BREAKING: Anti-graft Agency, EFCC Releases Ex-Aviation Minister, Fani-Kayode After Over 6 Hours Of Grilling - GIST NOWNOW
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BREAKING: Anti-graft Agency, EFCC Releases Ex-Aviation Minister, Fani-Kayode After Over 6 Hours Of Grilling

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has released a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode after grilling him for hours.

Fani-Kayode was said to have been questioned over alleged forgery and manipulation of documents.



The former minister, who recently defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), was invited to answer questions relating to the forgery of a medical report which he allegedly procured to evade his trial before a Federal High Court in Lagos, it was learnt.

However, it was gathered that the former minister arrived at the Lagos office of the commission in company with his lawyer around 2 pm and left at 8.30 pm.











The minister in a mail on Tuesday evening confirmed being grilled by EFCC but denied being arrested.

He said, “Just arrived at the George Hotel for dinner. I was never arrested by the EFCC. I was invited & I flew down to Lagos to see them. I arrived in their office at 2.00pm & left at 8.30pm. I was granted bail on self recognition. They were very polite & professional. Thanks be to God.”

Fani-Kayode is also standing trial over an alleged N4.6 billion fraud before Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The EFCC had charged him alongside a former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman, and two others on 17 counts of conspiracy, money laundering, and fraud.

At the last sitting of the court on October 13, the judge had imposed a cost of N200,000 on him due to his failure to appear before the court for his re-arraignment following the transfer of the former trial judge, Justice Rilwan Aikawa.

He was ordered to pay the fine or stand the risk of having his bail revoked after he failed to appear before the court for his re-arraignment.

Instead of showing up in court for his re-arraignment, the former minister had sent a letter to the court, claiming that his doctors had placed him on bed rest.

Counsel for the EFCC, Mrs Bilikisu Buhari had informed the court that the letters by the second defendant had become numerous and had also become an excuse for him to evade trial.

“This is the third time he will be writing this type of letter from the same hospital. Whenever he doesn’t want to attend court, this is the type of letter we get,” she said.

But Fani-Kayode’s counsel, Bobo Fred-Ajudua, interrupted and informed the judge that although his client’s illness was a recurring one, he had attended court regularly, and this could be shown from the court’s records.

He, thereafter, asked the court to grant an adjournment in favour of his client. At that point, the trial judge decided to go through the court’s file and after searching, he discovered that the second defendant had actually sought a similar medical excuse five times.

The court then asked the defence counsel to take one of two options which were to either revoke the bail of the second defendant or to impose a fine of N200,000 to be paid before the next trial date.

“From my records, the second defendant had written the court five times excusing his trial on medical grounds. February 1, 2018; May 30, 2019; November 24, 2020; March 21, 2021, and today’s letter dated October 9, 2021.

“The second defendant is to pay a cost of N200,000 before the next adjourned date, as the recurring medical excuses have been a pattern that slows down this trial,” the judge held.

The defence counsel chose the latter option.

Justice Osaigor then adjourned the case until November 30 for re-arraignment of all the defendants.



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Ekiti 2022: APC’s lethargic outing, PDP’s crowded race

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In about two months, political parties interested in the 2022 governorship election in Ekiti State are expected to conclude their primaries.

The post Ekiti 2022: APC’s lethargic outing, PDP’s crowded race appeared first on The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News.



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Delta Independent Power Project Is A Fraud—Groups Accuse Vice President Osinbajo Of Inaugurating ‘Illegal’ Project

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Delta State Coalition of Civil Societies has described the state’s newly inaugurated Independent Power Project (IPP), located in Asaba, the state capital, as a ‘fraud and conduit for government officials to loot the state treasury’.

The coalition described the project which was inaugurated on Monday as ‘illegal’, saying it does not have the mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report and approval from government regulatory bodies. 



It, therefore, blamed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for allowing himself to be used to inaugurate an illegal project that has no approval.

The multi-billion naira 8.5 Megawatts IPP project has continued to generate controversies and ripples across the state following the alleged fraudulent manner it was done in utmost secrecy. 

The project was done by the state government in partnership with Bestanchury Power Solutions Nigeria Limited (BPSL) and Africa Plus Partners.

The coalition condemned the project in an open letter titled, “Open Letter To Delta State Governor And Deltans Who Will Have Cancer In The Nearest Future Due To Poor Government Regulations”. 

The letter was addressed to the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa and also sent to the state Commissioner for Environment and other relevant authorities. 

Signed by its public relations officer, the coalition of civil societies and the state Director-General of Young Nigerian Rights Organisation, Victor Ojei, in the letter called on the Nigerian government to stop the project because of its health hazards to residents in the area.

The coalition said, “The IPP project of Asaba located at NTA Junction, Asaba does not have EIA license and exposes residence of that region to respiratory diseases and cancer in future. Prior to this petition, we had sent two petitions with respect to the above subject on our concerns as watchdogs of the society. 

“We are social justice crusaders, we consulted with appropriate stakeholders and state actors but till date, we did not get any response thus making it obvious that the government is trying to legalise illegality with respect to enforcement of power laws that thus violates the rights of Deltans be it in construction of shops under high tension transmission cables or setting up an IPP at a location which poses a risk to the lives and properties on the immediate environment it was setup.

“We have made efforts to drag in other stakeholders who can help resolve these challenges which obviously calls for concerns over lives and properties. But since the consultations did not work based on the silence of both state actors and non-state actors (NERC, BEDC and NEMSA- Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency), then confrontation via institution of legal action means becomes inevitable. The IPP does not have any authorisation document to be in operation. The Company needs a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) because the former expired in 2019. They were supposed to have an EIA from the Federal Ministry of Environment, of which the Federal Ministry of Environment is not aware because nobody has told the ministry that the project exists.

“PPA is an agreement between the parties, the government and the company involved. The original arrangement was that the Delta state government will pay the private investor N300,000,000.00 (N300 million) monthly, this will last for ten years thus giving billions of naira which eventually the project will become theirs based on the project is a B.O.O (Build Operate and Own) as against B.O.T (Build Operate and Transfer). The state government before now paid an estimate of N25,000,000.00 monthly to BEDC for all parastatals which the state has abandoned and negotiated with the IPP investor to pay the sum of N215,000,000.00 monthly after we raised our concerns.

“The Delta state government went on with the investors to pay these monthly payments in two components. (i) Energy which cost N185,000,000.00 (ii) Fuel component which mandates the Ministry of Energy to pay for the fuel at the cost of N30,000,000.00 monthly and totally N215,000,000.00 monthly. Be conscious of the fact that nobody also confirms the usage of fuel to measure fuel consumption from the Ministry of Energy. Nobody also confirms the usage of energy, they lack the capacity of an engineer. The project also doesn’t have any electricity metering to measure the energy consumed. The project does not have NEMSA certificate, the role of NEMSA is to validate the materials used for the installation of the IPP. NERC and BEDC were compromised by the Delta state government because they both failed in enforcing statutory duties.

“The IPP was supposed to have NERC certificates, one certificate for power generation and the second certificate will be for power distribution. Below are the disadvantages of CNG (compressed natural gas) being used to power the project. Its low energy density results in low engine performance. It has low engine volumetric efficiency because of gaseous fuel. It needs large storage tanks, which is a safety concern. It has inconsistent fuel properties. Its refuelling is a slow process. It’s highly combustible. Disadvantages of Liquified Natural Gas include combustion, temperatures. There are some disadvantages of NLG such as leakage of gas; they may be explosive, main problem is that it is odourless and undetectable so without odourless.

“Combustion of NLG produced carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other toxic carbon. With the above disadvantages, you can see that the Delta State government, state actors and non-state actors do not care about the health and safety of an average Deltan. It is now very obvious that the Federal Ministry of Environment is not aware of the project so where did they get EIA from? NEMSA only gave them a temporary certificate which does not permit them to operate and has been expecting them to undertake corrections and invite NEMSA to come and inspect the said corrections before issuing them a proper certificate that will permit them to operate fully.

“Both documents are requirements for them to get a NERC license which they need to be recognised and operate as a GenCos on the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). NERC is compromised as they are authorising plant commissioning verbally and without reference to any of their regulatory documents. (It is) a project which seeks to take from the Delta State government a monthly bill of N215 million (on average) for ten years. At the end of the ten years, the Delta State government would have paid the IPP a total of N29 billion and still not own the project because it is a B.O.O (Build, Operate and Own) business model and not a B.O.T (Build, Operate and Transfer) business model.”

Our correspondent gathered that the project was the result of an alleged deal between some top government officials and private individuals. However, it was observed that following the controversy trailing the IPP project, the vice president, Osinbajo declined to make comments on the IPP during inauguration but rather commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa while inaugurating the multi-billion naira state secretariat shortly after the IPP inauguration.

Meanwhile, when contacted about all the allegations on the inauguration of the IPP by the vice president, Osinbajo; the state Commissioner for Energy, Jonathan Ukodhiko, dismissed all the allegations, saying the project is not under Public-Private Partnership (PPP), as the state government didn’t contribute a dime to the entire project adding that the IPP project is a better deal, favourable and convenient for the state government.

Ukodhiko, who seemed angry and incoherent, wrongly insisted that projects are not inaugurated but commissioned.

 “Please, please, please correct yourself, that English is not correct, the Vice President didn’t inaugurate the project but commissioned. There’s no English like inauguration, you don’t inaugurate projects but commission. You can only inaugurate a board, committee or panel, so, there is nothing like inauguration of projects. You commission a project, not inauguration. 

“However, all those, especially the civil societies criticising the project are fools who don’t know anything about such a project. They are mad, stupid and foolish. What the state government is paying now is far better than what the state was paying to BEDC at the end of the month. We were merely paying for darkness. Let anyone who is angry go to court. Where were the so-called civil societies when Nigerians were being killed and with the hike in prices of commodities?” the commissioner said.

 



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‘Citizens should be free to come forward with cases of rights violation’ | The Guardian Nigeria News

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Hon. Jerry Alagbaso is a PDP chieftain and member representing Orlu/Orsu/Oru east federal constituency of Imo State. He is the current chairman, House of Representatives committee on public petitions. In this interview, he tells MSUGH ITYOKURA how his committee has resolved many issues through alternative dispute resolutions.

Yours is one of the critical committees of the National Assembly, owing to the work you do. Can you tell us how much work the committee has done to promote citizens rights?
For you to appreciate this committee, you must attend some of our sessions to see how busy we are and understand how some of these things are being taken care of, in terms of examination and investigations. I have a formidable team ranging from my secretariat where I have seasoned clerks who are in charge of documentation and other things. A visit to the secretariat will reveal to you the number of cases we have discharged in the 9th assembly. We have statistics on how these cases are documented, we have files where they are enclosed, especially those that have been discharged. The rule is that, when we discharge this cases, we present them on the floor of the House for consideration after which the overall clerk of the house will write to those whom it may concern, giving them the resolution of the National Assembly for them to implement, but where it is difficult to implement, we have what we call status compliance. You go to that place and they will also write as a way of reminder for the respondents to carry out the resolutions of the House. So, if you want to know the number of cases discharged. You go to my secretariat and the clerk will show you. But I assure you, you will be satisfied with the number of cases we have discharged as far as the 9th National Assembly is concerned. 

What are the functions of your committee?
We deal with petitions all over the country and even abroad that borders on even administrative injustice, whether private or public. But we don’t deal with cases that are in court because we are talking about ADR, Alternative Dispute Resolution. What we do is to provide a platform for people to sort out their cases, settle matters and then go home, exchange banters and be happy with themselves. And during the COVID-19, a lot of people were laid off without payment and we are still resolving some matters arising from COVID-19 now that it has subsided, even though it is not yet uhuru and the victims are usually happy with how we have been carrying out our duties. We don’t deal with frivolous petitions, the petitions must stand the test of time before we handle them and that is what we have been doing

Are there challenges your committee faces while discharging its duties? 
During COVID-19 it was difficult to receive and preside over cases through zoom meetings, as far as communications is concerned, that was difficult. Another thing is that, some cases were that of the 8th Assembly that were carried over into 9th and we started afresh. You see that when some of the cases are inconclusive like the ones taken over from the 8th Assembly, it lingers and time is being wasted as far as those good cases are concerned. However, they are not serious challenges as we are equal to the task. We have discharged so many cases we inherited from the 8th Assembly and even more of the new ones, so I won’t say that these are challenges. We have experienced members, we have accountants, lawyers, educationists and other experts on the committee and we discovered that we are familiar with some of the cases, so we are talking out of experience.

How do you ensure your committee’s recommendations are enforced?
We know because we usually give a plan. When your case is finished and it is remaining implementation and you are having any problem especially when the clerks of the National Assembly write and the respondents are very slow, you come back to us and we tell you what to do. We always give that advice. When you come back, we write a reminder even if it is a court case that is in your favour. What we do is to align the committee with the court case. We monitor cases and not only that we give judgement and monitor the resolutions. We don’t look back and the Speaker has never intervened in our work and that gives us satisfaction in terms of speed. The Deputy Speaker that considers the report as a matter of our standing rules also moves with speed. So we have a record of about 95 percent of implementation of judgment and recommendations.

What are some of the achievements of the 9th House Committee on Ethics, privileges and public petitions?
We have cases of those who lost their jobs and if they are 50, we have restored the dignity of about 40 of them, especially the police through alternative dispute resolutions. Sometimes, I commend the Inspector General, (IG) of police and his team, they always take the recommendations of the National Assembly serious. So in terms of achievements, I can tell you that we have conducted a lot of cases successfully. We have performed even more than our predecessors. We have speed in this 9th Assembly maybe, because of our commitment because we don’t stay up to six O clock, by two O clock we are done with our cases and this gives our clerk enough time to do his work effectively and everybody is happy. We also had a case of the police assaulting a naval officer in Delta State, but we were able to resolve it, the police apologised and the naval officer accepted and everyone was happy. We also had a situation where somebody took money to the bank like today and the next day the money vanished and we asked the bank to pay her and they paid. We have several of such cases we resolved, including extra judicial killings. Anytime we write the army, civil defence and NDLEA, they come and we seek God’s intervention to give us the right direction to handle the cases and we resolve the matter and everybody is happy.

How do you avail citizens the opportunity the committee provides for them to deal with human rights violations?
We have various media organisations that cover us especially when we have critical cases and we are always open. Our meeting room, the 429 is a popular place that has COVID-19 compliance. There are times people just come in to listen to how we handle particular cases. There are some cases that are very easy to solve, like when you are discharged from police over one thing or the other, it is not something that will take you so long, we look at the merit of the case and then judge it.

Would you need additional support from the National Assembly to ensure resolutions of your committee are complied with by respondents?
We don’t have any problem, the Speaker is doing very well for the various committees. We have enough support in terms of manpower and the finances are available for us to carry out our work. The speaker is doing very well for us so we are not complaining.





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