Buhari Demands Details of Monetary, Asset Recoveries From EFCC, Others

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Abubakar Malami, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele to provide a detailed submission on amount of monies recovered so far by the anti-graft agencies, in its anti-corruption war, since the inception of this administration in June, 2015.

Also directed to do same are the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mr. Lawal Daura, the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Mr. Ekpo Nta and the National Security Adviser (NSA), General Babagana Monguno.

The agencies were also directed to submit a detailed inventory of assets seized,  including vehicles, jewelry’s and other valuables, latest by yesterday, Friday April 7, 2017. 

They were ordered to submit the details of recovered monies and assets in their possession also by yesterday.  THISDAY checks revealed that most of the agencies except the EFCC have since complied with the deadline given by the president. 

As at the time of filing in this report yesterday night, it was not certain if the EFCC Chairman, had complied with the directive which lapsed yesterday.

According to THISDAY, the directive by the President was issued to the agencies two weeks ago. 

The source said that the directive was informed by the need to “place a value on the total recoveries made by the government, whose anti-graft prosecutors have been accused of being unable to secure convictions, but have been quick to announce their seizures, even temporary ones to the public.”

It added that the President needed the inventory to ensure transparency and accountability as rumours of untoward practices continued to swell round the recoveries. 

There have been allegations that some of the seized valuables like land documents, cars and vehicles had been stolen by some officials of the agencies that seized them.

The source said: “In fact, in several yards across the country, vehicles seized by EFCC like Range Rovers, Jaguars, Prado jeeps, and expensive cars are decaying. The cars are allowed to rot, leading to massive waste.”

“Also remember that certificates of occupancy seized from the home of an ex-governor were found in the market, where some EFCC officials were allegedly trying to sell them. The case is now with the police. Also at the Senate hearing for his confirmation, Magu was unable to put a figure or an estimate to the amount of monies, local and foreign currency, he has recovered so far, or provide a value to properties, cars and jewelries that have been seized,” the source added. 

When THISDAY contacted Senior Adviser to the President on Communication, Mr. Femi Adesina on details of directive, he stated that he was unaware of it but that the president had been receiving series of briefings since he returned to the country and that the said directive would be nothing out of the ordinary. 


Buhari Approves Immediate Deployment Of 4 Ambassadorial Nominee

President Muhammadu Buhari approves the four newly appointed Ambassadorial Nominee for immediate resumption of their duly duty post .

The president gave the names of the affected ambassadors, their states of origin and the areas of their deployment as:

1. Professor Tijjani Bande (Kebbi State)—Ambassador/Representative to the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations Headquarters in New York

2. Itegboje Sunday Samson (Edo State)—Ambassador/Deputy Representative, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations Headquarters in New York

3. Kadiri Ayinla Audu (Kwara State)—Ambassador/Representative to the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations Offices in Geneva

4. Bankole A. Adeoye (Ogun State)—Ambassador/Representative to the Embassy of Nigeria/Permanent Mission the African Union in Addis Ababa “The deployments are with immediate effect. I wish the new ambassadors/representatives the very best in their assignments,” the president said.

Kaduna APC Splinter Group Berates El-Rufai on Memo to Buhari

Kaduna senator, Shehu Sani, has urged the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to punish Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State for allegedly leaking to reporters a memo he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr. Sani, who is the Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, called for punitive measures in a statement he released in Abuja on Saturday.

In the September 2016 memo published this week, Mr. El-Rufai told President Buhari that he was losing the vision and the momentum with which APC started the change campaign.

The governor told the president how bad the nation was faring under his watch, and how the president’s policies, actions and in-actions have contributed to the nation’s woes, and what could be done to steer Nigeria back to greatness.

In the 30-page memo, first published, to Mr. Buhari touched several areas, ranging from the ailing economy, to the dynamics of the nation’s politics, lack of coercion within the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the poor relationship between the president and the national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, and other party leaders, including the APC governors.

Mr. Sani said it was ironic that while Gov. El-Rufai could not stand constructive criticism, he had the audacity to criticize the president.

“The governor always recommends that our party should punish me for criticizing him,” the lawmaker said.

“Now that he has fired a cruise missile at the President through a deliberately leaked memo, he should also be treated the same way.


“He accused me of being disloyal and disrespectful to the President and the party for speaking my mind.

“Now he has done his own cunningly by criticizing the President and the party, disguised it as a memo and leaked it out to the press.

“If our able party chair would give me five strokes of the cane for speaking out, the governor (El Rufai) should be given thrice that for ‘leaking out’.

“It’s often said that look at the message and not the messenger, but there are times when you can only decipher the message by looking at the messenger,” he said.

According to Mr. Sani, while Gov. El-Rufai is entitled to his opinion and perception, the contradiction and irony is that he carried out an action he always stood against when criticized.

He described the governor as disloyal and disrespectful, saying: “the difference is that while mine is blunt, his is dubious.

“Secondly, for all the issues he raised against the President, his own is worst in his space of governance both in the existence of cabal or politics of exclusion, incompetence or public perception.

“The difference is that the President is tolerant of criticisms and alternative views.’’

He said the leakage of the memo to journalists was an evidence that “logically he is leaking memo to rouse popular sympathy and create the image of “a competent alternative” to “Baba”.

Mr. Sani advised President Buhari to be cautious, saying: “he who keeps a scorpion in his pocket must always watch his groin and he who inherits a cobra should know that it’s not a pet.”

Understanding Buhari By Azu Ishiekwene

Creative dysfunction is sometimes an unofficial government tool. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo occasionally set top government officials up against themselves to test their loyalty or ideas.

But there was no doubt who was in charge.

US President Donald Trump is reputed to have the worst cabinet in modern US history, comparable in its dysfunctionality only to Richard Nixon’s.

But again, there’s no doubt who is in charge.

In the last two weeks or so, there has been an outbreak of civil war in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet, creating serious concerns about who is really in charge.

Buhari’s medical leave could not be responsible for it because there was no vacuum during his absence.

It started with the Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama pouncing on the Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri.

Out of concern for the misery Nigerian travelers were going through at the hands of immigration officials in a number of countries, especially South Africa and the US, Dabiri had advised travelers to restrict themselves only to essential trips.

This was common sense advice, which she was unlikely to make without first discussing it with the Foreign Affairs minister. She had barely said the word when the Foreign Ministry took up arms against her, advising travelers to ignore Dabiri.

Not that Onyeama offered an alternative or provided facts to the contrary. No. Insiders said the Foreign Minister was called aside by other “power centers” and advised to speak up and “put that woman in her place” or risk losing his job.

He threw the dagger without delay and, in a bid to reclaim his mojo, jumped on the next plane to Johannesburg with Minister of the Interior, Abdulraham Dambazzau.

But the visit only produced a brief encounter with former president Thabo Mbeki, whose promise that Nigerians would get an earlier warning signal did not stop three more Nigerians from being killed a few days later.

Has anyone asked Onyeama and Dambazzau why that happened or how many more Nigerians will be killed before the early warning sign begins?

The CAF election was yet another evidence of the serious infighting inside Buhari’s government. The President of the Nigerian Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, campaigned on getting rid of Issa Hayatou, who became CAF president when Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was four years old.

Pinnick campaigned openly against Hayatou for months. At the last minute, Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, who was obviously on a Boy’s Scout parade all the while, called Pinnick and directed him to vote for Hayatou to repay Cameroun for its support to Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram.

Pinnick ignored the minister, lined up behind Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad and the world was invited, yet again, to see a house divided against itself.

Perhaps the most astonishing evidence of a meltdown in Buhari’s cabinet was the report by the Department of State Services, which the Senate used conveniently for a second time to reject the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

I still cannot understand why the Director of the DSS, who was appointed by the president and who reports to him through the office of the National Security Adviser, will lend the Senate a gun to execute the head of another organ of the executive, not once, but twice.

The first time a committee of the Senate rejected Magu’s nomination, the Senate said the first DSS report showed that he was living beyond his means and may have been compromised by persons he was supposed to be investigating.

Neither the DSS nor the Senate gave Magu chance to defend himself.

The Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, which later looked into the allegations, cleared Magu of any wrongdoing on the basis of which the Presidency represented him for confirmation.

But the Senate was not – has never – been interested in finding someone who can fight corruption outside its own terms. The same political elite hounded Nuhu Ribadu out of office; they smeared Ibrahim Larmode with allegations of mismanaging N1trillion worth of seized assets and once they got him out of office nothing has been said about the assets again.

They have sunk their teeth into Magu’s flesh and won’t back down under the current leadership.

The only thing worse than the combined treachery of the DSS and the Senate is the silence of the President, one week after he suffered a second humiliation with the rejection of his nominee.

There’s not been a word, no sense of discomfort, no feeling of outrage, nothing.

Those close to the president say that it’s his style not to get involved once he has put people in charge. He lets them do the job as best as they can.

That’s a good thing, but it’s precisely the sort of argument that former President Goodluck Jonathan used to justify his refusal to call to order ministers like Diezani Allison-Madueke and others who eventually ruined his government.

And surely, the President cannot forget that the other side of this two-edged sword dealt a fatal blow to his administration in his first coming.

Anyone who listened to Aisha Buhari and lately read Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s memo, might agree that Buhari’s government is in meltdown mode. It begins with absent-minded delegation. But we’ve passed that stage.

Authority has become very diffuse and the hijackers have become desperate to assert themselves. In the end, the cabinet is coming apart by the seams.

The meltdown is not irreversible but it must start with Buhari showing that he is present, presiding and in charge.

One of the saddest things said by a foreign newspaper during Buhari’s medical leave was that, dead or alive, he no longer makes any difference to the lives of Nigerians.

The best response to that metaphor is performance, not the sort of abdication we have seen in recent times.

INEC: Buhari Sends 28 Nominees to Senate Confirmation

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent the names of 28 nominees to the senate for confirmation as Resident Electoral Commissions  (REC) for the Independent Electorial Comission (INEC).

The President made this known in the letter  sent to the senate and  read by its president, Bukola Saraki, in Abuja today.

The nominations followed the recent expiration of the tenures of RECs in 28 states.

Details to follow shortly…

Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo Orders The Relocation of Oil Companies

As part of the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s consultations with stakeholders in the Niger Delta, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was in Akwa Ibom State and, in keeping with what this newspaper has consistently advocated for years, ordered all major oil companies to relocate their headquarters to the neglected region.

This is a good development, after such a long time of its desirability. It is, therefore, a policy directive that should be carried out with utmost vigour, sincerity and a sense of urgency. Peace in the Niger Delta is synonymous with peace and security in the country and an execution of this directive will be one major step towards an enabling environment for Nigeria’s greater prosperity.

Soon after the discovery of oil in Oloibiri in 1958, the Niger Delta became host to major oil prospecting firms. Through the years, whereas exploration and extraction were carried out in the interior of the region, the major oil firms maintained their headquarters in Lagos and Abuja.
The effect was that these multinationals became insensitive to the ecological and human disaster that exploration created for the oil-bearing communities. To make matters worse, even their middle level workers insultingly hopped in and out of the region indicating that management and middle level staff had no obligations whatsoever to the communities. It did not take long before the people of the region became restive. The many years of neglect had taken its toll and the people thought enough was enough. Given this insensitivity of the oil companies and the neglect of the people by the Nigerian state, the rise of militancy in the Niger Delta was inevitable. And it has been relentlessly violent.

In spite of many years of extracting billions of dollars worth of crude oil from the soil of the region, there is virtually nothing to show in return. The social and economic conditions of the Niger Delta are simply appalling. Apart from poor infrastructure, the region lacks basic necessities which the wealth that had been extracted from its earth could provide. There were instances where host communities lived in years of darkness while their ‘guests’ (the oil firms) provided twenty-four hours of electricity for themselves. Aquatic life was destroyed. Farmlands were often covered with huge oil spills, and clean-ups were half-heartedly embarked upon by these firms.

It is against this background that the symbolic importance of the administration’s order to the oil firms should be appreciated. By relocating to the region, they would not only be obliged to make contributions to the economies of the host states, they would be sending the right signals to the people that they are with them. It is on record that once oil majors moved out of Warri and its environs, the economic life of that once-boisterous town went downhill. Therefore, if the oil majors move their headquarters to Warri, Port Harcourt, Uyo, Calabar, Benin and Yenagoa, they would be more sensitive to the plight of the host communities. Leadership which feels the pain of the people is usually more responsive and progressive. The state governments would also have the opportunity of dealing directly with the companies on policy formulation and implementation.

Also, the multiplier effects of their relocation will be enormous. Apart from jobs that would naturally be at the disposal of people of the region, all ancillary services would be provided by small scale businesses in the host towns. This will create employment and help reduce tension. To be sure, the oil majors would be compelled to address the imbalance in employment quota which activists and stakeholders in the Niger Delta have always complained about.

Peace in the Niger Delta is crucial to the survival of the Nigerian state. The violent attacks on pipelines and oil installations have affected the finances of the country, owing to decreased output of oil. It is instructive that the Acting President’s visits calmed nerves and created a stable environment for discussions. It is only in a peaceful environment that issues surrounding resource control can be discussed and mutually agreed on. The Federal Government should, therefore, maintain its stand on the issue of bringing peace to the Niger Delta.

To give strong backing to the order, a time frame for relocation should be given and the oil majors must act in good faith and show corporate social responsibility to the host communities.

On their part, the host communities and state governments should welcome the oil firms with open arms. They should ensure that an atmosphere of peace is truly ensured to allay the fears of the returning firms and corporations. By reining in the youths and fostering positive engagement, normalcy would return to the relationship between and among all the parties involved in the process of nation building.

Buhari Hale and Hearty, Ignore Scary Messages- Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government has urged Nigerians to disregard the subversive messages being circulated via text messaging and the Social Media, saying the fabricated messages are being orchestrated by those who feel threatened by the emerging order.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said there is no iota of truth in the messages being circulated on the health of the President, who is hale and hearty, and the purported emergency meetings of the State Governors in Abuja or anywhere.

He said the naysayers have also resorted to the use of ethnicity and religion as tools to divide Nigerians, overheat the polity and cause panic among the citizenry, in addition to using fake news and disinformation to distort government activities.

Alhaji Mohammed said while opposition and criticism are all part of democracy, the crafting and circulation of subversive materials and scare-mongering are not, hence the full wrath of the law will be brought to bear on those who are bent on subverting the state.

”The source/sources of the fabricated messages are already being investigated and the authors should prepare to face the consequences of their actions.

”The emerging trend of resorting to destabilisation and scare-mongering is not unexpected, considering this government’s clamp-down on the corrupt elements in the society, the plugging of all financial leaks which has derailed the gravy train of the looters of public treasury and the enthronement of probity and transparency in the polity.

”While we will neither stifle press freedom nor abridge the citizens’ right to express themselves freely, whether through criticism or protests, the security agencies will neither allow any resort to violence nor a willful subversion of the state for whatever reason,” he warned.

Pres Buhari Approves the Reconstitution of the Financial Reporting Council Of Nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate removal and the replacement of the Executive Secretary and the reconstitution of the board of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRN). He has appointed a Chairman and a new Executive Secretary for the council.
This is according to a statement by a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Pulicity, Mr Garba Shehu.
According to Shehu, “The new Council as approved by the President has Mr Adedotun Sulaiman, MFR as Chairman. Mr. Sulaiman was a former Managing Partner/Director of Arthur Anderson and later, Accenture. He is a Chartered Accountant and a product of the University of Lagos and Harvard Business School.
“The President has also approved the appointment of Mr. Daniel Asapokhai as the Executive Secretary of the Council. Mr. Asopokhai is a partner and a Financial Reporting Specialist at the PricewaterHouseCoopers (PWC), Nigeria. He is a product of the University of Lagos and the University of Pretoria.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has also instructed the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment to invite the nineteen ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government and private sector organizations specified in the FRC Act to nominate members of the board of the council.”

Buhari is Eager and Working Hard to Reflate the Economy- Amaechi

The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi has said President Buhari is eager and working hard to reflate Nigeria’s economy, fulfill the needs and aspirations of Nigerians and fulfill his campaign promises.

He also added that the Ministry of Transportation will shift attention to the rehabilitation of old railway lines of Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri after the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna railway project.

Speaking in Abuja on Friday, December 23, through Yetunde Sonaike, the director of press and public relations department in the ministry of transportation, Amaechi said that President Buhari is eager to reflate the economy and deliver to the people the gains of his administration.

Amaechi went on to list his achievements saying that his ministry was able to: complete the Abuja–Kaduna Railway modernisation project and provide safety measures at the nation’s airports through rehabilitation of the existing infrastructure within the airports.

He said that there were also on-going rehabilitation of infrastructure at the seaports and the railway as well as instilling financial discipline in the ministry and its agencies among others.

On the focus of the government ahead of 2017, Amaechi said his ministry will shift attention to the rehabilitation of the old railway lines of Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri and also ensure that the construction works on the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Rail line was completed within the specified time.

According to him, the government is determined to ensure that works on Lagos-Kano Rail line commence in earnest to facilitate the movement of goods and passengers unhindered.

“The construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan segment of the Coastal Rail line will commence in January 2017,” Amaechi said.