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N20bn bailout fund: Make your findings public, Kogi tells EFCC

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Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi State
Kogi state Governor, Yahaya Bello
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The Kogi  Government has dared the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to make public,  report of its investigations on the purported N20 billion bailout fund fraud.

The EFCC in August,  alleged that the N19.3 billion Kogi bailout fund domiciled in Sterling Bank, had been partly misappropriated and the state account frozen on orders of a Lagos High Court.

The News Agency of Njgeria (NAN) recalls that the EFCC  on Friday, withdrew its suit, seeking  forfeiture of  the N20 billion bailout fund.

However, Kogi government  had  kicked against the withdrawal by the EFCC,  charging the anti-graft body to make its findings on the fund public.

In a statement, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, the state government said  the EFCC despite the withdrawal, should be able to provide  facts of  its investigations.

He also urged Nigerians to ask the EFCC in whose custody it found a part of the bailout fund said to have been dissipated.

Fanwo insisted that the alleged sum of N19.3 billion which Sterling Bank had undertaken to the EFCC to transfer to the Central Bank of Nigeria,  does not belong to the Kogi  government, and that the state did not enter into any agreement, either with Sterling Bank or the EFCC, to return any bailout fund to the CBN as being portrayed.

“It is our belief that the  withdrawal of the suit by the EFCC without informing the Court of the facts,  is a deliberate and face-saving effort by the commission,    all in a bid to ‘nail’ at all cost, the Kogi government and tarnish its image,” Fanwo said.

He said  the EFCC violated an earlier order of the court, as it failed to report its findings to the court, rather it unceremoniously withdrew the suit, without facts of its investigation   to the court and the public.

According to him, residents of Kogi  and indeed Nigerians at large,  should rather ask the EFCC to publish on its official platforms,  the report of its investigation as to the ownership of the said sum of N19,333,333,333.36,  and the whereabouts of the sum of N666,666,666.64, which they alleged had been dissipated.

The commissioner further said: “Nigerians should further ask the EFCC whether a commercial bank can  simply undertake to transfer a customer’s money from the customers’ account without the order of any court mandating such transfer or a forfeiture?

“Nigerians also deserve to know what becomes of the criminal allegation that the EFCC made,  when it informed the Federal High Court that the sum of N666,666,666.64  out of the N20 billion bailout loan had been dissipated and that same was being traced.

”Nigerians will  want to know if the EFCC has found the money, if so, in whose custody was it found? Have charges been preferred against the custodian of the said funds.

”Or has the EFCC also abandoned that chase? Nigerians deserve to know the truth.

“We have as of October 2019,  fully disbursed our bailout funds and are already religiously repaying the loan to Sterling Bank Plc,” he  clarified.

The government spokesman said that  concealing these inalienable facts of the matter would be  misleading and unethical.

“Finally, while we reserve all our legal rights against the EFCC, we reiterate our demand for an unreserved apology from the EFCC as contained in our letter to the Chairman of the EFCC on  Sept. 6.

“We hope the EFCC will honour the said demand to regain the trust of Nigerians,” Fanwo said.

He disclosed that the Kogi  government had, as revealed in freshly published documents, sought further clarifications from Sterling Bank to drive home its innocence in the matter.

The commissioner said:  “Buoyed by the strength of our innocence, the Kogi  government on Oct. 4, wrote to Sterling Bank, seeking further clarifications on the contentious account. The Bank did not only reinforce their earlier stance that the account is a Mirror Account; it also made it unequivocally clear that the Kogi  government has nothing to do with the opening or operation of the account.

“All of these facts are in their reply received by the Kogi  government on Oct. 5.

‘”The state government again urges  the  commission to tender public apology to it  and refrain from  measures that can  further damage the image of the nation,”  Fanwo said. (NAN)

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APC primary: No cause for alarm – Oyetola’s aide

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Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola
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Expresses confidence that Appeal court will set it aside

The Chief Press Secretary to Osun Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, Ismail Omipidan, has appealed to supporters of the governor to remain calm in the face of the decision of a Federal High Court to nullify his candidature in the July 16 Governorship poll.

He noted that their team of lawyers would be challenging the decision at the Appeal Court, just as he expressed confidence that the decision would be set aside.

Omipidan further noted that the case was instituted by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in spite of the fact there is a plethora of decisions flowing from the apex court that frowns upon such a decision.

He said that, for the records, the position of the law is that only members of the APC who participated in the primary election can approach the court to challenge the nomination of Oyetola as the candidate of the party.

“All these are part of the antics of the opposition PDP and some of their collaborators from within to distract us. But like every of their plans, this too has fallen flat on their faces.

“They want to distract us from the Tribunal case. But we shall remain focused until we take back our mandate. We have confidence in the Tribunal to do justice in the case before it, just as we have implicit confidence in the Appeal Court to set aside this latest decision of the Federal High Court,” Omipidan said.

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Nigeria @ 62: Southern Senators To Houses of Assembly, Speed up Review of Constitution Amendment

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Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele
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The Southern Senators’ Forum has asked the State Houses of Assembly across the nation to expedite action on the Review of the 1999 Constitution as transmitted to them by the National Assembly, adding that this would be an Independence anniversary gift to Nigerians if done as such.

The Chairman of the Forum , Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, made this known in a statement issued on the occasion of the commemoration of the 62nd Independence anniversary. Bamidele said he is optimistic that most of the challenges facing the nation will be a thing of the past if the salient report becomes law.

Bamidele also urged Nigerians to be optimistic about the future of the nation, notwithstanding the enormity of our current challenges, adding that there is yet light at the end of the tunnel if we have faith in God and take the much needed steps.

He pointed out that just like the political office holders and public servants in general, every citizen has a role to play in the nation building process and with determination, faith and persistence, Nigerians will surely witness a new Nigeria which is headed for growth and development and that is devoid of violence, hostilities, and acrimony.

The statement reads, ” As we celebrate 62nd Independence anniversary of our great nation, I will like to implore the State Houses of Assembly across the Federation to expedite action on the passage of the Review of the 1999 Constitution as transmitted to them by the National Assembly, because some of the problems facing the people of Nigeria are already being addressed in the amendment draft transmitted to the State Houses Assembly.

” The speedy passage of the amendment will serve as the most cherished and memorable anniversary gift you can give to the electorates who reposed confidence in you by voting you as their representatives in the Houses Assembly.

” We must also know that the process of nation building is a collective responsibility of both the leaders and followers in order for us to have the nation of our desire and Nigerians should continue to hope for greater future and with determination, faith and persistence, Nigerians will surely see a nation devoid of banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, ethnic hostilities and acrimony.

” Nigerians should not succumb their future in the hands of the pessimists who are always craving for negative news in the country, but put their trust in God, for He will surely see us through our challenges as a nation”.

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Senator Opeyemi Bamidele Bags National Honour

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Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele
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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved conferment of national honour on the Senator representing Ekiti Central, in the the current Ninth National Assembly, Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele.

The National Honours ceremony is billed for October 11, 2022 in Abuja

This was disclosed in a statement released by Senator Bamidele’s media office , stating that the Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary is listed among the recipients of the 2022 National Honour Award of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).

The letter conveyed the award was signed by the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-government Affairs, Senator George Akume signed on September 16, 2022.

The letter from the Minister reads, ““I have the honour to formally inform you that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved the conferment of the National Honours on you, in the rank of CON, Commander of the Order of the Niger.

“The ceremony is scheduled to take place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Tuesday, October 11, 2022 at 9am.”

Bamidele is the Chairman of Southern , Senator Forum, and was in House of Representatives between June 2011 to June 2015). He served as Honorable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos State (July 2007 to February 2011), Honourable Commissioner for Youths, Sports and Social Development, Lagos State (July 2003 to May 2007, Special Adviser to the Governor on Political and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Lagos State (July 2000 to May 2003).

Bamidele obtained law degree in the University of Benun and graduated from the Nigerian Law School, he was called to the bar in 1992. He then proceeded to Franklin Pierce University where he received a master’s degree in law and was called to the New York Bar in January 1999.

Among the bills sponsored by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele is a bill for the Establishment of the Federal University of Medical and Environmental sciences in Ekiti. Also, his Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Establishment Act Amendment Bill of 2021, seeking to strengthen and extend the life of AMCON, has already been assented to by President Buhari.

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