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EFCC Witness tells court how former NAMA MD, allegedly looted, converted N2.8bn

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Tribunal receives 18 petitions in Kaduna

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A witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nurudeen Bello, Friday told the Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos how former Managing Director of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, Ibrahim Abdulsalam allegedly looted and laundered N2.8 billion from the agency.

Abdulsalam who was arraigned by the anti-graft agency before Justice Babs Kuewumi who presided over the said court was also alleged to have converted the whooping sum of money to his personal use.

EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade in a statement said Abdul-Salam was facing trial alongside Nnamdi Udoh (still at large), Adegorite Olumuyiwa, Segun Agbolade, Clara Aliche, Joy Ayodele Adegorite, Randville Invesment Limited and Multeng Travels and Tours Limited for conspiring to induce the agency to deliver the sum of N2.8billion to Delosa Limited, Air Sea Delivery Limited and Sea Schedule Systems Limited under the pretext that the money represented the cost of clearing NAMA’s consignments.

At today’s sitting, according to Orilade an investigator with the EFCC who also doubles as Witness, Nurudeen Bello was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, identified the statements of the third defendant written on February 15, 16, 18, 22 and 24, 2016 as well as on March 12, 2016.

Orilade said, “Bello also identified the responses to the letters written by the EFCC to the Nigerian Customs Services, NCS.

“The prosecution counsel tendered the statements of the third defendant, which were admitted in evidence as exhibits E 1-7 and F, respectively”.

When asked to read out the statement of account of Randville Invesment Limited, Orilade affirmed that the witness listed various sums of money received by Belosa, withdrawn from NAMA account.

According to Orilade, Bello said, “The money was transferred to Randville Investment, which shared them among Multeng Travels and Tours Limited, Multeng Engineering, Multeng Aviation, NNPC Retail Limited, Airspace Delivery and some Bureau De Change operators.

“Cash withdrawals were mostly done by Segun Agbolade and Joy Ayodele Adegorite, for onward transfer to Segun Agbolade. Also, some cash payments were made to Mr. Alaba Odulani.”

Further in his testimony, Bello was said to have told the court that less than N9, 000,000.00 was transferred in tranches in one day and several days in different months.

This, he said, “was done to avoid triggering the reporting requirements of banks, if the money transferred was up to N10, 000,000.00.”

The witness also stated, “withdrawals made by Agbolade amounted to N3million in tranches.

“The transfers to Multeng Travel and Tours, Multeng Engineering, Multeng Aviation were made in order to facilitate withdrawals because of the cashless policy introduced by the CBN.

“Several millions transferred to the NNPC Retail Limited were to supply petroleum products to the filling station owned by Agbolade.

“The money transferred from Randville Invesment Limited to Mr. Odulani was for the purchase of a filling station in Egbeda, Lagos State.

Also, it was learnt that Bello had during the previous sitting on Thursday, May 2, told the court that, on February 5, 2016, his team was assigned to investigate a petition against the defendant.

The prosecution counsel reportedly tendered the petition and the attachments which were admitted in evidence as Exhibits D.

Explaining what he did after receiving the petition, he said: “My team and I wrote to the bank, requesting the financial records of all the defendants. We also wrote to the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, to obtain the records of importation made by the Nigeria Airspace Agency, NAMA, from 2010 to 2016.

“We wrote to Guaranty Trust Bank, attaching the NCS’s acknowledgement of payment receipt, seeking the authentication obtained by the bank. We received all the responses and same were analyzed.

“We proceeded to NAMA office, within Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, where we conducted extensive search and invited some of the defendants to the EFCC office.”

When asked to identify exhibits A-C series and why the team wrote to the bank, he reportedly said the exhibits were some of the responses his team received from the letters sent to the bank.

“We wrote to the NCS based on the petition and subsequent investigations carried out. Various documents were analyzed and it was discovered that the sum of N2.8billion was carted away from the account of the National Airspace Management Agency by the defendants.

“The money was transferred at various times to the accounts of Randville Invesment Limited, Multeng Travels and Tours Limited, Air Sea Delivery Limited and Sea Schedule Systems Limited, belonging to some of the defendants and diverted for personal use under the pretext of using the said money for clearing of imported items for NAMA.”

But the case was adjourned to June 13 and 14, for continuation of trial.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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