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How First Nation MD provided forged document for N1.7bn loan – Polaris Bank tells court

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A prosecution witness, Mr Patrick Ogo, on Friday told an Ikeja Special Offences Court that Kayode Odukoya, Managing Director, First Nation Airways, secured a N1.7 billion loan from Skye Bank with a forged document.

NAN reports that Ogo, a Legal Officer with Polaris Bank, formerly Skye Bank, testified at the beginning of the trial of Odukoya over alleged N1.7 billion theft.

He was led in evidence by Mr Anselm Ozioko, lead counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), prosecuting the case.

The legal officer, who is the first prosecution witness, said that Odukoya, the alter ego of Bellview Airlines and First Nation Airline (the second and third defendants) had, from 2007 to 2012, obtained various loan facilities from the bank.

He said: “As at December 2016, he obtained facilities accumulating to about N3.4 billion and 2.4 million dollars.

“At the point of the first application for these facilities, the defendant undertook to avail the bank of some collateral.

“The collateral include properties at 29 and 30, Oduduwa Way, Ikeja, and No. 35, Ladipo Babaye St., Ikeja, which the first defendant alleged belonged to him.

“On the basis that the property belonged to him, the bank disbursed the loan facilities to the defendants.

“When the bank commenced mortgage of these properties with particular reference to the property at No. 29, Oduduwa Way, Ikeja, with registration No. 33 on page 33 volume 1011 at the Lagos State Land Registry, Alausa, it was discovered to be false.

“Relying on same, the bank wrote to the Land Registry to confirm the registered number as furnished by the defendant and the bank received a response that the referred number does not exist in the record to the referred property.”

The prosecution witness said that the bank, upon receiving feedback from the Land Registry, contacted Odukoya who provided a memorandum of loss, a sworn affidavit, police extract and a March 8, 2013 publication of National Mirror newspaper.

Ogo informed the court that page 50 of the newspaper publication declared that the title document of the property was missing, stating that whoever found the document would be rewarded handsomely.

He said that further investigations by Polaris (Skye) bank revealed that the registration number of the property was fake and that Odukoya had used the same property as collateral for another loan from another bank.

“The bank’s internal investigation in respect of that property showed that the registration number of that property was Page 5, Vol. 5 of 1011, which the first defendant had used as collateral.

“The bank thereafter instructed its external solicitor to petition the EFCC as regards the act of the defendant.

“The instructed solicitor also wrote to the defendant referring to the converted sums of the bank which were earlier stated as N3.4 billion and 2.4 million dollars.

“The defendant responded that the referred amount was not involved but rather it was N1.7 billion.

“Subsequently another petition was written by our lawyer to the EFCC to carry out investigation on the fraudulent act of the defendant of obtaining the bank’s money by false representation of facts.

“Investigations were carried out which consequently made me to make statements to the EFCC in respect of the suit,” Ogo said.

The witness said that the loans were granted to Odukoya because his application inferred some urgency for the funds to run the operations of First Nation Airway and Bellview Airlines.

“My lord, when Bellview Airlines Ltd. was in operation, it started banking with Skye Bank Plc in 2006/2007.

“First Nation Airways came onboard with the same alter ego of the first defendant, and upon the application of Skye Bank, there was a memorandum of understanding wherein First Nation Airways took over the outstanding indebtedness of Bellview Airline.

“The money has not been returned to the bank, my lord, till today. This money is about N1.7 billion according to the defendant,” the Polaris Bank representative said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the EFCC is alleging that Odukoya committed forgery, use of false document and perjury on March 21, 2013, in Lagos.

According to the prosecution, the defendant forged the memorandum of loss of Lagos State Certificate of Occupancy registered as No. 33 at page 33 volume 1011 at the Lagos State Land Registry, Alausa, Lagos, in order that the document be acted upon as genuine.

The forged document was alleged to be in respect of a property located at No. 29, Oduduwa St., Ikeja, GRA, Lagos.

Odukoya is also alleged by the EFCC to have used the false document, and also gave false information on oath, concerning the loss of the certificate of occupancy at the Lagos State Land Registry.

The anti-graft commission also alleged that on Oct. 7, 2016, Odukoya stole and dishonestly converted to his own use, N1.7 billion belonging to Skye Bank Plc.

The alleged offences violate Sections 85, 86(1) 278(1)(b), 285, 361(1),(a) (b), 363 and 364(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

However, the defendant, who was arraigned on March 15, 2018, pleaded not guilty to the four-count charge of forgery, use of false documents, perjury and stealing.

Justice Mojisola Dada adjourned the case until June 24 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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