evidence to defend themselves and ordered their release, the statement said.

Post-electoral violence in 2010-2011 had resulted in the death of some 3,000 people in the West African nation, according to UN figures.

Gbagbo had refused to recognize the victory of his rival and current President Alassane Ouattara in the November 2010 presidential election.

Since late 2011, the ICC has been trying Gbagbo and Ble Goude due to their alleged role in the violence.

In 2018, Ouattara pardoned 800 prisoners, including former First Lady Simone Gbagbo, who was serving a 20-year prison sentence for undermining national security.

32nd AU summit focuses on displacement, migration

By News desk

Ahead of the 32nd African Union (AU) forthcoming summit, the leaders have concluded plans to center their discussion on ways to improve the situation of the displaced in the continent.

AU Commission Deputy Chairperson, Kwesi Quartey, disclosed the plans on the sidelines of the Permanent Representatives Committee meeting consisting of ambassadors, who gathered to prepare agenda items for the summit slated for Feb. 10-11.

Quartey told reporters on Tuesday that displacement and migration were major problems confronting the continent, saying, displacement is a serious problem in Africa.

African leaders will meet in the 32nd summit themed: “The year of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons: Towards durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa.”

It would be recalled that last year saw massive displacements in Africa as ethnic-based clashes made 2.7 million people flee their homes from some areas in Ethiopia — making the Horn of Africa nation surpass even Syria in the number of displacements.

However, hundreds of thousands have returned to their respective villages following the return of normalcy and peace.

Quartey said the summit will also dwell on democracy, governance and human rights in addition to the reform agenda that includes furthering the ongoing efforts of the pan-African body to become financially independent.

Let’s pray for Nigerian Army to defeat Boko Haram-Ambode

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah 

Worried by the persistent threat posed by insurgency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has urged Nigerians to pray for the military to win the battle against Boko Haram in the country.

Ambode, who made the appeal yesterday at the 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration held at Remembrance Arcade, Tafawa Balewa Square, TBS, on Tuesday, stressed that their bravery and sacrifice must never be in vain.

 

Represented by his deputy, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, he argued that their heroic exploits has preserved the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nigeria.

 

“This is also a platform to commend the officers and men of the armed forces who are engaged in one military exercise or the other to combat insurgency and other threats to our territorial integrity. We remain grateful to you for your bravery and patriotism to put your lives on the line for our country.

“I call on every Nigerian to rise up to the occasion and support our men and women engaged in theatres of war with prayers so that they would achieve resounding victory over those who threaten our peace and national sovereignty,” the Governor said.

 

The governor on Lagosians and indeed Nigerians to show love and care to families of personnel that lost their lives while defending the country, which according to him, would further reassure them that their loved ones had not died in vain.

 

The Deputy Governor took on the first duty of inspecting the guard of honour mounted by the combined detachments of the Army, Navy, Airforce, Police and the Nigerian Legion immediately she arrived the venue of the ceremony.

After the wreath-laying ceremony, several gun salutes was fired and the Deputy Governor led others to the pigeon case, where she released the birds to signify peace.

Other notable personalities, who performed the laying of wreath ceremony, include representatives of the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly; Chief Judge of Lagos State; Oba of Lagos; Service Commanders of military and para-military formations, a representative of the widows of the fallen heroes, among others.

CCB mulls prosecution of civil servants, justifies CJN’s trial

By News desk

In order to strengthen the ongoing anti-graft war, the Code of Conduct of Bureau (CCB) has announced his preparedness to prosecute any erring civil servants and public office holders at both federal and state levels that failed to declare his asset.

The declaration came barely 24 hours after Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, was brought before CCB over non-declaration of asset before his appointment.

Chairman of the bureau, Prof. Isah Mohammed, who gave the warning in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, advised civil servants and public office holders against flagrant abuse of its Act by declaring their assets at the required regular interval.

Mohammed said the bureau had not been particularly active in the monitoring and prosecution of offenders, adding that there was a renewed commitment to ensure that the body remained proactive.

“The Code of Conduct Bureau and the Code of Conduct Tribunal are the creation of the 1999 Constitution as amended and we have resolved to ensure full application of the law against offenders.

“We are collaborating with other anti-corruption agencies and the police to form the required synergy to fight corruption in the country.

“There would be no hiding place for a public servant who keeps away his or her assets from public knowledge. Such assets must be declared at CCB at the right time,’’ he said.

On the charges against Justice Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), the CCB boss said the bureau’s action was in line with the law.

According to him, Justice Onnoghen’s record with the bureau has given the establishment the impetus to commence his prosecution.

He explained further that the action was not driven by political consideration, adding that the public must view the allegations against the CJN as infraction of CCB’s law.

Mohammed said the bureau was considering a nationwide publicity campaign to educate civil servants and public office holders on the danger of not declaring their assets adequately.

Mohammed also said Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government should appoint a desk officer that would continually abreast other staff of the need to update their assets with the bureau.

“It is elementary to state that public servants have the mandate to renew their CCB asset declaration form at four years interval.

“Let me also tell you here that new appointees and employees of government are respectively mandated to declare their assets after joining the service.

On the need to re-position the bureau, Mohammed said efforts were on to address all the challenges that had affected the smooth operation of the body.

“We are seriously working hard to take care of the welfare of our officers as little or nothing can be achieved without their full commitment.

CBN, SEC approve Aceess Bank request to acquire Diamond Bank

By News desk

After weeks of announcing their merger, Access Bank and Diamond Bank Plc have obtained approval in principle from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to fast-track their fusion.

Access Bank Executive Director, Personal Banking, Victor Etuokwu, who disclosed the approval on Tuesday in Lagos, said that CBN and SEC had granted both banks approval in principle for the merger process to commence.

Etuokwu said that the banks were awaiting the final approval which would be granted after convening shareholders meeting.

“So far, we have gotten approvals up to approval in principle. There are three approvals that we need for this process.

“The first one is the pre-order approval which is like the first approval, the next approval is the approval in principle.

“The final approval comes after approval in principle and it will come after you have convened your shareholders meetings,’’ Etuokwu added.

He said that the banks would convene shareholders meetings in February, noting that the approval would be taken to court once approved by the shareholders.

Etuokwu said all the processes including final approval would be completed in the next 60 days.

He said that the new bank would remain committed to retail and corporate banking to drive financial inclusion for desired growth and development.

“We need to invest in retail market to drive economic growth, this is what the new bank will do, a strong corporate and a strong retail bank,’’ he said.

On staff retrenchment, Etuokwu said that members of staff would be retrained for different roles in case of overlapping.

“Staff will be retrained for new roles where there are overlaps, one of the branches can be converted to an e-branch or Automated Teller Machine (ATM) gallery,’’ he added.

Diamond Bank official in charge of Retail banking, Robert Giles, said that integration of both banks had commenced for seamless service delivery.

Giles said that ATMs of both banks could be used by customers at no cost, noting that they were committed at taking costs away from customers.

Mr Herbert Wigwe, Access Chief Executive Officer, at a joint news conference recently said it had already finalised terms and obtained regulatory approvals for a Tier II capital issuance to raise 250 million dollars available for draw down in January 2019.

He said that the bank had also obtained “No Objection’’ from the CBN to undertake a Rights Issue to raise up to N75 billion or 207 million dollars in the first half of 2019.

Wigwe said that shareholder approvals and other regulatory approvals to that effect would be obtained before the offer opens.

He noted that the fund raising exercise would accelerate the capital management plan to support retail growth previously set out in the bank’s five-year strategy.

Wigwe said that the bigger entity was ready to absorb the staff of Diamond Bank at the completion of the deal by end of Jun, without any disengagement.

CBN approves 500,000 rice farmers’ compensation request over flood

By News desk

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved compensation for over 550,000 rice farmers affected by the 2018 flood disaster.

The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) National President, Aminu Goronyo, on Tuesday in Abuja told newsmen that the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, had directed that the loan should be restructured for a period of four years.

Goronyo said: “Instead of paying the loan three instalments within a year, the loan will be restructured to be paid within four years now and be paid by installments.’’

According to him, the affected farmers were under the RIFAN/CBN/ ABP model programme would benefit from the compensation.

He said that the resolution was an outcome of a meeting with the Director, Developing Finances of CBN and RIFAN executive.

The National President explained that RIFAN only championed the case of affected farmers under its care but expressed the hope that all the registered farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) that were affected would benefit from it.

Goroyo said that the bank had also directed that a fresh loan should be given to the affected farmers so that they could go back to the field and recover their losses.

“RIFAN is working on the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Presidency and the CBN to compensate the victims as promised by President Mohammadu Buhari.

“RIFAN is also seeking assistance from the CBN to restructure the loans to alleviate the suffering of the affected farmers and make them go back to the field,’’ he said.

He said that another meeting on adequate compensation to the affected farmers in under the RIFAN/ CBN/ ABP model programme Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) indicated that succour was on the way for farmers negatively impacted by the excessive rains of 2018.

Goroyo said that the compensation programmes were being finalised by NAIC and very soon affected farmers would be paid their claims.

He recalled that all the affected farmers that obtained ABP loans for the rainfall farming had appealed to the government to look into the matter.

Goroyo said that inspections of the affected states showed that the flood had submerged thousands of hectares of maize and rice farmlands.

NAN recalls that the flood destroyed over 100,000 hectares of rice farms in Jigawa, and affected 19,000 rice farmers across the 23 local government areas of the state.

Also Sokoto State said it lost an estimated 61,197 tonnes of rice valued at N27.5 billion because of the flood during the last cropping season.

Also RIFAN, Adamawa chapter, over 5,000 of its members were affected by the flood.