Resilience... Forging ahead By Bashorun J.K. Randle, OFR, FCA - Paul Ukpabio's Blog

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Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Resilience... Forging ahead By Bashorun J.K. Randle, OFR, FCA


  
CNN; SKY; AL Jazeera; BBC; NBC; Netflix, and the other major global news channels have a new rival – RESILIENCE TV.  Its “USP” [Unique Selling Proposition] is that it does not repeat any news item and no streaming either.  If you miss  an item, its gone forever.  No Breaking News either for that matter.  The Corona Virus (Covid-19) has become a “godsent” for the quirky channel as suddenly we have so much time on our hands with not much else to do but watch television -  the reverse tyranny of choice.  Day in day out, there is really not much difference between one day (or night) and the other.  It all these scary reports about PPE It’s (Personal Protective Equipment]; sanitizers; masks; tests and more tests; ventilators; vaccine; and contact tracing.  If all these fail to scare you sufficiently and keep you awake at night, they throw in the ITC (Intensive Care Unit) and worst of all, isolation centre (instead of a five-star hotel with room service at your beck and call plus a well-stocked bar/fridge).  That is what has created a booming market for RESILIENCE TV.  It’s mission statement is crisp and clear:

                           “Forge  Ahead”.
It is the only station in the world on which nobody ever mentions PANDEMIC !!
Instead what is on offer are the following:
Front page “New Telegraph” newspaper 26th March 2020:
Headline:      “EX-NNPC OFFICIAL CONVICTED
(i)       FOR N6 BILLION FRAUD”
“Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured the conviction of Mr. Abdulkadir Mohammed Salihu, former Sales Assistant of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Kaduna Depot.  Salihu was arraigned by the Kaduna Zonal office of the EFCC on a three count charge bordering on fraud to the tune of N6 billion, before Justice Z.B. Abubakar of the Federal High Court in Kaduna State.  The convict who was in charge of loading manifest at the Kaduna Depot of the NNPC was arrested on 29th Octoberber 2019 and arraigned yesterday.

He pleaded guilty to the three count charged when it was read to him, paving way for EFCC prosecution lawyer Deborah Adamu Eteh to ask for sentencing accordingly.  Trouble began for the convict when several petitions against him were submitted to the Kaduna Zonal office of the EFCC and upon investigation it was discovered that he conspired with other marketers to lift petroleum products without payment at NNPC Depot, Kaduna State worth over N6 billion.

The Acting Head, Media and Publicity of EFCC Tony Orilade said investigation revealed that he was part of the cartel behind multiple loading of petroleum products and he committed the fraud between 2009 and 2017 at Kaduna Depot without corresponding payment.

Following his guilty plea, Justice Abubakar sentenced the suspect to three months imprisonment with an option of fine of N1 million.

The accused, according to the Judge, will also forfeit one Unit of three bedroom apartment and one unit of two bedroom boy’s quarters situated at 2, Ilpak Close, off College Road Kurmin Mashin Kaduna; a water factory known as  Ummus Water and Drinks Limited situated at Birmin Yero, Igabi Local Government in Kaduna; and one Fuel Station with four Pumps known as Amina Limited, situated at Sabon Gayan Panturawa, on Saminaka, Jos Road Kaduna.

Other properties forfeited to the Federal Government are five vehicles - One Odyssey Space bus; One Toyota Tacoma Pick-Up; One Toyota RAV 4 Jeep, One Lexus 350 Jeep; and one Mitsubishi petrol tanker. 

The Judge also ordered the defendant to forfeit his gratuity and 30 percent of his monthly pension to the Federal Government.”

(ii)     “GOVERNOR OKOROCHA VERBALLY AWARDED US N240 MILLION CONTRACT – FIRM”
“A construction company, Kilcornam Construction yesterday narrated to the Judicial Commission of inquiry on contracts how former  Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha verbally awarded a N240 million contract.  The contract was without any agreement, but paid in full before commencement of the project.  Giving details of the transaction from the witness box, the Accountant of the company, Mr. Ududua Collin, said that the firm executed only the tunnel across Assumptu Avenue.

His words, “The company was involved in only one project and that is the construction of the tunnel across Assumptu Avenue 2016.

The former governor Senator Rochas Okorocha approached the company to know if we can construct a tunnel across the road.  We affirmed our ability to deliver on the job.  He paid us the full contract sum of N240 million before we commenced work.  There was no contract paper or agreement before we commenced and finished the job.  It was a verbal agreement not even a letter of award for the contract was given to the company.  On the terms and conditions of the contract, Ududua maintained that every discussion regarding the contract award was verbal.

“The company’s engineers prepared the Bill of Quantities, but I do not know if engineers from the Imo State Ministry of Works supervised the work, while it lasted.  There was no certificate of completion for the job.”  While saying that he did not know the office that paid the bill, Ududua said:  “We were paid the net.  The State Government deducted N24 million, representing the withholding tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) at source.”  When confronted with the fact that a document from the Accountant-General’s office indicated that the company was paid N267 million Ududua said:  “I will be surprised to hear that the tunnel cost N267 million.”  He noted that his company was paid through electronic transfer.

Front page headline of “The Punch” newspaper of April 18, 2020:
“I DON’T BELIEVE HEAVEN, HELL EXIST – Joop Berkhout, 90-year-old Dutchman who has spent 54 years in Nigeria.”

Question:      “How do you see religious practices in Nigeria?”

Joop:            “It could be dangerous.  Not all, but all these new religion.
Religion has become a business.  Everybody is a pastor, there are more pastors in this country than anywhere in the world.  Pastors who are not even educated are preaching and making a lot of money.  Religion is now a money-making affairs.”

Front page “Sunday Punch” newspaper May 24, 2020:
Headline:      “ALL PASTORS SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN NIGERIAN
              POLITICS”
-         Dr. Tony Rapu, Senior Pastor,
“The House of Freedom”
Question:      “Many clerics have been in the news for the wrong reasons such as rituals and fraud.  How damaging are reports like that to Christendom?”

Tony:     “Throughout history, the Church has been challenged with
instances of human failures. It is not new.  We need to know that these failures arise because people are human and they make mistakes.  Anyone who is standing is doing so only by the grace of God.  Where there is a failure, the Bible makes provision for repentance and forgiveness.  When this process is followed. God provides restoration.  No matter how damaging the reports may be, it is God who is building His church and God will always have His way in the end.”

Mathew Bell
“[On the subject of second sons] Even if the eldest son goes loopy and murders his father and mother, it doesn’t necessarily turn out well for the spare.  When in 2001, the Crown Prince of Nepal murdered his parents, he killed his young brother and sister too.  Crown Prince Dipendra [“Dippy” to his pals] still went on to be named King, but was comatose at the time [having shot himself in the head] and promptly died.  No wonder so many second siblings are wayward.  It’s enough to drive you mad.”

Front page headline: “Sunday Sun” newspaper May 24, 2020:
“OLDEST OYO MONACH DIES AT 141”
A 141-year-old monarch in Oyo State, Oba Samuel Afolabi, the Onilua of Ilua, in Kajola Local Government Area has been reported dead.
The oldest King in Oyo State was said to have joined his ancestors in the early hours of Saturday as a result of old age related illneses.

The deceased monarch was said to have been born in 1879 and ascended the throne of his forefathers at the age of 102 years in 1981, which was 38 years ago.

He was said to be a commercial farmer at Arigidana, Baba Ode in Itesiwaju Local Government of the State before his coronation as King.”

“Sunday Sun” newspaper May 24, 2020:  (Rejected by Resilience TV).
Headline:      “CORONAVIRUS: “SICK PATENTS’ RELATION BERATE                            LAGOS HOSPITALS”
·        Victims Narrate Ordeals
·        We’re Not Turning Away Patients – HOSPITALS
“My mother died after she was rejected at four major government hospitals in Lagos here. When we got to Ifako Ijaye, we were not even allowed entry into the hospital let alone attending to her. We went to LUTH, Gbagada and Federal Medical Centre, but she was not admitted. It was only at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, that she was given first aid and discharged immediately. We decided to bring her home after we were denied entry at Ifako Ijaye, which, of course, was the last hospital we took her to. She died days later,” Lawal regretted.

“Daily Trust” newspapers, May 24, 2020:
Front page headline:
       “SHEIKH DAHIRU BAUCHI, OTHERS DEFY SULTAN, LEAD EID        PRAYERS”
“Renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi, yesterday led thousands of Muslim faithful to pray two Raka’at Eid-el-Fitr prayers in Bauchi, against the decision of Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar who declared today Eid day. He had yesterday announced that the Ramadan had come to an end and the beginning of the month of Shawwal after he was told that the moon was sighted at about 12: 15 am on Friday in Yobe, Zaria, Sokoto and Bauchi.

“If something of this nature happens, one will act according to what Allah and Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said and Allah and his messenger said fast when you see the new moon and Ramadan will be completed after seeing the new moon of Shawwal and if two people who are trustworthy and fair saw it then people must agree with them or if a group of people saw it then everyone must agree with their verdict and in that case, since they are many and many starts from five people, you don’t need to look if they are fair in their character, you have no option but to agree with their reports as ordained by Allah and His messenger and for that reason, we are satisfied with the reports we have received,” he said.

And elsewhere in Sokoto, Sheikh Musa Lukuwa  also led followers to observe the Eid prayers yesterday, contrary to the Sultan’s declaration. In a telephone conversation with Daily Trust, Lukuwa said: “The Sultan said the moon was not sighted, but we saw it and our position superseded his own.”

According to him, the crescent was sighted in many places around Sokoto metropolis and environs and was communicated to the Sultanate Council to no avail. He added that there were authentic reports indicating the sighting of the new moon from Yauri and Kamba in Kebbi State as well as from Zaria in Kaduna State and neighbouring Niger Republic where Saturday has declared Sallah day. “It is only one moon and when sighted in a particular place it suffices for all Muslims around the world because the Prophet (SAW) urged us to desist from fasting when the new moon is sighted,” he said. When contacted, the Wazirin Sokoto and Chairman, Advisory Committee on Religious Affairs to the Sultanate Council, Professor Sambo Wali Junaidu, said they had abided by the directive of the Sultan who by the teaching of Islam is the determinant of when should be the Sallah day. He added that they had taken the decision based on the time the reports reached them. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), under the leadership of its President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, formally declared yesterday the end of this year’s Ramadan fast. The Deputy Secretary-General, NSCIA, Prof. Salisu Shehu, said in a statement that there was no proven report of the sighting of the crescent of Shawwal, 1441 AH on the 29th of Ramadan, 1441 AH, therefore, Ramadan fast was completed yesterday, May 23, 2020. “In this regard, Sunday 24th May, 2020 is hereby declared as 1st Shawwal, 1441 AH and the day of Eid-el-fitr,” Shehu said.

Back page Headline:  “Daily Trust” newspaper:  May 24, 2020:
“BANDITS KIDNAP BRIDE-TO-BE; SACK KATSINA VILLAGES”

It was a terrifying moment for residents of Yankara village in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State when dozens of armed bandits stormed the village and kidnapped a bride-to-be and her best friend 48 hours to her wedding Fatiha. The heavily armed bandits, who stormed the village on motorbikes at night when most villagers had gone to bed, went to the family house of the bride-to-be and demanded for her and her best friend, a source told Daily Trust on Sunday.

According to the source, the bandits also carted away huge quantities of food items and other valuables during the operation. “We were terrified by excessive gun shots. They woke up every single living thing in this village. Some people who were able to escape, slept in the bush, while those who remained behind had to meet the demands of the bandits, who chose the sort of foodstuff they wanted and asked the villagers to put them in sacks.

“Anybody caught by the bandits had no option than to comply with their directives or risk being killed.However, as I am speaking with you, we do not know the whereabouts of the kidnapped bride-to-be and her friend.” Over 620 women and children from Batsari LGA are currently taking refuge at the premises of Arabic Teachers College Kofar Kwaya in Katsina metropolis after escaping several attacks on their communities by bandits.

Malama Habi Abdullahi, a resident of Kandawa village in Batsari Local Government, is one of the refugees at the Government Arabic Teachers College Kofar Kwaya. Recounting the attack, Habi said: “I heard a loud noise and chose to ignore it at first, assuming it was children playing outside. The noise became louder, followed by gun shots. I quickly grabbed my child and headed outside and then saw people running to safety also.” Malama Habiba said as she ran with no particular direction in mind, she saw bandits on motorcycles setting houses ablaze and shooting people. Many died while others are still nursing their injuries. “Over 300 motorcycles attacked the village with each carrying more than two persons armed with guns,”she said. Another refugee, Malama Hafsu Mohammed, a mother of six whose husband was killed last year in a similar attack, said “Three weeks ago, the bandits attacked our village; we all ran away and now sleep in the open and live on the mercies of people who support us with food and clothing.”

For Malama Fati Hassan of Yau-Yau village, the whereabouts of her children, dead or alive, is still unknown. “As I speak, I don’t know the whereabouts of my children. I have four children and I don’t know if they are alive or not.  These bandits attacked us for straight seven days. We managed to escape to this place.”
Many communities in both southern and central Katsina have witnessed series of attacks by bandits, who specialise in kidnapping, robbing, maiming, killing and rustling animals. Villages like Marabar Maigora, Sabon Layin Galadima Faskari Yamma were among the worst hit in Faskari and Sabuwa local government areas respectively, according to a source. Other villages affected include Yandaka, Kandawa, Bakiyawa, Runka, Yau-Yau, Yar-Gamji, Garin Labo, Ruma, Wagini and Ruwan Faru among others. “Daily Trust” on Sunday observed that the worst hit local governments include Jibia, Batsari, Danmusa, Safana, Kankara, Sabuwa, Faskari, and Dandume. Others are Dutsinma, Kurfi, Batagarawa, Kaita, Kafur and Malumfashi. Lamenting the situation, the Sarkin Rumah and District Head of Batsari, Alhaji Tukur Muazu, said a lot of his people had been displaced in virtually all villages under his domain. “We had little respite for a while but from the beginning of the Ramadan fast till now, hardly a day passes without an attack.

They chase people, collect their animals, kill those they want to kill, and kidnap some. I can’t say what they want or what is causing this, but clearly, it’s the lack of fear of God; if not, you can’t just kill someone for denying you his property.” He, however, alleged that “Government is aware of everything happening because it has been going on since the last administration. When a new government came, it subsided and now it has resumed.” He noted that a peace deal was reached and the area had peace for a while and everyone returned to their normal lives. However, life can’t be said to be the same presently.

Alhaji Tukur Muazu also told Daily Trust on Sunday that he had exhausted his farm produce feeding people taking refuge in his home as he has lost count of the number of people in his home. “Many villages are now deserted and occupied by the bandits. We need urgent intervention from the Federal Government because the bandits see themselves as being above the law,” he pleaded. However, Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim Mahuta, a special adviser to Governor Aminu Bello Masari,blamed theFederal Government for the insecurity in the state, saying “the issue of insecurity in Katsina State is purely a failure of the Federal Government.

The governor has limitations in controlling the security apparatus such as army, police and the rest of other security agencies. “The governor cannot buy weapons for the security personnel in order to confront the bandits. The only thing a governor can do is to complement the security agencies by assisting them to fuel their vehicles, buy patrol vans or give them accommodation. Only the Federal Government can buy sophisticated weapons and ammunitions for the security personnel and it is only the president that can order the security personnel to engage the bandits.

The highest the governor can do is to enter peace agreement with bandits, which I do not support because there is no way we can sustain it. You can only succeed in such a deal if it is the enemy that requested it, otherwise you will end up financing the bandits to buy more weapons which they will use against the country. Anytime you enter into such an agreement, they betray you and when you come back for another reconciliation, they will demand for more funds.” Daily Trust on Sunday, however, reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered  military action against bandits in Katsina, Niger and Zamafara states recently. Worried by the increasing rate of banditry in the state, members of the Katsina State House of Assembly reconvened on May 5, 2020 and held a special plenary to deliberate on the state of insecurity in the state.

Shehu Dalhartu Tafoki, Deputy Speaker of Katsina State House of Assembly representing Faskari Local Government Area, told Daily Trust on Sunday that the House had come up with five resolutions during its special plenary. He said: “One, we urged the state government to, as a matter of urgency, review the peace pact it entered into with bandits. Two, government should also change its approach in the fight against banditry in the state by including traditional method. Here, we mean government should incorporate members of vigilante groups in the fight.  In my local government, we have engaged 200 members of vigilante group for this purpose and we have started enjoying the results because we are getting useful information from them. The thing is that the bandits have many informants within the communities, who feed them with vital information regarding the communities.

Three, Katsina State government should organize a security summit where stakeholders in matters concerning security will be invited to discuss the way out. Fourth, Katsina State government should seek the assistance of the Federal Government to fight the insurgency in the state and fifth, Katsina State House of Assembly should do everything possible to support government to fight the bandits.” Tafoki said no responsible government would fold its arms and watch bandits attacking its citizens, calling on the Federal Government to do more about the activities of bandits in Katsina. He said “although the governor is doing his best, it is not enough to crush the bandits.” However, the Secretary to the Government of Katsina State, Alhaji Mustapha Muhammad Inuwa, while reacting to the issue of insecurity in the state, said the recent directives to the military to engage the bandits would soon give the people of Katsina great relief.

He said: “People should exercise patience because the soldiers have concluded their plans to engage the bandits decisively. We should wait and see and I am sure in the next few days, the soldiers will commence operations.”

“Daily Trust” newspapers headline:
“SONALA OLUMHENSE SYNDICATED IBRAHIM GAMBARI:
To Aid or to abet?”

So why did he take it? I have a best-case scenario.  In 2008, at the First Anniversary Lecture of the Mustapha Akanbi Foundation, he provided an extensive overview of the terrain into which he now sets foot. His subject was “The Challenges Of Nation Building: The Case Of Nigeria,” of which he identified five.  The fifth, in a case of saving for the last the most important, was: leadership. I quote him:

“Leadership is a critical factor in nation-building and it should be understood in two important but related ways.  Firstly, there are the personal qualities of integrity, honesty, commitment, and competence of individual leaders at the top.  Secondly, there are the collective qualities of common vision, focus, and desire for development of the elites as a whole. “The standards for recruitment and the performance of our individual leaders over the years have left much to be desired.  We do not need leaders who see themselves as champions of only some sections of our population.  We do not need leaders who do not understand the economic and political problems of the country, not to talk of finding durable solutions for them.  We do not need leaders who are more interested in silencing their opponents, than in pursuing justice.  We do not need leaders, who preach one thing, and do the exact opposite.  We do not need leaders who place themselves above the constitution and the laws of the country, but leaders who lead by upholding and respecting the law.  We do not need leaders who have no sense of tomorrow, other than that of their private bank accounts.

“If we are to succeed in nation-building, we must have a leadership that is committed to the rule of law and has a demonstrable sense of fairplay and democratic tolerance; a leadership with ability and integrity; above all else, we must have a leadership that can see beyond the ostentatious pomp of office.  We must have leaders who have a vision for a Nigeria better than the one they inherited; leaders who will lead by deeds and not by words; achievers, not deceivers… “Leadership is not everything, but it is an extremely important factor. Unless we have leaders with ability, integrity, commitment, and vision, we cannot succeed at nation-building… “When a Nigerian leader, by words and deeds, is able to convince a large enough section of the Nigerian elites and the wider public about a vision for a greater tomorrow, then Nigeria will truly be on the way to national greatness…nations are built by men and women who have the will and vision to accomplish greatness, not for themselves, their immediate families and friends, but for their country…”

I cite what appears to be his evolution in the 10 years that followed the Justice Akanbi lecture, in his considerably more sarcastic tone during the 10th Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series in Lagos in 2018. He described Nigeria’ ruling class as “audacious hypocrites,” pointing out how they proclaim the values of truth, accountability, transparency and anti-corruption but do not practice them, and outlining the attributes of good governance. That was just two years ago, and he clearly was also referring to the leadership he opted to join just weeks ago.  Could he have made the decision merely to become one of them, or to inspire a nation that has been extremely good to him? The key, for me, is in his preliminary observation at that Justice Akanbi lecture, where he noted: “In today’s world, skills, industriousness, productivity, and competitiveness are the determinant factors of national greatness.  Not even the possession of the nuclear bomb is enough to make a nation great without reference to the industriousness and creativity of its citizens.  Since the time of Adam Smith, every serious nationalist and politician has come to know that the wealth of a nation is not based on the wealth and opulence of its rulers, but on the productivity and industriousness of its citizenry.”

Kyle Chandler :
Kyle Martin Chandler was born on 17th September, 1965 (age 54 years) in Buffalo, New York, United States of America.  He  is an American actor. Making his screen acting debut in a 1988 television film, Chandler's first regular television role was in the ABC drama Homefront. This was followed by the lead role of Gary Hobson in the CBS series Early Edition, for which he won a Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television. 
“Opportunity does not knock.  It presents itself when you beat down the door.”

Kobe Bryant:
Kobe Bean Bryant was born on the 23rd August, 1978 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.  An American professional basketball player. As a shooting guard, Bryant entered the National Basketball Association directly from high school, and played his entire 20-season professional career in the league with the Los Angeles Lakers. 
“It’s different from being 21 and you think there’s endless amount of opportunities.  At 33, the ending is much closer.”

Ban Ki-Moon (former Secretary-General of The United Nations)
“Europe and Africa share proximity and history, ideas and ideals, trade and technology.  You are tied together by the ebb and flow of people.  Migration presents policy challenges – but also represents an opportunity to enhance human development, promote decent work and strengthen collaboration.”

Professor Adebayo Williams
“Russia, the country of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Chekhov and Pushkin was also a country of appalling brutalities and inhuman suffering. Engels put it to the fact that economically backward nations could also play first violin.

Friedrich Engels:
Friedrich Engels was born on the 28th November 1820 at Barmen, Germany.  A German philosopher, historian, communist, social scientist, sociologist, journalist and businessman. His father was an owner of large textile factories in Salford, England, and Barmen, Prussia. 

Back page “The Nation” newspaper May 24, 2020
“In Gombe State isolation centre, patients who tested positive to the (unnamed) virus found the strength to engage in protests, not once but twice, with the admiring and indulgent public defiantly joining them cheek by jowl.  Other isolation centres have witnessed patients sending selfies of themselves savouring their culinary delights or patients killing boredom by dancing the humdrum of the ward away, even mildly, tweaking their ample derriere.  Given enough time, and sure as day comes after night, these Nigerians will even develop (unnamed virus) isolation ward fashion, complete with provocative display of décolletage.  After all, their face masks already manifest their irreverent fashion.”

Bold Front Page headline of “The Nation” newspaper on Sunday, May 24, 2020:
“EFCC:   HOW RIVERS OFFICIALS WITHDREW N118 BILLION IN CASH.”

“THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is requesting, for its interrogation, the release of three officials of the Rivers State Government, who are implicated in the alleged illegal withdrawal of N118billion public funds.
Their action is said to be a contravention of the Money Laundering Act.
The cash was allegedly withdrawn by the Director of Finance, Government House, Fubara Siminalayei, Tonye Uranta, and Harisonba Princewill over the counter in suspicious manner.

One of the officials allegedly withdrew over N70billion in cash, about 129 times over a period of three years.
The Rivers State Government is alleged to be shielding them from reporting to the EFCC for interrogation.
The state government cites a perpetual injunction obtained in 2007 barring the EFCC from probing its accounts.
It was gathered that the cash withdrawals were made between 2015 and 2018 with Siminalayei alone allegedly collecting over N70billion over the counter about 35 times in 2016 and 94 times in 2017.

The same suspect allegedly withdrew N16.297billion from the bank in cash in 2015.
Some of the withdrawals over the counter include the following cash payments by Siminalayei: N750m((9/1/16); N830m(11/4/16);  N930m(11/7/16); N980m(10/11/16); N850m(7/11/2016); N980m(10/11/16); N550m(11/11/16); N700m (13/1/17); N680m(7/3/2017); N630m (12/5/17); N800m (2/1/2018);N500m(15/5/17); N750m(18/1/18); N760m(22/1/18);  and N925m(3/2/2018) among others.
Suspicious withdrawals linked to Uranta are: N522m on May 9, 2016; N1.3b (9/6.16); N500m (20/9/16); and N600m (22/9/16).
About N150million cash withdrawal was traced to Princewill on May 31, 2017.

A source said all the withdrawals were beyond the threshold set for cash transactions in the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011.
The source said the huge cash payments were made from the Government House account and the Federation Account Allocation remittances account domiciled in Zenith Bank.

Investigation revealed that Fubara Siminalayei was the Director of Finance in Government House when all these transactions took place.
The EFCC had requested for the accounts of the state government and profiled all those involved.

A top official of the EFCC, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “We went to the houses of these three officials to serve them invitation letters but they refused to collect it. The security guards in their personal residences said they were under instructions not to collect any letter from EFCC.

“Our team has been searching for them but we are yet to locate them.”
Asked why the officers have not reported for interrogation, the source added: “The state government has been referring to the March 23, 2007 ruling by Justice Ibrahim Nyaure Buba who granted all declarative and injunctive reliefs sought by the State Government.
“Rivers State claimed that the court order was explicit that the EFCC cannot probe the accounts of Rivers State Government and its officials. The state has remained adamant in its decision not to release the three suspects. It also claimed that it has filed a suit in court against the EFCC over the ongoing investigation.
“So far, our investigation continues. But we have interacted with some officials of Zenith Bank. We are probing whether or not the bank made Suspicious Transaction Report in line with Money Laundering   (Prohibition) Act 2011.

The Act reads  in part: “Special surveillance on certain transactions.
“6 (1) Where a transaction –
(a)                       Involves a frequency which is unjustifiable or unreasonable;
(b)                Is surrounded by conditions of unusual or unjustified complexity;
(c) Appears to have no economic justification or lawful objective; or
(d)                In the opinion of the Financial Institution or Designated Non-Financial Institution, involves terrorist financing or is inconsistent with the known transaction pattern of the account or business relationship, that transaction shall be deemed to be suspicious and the Financial Institution involved in such transaction shall seek information from the customer as to the origin and destination of the fund, the aim of the transaction and the identity of the beneficiary.

(2)   A Financial Institution or Designated Non-Financial Institution shall within 7 days after the transaction referred to in subsection (1) of this section –
(a)   draw up a written report containing all relevant information on (1) of this section together with the identity of the principal and where applicable, of the beneficiary or beneficiaries;
(b)   take appropriate action to prevent the laundering of the proceeds of a crime or an illegal act; and
(c)   send a copy of the report and action taken to the Commission.

(3)   The provisions of subsections (1) and (2) of this section shall apply whether the transaction is completed or not.

(4)   The Commission shall acknowledge receipt of any disclosure, report or information received under this section and may demand such additional information as it may deem necessary.

(5)(a)     The acknowledgement of receipt shall be sent to the Financial Institution or Designated Non-Financial Institution within the time allowed for the transaction to be undertaken and it may be accompanied by a notice deferring the transaction for a period not exceeding 72 hours.

(b)   Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subsection, the Chairman of the Commission, the Governor of the Central Bank or their authorized representative shall place a Stop Order, not exceeding 72 hours, on any account or transaction if it is discovered in the course of their duties that such account or transaction is suspected to be involved in any crime.

(6)   If the acknowledgement of receipt is not accompanied by a stop notice, or where the stop notice has expired and the order specified in subsection (7) of this section to block the transaction has not reached the Financial Institution or Designated Non-Financial Institution, it may carry out the transaction.

(7)   Where it is not possible to ascertain the origin of the funds within the period of stoppage of the transaction, the Federal High Court may, at the request of the commission, or others persons of authority duly authorised in that behalf, order that the funds, accounts or securities referred to in the report be blocked.

(8)   An order made by the Federal High Court under subsection (7) of the section shall be enforced forthwith.

“Limitation to make or accept cash payment.
1.  No. person or body corporate shall, except in a transaction through a financial institution, make or accept cash payment of a sum exceeding –
(a)                       5,000,000.00or its equivalent, in the case of an individual; or
(b)                N10,000,000.00 or its equivalent in the case of a body corporate.
2.  (1) A transfer to or from a foreign country of funds or securities by a person or body corporate including a Money Service Business of a sum exceeding US$10,000 or its equivalent shall be reported to the Central Bank of Nigeria, Securities Exchange Commission or the Commission in writing  within 7 days from the date of the transaction.

(2)   A report made under subsection (1) of this section shall indicate the nature and amount of the transfer, the names and addresses of the sender and the receiver of the funds or securities.”

Front page of “Daily Trust” newspaper of May 23, 2020:
Headline:      “BLUE-EYED DEAF AND DUMB:  MEET KEBBI’S UNIQUE
                     SIBLINGS.”
·        They need medical attention -  Experts.

“This is the story of three Kebbi siblings  who are amazingly, blue-eyed, but in a twist of fate, deaf and dumb.  Hailing from Sauwa in Kebbi State and having been married at the age of twelve, Bilikisu Aliyu, 35 bore seven children, (four males and three females).  Three out of them are blue-eyed, as well as being deaf and dumb.

The uniquely blue-eyed siblings, assist their mother by begging for alms to cater for their needs.  The youngest, seven-year-old Ummulkhairi, may be deaf and dumb but the little angel is capturing hearts with her blue eyes, and captivating many with her wide smile. 

For Bilikisu and her children, life has its ups and downs, but she is resolute in making sure to keep them safe.  But she faces a major challenge:
“We always have difficulty feeding.  We get by with menial jobs, begging and sometimes hawking,” she said tearfully.
According to an expert, it would appear that the children are suffering from a rare genetic condition called Waardenburg Syndrome (WS).”

Front page “Saturday Vanguard” newspaper of May 23, 2020
Headline:      “PAYING GOVERNORS, SPEAKERS, PENSIONS IS ILLEGAL,
              ANTI-PEOPLE”  -  Uzodima On Why He Repealed The Law.
“Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo state has explained that his government sponsored the bill on the repeal of Governors and Speakers Pensions and Privileges law of 2007 because it was illegal and designed to allow a few privileged people feed fat on the commonwealth of the people. He made the explanation yesterday at the government house Owerri where he assented to the bill repealing the Pensions law which was passed by the house of Assembly on Thursday

He said the law was against the Pensions act which stipulates that only those who have put in a minimum of 10 years in   public service where entitled to pensions, adding that former governors and Speakers stay in office for a maximum of eight years. He   also   wondered how the same people who collect fat severance allowances at the end of their tenure can turn around to be paid pensions as well. The governor said   “As a young state grappling with enormous challenges, it dawned on me that the Imo state Governors and Speakers Pensions and Privileges law No 5 of 2007 was a bad omen. At the age our Governors and Speakers are leaving office it will not be out of place to assume that many of them will be alive and kicking in the next 15 years or more. This will mean that by then the state will have more than 20 governors and Speakers qualified for   Pensions and Privileges

I was alarmed that the financial implications for the state will not only be scandalous but indefensible. My simple calculation told me that there could come a time when the state could be spending more than one third of its resources to maintain former Governors and Speakers” He continued   “the same Governors and Speakers also received severance allowances,   amounting to several millions of Naira, when they   disengage from office.

How then can the same category of former public office holders turn around to receive pensions?” Even more importantly the Pensions Act is very clear that only those who have served in the public service for a   minimum of 10 years are pensionable. Paying Governors, Speakers and their deputies who spend a maximum of eight years or less in office is actually criminal because it is   against the law of  the land.  It is noteworthy that I am supposed to benefit from this law when I leave office as governor. Yet I called for its repeal. This should leave no one in doubt that I   am acting in the best interest of our state and our people. I believe that those of us who have had the privilege of occupying exalted positions must be human enough to resist the temptation to feed fat from the lean resources of the state at the expense of the people. We must know when to say enough is enough “ Uzodimma said   he could not condone such a law, and that history and his conscience   will not forgive him if  he did not act in the interest of the people.  “I had no choice but to ask for its repeal as part of my   government’s recovery agenda. Yes, I needed   to recover the billions of public   funds that would have been lavished on a privileged few and plough it back to   the more important business of developing our state.” Meanwhile,  The visitation panel to the Imo state University Teaching Hospital, IMSUTH, led by  Professor Frank Akpuaka, has described the N148 million wage of IMSUTH, as “bloated”. The panel, therefore, called on Governor Hope Uzodinma, to look into the activities of the management that led to such amount as wage bill.

Vanguard gathered yesterday in Owerri, that the revelation was made when  Akpuaka, alongside his members, submitted their report on IMSUTH to Uzodinma at government House. According to Uzodinma regretted the non accreditation of the College of Medicine since inception of the school and  attributed that to sheer negligence by the past School Administrations and past governments. The governor said: It will no longer be business as usual for contractors and individuals who take advantage of the administrative lapses in the institution to set back the wheel of progress of the hospital.” Part of the advice and findings of the  Akpuaka panel as submitted to the governor stated was canvassing  for improved IGR, automation of the Accounts Department as the panel discovered that the institution maintained 23 Bank accounts, when only 10 were active and advised on the need to  reduce the number of bank accounts to guard against fraud. “The Panel suggested the need to implement Procurement laws, especially as it concerns award of contracts and the need for Staff audit to reduce the level of ghost-worker syndrome, which they feared could have been responsible for the bloated wage bill of N148m a month when the school’s IGR is only N15m-N20m per month.” Part of the  challenges of the institution include; “Poor roads, poor funding, infrastructural decay, inability to retain staff, and non  accreditation by the National Universities Commission (NUC), which has resulted in non-admission of medical students for the past four years.”

Back page headline of “Saturday Vanguard” newspaper of May 23, 2020.
“ONDO COURT STOPS 16-YEAR OLD SCHOOLGIRL’S FORCED
MARRIAGE TO ISLAMIC CLERIC AS THE NINTH WIFE.”

“An Ondo state   family Court in Akure has quashed a forced marriage of a 16 year old Secondary School girl to  an Islamic Cleric with eight wives, Alhaji Yusuf Lateef. Lateef, who is an Ore based cleric was about to make the girl who was 15 last year as his ninth wife.

The three man panel led by Justice Aderemi Adegoroye ordered the return of the girl to her family for proper care and education and warned Lateef to stay away from her. Saturday Vanguard gathered that Alhaji Lateef had approached the girl’s parents and sought her hand in marriage in 2019. The girls parents reportedly accepted the proposal of the Islamic cleric despite protest from the girl. She thereafter fled their Ore home on the day fixed for the marriage with support from her brother to Akure, the state capital. The victim was said to have been advised by symphatisers to lodge a complaint with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development. Saturday Vanguard learnt that she was sheltered by the Ministry which liaised with the Justice Ministry to file a legal action to stop the marriage.

Consequently, Alhaji Lateef and the girl’s parents were arraigned at the Family Court for breaching Part three of the 2007 Ondo State Child Rights Law. The court after listening to the defendants ruled that the girl be returned to her parents and Alhaji Lateef be made to sign an undertaking to stay away from her as well as ensure no harm comes her way. Also, the Cleric was warned by the court to stay away from the teenager henceforth. Reacting, the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Titilola Adeyemi, said the courts verdict was “victory for children in the state. “We are excited the matter has gone that way. That will be a warning to everybody that it is no to child marriage in Ondo State. Child marriage is denying a child her future. We must make sure we work for the child to realise her future.” The girl who said she intended to further her education as well as be a good woman in the future was handed back to her parents after staying away from them for one month.

Front page of “The Punch” newspaper on  May 17, 2020
Headline:      “I DIDN’T JOIN POLITICS BECAUSE I WANTED TO BE
                     A LEADER OR BECAUSE I WANTED TO SOLVE NIGERIA’S
                     PROBLEMS.  I JOINED BECAUSE OF UNEMPLOYMENT
-         Mr. Rotimi Amaechi
      Minister of Transportation
“Nigeria’s politics is not something one would want one’s child to go into because there are no rules as one can be easily destroyed, and this is because it is a man-eat-man world.  Young men, who God used one to help rise in politics (in Rivers State) are now turning against one.  There is a lot of betrayal.  One has to be a hard man to survive the betrayals in Nigerian politics.  Imagine some one you used to sleep on the same bed with and have given both financial and political assistance to, selling you out because of his ambition.  One of them said he helped make me !!”

BYE FOR NOW

“I am extremely sorry my brothers and sisters to inform you that the best decision I ever made in my life was to leave Nigeria. This should not be so but it is my reality.

If I hadn't left Nigeria, I would not have realised that Nigeria is not a normal place for humans to reside. I would have still believed that Nigeria is a great country, as the crooks often inform us via the Nigerian state-sponsored media outfits.
I have visited over 40 countries including the Arab world. Everywhere I visit, it is often the same: clean, organised, calm, secured and functional. Exactly the way normal human beings should live their lives.

If I did not leave Nigeria, how could I have known that good roads are no big deals? At the sight of a good road in Nigeria, we celebrate it. In other countries, nobody celebrates good roads because they are normal standards. The gulf states were deserts in the 70s. They were still travelling on camels in the 70s. Go there today. They have roads better than those in Europe and America.

If I did not leave Nigeria, how could I have known that I do not have to spend a kobo to be seen by a doctor when I am sick. In Nigeria, I must buy an expensive card first (whether at a government or private hospital).
Nothing is working appropriately in Nigeria.

If I did not leave Nigeria, how could I have known that mosquito bites (the source of malaria) are not normal events and should not be accepted.

If I did not leave Nigeria, how could I have known that it is abnormal to buy meat and other food items infested by flies? The main source of Typhoid fever.
If I did not leave Nigeria, how could I have known that there are places on this planet with 247 electricity and water supply all year round in every household. Even the desert of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar have 247 water supply in every home. Yet Nigeria is surrounded by water.

Landline telephones are still functional in many countries.
Even the NTA (the national television station of Nigeria) does not have good quality pictures. I used to believe that this was normal. Ordinary good TV pictures in the 21st century? Everything has refused to function properly in Nigeria.

If I did not leave Nigeria, how could I have known that connection to the internet via wifi could be free. In Nigeria, I must buy data to access the internet. Access to the internet is no big deal at all in most countries.

If I did not leave Nigeria, how could I have known that so many countries provide free healthcare and education to citizens. In the UK, my children don't have to pay a kobo to go to school.

In Nigeria, we have over 30 million almajiris out of school. These kids are going to grow up with no skills other than begging and violence. They are ticking time bombs waiting to explode in the next 20 years or so.

Nigeria has petroleum but no single functional refinery. Nigeria has petroleum but no good roads. Nigeria has petroleum but no electricity.

In Zamfara, there are just 14 medical doctors looking after every 14,000 persons. Every doctor wants to leave Nigeria given the opportunity.

If I did not leave Nigeria, how could I have known that the non-payment of salaries for several months is illegal and unlawful. Even the poorest of the poor pay their workers. Nigeria is a cruel geographical space. Note that I referred to Nigeria as a geographical space and not a nation.

When some of us complain, they say we are third class abroad and washing plates for the white men. You see how suffering and smiling have damaged the psyche of an average Nigerian? Who told you that we are all washing plates abroad? Don't you know that there are millions of black African medical doctors and other professionals in various parts of the world outside Nigeria?

In conclusion, someone like me would want to bring home everything that I am enjoying in other countries. Someone like me does not wish to hand over a failed state to my children. For these reasons, I will not stop complaining until Nigeria is totally restructured or dismantled.
Having seen so many other countries, I can confirm that the problem is nothing else but Nigeria itself.

Nigeria must be dismantled in order to free us to attain our highest potentials. We cannot remain the laughing stock of the world forever.
Those who still wish to remain in the dark are free to do so.
As for me and my family, we have chosen the restoration of Biafra where we shall hold responsible every public servant that steals public funds.
-         Dr Maduka C Ogwueleka”

Charles F. Kettering:

“You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.”

Charles Franklin Kettering (August 29, 1876 – November 25, 1958) sometimes known as Charles "Boss" Kettering was an American inventor, engineer, businessman, and the holder of 186 patents. He was a founder of Delco, and was head of research at General Motors from 1920 to 1947. Among his most widely used automotive developments were the electrical starting motor and leaded gasoline. In association with the DuPont Chemical Company, he was also responsible for the invention of Freon refrigerant for refrigeration and air conditioning systems. At DuPont he also was responsible for the development of Duco lacquers and enamels, the first practical colored paints for mass-produced automobiles. While working with the Dayton-Wright Company he developed the "Bug" aerial torpedo, considered the world's first aerial missile. He led the advancement of practical, lightweight two-stroke diesel engines, revolutionizing the locomotive and heavy equipment industries. In 1927, he founded the Kettering Foundation, a non-partisan research foundation. He was featured on the cover of Time magazine on January 9, 1933.


- Bashorun J.K. Randle is a former, President of the Institute of the Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and former Chairman of KPMG Nigeria and Africa Region. He is currently the Chairman, JK Randle Professional Services

      


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