Three Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN); Prof. Itse Sagay, Dr. Biodun Layonu, Mr. Seyi Sowemimo and the second Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Monday Ubani, have said that the sums of $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000 totalling about N15 billion recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from an apartment in Ikoyi area of Lagos were far in excess of what an agency of government can keep.
They made the observation while reacting to reported claim by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Nigeria’s external secret police, that it owns the money. In an interview with New Telegraph, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAP), Sagay (SAN) said keeping such a huge amount of money in a private apartment leaves a very huge room for corruption.
He said: “It’s improper to keep such a huge sum of money in a private apartment. Apart from the fact that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should have control of custody of such money, it also leaves a very huge opportunity for terrible corruption. “There are so many issues on this matter. One of such is to find out if this present government is aware of the fund beforehand.
The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has to offer some explanations on whether or not it informed the present government about it and the purpose of the money. If this is not done, there are grave implications.
“Though the NIA is not supposed to be transparent, but keeping such money in a private apartment is not consistent with the anti-corruption stance of the present administration.
At least, the president, who happened to be the chief boss of the agency, must be aware of its operations and the money in question. It would amount to a very grave breach of trust if the president knew nothing about the money.”
Also speaking on the issue, Dr. Layonu (SAN) said the recovered money is far beyond what an intelligence agency working for government should have in a private apartment.
He said: “In my personal opinion, I think the recovered money is far beyond what an intelligent agency working for government should have in a private apartment for any operation for that matter.
“If we are talking about half a million or one million dollars, I would say it’s not unusual for government agency to keep, particularly if there is a record somewhere that such an amount of money is in possession of an agency of government.”I cannot see any justification for keeping such a huge sum in a private apartment.
What kind of operations are you into that you have to keep such amount of money in a private apartment? “On the propriety or otherwise of keeping such a large sum of money in a private apartment, I think if NIA is truly laying claim to the money and now that the issue has been made public, it is highly necessary that a political authority should speak out on the issue.
“If a government agency is laying claim to such huge sums and considering the circumstances in which the money was found, it means somebody somewhere has failed in his or her duties.
It’s very bad and embarrassing.” Another silk, Sowemimo, also queried the rationale behind the keeping of such huge fund in a private apartment by the NIA. “I don’t know why such huge public fund should be kept in a private apartment. We even have no clue as to what the money is meant for.
The action of the NIA in keeping the money is also suspicious, particularly, in this era of discoveries of funds here and there by the EFCC. I think we need to get to the bottom of this matter as it doesn’t reflect well on the NIA and until the agency explained how the money is connected with its statutory duties, I don’t see how the discovery can be justified, though NIA is supposed to be a security outfit in which not much is expected to be disclosed about their covet activities.
The second Vice-President of the NBA, Mr. Monday Ubani, was also of the view that government might be breaching its own anti-money laundering law by keeping such a huge amount of money in a house.
He said: “The critical questions to be asked are:
(1) Why is government money not in the bank but in a private home? Is government not in breach of its anti-laundering law by keeping such large sums in the house?
(2) Who is the true owner of that house where the money was discovered?
(3) If it was money approved by the previous government, why was it not spent for the purpose approved and why was it not returned to the treasury if not spent? (4) Is the house where the money was found the office of NIA?
(5) How long has that money been kept there or was it not brought there recently that attracted the attention of the diligent whistle-blower?
(6) Will the hardworking and diligent whistle-blower get at least 2.5 per cent of his fees for a labourer is worthy of his or her wages?”But, Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN) sees nothing strange in NIA keeping such huge money. His words: “NIA is a secret organisation and it can keep money anywhere it deems fit. The truth of the matter is that the NIA is our own FBI or CIA.
Sometimes, these secret organisations carry out espionage activities which may be noble or not. They also spend money in the process. They buy information. “The only thing that is baffling me is lack of synergy among our security agencies.
That is my concern now. Why should our security agencies be working at cross purposes? I asked this question because if the money actually belongs to the NIA, why are they not aware that the EFCC is about to carry out a raid on where the money was kept?
What is the work of the DSS? If there has been synergy among all the security agencies, the EFCC wouldn’t have gone to the place in the first place. “What has happened is an embarrassment to the presidency and the president. It’s an indication that there is no understanding or synergy among the security agencies.”
Buhari must order the arrest of Ango Abdullahi over his Fulani herdsmen comment – Deji Adeyanju
A pro-democracy and good governance group, Concerned Nigerians, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the immediate arrest of Professor Ango Abdullahi, a former vice-chancellor, over his recent comment on herdsmen that sparked outrage and drew condemnation, especially from the Southern leaders.
In an exclusive interview with Sunday Vanguard last week, Prof. Abdullahi had said that the kidnap of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae, was nothing extraordinary, even as he accused Southern leaders of a covert plot to split the unity of the north.
Adeyanju However, in a statement issued by its Convener, Deji Adeyanju on Tuesday, the group said it was surprised and disappointed in what it described as Professor Abdullahi’s brazen justification of the wanton killings of innocent Nigerians by herdsmen.
It said the Department of states Services, DSS, should invite the professor for questioning, maintaining that Abdullahi’s statement was hate speech capable of shattering the unity of the country.
According to the statement, “We have read Prof Ango Abdullahi’s alarming interview with the Vanguard Newspaper and are appalled that someone of his age, stature, education and professional qualification would provide brazen justification for the wanton and senseless murders of thousands of Nigerians by herdsmen.
“In his interview, Prof Abdullahi likened the killings of Nigerians by Fulani Herdsmen to a politically motivated ruse by “… the South…” to destroy the political unity of the North. He also made several other comments that are too incendiary to repeat here. “It is distressing that there are people who continue to politicise these senseless killings and who continually provide justification, and nuance, for them.
“It is also distressing that the political elite in the parts of the country continue to refer to colonial era grazing routes that involved the forceful acquisition and ceding of the ancestral homes and lands of the Nigerians in parts of the country, to cattle herders for use as grazing routes and continue to use such colonial-era machinations as justification for the disregard and disrespect for the constitution and laws of an independent Federal Republic of Nigeria and the human rights of her citizens.
“Shielding this brazen disregard for the property rights of whole peoples in intellectual garb is dangerous and provides a distressing setting for continued killings.
“In fact, Prof Abdullahi’s condemnable comments indicate more than just a passing knowledge of the killings, its organizers and what their objectives are. They indeed indicate a deep-rooted knowledge of these unfortunate events.
“We call on the Directorate of State Security (DSS) to invite Prof Abdullahi to reveal the extent of his knowledge behind the rationale for the killings. This is in keeping with similar invitations extended to others by the DSS to explain comments perceived by the DSS to be hate speech. “You will recall that the DSS even invited the spokesperson to a former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida, for issuing a statement on behalf of his boss. “
Anything less will prove the fear expressed by many people across the country that there is institutional support for herdsmen to be true,” the statement concluded.
Sanusi, Miyetti Allah laud Fayose over anti-grazing law
The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Mohammed Sanusi 11 and the National President of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Muhammadu Kiruwa, have commended the Ekiti State Governor, Chief Ayodele Fayose for enacting anti-open grazing law in the state. They said the law would cater for the well-being of parties involved, especially the herders, farmers and host communities among others.
They spoke in Ado-Ekiti yesterday during a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. The Emir, who is a patron of the MACBAN, was represented by a former Kano State governor and Sarduana of Kano Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau. Sanusi, who spoke through Shekarau frowned at a situation whereby some criminal elements would hide under grazing of herd to perpetrate crimes.
He said: “My mission is not politics and it is about peace and peaceful coexistence of our nation. I am standing in here for the Emir and I am the Sarduana of Kano. The Emir mandated me to come over here with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association and find out how we can work amicably.” But Fayose said “I also appreciate and commend our leader, Emir of Kano, and the Sultan of Sokoto.
They are life savers. I want all of you, irrespective of tribe to trust us as leaders. “Part of the problem of Nigeria is lack of trust as a result of misinformation and distrust and sometimes politics we have been divided against one another. Let me tell you today when governors of any party see each other, we hug and drink together. Whenever Buhari and I see, we will remain friends, don’t die for politicians.
“If you have correct money, you will not be cattle herder. You would prefer living abroad. It is out of fate and condition of your families that makes you this. To be a farmer is not easy, it involves a lot of hard labour. You have to be wise people and remember that you can do better than carrying arms. Any person or politician who has fear of God cannot carry arms to kill anyone.
FCTA loses N3bn from outdoor advertising
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) loses about N3billion annually, due to its inability to organize its outdoor advertising sector towards effective internally generated revenue.
These facts to the came when the Department of Outdoor Advertising and Signage (DOAS) toured some major shopping malls in the city centre.
Deputy Director of DOAS, Hassan Abubakar, who led the team that carried out the unscheduled tour, further displayed the frustration of his agency towards taking advantage in the vast opportunities presented in the industry to boost its IGR, when he lamented how residents were not complying in paying their taxes and other outdoor advertising fees.
Abubakar, unwittingly lamented that illegally mounted billboards and Signages in some strategy positions within the city, have continued to litter the highways and streets of the territory without any recourse to the regulations.
“Long range visibility is impaired with resultant accidents at major junctions due to sight blockcelebrating ages by billboards and outdoor advertisement posts.’
“Painfully, we found that the existing administrative structure charged with the duty of regulating these practices was weak and in some cases, there were multiple standards as well as conflicting administering agencies,” he said.
However, the Director said the administration was working to reverse the situation, with the setting up of a taskforce team to coordinate Outdoor advertising.
According to him, the mandate of the body was to provide a standard for the control and regulation of advertisement and signage practice in FCT by ensuring global best practice, improving internal revenue and stemming the observed chaos
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