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Forbes-rated Young Nigerian Billionaire Arrested By FBI Over $12m (N4.2bn) Fraud |The Republican News

A Forbes-rated young Nigerian billionaire and CEO of Invictus Group, Obinwanne Okeke has been arrested by America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over a $12 million (N4.3bn) fraud.

He was arrested last week on the last day of his trip to the United States for allegedly defrauding top American companies of huge sums. Notably, he allegedly scammed $12m from a steel company by hacking into an executive’s office365 account and sending an email with a fake invoice to the purchasing department.

His arrest came after Special Agent Marshall Ward of the FBI and the team he heads opened up an investigation in July 2018, following a petition by Unatrac Holding Limited.

The charge sheet reads in part “In June 2018, Unatrac Holding Limited, the export sales office for Caterpillar heavy industrial and farm equipment, headquartered in the United Kingdom, contacted the FBI.

They reported that Unatrac had been victimised through an email compromise, which ultimately resulted in fraudulent wire transfers totalling nearly 11million US Dollars. After reviewing the documentation provided by the representatives, the FBI opened an investigation in July 2018.

“The FBI discovered that after capturing the legitimate credentials of Unatrac’s Chief Financial Officer, the accused was able to log in and access the CFO’s entire Office365 account, which included all of his emails and various digital files, the logs indicated that between April 6 and April 20, 2018, the intruder accessed the CFO’s account 464 times, mostly from Internet Protocol (IP) addresses from Nigeria.

“With full access to the account, the intruder sent fraudulent wire transfer requests from the CFO’s email account to members of Unatrac’s internal financial team. The intruder also attached fake invoices to the emails to enhance the credibility of the requests,” the investigator stated. The investigation, painstaking and far-reaching, lasted more than a year during which Obinwanne emerged as the principal culprit and has since been arrested while on his regular visit to the United States.”

Before his arrest, Obinwanne Okeke was a celebrated businessman who had a ‘grass to grace’ story on Forbes. The arrested suspect is said to be the 17th child of a polygamous father who died when he was 16, and he reportedly moved from one relative to another before moving Australia where he “did all kinds of jobs just to survive.” He became a viral sensation after he got featured in ‘Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30’ list in 2016.

It is not clear how he made the list of Forbes’ 100 Most Influential Young Africans 2018, it should, however, be noted that he founded the Invictus Group of Companies, an investment conglomerate dealing in construction, agriculture, oil and gas, renewable energy, telecoms, and real estate.

Invictus Group operates in three African countries, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zambia. His company was named as Africa’s Most Innovative Investment Company of the Year by African Brand Congress in 2017.

Obi recently got married, had a baby last month and got listed among 100 Most Influential Young Africans in 2018 alongside Davido, Falz, Ahmed Musa. He was also nominated for the All African Business Leaders Award for Young Business Leader (West Africa) in 2018. The AABLA Award is the most prestigious award for African businessmen/entrepreneurs.

The young Nigerian who accepted an offer to be a Contributor for Forbes Magazine and published his first essay in May 2017, has however been arrested by the FBI for allegedly being a fraudster which is popularly known as ‘yahoo-yahoo’ in Nigeria.

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Oodua Groups Write Sultan Of Sokoto Over Fulani Herdsmen Murderous Activities |The Republican News

Sultan Of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad

Various Yoruba groups have written an open letter to the Head of Muslims and Fulani group in Nigeria, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad, the Emir of Sokoto, who is the direct descendant of Uthman Dan Fodio

In their letter, they outlined so many issues in the history of Nigeria and hope that this wouldn’t be the last time they would have opportunity to dialogue.

Their letter is below:

Open letter to the Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar Sa’ad and the Fulani leaders

August 08, 2019

The Sultan of Sokoto and Fulani Leader
His Eminence
Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad

THE STATE OF THE NATION
We write this letter to you considering your importance as the head of the Fulani people in Nigeria. You are also the head of Fulani Muslims in Nigeria.It is our hope that you will be able to share the thoughts expressed here with the 7 million Fulani people in Nigeria through your traditional means of communication.
We write to honour you with this letter, given the floundering opportunities for a dialogue on the future of Nigeria, which has eluded the various ethnic groups in Nigeria and which may not enhance itself too soon.
Given the drumbeats of armed violence and extremism perpetrated largely by your people, and the fleeting prospects of a national dialogue, we hope this letter will not be the last opportunity to constructively engage you and the Fulani nation.

We, on behalf of Apapo Oodua Koya, (AOKOYA), a coalition of several Itsekiri, Edo and Yoruba groups write with our deepest feelings about the Nigerian state and what appears to be the pitfalls that lay ahead, most of which are oiled and orchestrated by your own people, the Fulani, albeit consciously.

THE PAST

There was no history of Fulani in today’s territory until 1804. This was 800 years after the Yoruba Kingdoms had been established, about 600 years after the Hausa, Ijaw, Tiv, Igala, Junkun Kingdoms had flourished. The Igbo Nation had existed for centuries before your people wandered into this hemisphere.
We recall that your forebears came to power through brutal and bloody conquest of indigenous peoples in many parts of Northern Nigeria under the guise of Islam eventhough Islam had taken firm roots in Yorubaland, Kano and Bornu Empires as early as the 11th century.
Since your sojourn in Nigeria, you have been very lucky.

A whole country of over 300 ethnic groups, was handed over to you a foreigner, first through conquest of some of its part, you, who never owned an inch of land centuries earlier in this hemisphere.
You have reaped the fruits which trees you did not plant and you knew not when they were planted.

Moreso, you were from a family of wonders and your emergence as Emir and traditional ruler was unusual, having no royal blood in your veins ab initio.

No doubt, You succeeded in taking over the land, the main means of production of these innocent peoples whose main offence was that they were too caring, too gentle, too subservient and accommodating of foreigners in their ancestral homeland, Today, you seat on a throne soaked with the blood of millions of innocent souls anguished with deafening ears to the agony of the spirit of millions of victims of the horrendous killings by your men, who came from Fouta Jallon in Senegal, only some 210 years ago.

The British left in 1960 and you emerged as the main benefactor eventhough your people were not known to have fought for independence. You were wise enough to plant your people in the security institutions, a reflection of your preference for force and brigandage instead of a knowledge-driven society.
Through direct military intervention or subterfuge, sly plots, you have been ruling Nigeria, or determining who rule Nigeria since 1960. This is a rare luck that only courageous people can manage for some time, but needs wise, intelligent, decent and conscientious people to manage for a millennium.

Under the false, artificial creation called Nigeria, your people produce no oil, yet you appropriate and decide how the resources should be expended.

You have no access to the Ocean, yet you decide which goods should be imported and which vessel should ply routes that indigenous owners of this God given oceans had been using for centuries. All the military weapons were bought not by your money, but you decide who should use them and who should be killed by the same weapons. You have no richest scholarly tradition, yet your people sit on the Nigerian Universities Commission, (NUC) and decide the faith of other Nigerians. You located all the military institutions in your land, more out of fear than out of love for justice and fairplay.
90 percent of Nigerian resources are sourced from the South and Middle Belt, yet you decide how the funds should be spent. Did you think this irresponsible way of life will continue for ever? Did your people think we are foolish and even if we are, did you think coming generations will accept this brazen exploitation? We have called for dialogue on these issues, but you call it treason.
The truth is that you have grossly mismanaged this opportunity. Your ruinous and destructive tradition has robbed on all Nigerians. Your intuition for aggression has become a national culture. Your disdain for debate and logical criticisms has been imbibed by Nigerians who continue to gravitate towards the custodians of political power, whose way of life must be imbibed for recognition.
You have ruined and destroyed this whole nation at your beckon due to your exclusive, narrow, primordial and savage instincts driven only by your self interest and your brutal and non-negotiable desire to conquer and subdue every nationality in Nigeria. This is a tall task which you are hell bent in executing.

THE INVASION OF YORUBALAND BY FULANI HERDSMEN
We like to caution you on your latest antics to renew your grand 1804 design to conquer the entire country, not through ideas but through the most savage tradition of killings and maiming.
This to us is at the bottom of the current Fulani kidnapping in Yorubaland. We wish to inform you that we are aware of your grand plan to renew a project done half way and put on mute mode since the defeat of your forces in 1840 by the Yoruba Army.
We are worried that you and your Fulani people have been suspiciously silent on the kidnapping of Yoruba people, the killing of our young professionals including the killing of the daughter of a prominent Yoruba leader.
We were not surprised that you and the other Fulani leaders did not consider it necessary to send condolence messages or even visit the family of the slain woman. This can only mean your tacit approval or at least, a philosophy of cold compromise.
Please be aware that in the past two years, records show that 689 Yoruba people have been kidnapped by your people, Fulani, about 400 reported cases of rape, including rape of toddlers. Out of this number of the kidnapped, 356 were women, and out of that number, 250 were married women.
In all, 112 people were killed by your Fulani people either for resisting kidnap or for failing to pay ransom. This may mean nothing to you, but to us, it means a lot.
We urge you to imagine a group of armed Yoruba cocoa farmers storming forests in Kano, Katsina and Sokoto, kidnapping Fulani people, raping their young girls and even killing the daughter of an Emir or a prominent Fulani leader? Can you also imagine the same heavily armed Yoruba cocoa farmers occupying your forests, stopping your people from farming and preventing your people from plying the highways in their ancestral homes?
To make the matter worse, imagine the armed Yoruba cocoa farmers carry out these terrible crimes under the banner of a Yoruba man as the Nigerian President. How will you feel?
As it is, your people, the Fulani are digging their hands down our throats. They are entering our bedrooms and sleeping with our mothers and wives. These actions are not only against Islam, they are against humanity.
These latest actions plus our experiences in the past have combined to renew the energy of millions of Yoruba people who want a country of their own. Either you like it or not, this will happen. God, before whom you and your big crown are like but a filthy rag, will make it happen. We urge you to prepare your self to dialogue or if you chose the path of violence, there will be proportional response.
Having Yoruba or Igbo Republics is something you do not wish to hear, but which is imminent and inevitable. Please be aware that the Yoruba do not begrudge your values and the ways of your living, all we are saying is that we want to live our lives, design our political and cultural architecture, live and die on our own terms. The forthcoming Yoruba Republic will be glad to accommodate righteous Fulani people who respect our civilisations and the laws of our fatherland.
We wish to use this opportunity to advice you and your people to be aware that you have no power to conquer Yoruba Nation. Your forebears tried and failed. Your military and political surrogates tried, marked with killings, maiming and destruction of our economy, yet they failed.
We ask you to instruct your people, the armed Fulani herdsmen to withdraw from Yoruba territories and on their own, mop up the cache of arms and ammunition stored in Yoruba territories.
Sir, the Yoruba people stand for peace and not war. We would prefer these issues to be resolved amicably without firing any gun shot. But, we wish to say that if your heart remains rebellious and your soul defiant, the Yoruba people are not afraid to confront you once again the way we did some 175 years ago, this time in the most ferocious manner you can ever imagine. It is necessary to let you know this even though we are aware that you will not change the conquest desires of your heart. We wish you a happy Salah and Allah’s wisdom to know and do what is right

Yours Sincerely,

Col Abimbola Sowumi (rtd)
Mallam Salau Ahmed Akorede
For Apapo Oodua Koya, (AOKOYA)
The Yoruba self determination group

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Nigeria: Country Of Backward North And Developing South — El-Rufai |The Republican News

Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai

by Noah Ebije, Kaduna

Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai has said that, Nigeria consists of two countries: a developing South, and a backward, less educated and unhealthy North, with the highest number of poor people in the world.
El-Rufai equally lamented that the northern region has development indicators similar to that of Afganistan, a country at war.

Speaking in Kaduna on Saturday at the Northern Youth Summit organised by Northern Hibiscus, an NGO, El-Rufai however said that the problems of the region must be addressed collectively as a group of 19 northern states governors, not as individual states.
El-Rufai said the summit whose theme was “Awakening the Arewa Spirit,” was very timely, adding that “when we talk about awakening the spirit, it means the spirit is either sleeping or dead. Therefore, this summit is very important, just like our keynote address speaker has said.

“But, looking at the statistics, Nigeria appears to be a middle-income country. But, if we segregate those statistics across states and zones, you will see that in terms of human development indicators, Nigeria consists of two countries; there is a backward, less educated and unhealthy northern Nigeria and a developing, largely educated and healthy southern Nigeria.

“We have to speak the truth to ourselves and ask why is it that northern Nigeria has development indicators similar to Afganistan, a country still at war?
“We have the largest number of poor people in the world, most of them in northern Nigeria. Nigeria also has the largest number of out-of-school children, virtually all of them in Northern Nigeria.

“Northern Nigeria has become the centre of drug abuse, gender violence, banditry, kidnapping and terrorism. We have also been associated with high divorce rate and breakdown of families. These are the challenges that confront us. This is the Unclad truth that we have to tell ourselves.

“We must, therefore, as leaders at all levels have a conversation about the way forward for our part of the country. Because increasingly, as many of you must have seen on social media, we are being considered as the parasite of the federal economy, even though, that is not entirely true. Because northern Nigeria still feeds the nation. The richest businessman in Nigeria is still Aliko Dangote, not someone from southern Nigeria, thank God for that.

“So, we still have a lot to be proud of. We should be proud of our culture and tradition, as well as unity. You hardly can find someone from northern Nigeria convicted of 419 or being aYahoo boy. That is something we should be proud of.

“We are generally considered to be more honest and less corrupt than other Nigerians. That is something we should be proud of. In addition, our demographic superiority gives us a very powerful tool to negotiate in politics. And that is something we should be proud of, and we should preserve. So, we have every reason to unite and not be divided.

“I, therefore, call on you the youth; you account for 80 per cent of the northern population and the future of this region lies in your hands, not in the hands of Dinosaurs like me. I’m 59 and among the oldest five per cent of the northern population. I shouldn’t even be governor; I should have been governor ten years ago. But ‘na condition make crayfish bend,’ so we are here.
“But, why are we here? In my view, we are here to prepare the next generation of leaders. That is why the agenda for this summit is very important. So, you should take the panel discussions very seriously and come up with very clear and implementable decisions that you will circulate to all of us elected to lead in northern Nigeria.

“I urge Northern Hibiscus to send recommendations from this summit to the Chairman of northern state governors’ forum. We have to do something about the situation of northern Nigeria and we must do so as a group of 19 governors, not individual state governors.” El-Rufai said.

Also speaking, the sponsor of the event and immediate past Chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumini Jibrin said, while the North was in dire situation, the region has not lost everything. “There is growth everywhere and so many leaders have emerged.”

Jibrin who analysed the need to reawaken the Arewa spirit on sociocultural, economic and political spheres, said family unit remains the bigger challenge faced in the region as it contributes to high rate of divorce, late marriages, drug abuse and destitution.

Looking at the economic aspect, he noted the need for job and wealth creation to build businesses, understanding competition, marketing and funding in entrepreneurship. He said there is little or no money available at commercial banks to loan small and medium enterprises because government borrows an average of N1 trillion annually with N600 billion to N700 billion interest from first line charge.

The lawmaker called for role models across board, adding that “we have to mould leaders, we have to create ourselves into leaders,” he said.

In her opening remarks, founder of Northern Hibiscus Initiative, Aisha Falke, said the summit was organised to examine the numerous challenges of the North, with a view to finding lasting solutions to them.

She also disclosed that, Northern Hibiscus had also taken the bull by the horn with a 16-year action to empower the youths with useful skills, especially those who are not privileged to have formal education.
(The Sun)

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British Home Office Says Trafficked Nigerian Women Can Return Wealthy Still Held In High Regard

Jamie Grierson Home affairs correspondent

© Getty

Home Office officials have provoked outrage by stating that trafficked women from Nigeria can return to the country “wealthy from prostitution” and “held in high regard”.

The comments are found in an official policy and information note on the trafficking of women from Nigeria, which is used by Home Office decision-makers handling protection and human rights claims.

The guidance has been updated to include a paragraph on the prospects of trafficked women if they return to Nigeria, citing EU and Australian reports that make similar observations, which was not in the last version published in November 2016.

The paragraph reads: “Trafficked women who return from Europe, wealthy from prostitution, enjoy high social-economic status and in general are not subject to negative social attitudes on return. They are often held in high regard because they have improved income prospects.”

Dr Charlotte Proudman, a human rights barrister who represents women and girls in cases of gender-based violence, particularly female genital mutilation, said: “The Home Office’s deplorable policy on the trafficking of women in Nigeria shows the hostility that women victims face in claiming asylum in the UK. Suggesting that trafficked women are wealthy and enjoy a [high] socioeconomic status is fundamentally wrong.

“The women that I represent in immigration courts often suffer from PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] and are always destitute. They have usually been raped repeatedly and beaten and their family have disowned them. Some even face the risk of violent reprisals on return home. The abuse they experience is akin to slavery.

“The picture painted by the Home Office is far from reality and serves only to further myths about prostitution and sex trafficking. The policy will no doubt encourage decision-makers on behalf of the home secretary to refuse even more asylum claims.

“The Home Office needs to issue an apology and immediately amend the policy.”

Kate Osamor, the Labour MP and chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Nigeria, which has looked at the impact of trafficking, said among all the stories of trafficking they heard “there was no happy ending”.

“It’s very concerning,” she said. “It shows the Home Office doesn’t trust people who go through these experiences. You’d expect authorities to take them in, listen and unpack their experience and not treat trafficking like it’s a job.

“This is advice to civil servants who don’t even meet the people, it’s all done by form. They should be told if they say they’ve been trafficked, they should meet them in person and unpack the experience.”

She added: “[According to] the reality and the data, and the people we met, no one ‘makes it’. They get caught up in trafficking and spiral. People are sold on the internet. Those people get caught up in prostitution and should be looked after. They’ve been beaten, their mental health is poor, they’ve been raped.

The Home Office assessment states that a woman who has been trafficked for sexual exploitation and returns to Nigeria is unlikely to be at risk of reprisal or being re-trafficked from her original traffickers but acknowledges they may be at risk of abuse or being re-trafficked depending on their particular vulnerability.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Sadly, modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking are not evils of the past. Through the Modern Slavery Act, the government is committed to ensuring victims get the support they need and perpetrators are brought to justice.” (The Guardian)

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Nigeria Is Moving In A Fast Pace Towards Anarchy – Osuntokun |The Republican News

Akin Osuntokun

A former political adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is also a former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr Akin Osuntokun, shares with TUNDE AJAJA his thoughts on the last presidential election and assessment of the incumbent administration

You were one of those opposed to President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election and people like you were optimistic that the opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had a chance. Were you shocked by the outcome of the election?

No, I wasn’t; it would be unrealistic of me if I was. In Africa and most of the developing countries, the assumption is that the incumbent wins the election one way or the other; the incumbent doesn’t lose election unless their tenure constitutionally expires. To that extent, it has followed the norm of assumptions. People refer to the presidency of Nigeria as the most powerful in the world and it is so loaded that it will be difficult for any occupant of that office to lose an election. Of course, you know we had the pleasant exception of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 and we know he is a different person from Buhari. They have different dispositions to power and they don’t come from the same stock.

How do you mean?

Buhari is a connoisseur of power. He personifies power politics in Nigeria. If you look at his make-up, he has his origin in military politics; reinforcing his Fulani-Muslim origin; those we associate hegemony with, and of course his persona. He contested the office four times, so you could see that he was bent on being there. But, Jonathan is not someone who is caught in the kind of hegemonic power struggle that the presidency of Nigeria has become.

You also said before the election that those who vote for Buhari, if he wins, would be doubly disappointed. With what you have seen since his inauguration a month ago, how would you place your prediction?

Have I not been proven right? In what respect, for instance, would you suggest that he has fulfilled any expectation that people had of him. See the way the country is going. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo took up issues with the fact that the head of all the three organs in Nigeria (Executive, Legislature and Judiciary) come from essentially the same constituency; the core North. And you have the same thing for the heads of the security agencies. That is very subversive of the idea of national integration, national unity and federal character. Not only that, on Tuesday, they came up with the Ruga Settlement idea, which somewhat started as cattle colony. You saw how the majority of public opinion repudiated it. Meanwhile, part of selling the policy was that it would be up to each state government to decide whether they want it or not, which should be the case legally and politically if they want to use it as an instrument of resolving a crisis. But what has emerged has completely deviated from that conception, according to the Benue State Governor (Samuel Ortom). They are more of imposing it on states now, regardless of their disposition towards it. It not only raises question about the practice of federalism in Nigeria, but more importantly, it is going to compound the situation that it was ostensibly intended to resolve. Also, on Wednesday morning, I read what my friend, the Emir of Kano and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Muhammadu Sanusi II, said. The emir has enough issues on his mind at the moment and I don’t want to drag him into this, but he said the oil subsidy is a fraud. If the oil subsidy is a fraud, then the President who presides over it, in addition to being the minister of petroleum, is implicated. You pay fuel subsidy of trillions of naira when you condemned Jonathan for paying for this same subsidy. Buhari once said 22 million litres per day in Nigeria was a fraud but now we are paying for about 60 million litres per day. According to Sanusi, Nigeria is confronted with bankruptcy. Why wouldn’t you be doubly disappointed? Can you honestly fault these things some of us point out? Put those on one side. Look at the people in positions of authority and you would find that only two zones essentially are given representation at the highest level of government in a country that has six zones. As a student of Nigerian politics who wishes Nigeria well, the Vice-President (Prof Yemi Osinbajo) is from the South-West and at the same time you railroaded the speaker to come from the same zone. So, the South-West and the core North are holding the rest of the country prostrate. This is not the kind of government we should wish for ourselves because you are going to have the consequences further down the line. You cannot plant coconut and reap cassava. There is no way this kind of power politics would have a beneficial effect on the country.

Already, about three zones, including the South-West and North have also expressed interest in the presidency in 2023, do you think they are trying to take other zones for granted?

The fact that the president is from a particular region is of no consequence to an average Nigerian, but the fact is that giving others a chance fosters a sense of belonging. We have very few formulas left to rekindle a sense of nationalism and nationhood among Nigerians and to convince them that this country could work. Obasanjo, a Yoruba man, was President for eight years; our current Vice-President is also a Yoruba man, if you have the consciousness to build a nation, which you should have, is it fair for that same region to show interest again? You see, this clamour by the South-West and the North are an indication of how things have gone wrong in the country. Barack Obama (a former US President) used to say that what you do when no one is watching is more important than what you do when someone is watching, which is talking about conscience. The sense of fairness, morality and nobility are all missing here and we should worry that this is not how to build a just country. The country as it is now is prone to divisiveness and so many frailties; hence this kind of politics is too dangerous to the health of the country. With all these insensitivity and cruelty, you would find that almost all Nigerians are alienated from the country one way or the other. That is why what the Chief of Army Staff (Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai) said about soldiers not being prepared to fight is happening. I tell people that the greatest problem Nigeria has is political mismanagement. The standard text is ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’. If you do, will the South-West or the core North say they want to produce the president in 2023?

What then is the solution?

This is why we talk about a structured federalism. For Nigeria to succeed in the structure that we have today, whoever is president must be detribalised, nationalistic, wise and a good man but of course you are not going to get that. That is the sense in restructuring because what Nigeria is going through is systemic failure; it’s not something that institutional pieces could fix. The whole system is a rot; look at how everything has been perverted. The notion now is get your own and move on. At the level we are, if you are in a position of authority and you don’t make money, your family would almost curse you. The systemic failure is why you have an army that is not an army and it’s like that in all areas. How do you justify a situation that the best way to address the insecurity in the country is by appointing almost all the heads of the security agencies from one part of the country? You see the disequilibrium everywhere and there is no way restructuring will not be inevitable. It’s even worrying that the leadership of the country sees nothing wrong with that and that is very depressing.

But the question some people ask is if restructuring can tackle all the problems in this country?

We have gone beyond the level of fixing each problem one after other; it has to be a systemic response. If a former CBN governor tells you that Nigeria is confronted with bankruptcy, then there is a serious issue. In fact, restructuring may be too late as a panacea for the problems that we have. It’s either we do it proactively or it is forced on us by extraordinary circumstances; the country can implode or collapse on itself. Any society that would prosper must be rooted in the correlation between productivity and reward and the correlation between hard work and reward. That is not the case we have in Nigeria today, where the belief is for you to grab what you can. Can anybody say what we have is fairness or patriotism? What we have is almost an inverse. We throw money at all the crises we have, like insurgency. Why, because you cannot appeal to people’s sense of patriotism. You have to relate with them at that base level; come and get your share but how many people can you buy?

Where did Nigeria get it wrong?

The thinking of those who prescribed the model of federalism to Nigeria was far superior, in terms of their knowledge of Nigeria, their commitment and their preparedness, and I’m talking of the British colonialists, who created Nigeria, and those who are referred to as Nigeria’s founding fathers; Ahmadu Bello, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, etc. Who in Nigeria before and now do you think know Nigeria more than those people or has the love of Nigeria more than those people? They all sat together for years and it wasn’t through a coup that Nigeria got its independence; there were so many constitutional conferences that led to the independence constitution. Do you think you can throw all that away and not get things wrong as we have it now? The extent of our failure as a nation is in many respects the extent to which we have deviated from that independence constitution, which gave us federalism. I tell people that both in theory and practice, that constitution has been vindicated over and over again. Nigeria up till 1966 is qualitatively different from what we have now. That was why I said the mentality of those Nigerians about our society is different from that of those of us who came after them. I don’t know whether Ahmadu Bello has houses anywhere, maybe he has a modest house. I have my own reservations about imperialism and such things, but you cannot fault his commitment and dedication to the development of the northern region. It is obvious. Of course, you can say more than that for Awolowo in the western region, likewise Azikiwe. A bunch of young guys in 1966 came together and violated that federalism and threw it away. To all extent and purposes, it was an accident, how then can you say you would choose an accident over the norm? When it was violated, we kept reinforcing the jeopardy. The development from that 1966 was that Nigeria became totally captive to power politics and from which we have proven incapable of extricating ourselves. They took Nigeria from four regions to the 36 states that we have today. The basis of the creation of some of the states was even ridiculous; some to compensate girlfriends. You see, those of us asking for restructuring are only asking for restoration. When are we going to start the important job of reclaiming the country to what it should be? Do I still need to tell anyone that the hard work has to start?

From what you said that the mentality of those founding fathers is different from that of the political elite we have today, is there a possibility that they won’t also plunge the restructured system into a dysfunctional state if the restructuring takes place eventually?

In the American war of independence, one of their battle prizes against the British colonialism was ‘no taxation without representation’. What that is telling you is that if you want to universally apply it to Nigeria, if the revenue of a state, for instance, is largely derived from the citizens of that state rather than run to a paymaster in Abuja, the people would hold that governor responsible for how he utilises their money. If a state derives like 80 per cent of its revenue from its people, the governor would not have a convoy of 15 vehicles because people would ask questions. But because it is not their money, directly, it became a double jeopardy. First, the people know that the money is not directly theirs because the governor got it from somewhere even though on their behalf; individuals didn’t make sacrifices, they may not hold the steward accountable. Second, the governor who received the money also feels he doesn’t hold the responsibility to them because he didn’t get it from them so he can spend it anyhow he wants. They may not say it but that explains the waste, profligacy and mismanagement of resources.

If we continue on this thread, where do you think it would lead this country to?

If we do, Nigeria would be lucky to still survive. You are breaking out in anarchy if you have soldiers who say they cannot fight. It was the Chief of Army Staff who said so. If it came from someone else, they would have said it was their enemy. Look at the rate of kidnapping. Just few days ago, 10 people were abducted from Akure-Ikere Road. I went to attend a meeting in Akure on Monday, many people who wanted to come from Lagos and would have driven like they used to could not get vacant seats on the flight. The flight from Lagos to Akure now is packed full because a percentage of those who used to drive, now go by air. You are in constant state of prayer. Now, if security men stop you, you don’t know who they truly are. You now hear things that make you panic, all a product of a systemic collapse. Imagine what the Vice-President said in the United States about the kidnapping problem when there are indications on a daily basis. I pray that God doesn’t bring the reality to him in a very personal way because that is cruel to the victims of those kidnappings. The fact that it doesn’t speak well of your government doesn’t mean you should minimise or distort what is happening. But this is the kind of personality type that contemporary Nigeria is bringing out. There is selfishness, insensitivity, cruelty, perfidy and all manners of bad things everywhere in government and the tragedy is that the political managers don’t even seem conscious of it.

The President promised to focus on three things – security, anti-corruption fight and the economy, are you optimistic that Buhari would do better in those areas this time round?

Morning shows the day. On what basis would I say I expect things to be different? Buhari is not a magician and there are a lot of things that have accumulated to produce the drawbacks that we have, but he has aggravated them, in my own opinion, beyond any other administration. But, you see, I keep on telling people that political mismanagement is our problem. As President, you need a grand strategy to get Nigeria working, not that you would fight corruption. Let us even assume that he has good intention but it is a non-starter. What we have is a complete rot and Nigeria has become a basket case. And what Nigeria needs most now is what is disappearing, which is a sense of nationhood, national unity, belief in the country, commitment, dedication and integration over and above anything else. It’s about how you get the country going and I have not seen the evidence. If the evidence is having the leaders of all the organs of government, in a very brazen manner, from one part of the country, if you are from the South-East, for instance, how will you feel? It’s an insult. I’m a student of Nigerian politics and I study all these things, so it gets to me more than many others. If Festus Adedayo was appointed as media aide to the Senate President (Ahmed Lawan) and the Senate President was pressurised to drop him, how do you manage such mentality? It’s an indication of how deep the country has sunk. If I were to meet Buhari today, I would tell him to appoint his critics if he wants to get Nigeria going; not ass-lickers or people who are looking for something from him. Can you honestly fault what some of us say or object to?  If I’m being sycophantic towards you and I cannot tell you what is going wrong, am I not deceiving you? But it is the man who is telling them that something is not right that they would choose as an enemy.

It’s been a month since the President was sworn in and people are already saying there should be no delay in appointing ministers this time round. Do you think it’s getting late too?

Like I said, morning shows the day. Why should anybody be surprised? You see, people behave as if you can change a left-handed man at 60. I would have been pleasantly surprised if ministers have been appointed by now. Can anybody claim to be surprised? Nigeria requires an emergency solution by capable hands and you have the President acting as if everything is okay.

The absence of all former Heads of State at the June 12 Democracy Day generated reactions from people, was there anything symbolic about their absence?

Of course it was symbolic. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m the one who has unreasonable expectations. If all former Presidents from different parts of this country did not sit together to decide that they wouldn’t go and they boycotted the programme, that is a vindication of those who hold the view that everything is wrong about the way Nigeria is going. For each of them to reach that conclusion not to go, there is no resounding judgment that is more than that and you should be worried. Rather, you have a sanctimonious belief in yourself, but it’s the logic of dictatorship when you have people who fall over themselves like sycophants because of you and they tell you all you want to hear. Inevitably, you are going to end up in that alley of vindictiveness.

There are some of them who come from the North, his region. Not even that alone, it was only Yakubu Gowon that attended his inauguration. That is a sad commentary of our current reality. As I told you, I try to ask myself whether we are the ones being unreasonable in our expectations of him, because I was trained in critical thinking. It’s obvious this style of governance is not working and that is double jeopardy. You need the commitment, sacrifice and dedication of your citizens to develop the society, but the opposite is what is in Nigeria because like I said the citizens are alienated from the country. I don’t want to be seen as being critical of government, but at the same time, I have an obligation to my God and my conscience. I would have preferred to be shamed by a wonderful performance. Worse still is that his style of governance is creating division among people, creating this mentality of ‘we’ versus ‘them’. There was a video clip of Chief Olu Falae where he shared his experience in the hands of some Fulani. Would he because of anything say they are not Fulani when they are? The professor they abducted also said they were Fulani herdsmen. Nobody is saying such is typical of Fulani, but at the same time, you cannot ignore these acts, and they are being overtly and tacitly inspired and encouraged to take law into their hands with impunity. As bad as things are in the South-West today, you can imagine what people in Benue State have gone through in the past few years. You would be adding insult to their injury by imposing this Ruga settlement on them. I’m not an extremist; I’m trained to believe in political compromise as the basis of political stability, but what we are being offered is not compromise, it is what you call ‘take it or leave it’. People would be complaining about something that wasn’t done right, but by the next day they would do something worse. Look at the provocative nature the idea of the Ruga Settlement was brought up and you also have the Fulani Radio coming up. I also believe there is no smoke without fire; I’m talking about the N100bn that was allegedly given to that group. Is that a good way to do things?

Some people have said Obasanjo might become irrelevant politically if Buhari, whom he opposed, win the election. Do you have same fears?

The logic of running a government of exclusivity, division, impunity and dictatorship is that you would need to create a negative personality cult around yourself. When you govern a country in terms of who is for me and who is against me, that is inevitable. The second thing is that Nigeria is travelling in a fast pace towards anarchy. Look at how all former Presidents kept away from him, was that an act of friendship to him? If he sees that as an indication that something is wrong and he does something about it, he would learn a positive lesson. If anybody thinks Obasanjo might become irrelevant, that person is thinking in the opposite direction and what I mean is that his status would become magnified because he would be vindicated. If he’s asking questions, you cannot fault the fact that something has gone fundamentally wrong.

You worked closely with Obasanjo, why didn’t he honour Abiola?

At that time, there were a few occasions in the National Assembly that doing something for Abiola was discussed but it was shut down. You know the way our leaders aggravate tension in the country, especially with the way the issue was presented as North versus South. In the early years of Obasanjo’s Presidency, there were machinations made by people like President Buhari to portray him as being against the North. The Sharia issue was there at that time and he (Buhari) was the same man who led a delegation to Lam Adesina. During that Sharia crisis, there was a Council of State meeting and the Vice-President then, Atiku Abubakar, addressed a world press conference that the council took a decision that parties to the Sharia conflict should revert to the status quo. General Buhari went on air and said it was a lie. Of course, we know the quotes that came out from that address. They don’t like us talking about these things but this is recent history. They are documented. They told people to vote for those who can defend their faith. There was a time in which there was this active northern Muslim opposition to Obasanjo and whatever he did was viewed on that basis. You can imagine bringing up the case of Abiola at the National Assembly at that time. It came up once or twice that I can remember but of course the fate was predictable, so that was the circumstance. Such an issue was divisive in those years. (Punch)

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Abacha Loot: New £211m Hidden In Jersey Island Discovered, Seized By UK |The Republican News

A British court has seized the sum £211,000,000 belonging late General Sani Abacha.

According to Metro U.K, the late military dictator laundered the money through the US into the Channel Islands and now that money has been recovered.

The money was put in accounts held in Jersey by Doraville Properties Corporation, a British Virgin Islands company.

The money is now being held by the government until authorities in Jersey, the US and Nigeria come to an agreement on how it should be distributed.

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Unease As Nigeria May Lose $9bn In Foreign Assets As London Court Sits On Tuesday |RN

Her Majesty Court

Anxiety continues to mount in government circles in Nigeria as a London court sits next Tuesday in a case that may see Nigeria forfeiting up to $9billion in foreign assets.
The expected loss is in respect of an enforcement application to the United States of America and the United Kingdom courts by Process and Industrial Development, a British firm tied up in a legal dispute with the Federal Government.


The court case arose out of the failure of a contract awarded the company in 2010 to process wet gas to power Nigeria’s generating plants.
On 16 March 2018, a BVI-based engineering and project management company sought to enforce in the US a USD6.6 billion award it obtained in January 2017 against Nigeria. This is one of the highest arbitral awards known to date. It shows the importance of the Respondent challenging facts, assumptions and calculations provided by the Claimant and of providing alternative evidence to the Tribunal.
That figure has since been attracting interest at the rate of $1.2 million per day and currently stands at over $9 billion.
The next hearing on the case will come up in a London court on May 21, 2019.
A former Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo is representing Nigeria in the case.
Brendan Cahill, Founder, P&ID, said the company looks forward to the UK and US courts granting enforcement rights that will allow it to collect what is rightfully its.
Cahill said: “If history is any guide – just look at how creditors seized Argentina’s naval frigate, while docked in Ghana.
“Efforts by Nigeria to evade this judgment will inevitably fall flat.

The ball is in Nigeria’s court.
“If the government is prepared to find a good-faith solution.”
Cahill, however, indicated that the company was open to negotiations with the Nigerian Government to settle the dispute out of court.
He said: “P&ID remains open to a settlement on a reasonable basis, but we need a willing partner in government to help resolve this matter.

“The onus is on the Nigerian Government to act in good faith to find a solution.”
After the P&ID’s Gas Supply and Processing Agreement with the Federal Government failed, the company initiated arbitration proceedings in London, in line with the original contractual agreement between the parties.
Cahill said the company decided to go to court after several attempts at salvaging the deal were botched.
He said: “P&ID’s Gas Supply and Processing Agreement failed when the government did not uphold its commitments.

“In August 2012, after several attempts over two and half years by P&ID to salvage the agreement, including offers to renegotiate the deal, the company initiated arbitration proceedings.”
Cahill is saddened by the failure of such a promising project and government’s lack of interest in trying to resolve the dispute amicably, adding that the original project would have brought power and economic growth to Nigeria by supplying free natural gas for electricity generation, as well as building a highly successful commercial venture with a share of profits going to the Nigerian Government.
He said: “The P&ID project would have supplied 2,000 megawatts of electricity in a country where tens of millions do not have access to electricity.
“The award judgment was handed down by the independent arbitration panel because it represented the loss of profits for P&ID over the 20 years of the project.”
In late February this year, the Office of the Attorney-General of Nigeria issued a statement contesting the huge amount the court awarded P&ID as damages, largely on the grounds that the project did not actually kick off the ground.
But Cahill reacted to the statement, explaining that the company had already put in years of planning, field work, design and on-the-ground preparation.
He stated: “We spent two and a half years offering solutions, while the government consistently failed to deliver its side of the contract.
“This is a tragic ending to a venture that would have delivered low-cost electrical energy to hundreds of thousands of households throughout Nigeria, and would have brought vital revenue to the Nigerian treasury.”
Cahill and his late partner, Michael Quinn, had over 30 years’ prior experience of executing successful engineering projects in Nigeria before the failed P&ID project that is now in dispute.

Background
In January 2010, Process and Development Limited (P&ID or the Claimant) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Nigeria or the Respondent) entered into a 20-year Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA). Under this agreement Nigeria would supply Wet Gas to P&ID, who would process it in a newly-built facility and return it in the form of Lean Gas. P&ID could then sell the by-products of the refinement process (natural gas liquids (NGLs) for their own profit.
Nigeria did not make arrangements for the agreed supply of Wet Gas, including building the necessary pipelines. In March 2013, P&ID treated this failure as a repudiation of the GSPA. By that date PI&grin estimated that it had invested USD40 million in the project, although it had not yet acquired the land or built the facilities.
In July 2015, an ad hoc tribunal seated in London decided that Nigeria was liable to damages to P&ID. In a majority decision in January 2017, the tribunal awarded USD6.6 billion in damages to P&ID. The dissenting opinion estimated the loss at USD250 million over three years.

Claimant’s position
The Claimant estimated that the project would produce a net profit of USD5 to USD6 billion over a 20-year period.
Income projections were based on several assumptions relating to the expected yield of NGLs and the price of NGL. The Claimant estimated capital expenditure at USD580 million and operational expenditure at cUSD60 million per year.
The Claimant used a discount rate of 2.65% based on US Treasury bonds to represent only the time value for money.

Respondent’s position
The Respondent objected that P&ID should only be entitled to nominal damages as it had not fully performed its obligations under the GSPA at the date of the repudiation.
It argued that production would be disrupted by militancy in the Niger Delta so that utilisation should be reduced to 40-50%. The Respondent’s expert challenged the Capex calculation as being based on inadequate material.
The Respondent also insisted that damages could only be awarded for a period of three years as the Claimant had a duty to mitigate its loss and it should have pursued other investment opportunities.
The Respondent adopted a discount rate of 7% to reflect the risk of investing in Nigeria.

Approach taken by the tribunal
The Tribunal considered that there was no evidence that the Claimant was unable or did not intend to perform its obligations under the GSPA. Consequently, the Tribunal rejected the Respondent’s argument on nominal damages.
In addition, the Tribunal determined that there was no actual evidence that militancy in the Niger Delta had any impact on gas production or transport around the site earmarked by P&ID, or that other NGL prices than the ones forecast by the Claimant should be used.

In the absence of a meaningful challenge from the Respondent, the Tribunal agreed with the Claimant on key aspects of the measure and calculation of damages, including the 20-year period, the other underlying assumptions to project net income, and the discount rate. It awarded USD6.6 billion in damages together with pre and post-award interest of 7%. This interest rate reflects what PI&grin would have had to pay to borrow the money or could have earned by investing in Nigeria.

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