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Lai Mohammed Caught In 10 Billion Naira Fraud Scandal, As ICPC Raids NBC |The Republican News

Minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed

by Our Reporter

The Independent Corrupt Practices And other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has raided the offices of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over N10billion  fraud perpetrated under the supervision of Nigeria’s Information Minister Mr Lai Mohammed and suspended Director-General of the commission, Mr Ishaq Modibbo Kawu.
Sources to Pointblanknews.com revealed that a N10 Billion loan released to the commission since December last year was diverted to a private account and has so far yielded interests estimated in excess of One Billion Nara already.

According to the source, following a tip off, the ICPC early last week  raided the commission’s headquarters in Abuja and impounded several files, computers and gadgets belonging to the commission.

Lai Mohammed since assumption of office as a minister in Mohammed Buhari’s government has allegedely been enmeshed in a series of financial scams including the recent has jeopardized the Nigeria’s Digital Switch Over (DSO) Project that has been operating in fits and starts since 2016.

Pointblanknews.com reported that the Minister in 2015 admitted extorting N13.5 Million from the NBC to embark on a foreign trip.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that N10 Billion was a loan provided to help offset debts owed to contractors who have been building infrastructure to enable the DSO project commence in the earnest.

The DSO is the process of upgrading the present analogue television broadcast systems to digital terrestrial television (DTT). The project is founded on an international protocol signed by Nigeria among several countries in the Group A batch of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva in 2006. The protocol gave a deadline of July, 2015 to fully switch over from analogue to digital.

Almost all countries of the world have since eradicated analogue television broadcast and transited to the digital platform leaving Nigeria.

Nigeria first started the process in 2008 but made no progress. In 2016 the Nigerian Government faced with the vulnerabilities of solely operating an obsolete technology relaunched the program with fanfare in Jos Plateau State, but it was quickly marred with scandals of fraud and embezzlement of funds involving the Minister Mr Mohammed and the then DG NBC DG Mr Ishaq Modibbo Kawu

Mr Kawu was suspended from office and he’s still facing criminal charges at the Federal Court in Abuja, Capital of Nigeria while Mr Mohammed who approved the scam still seats pretty in office.

The project again stalled and contractors who had worked on the project since commencement with belief that payment will be made timely to enable then service bank obligations and sustain the tempo of the project were unable to continue following the reported fraud which led to the Nigerian government halting further action on the project to investigate the scams.

But the NBC it was gathered raised alarm on the likely difficulties to be faced by Nigeria if the project continues to stalemate. These included local television stations not been able to access spare parts any longer for their equipment.

Given the urgency, Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari approved the sum of N10 Billion Naira as loan to the NBC with a total of N9.4 billion to be used as payment to contractors and N600 Million as recurrent fund for the NBC to prosecute project.

But the contractors never got the money even though it was fully released in the first week of January until two weeks ago when they began to receive payments in trickles. In fact, the money never even got to the NBC Accounts- even now!

Rather Mr Mohammed was said to have allegedly entered into some dubious arrangement with officials of the hierarchy of the finance ministry to divert the money to an interest yielding account for an initial 90 days which was again rolled over in the month of March for a second time until the contractors became restive.

Even the decision to hurriedly liquidate the money from fixed

deposit and pay the contractors it was gathered as a result of a tip off to the Minister that the contractors may have contacted the anti-graft agencies.

Indeed one of the companies was said to have alerted the ICPC and EFCC  to complain that the NBC was fraudulently withholding the money. But the ICPC which swung into action immediately after receiving the complaint was said to have discovered during its preliminary investigation that the money never got to the NBC.

Beside, even the N600million approved for the commission to run the project has been coveted by Mr Mohammed and diverted to the ministry where he contrived  a scheme to personally and directly control the funds.

He quickly set up a ministerial task force on DSO – ploy that not only effectively usurped the role of the NBC and Digiteam a body of experts already put in place by Nigeria’s federal government to liaise with the NBC with an ultimatum to deliver the DSO Project latest be June 2022, but also ensured the money was not subject to audit and official control of the ministry. Taking no chances Mr Mohammed appointed himself the Chairman of the task force  and unilaterally assumed the power of disbursing the N9.4 Billion and also appropriating the N600 Million which was clearly marked for the NBC.

Among the five contractors listed for payment are Messrs Inview to collect N908,000,000, Messrs Intergrated Television services (ITS)  to collect N3,773,046,000;…Messrs Pinnacle Communications 1,936,572,305 Messrs SES 2,148,762,245 and Messrs Outsource with about N800,000,00.

Mr Mohammed is known to have an undue interest in Inview managed by one Toyin Zubairu said to be his business patner.

The said Zubairu was the CEO of the Defunct HITV, a company Mr Mohammed was implicated in as Legal Adviser before it was mismanaged to liquidation by Zubairu. Mr Mohammed has scheduled Zubairu’s Inview for a payment of N908 Million in the N9.4billion just removed from the private interest yielding account.

Reliable industry sources informed Pointblanknews.com that the N908M payment is a fraud as Messrs Inview had already been paid N1.2 Billion for the same services in 2015.

Beside, Mr Mohammed was alleged to have used his power as the  minister to intimidate the NBC into paying N350 Million to Mr Zubairu as Digital Access Fee for accessing a platform which the commission paid Zubairu to build for it.

“It’s like I pay a contractor to build a house for me. Then when I moved into the house a bully comes and began forcing me to start paying rent to the contractor for occupying my own house- even after I have fully paid him for his work as contractor” a distraught service provider in the DSO project lamented to Pointblanknews on Monday after the ICPC raid.

Beside the ICPC, it is reliably learnt that Mr Mohammed had always used the NBC as a personal cash cow and had been crafty enough using his political influence to make DGs of the NBC fall guys whenever the scams were busted.

First was the Emeka Mbah, DG between 2013 to 2016 before he was arrested and detained by the EFCC for an alleged N15 Billion Fraud. He was alleged to have kept the said N15 Billion in Zenith Bank to generate interest rather than follow the rule of the Treasury Single Account Policy of the government.

Mr Mbah was able to prove to the EFCC that he did nothing without the highest approval. He produced evidences of minutes of meeting with Mr Mohammed presiding where it was agreed to lodge the money in Zenith Bank allegedly as guarantee to contractors engaged by the commission to produce Set-top Boxes to be used for the DSO Program. He produced the Minister’s approvals .

Curiously the EFCC spared Mr Mohammed who approved the dubious lodgement and Mr Mbah was hauled before a federal court in Abuja to face charges bothering on corruption! The scandal led to his sack by the President Buhari who immediately appointed Mr Kawu on the recommendation of Mr Mohammed. Mr Kawu and Mohammed are both from Kwara State in North Central Nigeria.

But just two years into his tenure Mr Kawu’s quickly came to grief when another  scandal of N2.5 Billion involving Mr Mohammed erupted. A private company Pinnacle Communications was surreptitiously awarded N2.5 Billion on the approval of Mr Mohammed for no work done whatsoever. It was called “seed money” to enable the company prepare to provide digital telecommunication services to the DSO project.

Mr Mohammed who at the time was a graduate of 40 years and a lawyer with 30 years’ experience quickly claimed he was deceived by Mr Kawu into signing the approval for the whooping N2.5 Billion. He claimed he really knew nothing about the scam and only relied on the recommendations of Mr Kawu. But Mr Kawu and Mr Lucky Omoluwa, CEO of Pinnacle hotly disputed Mr Mohammed’s claim of ignorance. They presented proof that there was series of meetings between the NBC, Pinnacle Communications and Mr Mohammed who presided at all the meetings. Beside he went on foreign trips sponsored by the contractors and still collected official allowances and estacodes for the same trips.

Infact, Mr Kawu was said to have been convinced that the decision to originate the memo followed a verbal directive from Mr Mohammed who wasted no time in rushing to approve the money without raising any questions.

Sources at the commission reveal that N150 Million of the money paid to Pinnacle was traced to the personal account of Jimi Mohammed, son of the Minister now a member of  the Lagos State House of Assembly.

But despite the overwhelming evidence of his culpability, like  what happened in the previous case, Mr Mohammed is confident that his political weight and connections as a major player in the ruling party will again save him.

Lai Mohammed this time became arrogant and was reported to have thoroughly harassed the investigators from the ICPC and several times either dictated the scope and mode of interrogation or even refused to be interrogated all together.

Expectedly the ICPC arraigned only Mr Kawu and even recommended his suspension from office. Mr Mohammed a co-suspect in the scam was not only excluded but was actually reported to have desperately worked to secure presidential approval on the ICPC recommendation to suspend his fellow suspect with dispatch.

Observers are concerned that the President Buhari’s administration notoriously known  for treating allegations of corruption from cronies with “deodorant” and those of opposition members with harsh “pesticides” may again weigh in and allow Mr Mohammed escape once more with the glaring cases of corruption that is presently raging.

Mr Kawu a brilliant journalist, veteran broadcaster and respected ace columnist of several years standing is still embroiled in the criminal trials, desperate to establish his innocence while Mr Omoluwa, the Chairman of Pinnacle Communications a successful business man of several years wasn’t that lucky. He died in the course of the prosecution with his name tainted. Mr Mohammed has remained tenaciously on his seat to be engaged in several other financial scams confident that he’s a sacred cow in a so called anti-corruption government that has so far glossed over every reported case of corruption reported against its high ranking appointees. (Pointblanknews.com)

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Abduction Of Nnamdi Kanu: FG Grants Press Conference, Praises Intelligence, Security Services |The Republican News

Minister of Information and Culture

The federal government through the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed praised the intelligence and security agencies of Nigeria for the job which he claimed took them two years to captured IPOB Leader, Maazi Nnamdi Kanu

Some of the information contradicted their earlier view on IPOB, which they said had little revenue but now claim that their leader, Nnamdi Kanu travelled around the world in private jet.

That seems like a smear campaign aimed at his followers to denigrate him and create disunity amongst them.

The press statement is below.

TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, ON THE RE-ARREST OF IPOB LEADER NNAMDI KANU….IN LAGOS ON THURSDAY, 1 JULY 2021

Good morning gentlemen and welcome to this press conference. As you are aware, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, has been rearrested and repatriated to Nigeria to resume his trial. This was made possible through the collaboration of Nigerian security and intelligence agencies.

  1. Kanu, who is facing an 11-count charge of treason, treasonable felony, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms, among others, jumped bail in 2017 and left the country. On Tuesday, Kanu was re-arraigned in court and ordered to be remanded in the custody of the DSS, while the case was adjourned till July 26-27, 2021.
  2. Gentlemen, the Federal Government wishes to commend the Nigerian security and intelligence agencies, who collaborated to re-arrest the proscribed IPOB leader in one of the most classic operations of its type in the world. We commend the professionalism, diligence, patriotism and painstaking efforts of our security and intelligence agencies. We also thank the sister international agencies that collaborated with us to pull off this arrest.
  3. It will interest Nigerians to know that for over two years, our security and intelligence agencies were on the trail of the proscribed IPOB leader as he lived a five-star life across several countries, travelling on chartered private jets, living in luxury apartments and turning out in designing clothes and shoes. Of course, as we all saw, he was wearing an attire made by Fendi, a luxury Italian fashion brand, when he was arrested.
  4. We can tell you that the forensic investigation carried out so far has revealed a treasure trove of information on the proscribed IPOB leader and his collaborators. While the investigation continues, we assure you that none of the collaborators,
    irrespective of their standing in the society, will be spared. They will all face the full wrath of the law for their activities that challenge our nation’s sovereignty and threaten its unity. No one, no matter how highly placed, is bigger than the country.
  5. It is interesting that many are suddenly calling for a fair trial for Kanu as if he didn’t get one before he decided to jump bail and flee. However, I can assure you that the fair deal that Kanu denied many of the victims of the violence which he willfully instigated through his broadcasts and tweets will not be denied him.
  6. Finally, there have been speculations on how this re-arrest was pulled off and in which country the hitherto fugitive leader of the proscribed IPOB was nabbed. What we can tell you, once again, is that the re-arrest was made possible by the diligent efforts of our security and intelligence agencies, in collaboration with countries with which we have obligations. We continue to respect and honour the obligations.
  7. Gentlemen, we thank you most sincerely for your kind attention.

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Twitter Ban: Pastor Adeboye, Bishop Kumuyi, Others Will Be Prosecuted —Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and culture Lai Mohammed

By Bachi

Nigeria’s Minister of Information Lai Mohammed says the Attorney General Abubakar Malami would ensure that Nigerians who accessed Twitter, including Pastor Enoch Adeboye, after the federal government proclaimed a ban on it would be prosecuted.

The Minister said this in an interview with BBC Africa Focus on Monday, when asked if Mr Adeboye will be prosecuted for using Twitter, despite justifying his insistence on using the platform with Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Article 19 of the UDHR states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Mr Mohammed emphasised in the interview that the persistent use of Twitter in Nigeria is undermining the country’s corporate existence.

“The government has suspended indefinitely, the operations of Twitter in Nigeria because of the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence and the government

“Also directed the National Broadcasting Commission to immediately commence the process of licencing all social media operations in Nigeria,” he said.

According to him, Mr Malami is in charge and has the final say on who or not to prosecute.


“The attorney-general has made it clear that if anyone violates the regulation, that such person will be prosecuted. I think it is the right of the attorney-general to decide who to prosecute,” he said.

The general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) on Monday insisted on using his Twitter account despite the ban on the social media platform by the Nigerian government.

“The Redeemed Christian Church of God is domiciled in more than 170 Nations & Territories,” Mr Adeboye tweeted on Monday. “The tweets here are in accordance to Article 19 of the UN universal declaration of Human Rights.”

Similarly, the general overseer of Deeper Life Bible Church, Williams Kumuyi, said the mission’s tweets were targeted at its global audience spread across five continents and over 100 nations.

“In view of the Twitter ban in Nigeria, please note that the content shared on this handle is targeted at a global audience in more than five continents and over 100 Nations and we share the content from any of these locations,” Mr Kumuyi said.

Oyo governor Seyi Makinde condemned the ban and used the banned platforms nonetheless just as Kaduna governor Nasir El-Rufai also tweeted via his handle hours after government’s proclamation.

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Asylum To IPOB/MASSOB Members: UK Disrespectful, Sabotaging War Against Terrorism —Lai Mohammed |RN

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government says the reported decision of the United Kingdom to grant asylum to “persecuted” members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is disrespectful of Nigeria as a nation.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also said that the decision amounted to sabotaging the fight against terrorism and generally undermining Nigeria’s security.
Fielding questions from Newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja, Mohammed said the decision is unacceptable to Nigeria.
“Let me say straight away that this issue is within the purview of the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs and I am sure he will handle it appropriately.
“But as the spokesman for the Federal Government of Nigeria, I will say that if indeed the report that the UK will grant asylum to supposedly persecuted IPOB and MASSOB members is true, then something is wrong somewhere.
“Against the background of the fact that IPOB is not only proscribed but also designated as a terrorist organisation here in Nigeria, the UK’s decision is disrespectful of Nigeria as a nation.
“The decision amounts to sabotaging the fight against terrorism and generally undermining Nigeria’s security.
“It is not only unconscionable, but it is also inexplicable,’’ he said.
The minister said that there had recently been heightened attacks against security agencies in the South East Zone.
He said IPOB had been fingered as being behind the attacks in spite of its denials.
“For the UK to choose this time to give succour to IPOB beggars belief and calls to question the UK’s real intention.

“If we could go down the memory lane, what the UK has done is like Nigeria offering asylum to members of the IRA before the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) had released new guidelines to its decision-makers on how to consider and grant asylum applications by members of Biafran secessionist groups.
In the guidelines, asylum is to be granted to “persecuted” members IPOB, a group that Nigeria had designated as a terrorist organisation.

Also in the guidelines, asylum is to be granted to the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra . (PM News)

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“Theatre Of The Absurd By A Joker Seeking Attention”, FG Replies Asari Dokubo |The Republican News

Asari Dokubo

The Federal Government has described the reported formation of Biafra Customary Government by Asari Dokubo as a “theatre of the absurd by a joker seeking attention’’.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria on the development in Lagos on Monday, the Minister of Information, and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the President, Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)’s regime will not be distracted by the absurdity.

“I am sure you have heard of the theatre of the absurd, that is the best way I can describe it.

“If Asari Dokubo wants to form and run a fathom government, I think he is free to do so.

“This administration will not be distracted because we still have a lot to do.

“We are not ready to give any attention or time to a joker like Dokubo who is just looking for attention.

“We will just take it as one of these entertainment things.

“The beauty about Nigeria is that it is never a dull country, you must have one thing or the other to entertain you,’’ he said.

Dokubo, leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Salvation Force reportedly announced himself as the leader of the new Biafra Customary Government.

The fathom government was announced with names of some leaders by one Uche Mefor, who claimed to be its head of information and communications. (Text, excluding headline, courtesy The PUNCH)

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Source: News Express

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FG Won’t Allow Second Protest At Lekki Tollgate —Lai Mohammed |The Republican News

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Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

By Godsgift Onyedinefu

The federal government on Thursday warned that it will not allow another EndSars protest in the country and Nigerians planning to protest at the Lekki Toll Gate this weekend should desist from it.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, who gave the hint at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday, said that allowing the protest could trigger another round of uncontrolled destruction of lives and property.

Minister for information and culture speaking planned second protest at Lekki tollgate

Mohammed said: “No government anywhere will allow a repeat of the kind of destruction, killing and maiming wrought by the hijackers of EndSars protests last year.

“After all, only one policeman – (plus four others) – was killed in the invasion of the US Capitol in January, yet the FBI has continued to hunt down and prosecute the perpetrators. No life is more important than the other.

“The Federal Government is also keenly watching the role being played by the various social media platforms in this renewed clamour for violence in the country.

“Recall that the social media platforms that eagerly nudged on the EndSars protesters, until the situation got out of hand, are the same ones that quickly pulled the plug on even their own President when the chips were down in their own country.

“I hope we have all learnt our lessons. If we allow them to destroy our country, we will bear the brunt,” the minister said.

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We’ll Stop Giving Allocation To South East Since Their Governors Obey Nnamdi Kanu —Lai Mohammed |RN

Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

The minister of information and culture Lai Mohammed has stated that the federal government of Nigeria will stop giving allocations to South East.

He wonders why Nnamdi will give ultimatum and the governors would obey it.

He regarded the actions of South East governors as treasonable offense..

In his words;

” We got an ultimatum given to South east governors by Nnamdi Kanu and in less than two days, they obeyed it

Who is Nnamdi Kanu to give ultimatum? Is Nnamdi Kanu a political leader or prime minister.

This action from South-East governors is a treasonable offense.

The federal government will withhold their allocations for the next 5 months as a punishment to their treacherous act….

They swore an oath to protect Nigeria and the actions of Nnamdi Kanu is an actions against Nigeria…. He stated.

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United States Plotting To Destroy Nigeria, Says Lai Mohammed |The Republican News

Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

BY AKPOS OGHENETEGA 

The Federal Government has accused the United States (U.S.) of attempting to sow seed of religious mistrust among the various religious groups in Nigeria with its recent report.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the Federal Government rejected the U.S. designation of Nigeria as “a country that engages in or tolerates severe violations of religious freedom”.

Mohammed said that the iniquitous tag stemmed from an orchestrated narrative that had long been discredited.

He stressed that the people of Nigeria enjoyed unfettered freedom to practise their religion.

The minister blamed failed politicians and disgruntled elements – some of them supposedly respected leaders, for latching on to religion as their trump card, especially in the run-up to the last general elections.

He said it was unfortunate that the U.S. fell for the antics of “the discontented and the unpatriotic few, who will not hesitate to hang Nigeria out to dry on the altar of their inordinate ambition and their sheer animosity towards the Buhari-led administration”.

He said the Nigerian government was aware of how the political opposition in particular, had spared no resources in deriving political capital from the various security challenges in the country.

“The deliberate effort to give religious colouration to the farmers-herders clashes and the Boko Haram insurgency, in particular, has undoubtedly helped to mislead the U.S. into concluding that the government is doing little or nothing to guarantee religious freedom in the country.

“But, as we have always said, the farmers-herders clashes have nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with environmental and socio-economic realities.

“The religious tag given to the clashes has no basis in fact, but it is very convenient for those who will very easily give the dog a bad name just to hang it.

“On its part, the Boko Haram terrorists are extreme fanatics who do not subscribe to the tenets of any religion, in spite of their pretence to Islamic adherence,” he said.

The minister said the good news was that the government had succeeded in curbing the farmers-herders clashes through the implementation of proactive and multi-dimensional strategy, yielding remarkable results.

He added the government had largely defeated the Boko Haram insurgency.

“On the El-Zakzaky issue, which was referred to in the report by the U.S. government, it is purely a criminal matter, which is being handled by a court of competent jurisdiction,” he said.

The Minister stressed that while the government welcomed constructive criticism from any quarter, it rejected any attempt to sow seed of mistrust among the various religious groups in the country.

[NAN]

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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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