Obasanjo's $16bn Power Project: EFCC Begins Probe, Arrest Four - Mega Icon Magazine
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Obasanjo’s $16bn Power Project: EFCC Begins Probe, Arrest Four

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday  detained two top officials of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), the company which supervised execution of the $16 billion failed power projects.

The officials are Head of Finance Marvel Emefiele and Head of Compensation Eze M. C. Odigbo.

They are expected to account for the N850 million earmarked as compensation to communities where components of the power project were sited

Others in EFCC’s net are Managing Director of Pivot Engineering Mr. Richard Ayibiowu and the Managing Director of Chris Ejik Nigeria Limited Mr.  Christain Ejik Imoka.

Detectives are on the trail 18 more suspects including two former governors, a former chairman of a bank and a former chairman of an airline.

About 15 more companies are also on the EFCC radar, it was learnt last night. There are fears that some of the suspects might have secretly relocated abroad.

President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly wondered how $16 billion was spent on power and there is no electricity generated.  He subsequently ordered a probe into the expenditure.

A source in the anti-graft commission said: “The NPDHC officials are being detained by the EFCC, following their alleged involvement in bogus payment and diversion of about N850million compensation to communities where the components of the power projects were sited.

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“Investigation revealed that approval was granted for the payment of N84billion to the communities where transmission lines of the power project are meant to be laid.

“Investigators discovered that there were serious issues arising from the payment of the compensation to the communities.

“Though about N50 billion compensation was said to have been paid to the communities, the contractors were said to have been prevented from working by the communities over non- payment of the same compensation which the NPDHC records claimed had been paid.

“Emefiele was said to have approved the payment of N850million as NPDHC Head of Finance while Odigbo, Head of Compensation reportedly effected the compensation to the communities. The two officials are being quizzed over the propriety of the matter.

“The Managing Director of Pivot Engineering, Mr. Richard Ayibiowu, is being detained over alleged payment of N350million to the communities.  Part of  LOT 8 of the power project, Ihiala /Orlu Transmission Line, was not executed by Pivot Engineering due to the alleged claim of hostility by the communities while about N350million was on record as paid to the same communities. Mr. Oba Otudeko is the chairman of Pivot Engineering.”

“The Managing Director of Chris Ejik Nigeria Limited, Mr. Christain Ejik Imoka, is being detained over controversial payment of N500million contract LOT 14, which ought to include Lekki-Ajah Transmission Line, which was not executed. But money was paid to that effect.

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“The detained officials allegedly failed to honour previous invitations from the commission.”

The source said: “We have invited about 15 companies implicated in the mismanagement of funds meant for the power projects. One of the firms got four contracts but was only able to put in place 30 per cent of the construction. The firm also claimed that it imported certain materials since 2013 and lying in Onne Port without clearing.”

 

NAN

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Crime & Court

In Ilorin, EFCC arrests wanted internet fraud suspect, five others

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arrested six internet fraud suspects including 22-year-old Sadiku Muniru Dolapo who has been on the Commission’s wanted list.

The suspects were arrested  by the Ilorin Zonal Office of the Commission.

Arrested with Dolapo are Atanda Femi Benjamin, Atoyebi Samson, Olapade Oladimeji Solomon, Amoo Saheed and Lawal Opeyemi Mubarak.

The commission says they were rounded up in the early hours of Thursday, January 16, 2020, close to Kwara State House of Assembly, Ilorin, the state capital, following intelligence.

The Suspects upon interrogation by the operatives of the Commission confessed to their involvement in cybercrimes.

Items recovered from them include three expensive automobiles, laptop computers, and mobile phones.

According to a statement by the EFCC, they will soon be charged to Court.

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We established Operation Amotekun to narrow gaps in security sector – Makinde

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Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday declared that the Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed Operation Amotekun was established to complement the work of the security agencies and bridge the gaps in the security of the geopolitical zone.

He made this position against the backdrop of the statement credited to the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, in which the Minister claimed the outfit was illegal.

The Governor claimed that the Minister’s comment was misguided, as according to him, he was not empowered to make such declaration.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the Governor said this during a visit to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta.

He statement added that since the Attorney-General’s position was not conveyed through any official correspondence, it should be taken with a pinch of salt, as the Governor stated, government cannot be run on pages of newspapers or through the social media.

According to Governor Makinde, Operation Amotekun has not in any way violated the Constitution, but rather, it was an intervention to narrow the gaps in security in the South-West.

He added that given the centrality of security to governance, the Governors of the South-West designed the Operation to complement efforts of the Nigerian Police and other security agencies.

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He said that the Operation was designed to help in combating insecurity in all the nooks and crannies of the South-West states of Nigeria.

Governor Makinde said: “You don’t run a government on social media. If I see a letter or receive a call from the Attorney-General of the Federation saying that Amotekun is illegal, it will be a different reaction. For now, I have been reading on social media just like you and I have not seen anything official to that effect. Besides, I don’t think that in a country like Nigeria, the Attorney-General should just wake up and make his own law. He may interpret and advise the President about legal issues but I have not seen anything that gave his office the power to make such declaration.

“This outfit [Amotekun] is complementary to the effort of the Nigerian Police and other security agencies. In Oyo State, the government has four pillars; namely education, health, security and expansion of our economy through agribusiness. So, security is a major pillar for us and we believe we cannot have any development in an atmosphere that is not secure.

“If you look at investments, the money coming into an economy is like a coward; if such money sees anywhere that is not secure, it will fly. So, security is key and security agencies are doing their best but there is still a gap. Just like in most sectors of our body polity, we do have gaps; in education, health care delivery and the rest. We believe playing complementary roles will help to narrow those gaps.”

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Speaking on the purpose of the visit to former President Obasanjo, Governor Makinde maintained that he was in Abeokuta to pay a visit to the former President as part of the tradition to pay homage to elders to wish them a happy and rewarding New Year.

He said: “As you all know, it is a New Year and, traditionally, one should go out to greet elders to wish them a happy and rewarding year. So, I came here to greet Baba and wish him the best for this year 2020.”

Governor Makinde, who stated that his administration had been recording successes and peace because the people were supporting its programmes and policies, promised not to take the people for granted.

“On governance in Oyo State, if you know what you want to do, you just basically follow your plans. Before we even came into office, we produced a document, entitled Oyo State Roadmap for Accelerated Development 2019-2023, which serves as a framework for accelerated development in Oyo State. The document is still there, it is a life document. People can still go there to assess our government.

“Oyo State is peaceful and we have the support of the people rallying behind our programmes and policies. We appreciate them for that and we will not take them for granted,” the Governor said.

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Makinde charges Judicial service commission to fast-track system

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Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, said on Tuesday that his administration would work with the judiciary to bring about the needed reforms that will make Oyo State greater.

The Governor, who stated this while inaugurating the State’s Judicial Service Commission, maintained that the commission had the mandate to fast-track the judicial system in the State by ensuring the quick dispensation of justice and the independence of the judicial arm of government.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that Governor Makinde made the declaration at the Executive Council Chambers of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.

The Governor urged the commission, which had as its members the Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Muntar Abimbola (chairman); the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo; the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Eni Esan; Mr. Lateef Adetunji Adedigba; Mr Kehinde Alade; Mr Yusuf Olatunji; Mr Adedigba Wahab and Mrs Medinat Akanbi (secretary), to “get straight to the tasks.”

He said: “I am always delighted to perform ceremonial functions, especially the ones that work to strengthen democracy. For me, the most beautiful part of democracy is checks and balances provided by each arm of the government. So, we are here today to inaugurate and swear in the Oyo State Judicial Service Commission.

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This has just been done. This is in line with the provision of Chapter 6, Section 197, subsection 1(c) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, which states that “there shall be each state of the federation a state judicial service commission”.

The Governor added: “This commission has an important mandate, which borders on activities to ensure the independence of the judiciary and the quick dispensation of justice.

For the benefit of non-legal minds here, we have heardbefore now about a legal maxim which goes thus: justice delayed isjustice denied, which basically means that if a wrong is not corrected within a reasonable time, it may not have been well corrected at all. The Bible also has a version for this and it records that when asentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are
filled with schemes to do wrong.

“These two sayings emphasise the importance of not just dispensingjustice but doing so in a timely manner. A situation where cases drag in court because there are not enough judges to hear the cases is an aberration and a gift to the guilty.

“In fact, in 2017, a civic tech organisation took Oyo State government to court because according to them, about 80 per cent of the inmates in what should now be called Agodi Correctional Centre are awaiting trial. Aside from persons who are in prison, there are also several cases in the judicial system that are being delayed. If these cases are  heard within a reasonable timeframe and pronouncements are made of them, then people will not abuse court processes. “Well, I am not trying to indict the judiciary because an indictment on the judiciary is an indictment on all of us because the various arms of government are a reflection of who we are as a people. So, this is one reason why this inauguration is important.”

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Governor Makinde added that the commission is to appoint judges and to see to the promotion and disciplinary control of judicial and non-judicial staff members, among other tasks.

He said: “The members of the commission are to appoint judges. They are also expected to see to the promotion and disciplinary control of judicial and non-judicial staff members. It is my belief that with this inauguration, members of the commission will get straight to this
task so that we can get our judicial system working faster.

“I am also hoping that working with the Legislature. We can domesticate the Nigerian Correctional Service act 2019 and begin to implement the provision of that act, especially regarding the number of inmate in correctional facilities and the condition under which they are kept. If we say that Oyo State is a Pacesetter State, we should set the pace in having a reformed judiciary.

“I look forward to working with you in bringing about the judicialreforms that will make Oyo State greater.”

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