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₦17 Billion Paris Club Refund Landed Obiano On EFCC’s Watch List

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₦17 Billion Paris Club Refund Landed Obiano On EFCC’s Watch List
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₦17 Billion Paris Club Refund Landed Obiano On EFCC’s Watch List

Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, was placed on a watchlist by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly mismanaging over N17 billion Paris Club refund and security vote, investigations by Saturday PUNCH have revealed.

Our correspondent gathered that the governor who is presently out of the country had been under investigation for carrying out various white elephant, including the Umueri International Airport project which cost was believed to be inflated.

It was learnt that the EFCC had earlier invited some commissioners and principal officers over the alleged mismanagement of the state funds.

The Federal Government had shared N388.3bn among the 36 states and the Federal Capital as part of the reimbursement for the over-deduction on the Paris Club loan in December 2016.

Seven states reportedly got above N14bn, four states got over N13bn, two states received above N11bn and five other states were given amounts above N10bn while the remaining 11 states got less than N10bn each.

Anambra State was said to have received N11.3bn.

The state governments had submitted their claims of over-deductions for external debt service arising between 1995 and 2002 to the Federal Government due to the First Line Charge deductions from Federation Account Allocation Committee allocations.

The debt service deductions concern the Paris Club, London Club and multilateral debts of the Federal Government and the states.

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Many of the states reportedly shared their portions with their local governments mostly to settle the backlog of salaries and some of the state debts.

The FG subsequently released the second tranche of the Paris Club refund totalling N243.7bn which was shared to the states and the Federal Capital Territory following the approval of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on May 4, 2017.

Anambra State reportedly got over N6bn from the fund which was said to have been misappropriated.

The state’s loan burden under Obiano was also said to have ballooned to $111.48million. The facility was taken from China, India and other international organisations.

Many citizens of Anambra State were said to have petitioned the EFCC, accusing the governor of allegedly frittering away the huge sums of money left behind by his predecessor, Mr Peter Obi.

They also accused the governor of burdening the state with debts without much to show for it.

The anti-graft agency had in a letter dated November 15, 2021 placed the outgoing governor on its watchlist and directed the Nigeria Immigration Service to stop him from leaving the nation through any of the international airports in the country.

The commission was said to have commenced a discreet investigation of the governor and possibly have intelligence that he plans to escape after he hands over power to his successor, Prof Charles Soludo, in March.

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Obi reportedly left billions of naira in the state’s coffers for his predecessor while handing over in 2014.

During a face-off with Obiano, the former People’s Democratic Party Vice Presidential candidate in the 2019 elections claimed he left N2.1bn in First Bank account no. 2018779464 for Oko erosion; N4.9bn in Sure-P Diamond account 0026290200; N1.7bn in Universal Basic Education Commission 1 Diamond account 0023484282; N2.1bn in UBEC 2 Diamond account 0031151473; over N4bn in many MDG accounts one of which was the N3.048bn in Fidelity Bank 5030047097 and over N35bn cash (set aside funds added) in all the banks.

Obiano also reportedly inherited $156 million in Fidelity Bank, $50m in Diamond Bank and another $50m in Access Bank, which sources said was mismanaged.

The Governor was also accused of not developing the state as residents complained of bad roads and the absence of infrastructure.

A source said, “Take the Umueri international airport, which was being built at N16 billion. The state government initially budgeted N6billion for the project in its 2020 budget. In the 2022 budget, it allocated an additional N10bn for the same project which was located in his hometown.

“Investigators believe the project was being used to launder and siphon money from the state coffers. Apart from this, the governor is expected to explain how he utilised the Paris Club funds, the security vote and other allocations when he meets with our investigators because the money he spent doesn’t seem to be commensurate with the projects on the ground.”

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But the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Don Adinuba, claimed that the EFCC’s move against his boss was politically motivated by the All Progressives Congress.

Speaking on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television on Thursday, he stated, “Nobody invited him (the governor) to interrogate him or hear his side of the story. No petition was presented to him. He did not make any comments. But all of a sudden, the EFCC announced rather secretly…using the media as a third party…to announce that he is being watched. That is very surprising.

“There is absolutely no reason for that. And worse, the EFCC gave the impression that the governor wants to bolt away when he has a whole four months to remain in office.

“It is unimaginable that a governor will abandon a state a whole four months to the end of his tenure. That is surprising. It just does not make sense to anyone simply because the whole exercise is politically motivated.”

The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, declined to comment on Adinuba’s allegations when contacted on Friday. “I don’t comment on such things,” he said on the phone.

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Police Arrest Vigilante Commander For Torturing Female Cop In Anambra

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Police Arrest Vigilante Commander For Torturing Female Cop In Anambra
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Police Arrest Vigilante Commander For Torturing Female Cop In Anambra

The Anambra State Police Command has arrested the commander of the Anambra State Vigilante Group for allegedly torturing a female police officer on January 12, 2022.

The police spokesman, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, confirmed the arrest in Awka on Saturday.

He said the Commissioner of Police, Echeng Echeng, ordered the arrest of the suspect, whose name was not mentioned, following a report of harassment and torturing of a female police officer at the AVG’s Awuda Nnobi security office.

He described the act as cowardly and assured members of the public that the command was always ready to protect the women against violence even when the person is not from the security community.

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He thanked the members of the public especially Ndi Anambra for their advocacy in condemning the act and protecting the female gender.

He said, “Following a trending video on the social media showing when some members of the Anambra Vigilante Group were seen harassing and torturing a female in their office at Awuda Nnobi. The CP ordered the immediate arrest of the commander and investigation has since commenced.

“The command, today, wishes to inform the general public, especially Ndi Anambra, that the commander of the AVG has been arrested for allegedly torturing a female police officer on 12th January 2022 at Awuda Nnobi security office and he is in our custody.”

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Ondo Women Protest Half-Naked Over Insecurity (Photos)

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Ondo Women Protest Half-Naked Over Insecurity
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Ondo Women Protest Half-Naked Over Insecurity

Hundreds of women across four local government areas in Ondo State staged protests on Saturday, against the spate of insecurity in the area.

It was gathered that the peaceful protests were staged in Oka Akoko, Akungba Akoko and some other Akoko towns.

The protests were said to have been triggered by the recent kidnap of teachers by some bandits in Auga Akoko, the killing of a police officer by unknown gunmen at Oka Akoko last week, and the attack on 17 travellers on Ifira Akoko-Isua Akoko road by armed robbers among others.

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Some of the protesters, who were holding brooms in their hands, were half-naked, chanting various solidarity songs along the streets.

They called on the security agents and the state government to come to the rescue of the area from the attack of the bandits.

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Illegal Refinery: NSCDC Disbands Anti-vandal Unit After Wike’s Outburst

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Illegal Refinery: NSCDC Disbands Anti-vandal Unit After Wike’s Outburst
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Illegal Refinery: NSCDC Disbands Anti-vandal Unit After Wike’s Outburst

PRESS STATEMENT

NSCDC BOSS DISBANDS THE ANTI VANDAL UNIT OF RIVERS STATE COMMAND.

The Commandant General of Nigeria security and Civil Defence Corps, Ahmed Abubakar Audi, PhD, mni, has received with shock and dismay, the allegations levelled against the anti vandal unit of Rivers State Command of the Corps by the Executive Governor of the state, Nyisom Wike, wherein the team was accused of aiding and abetting vandals and illegal bunkerers to carry out their nefarious activities in the state.

Worried by this disappointing development, the CG has ordered the suspension of head of the anti vandal team and the disbandment of the unit with immediate effect, pending the outcome of an independent enquiry set up to look into the weighty allegations levelled against the unit by the governor.

He said that the extant rules and regulations guiding the NSCDCl operations and the general ethics of the service requires complete display of total discipline, integrity, incorruptibility, transparency and accountability on the part of every Corps personnel, hence, the reason for this immediate action.

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He further directed the Acting DCG in charge of investigation and intelligence to summon all the personnel involved to the National Headquarters, Abuja for further investigation to determine the level of involvement and or culpability with a view to dispensing justice appropriately.

He decried the allegations as not being in tandem with his vision for the Corps, stressing that he will not condone any criminal act or act of compromise by any personnel. He emphasized that a thorough investigation would be conducted to ascertain the veracity of the allegation and roles played by the individuals involved and whoever is found guilty would face necessary disciplinary actions and punishment.

Illegal Refinery: NSCDC Disbands Anti-vandal Unit After Wike’s Outburst

He assured the Governor of Rivers state of getting to the root of the matter without delay, promising more synergy with the state government towards discharging more effective service delivery to the good people of Rivers state. Reiterating further that his administration has come with a renewed vigour to reposition the service in line with global best practices and will not condone any act of sabotage by any personnel no matter how highly or lowly placed.

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“The swift action taken by me is to close any identified gaps in our operations and service to the nation, I will not tolerate any act of indiscipline, compromise or sabotage under any guise; our founding fathers have worked so hard to earn good name for the service as a noble organization and I will not allow a few bad eggs to spoil our name, image, our credibility and integrity. We will investigate those fingered in the allegations and deal decisively with them if found guilty to serve as a deterrent to others” the CG said.

Audi emphasized that as the lead agency in the protection of critical national asset and infrastructure, the Corps management would beam more searchlight into that area by reorganizing and reconstituting the anti vandal unit with a view to making it more responsive, transparent and accountable to Nigerians.

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“Our moral principles are not negotiable; we are going to rejig the unit and fish out those spoiling the name of the Corps, my fight against vandals, illegal oil bunkerers and those stealing our collective wealth and sabotaging our economy is unflinching and we will redoubled our efforts to whittle down this act of sabotage and bring to justice anyone not in tune with our vision and mission for the service” he concluded.

Signed:

Olusola Odumosu
Director of Public Relations
NSCDC NHQ, Abuja.

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