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Obanikoro’s Wife Loses Abuja Mansion To FG In Arms Scam Probe, She Appeals

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A Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Jabi, Abuja, has ordered that Alhaja Moroophat Obanikoro, the wife of a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, should forfeit her property pending the outcome of investigations into her husband and children.

The court also rejected a prayer asking the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to pay her the sum of N200m for violating her fundamental human rights.

Obanikoro’s wife has, however, headed for the Appeal Court to challenge the court judgment.

As part of investigations into the $2.1bn arms scam, involving the Office of the National Security Adviser, the EFCC had traced the transfer of about N4.7bn to the Diamond Bank account of Sylvan McNamara, a company allegedly owned by Obanikoro’s two sons – Gbolahan and Babajide.

Out of the N4.7bn, Obanikoro allegedly gave N3.880bn to Ayodele Fayose and Senator Iyiola Omisore in July 2014, when they were the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidates in Ekiti and Osun states respectively.

Part of the money allegedly given to Fayose was said to have been converted to $5.377m and handed to him at Spotless Hotel, Ado-Ekiti, in the presence of the then Ekiti State PDP Secretary, Tope Aluko, and other party stalwarts.

Obanikoro allegedly kept over N600m to himself.

The EFCC subsequently seized a house in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State allegedly belonging to Obanikoro’s sons – Gbolahan and Babajide – and a property located at 44 Mamman Kotangora Crescent, Katampke Extension, Abuja, belonging to their mother.

However, Obanikoro’s wife argued that she bought the property over seven years before the alleged arms scam took place.

She said the EFCC had no right to punish her for any crime allegedly committed by her husband and urged the court to award her N200m.

Obanikoro’s wife demanded “an order setting aside the sealing of the property; an order directing the EFCC to tender an unreserved public apology for the unlawful and unconditional invasion of the aforesaid property and the sum of N200,000,000 as general damages for the unlawful and unconstitutional invasion of the property.”

In an affidavit, deposed to by one Jackson Edet, the EFCC claimed that Obanikoro’s wife could not claim to be ignorant of her husband’s alleged crime.

The commission said Moroophat’s husband and her sons collected over N600m from the ONSA for a non-existent contract.

The EFCC argued that investigation had shown that, “the property belongs to Musiliu Obanikoro and he paid for the statutory charges for the property.”

The commission added, “That a lawyer, Tejumola Adeboye, who volunteered a statement to the commission, stated that he managed the said property and remits the rent to MON Integrated Services (a company allegedly owned by Obanikoro, which is also under probe).”

In his ruling, the Justice Y. Halilu said he could not stop the EFCC from doing its work, adding that all Nigerians must unite in the fight against corruption.

He added, “I shall refuse the application because it is most unmeritorious and specially packaged to deceive this court. God forbid.”   (Punchng.com)

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Mohammad Ali Jr. Speaks Out On Airport Detainment |The Republican News

 

Sedria Thomas

The son of legendary boxing legend Muhammad Ali on Monday morning spoke out about the “uncomfortable” situation he and his mum faced at a Florida airport earlier this month.

While returning back from Montego Bay, Jamaica, Muhammad Ali Jr. and “The People’s Champion’s” first wife, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, were detained by immigration officers at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after being quizzed about their religion.

His legendary father was known for his conversion to the Muslim faith.

“He asked me ‘What is your religion?’ And I was like why would you ever ask me what my religion is, does it matter,” Ali told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle.

After being held for almost two hours, Ali addressed his concerns and said the officers stated that they “were checking on something.”

Video still of Muhammad Ali Jr.                                 © Reuters Video still of Muhammad Ali Jr.  

“I was like, ‘Okay, but I been waiting an hour and 45 minutes for you to check something,'” Ali said. “So I’m like, ‘I got other things to do like where’s my mother at?’ I was worried about her, I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know.”

Ali’s mother was allowed to go after showing officials an image of her and her late husband who died June 4, said Chris Mancini, a former federal prosecutor and a friend of the family.

“I felt very uncomfortable and Muhammad Ali, everybody knows him as a person that stands up for what you believe in. I been a Muslim all my whole life and I never encountered such a thing,” said Camacho-Ali. “We must carry on that legend because if we let people get away with it now then it will be no end to the trauma.”

When asked about what he would say to President Trump if he would apologize for the detainment on the account of protecting the American people, Ali visibly frustrated responded saying “I’m not American? I don’t get it, I really don’t.”

At the age of 44, Ali had no prior criminal record, carries a U.S. passport and has never had a situation as this one happen to him before he said.

“Why are we now saying our fundamental constitutionally protected rights are no longer necessary,” said Mancini. “Everything in this country depends on a balance between our constitutional rights and our needs to protect ourselves and that is not happening. The balance is out of wack.”

(NBC News)

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Oscar’s Best Picture Flub Occurred Because Show ‘Focused So Hard’ On Me-Trump

 

Ted Johnson
                                     © Provided by Variety

 

President Donald Trump, making his first remarks on an Oscar ceremony where he and his policies were a frequent target of jokes and serious speeches, told Breitbart News that the ceremony’s political tone may have played a role in the major flub of the announcement of best picture.

“I think they were focused so hard on politics that they didn’t get the act together at the end,” Trump told Breitbart. “It was a little sad. It took away from the glamour of the Oscars. It didn’t feel like a very glamorous evening. I’ve been to the Oscars. There was something very special missing, and then to end that way was sad.”

In the final award of the evening, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway presented the best picture to “La La Land.” Minutes later, though, the producers of the movie were informed on stage that they didn’t win. Jordan Horowitz then announced that “Moonlight” had won the honour, holding up a card from an envelope showing that was the case.

As it turned out, Beatty was given the wrong envelope as he took the stage. It was a duplicate of the previous category, best actress, showing that Emma Stone of “La La Land” had won. He looked puzzled after he opened the envelope, pausing for a few moments before handing it to Dunaway, who then blurted out that “La La Land” had won.

It’s unclear if Trump actually watched the ceremony. Last week, White House spokesman Sean Spicer suggested that he and the first lady would be too busy hosting the nation’s governors at a White House dinner.

A number of presenters and winners made political references, on issues including immigration and diversity, while host Jimmy Kimmel made Trump the target of jokes throughout the evening.

Trump did have a connection to the ceremony: His treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, financed and was an executive producer of “Suicide Squad,” which won for hair and makeup.

Although Trump did not tweet about the ceremony, as he has done in the past, his son, Donald Trump Jr., did. He made a dig at another flub of the evening when the show used the wrong photo to identify Janet Patterson, a costume designer, for their In Memoriam segment. The woman in the photo, producer Jan Chapman, is still alive.

(Variety)

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FG To Create 250,000 Jobs From $20bn Gas Park In Niger Delta |The Republican News

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Mr Laolu Akande

 

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Federal Government is planning to generate 250,000 direct and indirect jobs through the $20bn Gas Revolution Industrial Park being planned for Ogidigben in Delta State.

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

Akande said the decision to set up the park was one of the outcomes of the ongoing consultations the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, made in the Niger Delta.

He said the park would be set up through a Public-Private Partnership model.

He said the park would be a regional hub for all gas-based industries, adding that the project would cover 2,700 hectares of land with fertiliser, methanol, petrochemicals and aluminium plants located in the park designated as a tax-free zone by the government.

Akande said Osinbajo spoke while meeting with international developers and investors of the project at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“The present administration is committed to the development of the Niger Delta and the importance of this project is underlined by the presidential attention it is attracting,” Osinbajo was quoted as saying.

He said Osinbajo, alongside the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu; the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s Group Managing Director; Dr Maikanti Baru; and other top government and NNPC officials met with the group of international investors and developers put together under a consortium by a Dubai-based firm, AGMC.

The consortium, he said, was made up of Fortune 500 companies like the GSE&C of South Korea, the China Development Bank, Power China and several other global operators from Asia and the United Arab Emirates.

The statement read, “Under the plan presented today by the consortium to the Acting President, about $20bn would be invested to develop the Gas Revolution Industrial Park, generating 250,000 direct and indirect jobs in the process.

“The industrial park would be a cluster for several industries in one location benefitting from an efficient, cost-competitive and abundant supply of natural gas, proximity to a deep seaport and centralised utilities and services such as uninterrupted power, world-class telecommunications and processed water.

“The park, originally conceived by the NNPC, is located about 60km from Warri and is about one kilometre away from the operational base of Chevron Nigeria Limited.

“It will be connected to over 18tn cubic feet of gas reserves in fields such as Odidi, Okan, Forcados, located within a 50km radius.

“It is equally planned that the park will be connected to Nigeria’s most dominant gas pipeline network – ELPS, to enable the supply of gas to and from the park.”

In his remarks, Kachikwu expressed confidence that the GRIP will bring the much-needed succour to the people of the Niger Delta and the oil-producing states.

The leader of the group of investors and developers, Sheik Mohammed Bayo, stressed the commitment of the consortium, adding also that the project was important to solving the Niger Delta crisis.  (Punchng.com)

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Bad Leadership Responsible For Nigeria’s Woes, Not God, Says Obasanjo

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Olusegun Obasanjo

 

Godwin Isenyo, Kaduna

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said lack of good leadership and not God is responsible for the nation’s woes.

He also said that the present generation of leaders had failed the country because they lacked the focus and commitment to move the nation forward.

Obasanjo,  who identified bad leadership as one of the problems confronting the country, noted that his generation might have failed in raising  Nigeria to where it should be but said they (his generation) had fared well in keeping Nigeria united under a stable democratic dispensation.

Obasanjo spoke as the chairman of the  38th Kaduna International Trade Fair’s Seminar with the theme, ‘Promoting Public Private Partnership as Panacea for Accelerated Growth and Development,’ organised by the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture on Monday.

He added that Nigerians must learn to stop blaming God for the nation’s woes, saying “let us stop troubling God because God has done all we need for us, we only need to play our own part.”

Obasanjo stated that if Nigerians should pray to God, “our prayer should be that God should not take away all He has given to us as a nation.”

This, the former President said, was because God had given Nigeria everything it needed to be great but for the leadership problem bedevilling the country.

He said, “God in His mercy has given us all the needed resources, both human and natural, but we have not been able to put them together and manage them effectively. The countries that have developed and are performing better are not better than Nigeria in terms of resources.

“One problem that must be corrected is the problem of leadership. This is because our leaders lack focus, commitment, continuity and sometimes proper knowledge about economic and development issues, hence we have not been able to achieve a meaningful result.”

The former President added, “Somebody came to me and said we need to pray to God and I said, for what? He said, ‘so that God can do for us, what we cannot do for ourselves.’ And I said, no, let us stop troubling God because God has done all we need for us, we only need to play our own part.”

Obasanjo faulted the lack of focus and capability of the nation’s leadership to handle the complex issue of the economy, noting that if Nigeria must get it right in its democratic journey, the problem of poor leadership must be resolved.

“Another problem is that we take one step forward and another step backwards. Nigerian leaders must be tough and ready to bite the bullet because Nigeria cannot have it easy. Until we get the right leadership, the problem will continue,” he said.

Obasanjo, who traced the nation’s socio-economic and political history from independence to date, said the First Republic generation, led by its founding fathers, gave the country independence but noted with sadness that the present generation had nothing to offer.

He said, “It doesn’t matter what you want to say about them, the Awolowos, Nnamdi Azikiwes, the Sardaunas, Aminu Kanos, Tafawa Balewas, gave us independence, they were not perfect and if you like, you can even go from now until tomorrow to condemn what they did, but they gave us independence.

“My own generation fought for the unity of Nigeria. You cannot deny that. There are many things we must have done wrong but we fought for the unity of this country.  I still have sharp nails from grenades that entered my body that our brothers shot at me during the Civil War. But, at the end of it, we reconciled.

“In addition, my generation laid the foundation of democracy in the country. Our democracy is not perfect, our democracy is a journey and not a destination, we must continue to improve on it. My sons and daughters, what will your generation do?”

Besides, the former President said that lack of synergy between the public and the private sectors was responsible for the setback in the nation’s economy growth.

“The public sector perceives the private sector as a profit-making industry that reaps where it does not sow, but in actual fact, they are two legs that when brought together can accelerate development in all sectors of the economy,” he stressed.

He said public and private sectors must work together to accelerate growth and development.

Obasanjo said, “When we were in office, we privatised the NNPC and sold it to Dangote and partners, but the government that succeeded me revoked it and that is why till today, the NNPC cannot work optimally.

“Today, the same Dangote that was denied ownership of the NNPC is building a refinery that can produce in excess of what the NNPC can produce and what Nigeria can consume. So, it means he will even export.”

Earlier, a  former Minister of National Planning, Dr Shamsudeen Usman,  who delivered a paper on ‘Promoting Public Private Partnership As Panacea For Accelerated Growth And Development,’ had called on the government to encourage the concept of Public Private Partnership for the growth of the nation.

Usman said the country needed foreign capital and expertise to augment the resources that the country could afford to generate.

Also, the KADCCIMA President, Dr Muheeba Dankaka, had explained that the theme was chosen to highlight the need for collaboration between the public and private sectors to enhance the business environment through massive infrastructure development. (Punchng.com)

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Buhari Is Not In Hospital, Says Lai Mohammed |The Republican News

Nigeria-Art-Music-AFRIMA

Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says President Muhammadu Buhari is neither critically ill nor in life threatening situation and there is no cause for alarm.The minister reiterated this position on Monday in Umuahia at the second town hall meeting for the South East and the launch of national reorientation campaign, “Change Begins With Me’’ in Abia.

The minister, who was asked to tell the country about the health condition of the president and whether there was a need for a regular briefing on his health stressed that there was no reason for such briefings.

Mohammed disclosed that the president spoke with him on Saturday in the afternoon and there was no reason for Nigerians to be worried.

He said, “I can say here very boldly and confidently that there is absolutely no cause for alarm.

“Mr president called me at 2.43 p.m. on Saturday and we spoke.

“If Mr president is in the hospital or is critically ill, as minister of information, I will give daily bulletin on his health.

“Mr president is neither critically ill nor in the hospital and there is nothing life threatening about the checks he is going through.”

Speaking on the state of the economy, the minister said that it was corruption that made the prices of commodities to go up.

He noted that no economy in the world could survive the blind and reckless looting perpetrated by the previous administration.

He said, “If one person was found with almost $10m in an uncompleted house and another with $136m in a fake account and other with N7bn how can the economy survives the kind of looting.

“Naturally the price of commodities will go up.

“These are funds meant for development of infrastructure and for the provision of services.

“That is why you cannot do anything with the economy without first facing corruption squarely.

“But the good news is that the government is doing both together, as we are fighting corruption, we are also making sure that we are ensuring we are out of recession by investing heavily in infrastructure.”

Mohammed also pacified the audience who lamented the spate of attacks on farmers by the herdsmen.

He said contrary to the position of some elements who want to destroy the unity of the country, the government was not supporting any section of the country against the other.

He said it was purely security issue and it was being handled from both the federal and the state levels.

“I want to make the appeal that the strength of Nigeria is in its diversity and unity.

“We have been living together peacefully before and we shall continue to live together peacefully,’’ he said.

Speaking in the same vein, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, apologised on behalf of the Federal Government to the farmers who had suffered from the ugly trend.

“We in the Ministry of Agriculture are mostly affected by this crisis and frankly we feel deeply disturbed about it.

“Like the two traditional rulers had said, you asked people to go and farm and there is this problem of herdsmen tormenting them and their cattle eating up their crops.

“It is affecting not only the farmers but the food that they are supposed to produce and sell to the society.

“As a farmer, nothing can be more upsetting to wake up and find out that my farm has been destroyed.

They have done it to me and I know how it badly affected me but we will bring the challenge to an end very soon,’’ he said.

Ogbeh said the Federal Government is training 3000 agro rangers who will protect farms in different places.

NAN

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Osinbajo Not Performing Better Than Buhari, Says Presidency

yemiosinbajo

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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