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Ikoyi $43.4m: Osinbanjo Panel Compiles List Of Invitees |The Republican News

yemiosinbajo

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

Barely 24 hours after its constitution, the Presidential Investigative Committee on alleged infractions by two senior government officials got cracking yesterday.

The committee, headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is probing suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal and National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Director-General Ayo Oke.

Lawal is alleged to have awarded a N200million contract to a company, Global Vision Limited, linked with him by the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE) for the clearing of “invasive plant species” (weeds) in Yobe State.

Oke is being investigated over the $43.4million “covert operations” cash, which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) found in an apartment in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Contrary to the popular thinking that the NIA hid the $43.4million away from President Muhammadu Buhari, sources in the agency said yesterday that a brief was submitted to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) detailing the cash at hand as part of a comprehensive report for the President. But it was not clear last night whether the President actually got the report.

The Vice President and committee members met yesterday on their two-week mandate.

A source said: “The VP and members of the panel met to set up the structure for their investigation and list those who are likely to be interrogated.

“Members also got copies of the Interim Report which was submitted to the Presidency by the Acting Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu and briefs from Engr. Babachir Lawal and Amb. Ayo Oke.

“The collation of issues to determine was ongoing as at press time .Once it is done, what is left is to isolate others who will appear before the panel, apart from Magu, the SGF and DG NIA. It is a big assignment with the right foundation laid by different memos/briefs already submitted to the Presidency.”

The committee is also expecting details of the operation in Osborne Towers from the EFCC, whose Acting Chairman Magu returned to Abuja yesterday.

Another source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The committee will certainly interact with all those involved in the request and approval of the funds; the remittance of the cash and those in charge of the management of Osborne Towers.

Some lawyers may represent the embattled SGF, the NIA DG, companies and others who are to appear before the committee. But, it could not be immediately ascertained if the committee will be disposed to the engagement of lawyers.

A source said: “This investigation is about the reputation of some individuals and companies who have decided to engage lawyers to be on their defence team.

“Those affected do not want to appear before the committee and get locked in any technicality which may lead to their dismissal or prosecution.

“Their argument is that it is also the standard practice all over the world to get counsel to come along with those being investigated.”

NIA sources insisted last night that the agency did not hide the $43.4million from President Buhari.

A source said: “Contrary to what is being said, the NIA actually did not hide the $43.4million from President Muhammadu Buhari. This will imply that the agency has an ulterior motive.

“What actually happened was that the agency’s brief was submitted to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) detailing the cash at hand, including the $43.4m, as part of a comprehensive report for the President.

“We have all the memos written to ONSA. It is also a good development that the NSA, Gen. Babagana Monguno, is a member of Osinbajo’s committee. We hope that at the appropriate time, he will step aside to either corroborate or deny these memos.”

Apart from the Vice President and Monguno, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami(AGF), is also a member of the committee.

The three-man committee is expected to:

  • enquire into the circumstances in which the NIA came into possession of the funds;
  • find out how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to the NIA; and to
  • establish whether or not there has been a breach of the law or security procedure in obtaining custody and use of the funds.

There were indications last night that the EFCC has ended its search and combing operations in Osborne Towers in Lagos in respect of the $43.4million haul.

The operatives drafted for the assignment have returned to Abuja.

But a skeletal surveillance was left in the controversial Apartment 7B.

Also, it was learnt that the anti-graft commission has obtained some vital documents from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on the company used to acquire the apartment by the National Intelligence Agency (CAC).

It was gathered that one of the documents provided a fresh insight into the acquisition of the apartment with EFCC putting another company in Ikeja under watch.

A reliable source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The EFCC has ended its search and combing of apartments in Osborne Towers. Those who went for the operation in Lagos are back to Abuja.

“There is however a surveillance still being out in place in Apartment 7B where over $43.4million was recovered.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “We have also obtained vital documents from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) implicating another company in Ikeja. The company is now under EFCC watch including the profiling of its accounts.

(The Nation)

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We Will Not Replace Magu, Says Osinbajo |The Republican News

Magu

Ibrahim Magu

Olalekan Adetayo and Eniola AKinkuotu

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has ruled out the possibility of President Muhammadu Buhari replacing the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, whose nomination has been rejected by the Senate twice.

He said the President did not find the security report prepared by the Department of State Services which is the basis of his rejection a strong reason to replace Magu.

According to a report by an online medium, The Cable, Osinbajo spoke with some journalists from select media houses and social media activists at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said that despite being rejected twice, the government was still at liberty to renominate Magu.

He, however, said he aligned himself with the argument of a lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), that Senate confirmation was not needed for the EFCC chairman based on the provisions of Section 171 of the constitution.

He said. “It is up to the Senate to make their judgment (on Magu), and it is up to us say what we want to do. If our candidate is rejected, we can re-present him.

“No law says we can’t re-present him. And again, there is the other argument, whether or not we need to present him for confirmation and that’s a compelling argument from Femi Falana.

“His argument is that under the Constitution, Section 171, and if you look at that section, it talks about the appointments that the President can make. They include appointments of ministers, ambassadors and heads of agencies such as the EFCC.

“In that same Section 171, the Constitution rightly said that certain appointments must go to the Senate such as ministerial and ambassadorial appointments. Those of heads of agencies like the EFCC do not have to go to the Senate.

“That’s what the constitution says. But the EFCC Act, which of course as you know is inferior, says that EFCC chairman should go to the Senate for confirmation.

“I am sure that even a pocket book lawyer knows that when a legislation conflicts with Constitution, it’s the constitution that prevails. I agree with Mr. Falana that there was no need in the first place to have sent Magu’s name to the Senate, but we did so and it was rejected by the Senate, but I believe that it can be re-presented.

“I don’t think there is anything wrong about the fact that Senate has rejected him. Senate has acted in its own wisdom to say ‘No, we don’t want him’, and we can say, ‘This is our candidate… we like the gentleman and we want him to continue.”

The Vice-President said Buhari could have interfered with the DSS report that indicted Magu if he wanted to.

Rather than doing so, he said the President decided to hear Magu’s account, after which he felt convinced to retain him.

“We should commend the President for not interfering with what the DSS said. The DSS came up with a report and the man who was accused refuted it.

“He explains and gives a reason. When that happened, the President looked at what Magu said and what the DSS wrote and he said ‘I am satisfied with what Magu said’.

“He then decided to retain Magu as the nominee for EFCC. I don’t see any reason why that should be contested.

“The President has not interfered with what the DSS said. If he wanted to interfere, he would have ordered the DSS to keep quiet. He didn’t do that, but he said ‘I don’t think the DSS report is meritorious enough to withdraw his nomination.’

“The President reserves the right to say, ‘this is who I want’. I’m fully in support of Magu as the EFCC chairman just as the President is,” Osinbajo said.

The Vice-President also said it was not only in Nigeria that lawmakers reject nominees based on reports.

He said despite the mounting opposition against the nomination of Attorney-General of the US, Jeff Sessions, is currently serving in the administration of President Donald Trump.

“You see the American example… There are various reports. People come up with all sorts of things. Look at Jeff Sessions (US attorney-general) for instance, there were many reports. Some accused him of being a racist, some of this and that, but he is in office today,” he said.   (Punchng.com)

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Buhari To Osinbajo: A Running Mate Turned Friend, Congratulates Him

Buhari-and-Osinbajo

President Muhammadu Buhari with Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has described his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, as a running mate, who later turned out as a friend.

Buhari, who is currently on an extended medical vacation in London, United Kingdom, congratulated Osinbajo on his Twitter handle.

He described him as a running mate turned friend.

“Sixty hearty cheers for @ProfOsinbajo, running mate turned partner in service to Nigeria; and friend. Happy Birthday, Professor!” the President wrote.

The President’s wife, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, also congratulated Osinbajo on her Facebook page.

She wrote, “On the occasion of the birthday of Your Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, Ag. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I wish to extend my congratulations to you and to state that the years you have spent building your reputation in multiple capacities have today resulted in your ability to carry out your duties in line with the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress to ensure that a better Nigeria is realised.

“Congratulations and Happy Birthday Prof.”

The Acting President on Wednesday said he was happy and fulfilled on his 60th birthday.

Osinbajo spoke in a brief interview with State House correspondents shortly after he cut his birthday cake with ministers at the end of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He attributed his new age and other favours from God to what he called ‘the work of grace’.

He expressed appreciation to God for giving him the grace to serve the country.

Osinbajo said, “Frankly speaking, there is no difference between today and yesterday. It is really a work of grace.

“It is worth thanking God that one is 60 and one is in good health and that one is able to serve one’s country. I am happy and fulfilled. I am thankful to God.”

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, coordinated the cake-cutting session.

He commended Osinbajo on the way he had been carrying out his official duties, saying he was loyal to his principal and unassuming.

Ministers and other members of FEC had earlier treated Osinbajo to a birthday song when he arrived for the council’s weekly meeting at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

While the song was going on, the Acting President’s picture with the inscription, ‘Happy Birthday’, was displayed on the giant screen with smaller ones inside the hall.

At the end of the song, Osinbajo thanked the council members for their good wishes.

He prayed that the members who are below 60 would grow to become 60 while those already above 60 would grow to become 120.

Earlier, at his Akinola Aguda House, family members joined Osinbajo to cut his birthday cake and thank God for sparing his life.

He and his wife later sang a special thanksgiving song assisted by a pianist.

Meanwhile, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has congratulated Osinbajo on his 60th birthday, saying his birthday had come at a momentous time this year.

He described Osinbajo as ‘a consummate team player who does not seek individual accolades but one, who without personal notoriety or fanfare, does his best to advance the policies and interests of the government in which you serve.”

Osinbajo has been acting as president since Buhari proceeded on leave to seek medical attention.

In a page statement released by Tinubu Media Office and personally signed by him, Tinubu said, “I congratulate Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on his 60th birthday (on) March 8.

“We know that you will have little time to celebrate as your birthday comes at a momentous time this year. As the humble and selfless person you are, you shall be busy promoting the policy agenda of your principal and our President Muhammadu Buhari.

“You have been a faithful and dedicated lieutenant to our president. We wish you nothing but the best and congratulate your loyal service to him and to our beloved country.” (Punchng.com)

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Osinbajo Not Performing Better Than Buhari, Says Presidency

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Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

Says Osinbajo still consults Buhari on major issues

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Presidency on Monday said it was wrong for anybody to be claiming that the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has been performing better than President Muhammadu Buhari since the President started his extended medical vacation. 

It said Osinbajo still consults with Buhari on major national issues on a regular basis. 

The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu, said this in an interview with State House correspondents.  

While describing those behind the argument as thoughtless, Ojudu described it as a ploy by the opposition to cause an unnecessary ‎division. 

He said the President and Osinbajo enjoy a joint ticket and they were both elected based on the manifesto of the party which they have been implementing since their inauguration. 

The presidential aide said, “The same people who said we never had an economic team, no policy, nothing are the ones saying this. 

“It is now that the policies we are implementing are maturing and they are seeing the result. It is not a question of one person being better than the other person.

“There is nothing that has been done since the Vice-President started acting that is not something that started far back in the past. A good example is the Niger Delta initiative. 

“The President called the Vice-President and said ‘I am giving you the mandate, go into the Niger Delta and meet with everyone who is a stakeholder, all the communities, talk to the militants and make sure you solve this problem for the benefits of Nigerians.’

“We are losing 1.2 million barrels of oil per day, all the gas pipelines powering the turbines are being blown up. And the President has said unless and until we resolve this problem we will not get out of recession. The VP took up the mandate and went to the Niger Delta, it is the initiative of Mr President not that of the Vice-President.

“These are mischief makers, those who do not wish this country well, who are always promoting crisis, who will not allow the people to benefit from this democracy. They are the ones promoting this kind‎ of divisive tendencies.”  (Punchng.com)

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FG To Employ Fresh 350,000 Graduates In 2017 |The Republican News

G7 Leaders Meet For Summit At Schloss Elmau

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, GERMANY – JUNE 08: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari attends the second day of the summit of G7 nations at Schloss Elmau on June 8, 2015 near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. In the course of the two-day summit G7 leaders are scheduled to discuss global economic and security issues, as well as pressing global health-related issues, including antibiotics-resistant bacteria and Ebola. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Federal Government will employ an additional 350,000 graduates in 2017.

The graduates will be employed by the N-Power Volunteer Corps, a component of the government’s Social Investment Programmes.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

Akande said President Muhammadu Buhari had requested an appropriation of N157.75bn in the 2017 budget estimates for the N-Power scheme.

“350,000 unemployed graduates more would be hired and trained, alongside 50,000 non-graduates youths to be engaged as artisans and in other creative ventures,” Akande said.

He explained further that under the N157.75bn also, a sum of N4.5bn had been earmarked for science, technology, engineering and mathematics programme to support young Nigerians in building skills in those disciplines.

Akande noted that the SIPs’ budget proposals for 2017 would be discussed this week at the National Assembly and urged Nigerians to expect more initiatives especially in the area of implementation as virtually all of the SIPs are now undergoing different stages of implementation.

“While we were able to engage 200,000 unemployed graduates last year, we will do 350,000 more this year,” he said.

He added that some of the teething problems were giving way to lessons that would enhance the implementation under the 2017 budget.

He also disclosed that about N75bn had been allocated for the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme in the 2017 budget.

He added that N112.2bn had been allocated to the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme aimed at providing interest-free loans to 1.2 million market men and women, artisans, youths and farmers.

Under the GEEP, he explained that beneficiaries would receive between N10,000 and N100,000 loans with a one-time five percent administrative fee.

He said over 20,000 Nigerians in 14 states had benefitted from GEEP under the 2016 budget.

He said the Conditional Cash Transfer which had started in nine states would be further expanded under the 2017 budget to reach more states.

Akande said, “The plan in 2016 budget targeted one million poorest and vulnerable Nigerians. And in the 2017 budget, an additional N54.98bn has been allocated for the continuation of the N5,000 monthly social safety net payments to the poorest Nigerians.

“2017 implementation of the SIPs is going to be far more impactful than what we were able to do under the 2016 budget. So, Nigerians should expect more this year. The resolve of the Buhari presidency is that more lives must be touched positively under these programmes which Nigerians have come to appreciate.”  (Punchng.com)

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Osinbajo Explains Why He Rejected Four Bills, Lawmakers Threaten To Override Him

 

national-assembly

Lawmakers consider overriding Acting President

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has declined assent to four bills amended by the National Assembly for several reasons including an ongoing court case against one of the Acts.

The lawmaker yesterday threatened to override Osinbajo’s veto on the four bills.

Osinbajo’s four letters to the National Assembly were read at both chambers by the Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

The bills rejected are Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill 2016, Currency Conversion (Freezing orders) amendment bill, 2016, Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and National Lottery (Amendment), Bill 2016.

Osinbajo said he withheld assent to Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme fund because, “of the concerns surrounding board composition, funding arrangements, limitation of liability of funds, and proposals to increase levels of uncollateralized loans from N5,000 to N250,000”.

The acting President said he rejected the Currency conversion bill in view of the concern regarding the modalities for the communication of asset forfeiture orders.

On the dangerous drugs bill, Osinbajo said certain words and phrases utilised in the draft bill may be inconsistent with the Principal Act.

He said he withheld assent to the National Lottery amendment bill, following the existence of pending legal challenge to the competence of the National Assembly to legislate on the subject matter.

Daily Trust reports that the acting President last weekend assented to seven bills passed by the National Assembly.

Raising a point of order on the rejection, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi) said the acting President usurped the power of the National Assembly by withholding the assent to the bills.

Melaye who laced his argument with a quotation from section 4 of the 1999 Constitution faulted the explanation given for the rejection of the National Lottery bill. Sen. Melaye sponsored the bill on the National Lottery.

“Mr President, the role of the executive is to carry out their fundamental objective by signing anything that has been passed by this House… It will become so dangerous for democracy and our powers to legislate must have been taken away from us as enshrined in section 4 of the constitution.

“So the role of the executive is to assent to any law passed by this House and anyone who has a problem with it can go to court in compliance with the provisions of section 6 of the constitution, “he said.

Also speaking, Senator Geroge Sekibo (PDP, Rivers) said the  National Assembly has the power to override the President.

In his remark, Saraki said the issue would be referred to the legal unit for advice.

“We would refer this to our legal department to give us advice on interpretation on some of the things that you have said for us to be properly guided but I agree with you that it is a matter that we must take seriously because it goes down to the issue of separation of powers. We would get the opinion of the legal department, “he said.

At the House of Representatives, the four letters were referred to the justice committee and others to examine the reasons given by the acting president for withholding his assent to the bills, before knowing whether or not they would veto him on the matter.

House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila said yesterday was a historic day as it was the first time the executive notified the House on why the acting president was withholding assent to certain bills.

“Today is historic because you just read several letters from the acting president for withholding his assent to four bills. What we had in the past was just quiet from the other side. I want to urge that the letters should be circulated to members for everybody to dissect the reasons given before we decide,” he said.

Dogara said the committee on justice and other related committees would look at the bills and advise on what to do.

“Where the reasons given by the acting president are cogent, we’ll re-examine the bills, but where they are not, we’ll subject the bills to voting to see if we can have two/third of members to override the acting president’s veto,” he said.  (thenigerian.ng)

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