President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja said his desire is to make Nigeria a country that has no tolerance for corruption, but one where the menace is vigorously battled.
Receiving the Report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the Investigation of Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), headed by Justice Ayo Salami (Rtd), at State House, Abuja, President Buhari said:
”Corruption is present in all countries. Some Governments treat it with levity. Some fight it all the time. I want Nigeria to be counted among those countries that do not tolerate but fight corruption.”
In order to protect Nigeria’s political and economic systems, and the continuous existence of the Nigerian State from the serious threat of corruption, the President called on all stakeholders, and indeed every Nigerian to own the fight against corruption at their respective levels.
Pledging that the fight against corruption is one that must be fought without fear or favour, President Buhari thanked members of the Commission for their dedication and commitment to the fight against corruption.
The President said further:
”The sad reality confronting us as a people is that there is corruption almost everywhere; at many levels of government, and nearly every stratum of our society. Mindful of the threat that corruption poses to us as a nation, this administration has specifically focused on the fight against corruption.
”As a government, and in furtherance of our anti-corruption programme, we have since inception engaged in many reforms in removing corruption including but not limited to the enforcement of Treasury Single Account (TSA), strict implementation of the Bank Verification Number Policy and signing unto the Open Government Partnership. A lot of efforts have gone into building and development of our anti-corruption institutions.
”We have so far kept faith with our promise and shall remain committed until Nigeria triumphs over the evil of corruption, attain a prosperous economic status and surmounts her security challenges.
”However, the stark reality of widespread corruption becomes poignant when allegations of corruption touches on the leadership of an institution set up by law to coordinate and enforce all economic and financial crimes. It is an abomination that strikes at the root, and undermines the Government’s anti-corruption programme.
”It was in response to the serious allegations against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that I set up a Panel headed by the Honourable Justice Isa Ayo Salami, retired President of the Court of Appeal, via an Instrument dated 3rd July 2020 pursuant to the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004).
”We recognize that there are more grounds to cover in the war against corruption, and we are prepared to go out to possess those lands by cutting off any stream that nourishes the seed of corruption and supports its growth.
READ ALSO: SERAP seeks trial of high-profile corruption cases, details of missing files
”Let it be known that in the fight against corruption, no one is too big to tackle, as no individual is bigger than the Nigerian State!”
In his remarks, Justice Salami said that the suspended Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, and 113 witnesses appeared and testified before the Commission, adding that 46 petitions and memoranda were presented by individuals and organisations with complaints against the suspended Acting Chairman, EFCC or both.
Justice Salami disclosed that the Commission also embarked on a nationwide physical verification of recovered forfeited assets, comprising real estates, automobiles, vessels and non-cash assets.
He commended the President for the initiative to dispose all forfeited assets ”because of the poor condition of the assets we saw during our physical verification nationwide.”
Noting that the four chairmen of EFCC since inception were from the police, the retired Justice of the Court of Appeal also recommended that in appointing a new chairman consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and core staff of the EFCC as provided in the EFCC establishment Act of 2004.
He expressed profound gratitude to the President for giving the Commission members a wonderful opportunity to serve the nation.
CBN Denies Freezing #EndSARS Promoters’ Accounts
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has faulted claim that his bank obtained court orders to block accounts associated with promoters of the #EndSARS protests.
Emefiele’s position was stated by his lawyer, former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mike Aondoakaa (SAN) while appearing before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Aondoakaa is the CBN Governor’s lawyer in the case, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020)of CBN v. Bolatito Rachael Oduala and 19 others in which Justice Ahmed Mohammed granted an order freezing the accounts of the defendants for 90 minutes in the first instance.
The former AGF spoke while reacting to remarks by Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), lawyer to Albert A. Ugochuwu and others, whose accounts were also frozen in similar circumstance by another judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo in the case marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/12000/2020.
Aondoakaa, who insisted that his client acted within the provision of Section 60 (b) of the Bank and other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA), allows the CBN to apply pending for a freezing order pending conclusion of investigation.
The ex-AGF faulted claim by Adegboruwa that the CBN was going about filing multiple cases to freeze people’s accounts, including those linked with the #EndSARS protests.
He said the CBN did not apply for the freezing of any accounts because of the owners were associated with the #EndSARS protests.
Aondoakaa stated that his client only applied to have the accounts frozen on suspecting questionable transactions in the accounts.
He noted that none of those affected by the orders have claimed, in the processes they filed, that they are #EndSARS protesters.
Arguing earlier, Adegboruwa accused the CBN of filing multiple cases to freeze accounts of people indiscriminately. He cited the case of those associated with the #EndSARS protests.
He argued that the CBN a misconception of Section 60(b) of the BOFIA, and that the CBN lacks the power to conduct investigation into alleged infraction of the law.
Adegboruwa noted that the CBN came before the court on September 21, 2020 and obtained the freezing order pending the conclusion of its investigation.
“The law permitting the CBN to approach the court makes it a clearing house. Not to investigate. The CBN is arrogating the powers of the investigating agencies. The CBN lacks the power to investigate crimes,” he said.
Adegboruwa prayed the court to vacate the order earlier made by the court and dismiss the CBN’s suit.
Justice Taiwo has adjourned till December 16 for ruling.
FG Delivers Relief Items To Families Of Slain Farmers In Borno (photos)
FG DELEGATION DELIVERS RELIEF ITEMS TO FAMILIES OF SLAIN FARMERS IN BORNO
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has officially visited families and the community of the 43 famers who were killed by extremists last Saturday in Zabarmari community located in Jere Local Government Area of the State.
The Minister who represented President Muhammadu Buhari led a seven man delegation to express sadness over the incident where 43 farmers were gruesomely murdered on rice fields located on the outskirts of Borno.
In her remarks, the Minister described the killing as gruesome and unacceptable to any religion.
“Your Excellency, I am here to convey the sympathy of the Federal Government to the Government and people of Borno State over the sad incident which occurred on Saturday 28th November 2020 in Zabarmari community in Jere Local Government Area of the State where innocent citizens were gruesomely murdered by Boko Haram insurgents.
“It is shocking to imagine this act of gruesome murder by the insurgents. This cannot be justified under any guise. We are all aware that our religion is against what has happened to the innocent and hardworking farmers that were not only working to feed themselves but contributing to the food security of the nation.
“His Excellency, the President and Commander-in-Chief Muhammadu Buhari GCFR is saddened by the attack and has directed me to come here to deliver relief support from the Federal Government to families of the victims and other affected persons”.
Responding, Governor Zulum thanked President Buhari for sending emissaries through the federal government delegation and appealed to him to implement the recommendations made by the state to stamp out insurgency in the North East.
“I also appeal to the minister of Humanitarian Affairs to develop a roadmap to help tackle the menace of insurgency in the country.
“We don’t have good roads networks and this has impeded the state’s efforts in fighting the insurgents, so we appeal to you assist the North East by developing a raadmap that will see to the end of these senseless killings”.
The minister visited the Zambarmari community Mosque to sympathize with the community leaders and later handed over 13,000 bags of 12.5kg rice, 13,000 bags of 12.5kg maize, 13,000 bags of 25kg beans, 1,300 kegs of vegetable oil, 2,116 cartons of seasoning, 1,083 cartons of tin tomato and 650 bags of salt to the state government for onward distribution to the families of affected persons and people of Zabarmari community .
Apart from the 43 persons who were confirmed dead and subsequently buried on Saturday, the District Head of the community Lawan Abba Umar stated that more than 100 farmers were still missing after the incident and were currently being sought after by the combined team of the military and other security agencies.
NNEKA IKEM ANIBEZE
Boko Haram Attacks An International Conspiracy To Split Nigeria – Army
The Nigerian Army has said that the Boko Haram attacks are an international conspiracy to “cut Nigeria to size” and to destabilise the peace of the country.
The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col Sagir Musa, stated this, claiming that there are some international paymasters sponsoring Boko Haram.
Musa stated this in an article he shared on social media and with journalists.
The army spokesman said, “The recent killing of our people on a rice farm in Borno State was unexpected, inhuman, cowardly, dastardly and sadistic cruelty by the Boko Haram terrorists. There is no normal human being that will take pleasure in such inhuman massacre of defenceless and armless civilians, working on their farms; but that is the nature of terrorism and those who sponsor it.
“There is an international conspiracy to cut Nigeria to size and compromise national renegades making attempts to destabilise and dismember Nigeria if possible in subservience to the international paymasters; who are the owners of Boko Haram. They train them, arm them, finance them and supply their logistics.
“Without this treacherous international support of Boko Haram; they would have since been defeated. Yet, we can defeat them through our unity and unflinching support and encouragement of our security forces, particularly the military.”
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