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Lai Mohammed To Appear In Court Over N2.5bn NBC Fraud Case |The Republican News

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Olufemi Atoyebi, Abuja

The immediate-past Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, will appear before a Federal High Court in Abuja over his role in the payment of N2.5bn by the National Broadcasting Commission for the Federal Government Digital Switch-Over programme.

According to a statement signed by the spokesperson for the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, Rasheedat Okoduwa, the ICPC had filed 12 counts before Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa, against the Director General of NBC, Modibbo Kawu, the Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited, Lucky Omoluwa, and the Chief Operating Officer of the company, Dipo Onifade.

He added that the NBC DG misled the former minister into approving government funds to a private company.

The ICPC is also prosecuting Kawu over alleged abuse of office and money laundering.

The commission said, “The former minister’s involvement had come under questioning following discovery by the ICPC during investigations, that a government White Paper that governs the execution of the DSO programme was allegedly flouted by the head of the NBC.

“Mohammed had however admitted in a statement to the commission that he was misled by Kawu, as opined in court by a witness from the ICPC, Osanato Olugbemi. Olugbemi, led in evidence by counsel for the ICPC, Henry Emore, also told the court that the payment of N2.5bn from the NBC to Pinnacle Communications Limited as seed grant was suspicious because only government-owned company was approved to benefit from the grant according to the White Paper.

“The court also heard that the processes that led to the final payment of the fund to the private company were shrouded in secrecy as revealed by the minutes of an NBC emergency board management meeting where issues of carriage fees owed Pinnacle and not seed grant was discussed.”

The statement said 47 suspicious transactions were originated by the chairman of Pinnacle Communications, Omoluwa, immediately after the receipt of the funds on June 2, 2017.

“The transactions include payments of N363m to one Idowu Olatunde, N274.4m to one James Segun and N127 m to Onifade. Onifade explained that he received the money as legal fee he rendered to the company.

“A Bureau de change operator, Salisu Daura, who also testified in court, said he received N167m in two installments of N97m and N70m. Daura added that the sums were converted into $265,000 and $195,735 at the rate of N360 to US dollar, and handed the cash to one Alhaji Sabo, supposedly on behalf of Pinnacle Communications,” the commission noted. (Punch)

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Atiku Alerts Public Of Plots To Link Him To Stage-managed Killings, Wants Lai Arrested

PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar
**Wants Lai Mohammed arrested for security breach

Olalekan Adetayo and Olusola Fabiyi

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday, raised the alarm over alleged plan by some people to cause crisis in parts of the country and accuse him of being responsible for the skirmishes.

He said the plan, being spearheaded by “unscrupulous and anti-democratic elements,” for coming weeks, was aimed at smearing his personality.

Atiku made the allegation in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja by his media adviser, Paul Ibe.

He said the strategy was for some people to be apprehended for causing skirmishes and be made to mention Atiku and some members of the PDP as their sponsors.

The former Vice President also called for the arrest of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for his unsubstantiated allegation against him.

The statement read, “We wish to blow the whistle as an early warning alert of the grandiose scheme being put together by some unscrupulous elements aimed at jeopardising the reputation of His Excellency Atiku Abubakar in the coming days and weeks.

“By the merit of what is beginning to unfold, there are plans to create some upset across the country whereby alleged perpetrators of such crimes will engage in phantom dropping of name of Atiku Abubakar and some senior personalities in the Peoples Democratic Party.

“Already, we are abreast of some other plans to plant fictitious stories in some mushroom media outlets aimed at discrediting Atiku and his political party, the PDP.

“It therefore becomes preponderant that we alert the public to this demonic plan and to say that it will be imprudent to compromise the peace and security of Nigerians in order to score a cheap political goal.

“Towards this end, and for the umpteenth time, we call on the Federal Government to be awake to its responsibilities of providing security and ensuring peace, and to desist from actions and utterances that are capable of exposing our fault lines.

“It is very unsettling that senior administration officials, especially those who are the mouthpiece of government will make reckless but calculated comments to tarnish the image of Atiku Abubakar and government will sit idly on it.

“With the conclusion reached by relevant security outfits that there is no proof to back the claim by Lai Mohammed that the opposition was planning to upstage the government, we demand that the information minister should be arrested for a breach of security and an apology tendered to Atiku Abubakar and the PDP.”

In its reaction, the Federal Government said the former Vice-President should have nothing to fear.

It said only the guilty were always afraid.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohamed, who spoke to one of our correspondents on the matter, said he would not say more than that.

“On Atiku’s statement, I guess the former Vice-President must have been reading, in recent times, James Hadley Chase’s 1957 thriller entitled. ‘The Guilty are Afraid.’ That’s all I have to say.”

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Buhari Will Tackle Corruption ‘Frontally’ In His Second Term – Lai Mohammed

Lai-Mohammed

Minister Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

 
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has assured the international community that President Muhammadu Buhari’s new administration will be more determined in the fight against corruption.
 
Mr Mohammed, who gave the assurance in Washington D.C., in an interview with the Voice of America (VOA), said the president will not compromise his anti-corruption programmes and policies.
 
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the minister is in Washington to engage international media and think tank, promote and reiterate the successes of President Buhari’s administration.
 
In the interview anchored in English by Aliyu Mustapha of the VOA Hausa service, the minister said that the anti-corruption fight would be frontal in the agenda of the government “because corruption is one of the major causes of poverty and underdevelopment in the country.”
 
He recalled a saying by President Buhari that “if we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill us’ and reiterated the government’s commitment to the fight.
 
“The president is committed to the fight against corruption and the administration will continue with it.
 
“For example, the Treasury Single Account has instituted accountability in government‘s earnings and spendings and the whistleblower policy has led to the recovery of billions of naira.
 
“It takes more than four years to clean a country endemic in corruption. However, it is on record that this administration has driven corruption under the carpet in four years.
 
“In the next four years, therefore, the government will consolidate on the achievements recorded particularly in the fight against corruption,” he said.
 
Pervasive Insecurity
 
Speaking on insecurity, the minister said that the administration would apply multi-dimensional approach besides deployment of forces.
 
He said the government was not unaware of other remote causes of the crises in the affected areas including economic and social reasons, non-inclusiveness, lack of infrastructure and job opportunities.
 
The minister noted that the administration had performed well in addressing insecurity and the country is safer than it was in 2015.
 
Specifically, he said the government had successfully secured the entire territory of the country from the Boko Haram while the farmers/herdsmen clash in Benue had been curtailed.
 
Mr Mohammed said the fight against banditry, killings and banditry in Zamfara and Kaduna has “been put under control” in the last two weeks because of the synergy among the security forces.
 
He assured that the government will continue to strengthen partnership on the regional and international levels in addressing the challenges.
 
The minister also said that the administration has made progress in economic recovery with deliberate programmers of diversifying the economy through agriculture and other sectors, as well as developing infrastructure.
 
Well deserved electoral victory
 
Speaking on the general elections, the minister said President Buhari’s victory was well deserved and represented “the triumph of the ordinary Nigerians over the elite”.
 
He said having delivered on his electoral promises, the people voted for Mr Buhari and he won the elections fairly and squarely, with about four million votes.
 
He also said with the wide margin of winning, the government did not envisage “any attempt to delegitimise the will of the people”.
 
Mr Buhari’s main challenger at the polls, Atiku Abubakar, of the Peoples Democratic Party is already in court seeking to upturn the outcome of the elections.
(NAN)
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I Owe My Appointment To Buhari, Not Saraki – Lai Mohammed |The Republican News

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says he owes his appointment as minister to President Muhammadu Buhari and no one else.

In a statement issued on Monday in Abuja, the minister said it was “laughable’’ that anyone would seek to take credit for his appointment.

Mohammed was reacting to a statement by Dr. Doyin Okupe the Special Adviser (Media) to the Director-General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, in which he gave credit to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki for the minister’s appointment.

The minister said that the entire statement by Okupe, “is nothing but fiction writing, for which he deserves a hall of infamy award (in the fiction writing segment).

“Not one of the claims he made in his statement is true.’’

Mohammed challenged Okupe to make available to Nigerians any evidence he might have to support his assertion that the President sought the permission of Saraki to appoint him as minister.

“We understand that Dr. Okupe’s cheap attempt at mud-throwing is nothing but a proxy fight, rooted deeply in the politics of Kwara State.

“We are aware that Okupe’s boss is feeling the heat emanating from the `O To Ge’ (enough is enough) movement in Kwara.

“ And that even the strongest of men will become disoriented and disillusioned at losing the support of a people who once venerated them to high heavens.

“But that is a self-inflicted wound for which Okupe’s boss, an acclaimed slave master, has no one but himself to blame,’’ Mohammed said.

The minister said he was very proud to lead the ‘O To Ge’ movement that is set to finally bring down the Berlin Wall of political hegemony in
Kwara State and send Okupe’s boss into political oblivion.

He said the movement will also free Okupe himself from merely being his master’s voice, so he can fully devote his time to his new-found pastime – fiction writing.  (The Sun)

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It’s Idiotic To Say Buhari Is Cloned, Says FG |The Republican News

FILE PHOTO: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

 

The Federal Government has reacted to those claiming that President Muhammadu Buhari was cloned.

It described such talk as idiotic and that such people peddling the rumour were not worthy of getting government reaction.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said these in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Thursday.

His response followed questions that the Federal Government should clear the air on the allegation.

Recall that there were insinuations that the President was cloned and that the man who is presiding over the affairs of the country is one Jibrin from either Sudan or Chad.

The rumour followed the miraculous recovery of the President when he was sick about two years ago.

Mohammed said, “It is idiotic to say the President is cloned. I don’t see any serious government responding to that.

“So, the same Jibrin  that was cloned from Sudan or Chad is in Chad now? Isn’t that stupid?

“They even said he is from Chad. Yet, the same President is in Chad as we speak. The same Jibrin is remembering what the President did while in Petroleum Trust Fund and he is also remembering what he did when he was head of state between 1983 and 1985.

“All the ministers do not know who is before them when they attend the Federal Executive Council meeting? The President remembers memos he had seen or heard about in 1985 and we say he is cloned.

“So, Jibril from Chad or Sudan will now remember all of these? It is too silly for the government to respond to this.  It must be ignored.”   (Punch)

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Criticise But Don’t Denigrate Buhari, Lai Mohammed Tells Media |The Republican News

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said while the media is free to criticise President Muhammadu Buhari, they should not denigrate him or his office.

The minister said this in Abuja on Thursday when he visited the Peoples Daily Newspapers, in continuation of his national campaign against fake news, which started in July.

Mohammed said in the rush to criticise Buhari and his government, some mainstream media platforms had resorted to the use of uncouth language to denigrate the President and his office.

He said, “In fact, fake news has taken another dimension. Now, it is not uncommon for otherwise respectable media organisations to accuse the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without backing up their accusation with an iota of evidence.

“The latest of such occurred two days ago, when a newspaper wrote an editorial in which it resorted to the use of uncouth language to denigrate the President on the farmers-herders clashes and other issues.

‘’In their eagerness to make the President unpopular, they forget that the President is the living symbol of the nation, and that by denigrating him, they are denigrating the country, including themselves.”

Mohammed said because of the impressive performance of the Buhari administration, the critics knew they could not take on the government on issues of performance, hence their resort to fake news.

Mohammed said, “They are unrelenting, because fake news is the only weapon they have against a performing administration like ours.”

“They know they cannot take on us on the issue of infrastructure, economy, fight against corruption, agricultural development, etc. They have, therefore, resorted to using fake news to make our administration unpopular. Thankfully, they are failing.”

In his remarks, the Chief Operating Officer of the Peoples Daily Newspapers, Mr Hameed Bello, described as very strategic Mohammed’s decision to rally the media in furtherance of the Federal Government’s campaign against fake news.    (Punch)

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We’re Elected To Develop Infrastructure, Not Share Money – Lai Mohammed

 The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed,

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says the promise of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to Nigerians is to develop infrastructure that will uplift living standard but not to share money.

The minister said this in Tatabu village, near Mokwa in Niger state while inspecting the reconstructed and rehabilitated Ilorin-Jebba- Mokwa road project.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the 93.6 km road project, now completed, included the total reconstruction of Ilorin to Jebba axis and rehabilitation of failed portions from Jebba to Mokwa.

NAN also reports that the Ilorin-Jebba road is part of the Lagos- Algiers road called Trans Sahara roads which cut across West and North Africa.

In Nigeria, the road connects the South-West geo-geographical zone to the Northern part of the country.

Addressing newsmen who accompanied him on the inspection, the minister said that the government was aware of complaints of no money by many Nigerians.

He said the administration preferred to invest in infrastructure that would have ripple effects on the economy than sharing money to people and political stooges like the previous administration did.

“Yes, people are complaining of no money and high cost of living, but I want to tell you that it would have been worse today but for the massive infrastructure development this government is investing on.

“When people make these complaints, they easily forget that for 16 years, one political party was in power, sharing money when this road became completely failed.

“APC in three years has fixed this road to this level. I think it speaks for itself.

“Before now, it takes about five days for trucks to move from Ilorin to Jebba. Today, it takes only two hours.

“Today on this road, you can see free movement of goods and services which is the beginning of the revival of the economy,’’ he said.

According to him, we are not a government that will share money like what others did which put the country in a mess.

“This government believes in investing in infrastructure because if you get this right, it will translate to wealth creation.

“Let us take for instance if this road contract costs N10 billion and we share it to political stooges in this area at N1 million each, we will only give 1,000 people and there will be no road.

“At the long run, those that we share the money to will join in abusing the government of non-performance.

“On our part, we will rather slowly and painstakingly revive our economy through infrastructure development and we have a lot of stories to tell on this.’’

According to Mohammed, Nigerians should thank God that they have an administration that is focussed and investing in infrastructure.

He said the government would not be distracted but remained focused in the development of infrastructure to better the lives of the people.

The minister recalled that the road project was awarded by the previous administration in 2013 and work was supposed to have commenced in 2014.

He said when the Buhari administration came into power, the project was only 15 per cent completed.

Asked whether the government would toll the road to raise money for its completion to Birnin-Gwari in Kaduna and for its dualisation, Mohammed said, not all roads could be tolled.

“This matter came up at the last Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting and we agreed that not all roads could be tolled.

“The idea of tolling roads is to recoup the expenses on the construction and make them sustainable.

“A study is being compiled and at the end of it, it will be decided on what roads to toll and which not,’’ he said.

Earlier, Mr Atitebi Wasiu, who conducted the minister and his entourage on the inspection said the substantial part of the heavy traffic on the road was caused by heavily loaded trucks due to the import and export of goods through Lagos port.

Wasiu, the Federal Controller of Works, Kwara, said the average daily traffic for trucks only on the road was about 7,500 while light vehicles accounted for about 7000.

He said most of the vehicles abandoned the road before the rehabilitation took place.

“The road which was constructed since over 30 years ago was abandoned by motorists for not less than 10 years due to its complete collapse.

“Those trucks which had no alternative were spending three to five days to transit this 93,6km road from Ilorin to Jebba before the eventual intervention of the Federal Government,” he said.

The engineer said the quality of the project carried out by Messrs CGC Nig. Ltd was of international standard and the lifespan was 20 years.

He also disclosed that the contract for the dualisation of the road had been awarded and work would commence in the next three weeks.

“The dualisation is awarded to the same contractor from Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa at the total contract sum of N130 billion.

“The Kwara state section of the dualisation is awarded at N80 billion, while the Niger state section is about N50 billion,” he said.

(NAN)

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How FG Is Spending Abacha Loot – Lai Mohammed|The Republican News

Lai-Mohammed

Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said that the money recovered from the late military ruler, Gen. Sani Abacha, is not being shared to the poor and vulnerable as widely believed.

Rather, he said, the money is being deployed in the financing of Federal Government’s social investment programmes comprising four components

He described as “mischievous” the insinuations that the government would share to the poor the Abacha loot repatriated by the Swiss Government.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mohammed said this on Monday when he paid an official visit to the Abuja office of The Authority newspaper.

“When the first tranche of Abacha loot was paid under former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Swiss Government found out that the money was re-looted by those in the administration.

“So, when they wanted to release the next tranche, they put the condition that it must be used for the most vulnerable Nigerians.

“We said there is no problem. It is the money we are using to finance our social investment programmes comprising four components,” the minister said.

Mohammed further said that 8.5 million pupils in government schools across the country are currently being fed under the Home Grown Feeding Programme.

Similarly, he said, over 400,000 families are being paid stipends of N5,000 every month under the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme.

“The beauty of this programme is that it is being done in collaboration with the World Bank.

“It is the World Bank and various agencies that determine the beneficiaries and who are the most vulnerable Nigerians,’’

Mohammed said that part of the money was being used to finance the employment of young graduates through the N-POWER programme.

He said that no fewer than 200,000 people had been employed in the first batch and another 200,000 would be resuming very soon.

“The fourth is the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme whereby market women, craft people etc., are given loan between N50,000 and N100,000

“So, when we say this money is being used for the poor people, it is not as if we are sharing it to poor people in the states,’’ he said.

Mohammed said the Buhari administration would remain accountable and committed to the welfare of the common people.

(NAN)

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Buhari Has Power To Issue Executive Order 6 – Lai Mohammed |RN

Lai-Mohammed

Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Chukwudi Nweje

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that President Muhammadu Buhari has the power to issue Executive Order Number 6.

Besides, Mohammed described the Executive Order as the administration’s most potent weapon against corruption.

The minister stated this at a press conference in Lagos, on Sunday, where he explained that section 5 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, which extends to the execution and maintenance of the constitution, all laws made by the National Assembly, mandated president Buhari to abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power, and challenged those opposed to it to go court.

‘’The truth is that, having realised the potency of the Order in giving muscle to the fight against corruption, which, by the way, is one of the three cardinal programmes of our administration, the corrupt and their cohorts have become jittery. They have every reason to be. Henceforth, it won’t be business as usual.

“For those who claim that the Executive Order Number 6 is dictatorial, it is clear they have not even read it. Section 3 (i) of the Order states that any person who alleges that his rights have been violated, are being or are likely to be contravened by any of the provision of this Executive Order, may apply to a competent court in his jurisdiction for redress,’’ said Mohammed.

Last week, the National Assembly urged the president to suspend its implementation, having noted that it is similar to Decree 2 of 1984.

Regardless, Mohammed noted that executive orders are neither new to Nigeria nor will president Buhari be the first to sign them. “In 1980, then President Shehu Shagari issued an Executive Order to modify the Public Order Act. This was unsuccessfully challenged in court by then governors of Ogun and Borno states and, in 1999, then President Olusegun Obasanjo issued executive orders to abolish the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) and to proclaim May 29 as Democracy Day”, he said.

According to the minister, the war against corruption must be won, in order to free resources for the nation’s development. He also noted that it is the new measure became necessary to “re-kit and re-tool’’ the administration’s arsenal to effectively tackle corruption.

Mohammed said even in the United States of America, after which Nigeria’s presidential system of government is fashioned, presidents, starting from George Washington to Donal Trump, have used Executive Orders to shape policies.

“George Washington, who was president of the US from 1789 to 1797, issued eight Executive Orders. Franklin Roosevelt (1933-1945) issued 3,522 Executive Orders; Barack Obama (2008-2016) issued 275 in eight years; Bill Clinton (1993-2001) 364 and current President Donald Trump, 80 so far. Recently, the US Supreme Court upheld, 5-4, President Trump’s indefinite ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, That ban was the result of an Executive Order.’’

The minister hailed president Buhari for showing uncommon courage and leadership by unveiling Nigeria’s most potent tool against corruption and appealed to Nigerians to support the administration’s efforts to tackle the cankerworm of corruption.

Executive Order No. 6 of 2018 aims to, among others, restrict dealings in suspicious assets, subject to investigation or inquiry bordering on corruption in order to preserve such assets from dissipation, and to deprive alleged criminals of the proceeds of their illicit activities which can otherwise be employed to allure, pervert and/or intimidate the investigative and judicial processes.  (The Sun)

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I’m Unaware Of Court Directive On Impeachment Against Buhari – Lai Mohammed

e846a-lai-mohammed3-690x450

Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday, said he was not aware of an order of mandamus granted by a court for the National Assembly to begin impeachment process against President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mohammed said this while answering questions from State House correspondents at the end of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Related: Court Orders National Assembly To Begin Impeachment Process Against Buhari

“I’m just hearing it from you. I will have to read it myself,” the minister said.

A Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo, Osun state, presided over by Justice Maureen Onyetenu, had on Wednesday given the order in a motion filed before her by the Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association, Ilesa branch, Mr Kanmi Ajibola; and a human rights activist, Mr Suleiman Adeniyi.   (Punch)

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