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EFCC never arrested me –Abia AG

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Abia State Accountant- General, Chief Gabriel Onyendilefu, has described as false and reckless a report published that he was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He said that he was never quizzed or arrested by the antigraft commission. Refuting the news report through a letter made available by his counsel, James Kwubiri Okpara of the James C. Kwubiri Okpara & Co, the attorney said Onyendilefu is a man of enviable track record, whose conduct both in private and public practice is without any blemish.

Demanding for unreserved and unconditional apology and retraction of the publication, Onyendilefu counsel said, “Our client was neither invited nor quizzed by the EFCC on Monday as falsely stated,” adding that, “at all times material to this matter, that our client was engaged in his lawful duties as an employee of Abia State.”

Onyendilefu, who had been the state’s Accountant- General since the administration of the immediate past government of Chief Theodore Orji was last October inaugurated as permanent secretary in the state civil service by the state governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu.

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3 die as gas explosion rocks Abuja

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Three persons were feared dead yesterday with two others sustaining various degree of injuries, following a gas explosion that rocked Abuja gateway city, Zuba, Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This gas explosion tragedy was the second one this week.

The first explosion which no life was lost to, but left up to twenty people with various degrees of burnt and hospitalised at different medical centres, occured at one of densely populated Jahi 11 village, in Jahi district of Abuja. Saturday Telegraph gathered that the explosion at Zuba claimed the life of the gas attendants and the customer who obviously was there to refill a gas cylinder. An eyewitness account by Madam Jubillee Madu, said: “The incident occured when a boy suspected to be a welder came to a gas shop with a gas cylinder to refill. Four persons were inside the shop. These persons include the wife and three sales persons in the shop.

As the sales persons were trying to refill the gas, all of a sudden the cylinder exploded and blasted the about three persons to pieces.” Another eye witness, Victoria, told Saturday Telegraph that some people around the area escaped death by whisker, but were left with various degrees of burnt, and were immediately rushed to a nearby hospital for medical attention. She said: “One of the gas attendants that died was to graduate next month and would be given a sendforth party with his own shop fully furnished as is the custom of the Igbos, and the other one was a new apprentice who was brought to replace the outgoing one and acquire a little experience on the trade.

“The remains of the deceased were put together by the policemen and taken to mortuary the police also evacuated the remaining gas cylinders from the shop.” The Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Zuba Area Command, CSP Dankwano Welson, who confirmed the incident, said a distress call was received by the police and immediately a team of officers were dispatched to the place. He said: “On getting there, the gas had exploded, the victims’ bodies were seen scattered all over the place, we carried them and picked the shattered parts of their bodies and deposited them at Gwagwalada Teaching Hospital Mortuary, and the one that sustained injury to Diamond Crest Hospital.

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Tinubu vs Oyegun: We’re in support of our APC chair, says Bello

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……says Buhari waiting for more Nigerians to speak

  • President meets Oyegun

 

Barely 24 hours after the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ahmed Tinubu, accused the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, of allegedly sabotaging the reconciliatory process, Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has said majority of the party’s members have confidence in Odigie-Oyegun.

This, however, emerged as President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly met behind closed doors with Odigie- Oyegun as it was learnt that the meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja was to afford Odigie-Oyegun the opportunity to respond to the allegations contained in Tinubu’s letter.

The governor, said this in an interview with State House correspondents on Thursday evening, after a meeting the governors had with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, stated that some governors on the party’s platform have confidence in Odigie- Oyegun. Bello said, “We the governors and the majority of APC members have confidence in our National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun. “We also believe in the President by appointing Bola Tinubu, our leader to reconcile some aggrieved members of our party.

However, one size fits all will not work in all the states where some erring members need to be disciplined.” The governor, who supported Tinubu’s reconciliation efforts, however, insisted that some errant party members must be disciplined despite the reconciliation efforts.

On calls by some APC governors that President Buhari should seek re-election, Bello said the President was presently consulting and waiting for more Nigerians to persuade him, before taking the decision of whether or not to seek re-election in 2019. President Buhari has been under pressure from various political groups including a group of governors known as the ‘Burists’ and the Buhari Support Group (BSG) to contest the presidency in 2019.

The governor said: “The President is still consulting and he wants more Nigerians to speak before he can make up his mind. But I am very comfortable that Nigerians will speak loud. “One, the President has done excellently well. Secondly, on fighting corruption. Even we, among the governors are competing among ourselves to ensure that the little resources available, we utilise for the people. So, corruption is reduced to the barest minimum.

“Next is the revival of the economy, job creation and making sure that average Nigerians are comfortable. Based on this performance, we are urging Mr. President to please run and fly in 2019.

“So, there is nothing more to that. And if you look at it critically, the governors themselves who naturally have immunity, we are very careful because you know that Mr. President is incorruptible. “If you do, you are going to face the consequences. So, we are careful about that and we are utilising it.

“You see among ourselves, we are competing among the states to see who does more unlike the previous regime. “So, we want such Mr. President to continue to lead the way so that we can follow and Nigerians will have the dividend of democracy.” Governors present at the meeting include, of Kaduna State, Kogi, Nasarawa, Ogun, Plateau, Bauchi and Imo State.

Meanwhile, impeccable sources told this newspaper last night that the embattled APC National Chairman had arrived the Presidential Villa at about 3pm and left at about 3.50pm. It was also learnt that Odigie- Oyegun refused to grant interview to State House correspondents, who tried to accost him on his way out of the Presidential Villa.

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EFCC recovers N102m for Bank of Agriculture

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Kaduna State zonal office, has recovered N102 million which was allegedly diverted from the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) in Kebbi State. A statement by the spokesman for the commission, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said the funds were diverted by beneficiaries of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme, disbursed by BOA. Uwujaren said so far a total of N297 million had been recovered by the commission in favour of BOA in Kaduna and Kebbi states.

The Head of Operations of the Kaduna office, Ibrahim Bappa, who formally presented a bank draft for the N102 million to one Mohammed Babangida, who represented the BOA Managing Director, assured the bank that the EFCC would continue to assist it in the discharge of its statutory duties.

He, however, decried the worrisome trend in which beneficiaries of the scheme diverted the funds, and urged the BOA to ensure proper orientation before loans were disbursed. Responding, Babangida lauded the efforts of the EFCC in the recovery, saying the action had restored confidence in the bank.

The EFCC spokesman said investigations into the matter began in 2017 following a complaint. According to him, the complaint bordered on the diversion of part of the N12 billion disbursed to some rice farmers through BOA in which Kebbi State acted as uptaker for the purchase of paddy rice.

“In the course of investigations, it was revealed that some rice mills in Kebbi State collected bags of rice but failed to remit the total agreed sum. “So far, the Kaduna zonal office of the EFCC has been able recover N297 million in favour of the Anchor Borrowers Programme in Kaduna and Kebbi States,” he said.

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