CHANGE IS HERE

CHANGE IS HERE

Thursday, May 31, 2012

ARCHBISHOP PETER AKINOLA'S POWERFUL DEMOCRACY DAY SERMON. (A MUST WATCH)


Monday, May 28, 2012

Why Jonathan Didn’t Say Amen To Anti-corruption Prayer- Abati

Abati


Spokesperson toPresident Jonathan Ebele Goodluck, Mr Reuben Abati, has responded to accusations that Jonathan and members of his cabal refused to say amen to at this weekend’s democracy day Church Service when the preacher offered a prayerful curse against corruption amongst public officials.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Abati revealed aspects of protocol that are not widely known outside Government circles, and which would explain why Mr President and ministers didn’t say Amen to the prayer by Most Reverend Peter Akinola, committing corrupt politicians to the court of God.
According to him, it is a long standing presidential protocol that during Church or Mosque services, the President only offers a fixed number of “Amen” or “Amin”, as the case may be.
The Reverend had offered many prayers and demanded many “Amens” prior to the contentious one, Abati explained, the result of which was that the day’s quota of “Amens” had been used up.
“Why?” asked the spokesperson, “would President not say amen to a prayer against corruption?”
He advised preachers, pastors, Imams etc, to familiarise themselves with government protocol and to also limit the length of their prayers and sermons.
“It is the same people accusing the President of not saying amen to anti-corruption prayer that would be accusing him of favouritism if he had broken with protocol and said more “Amens” than is allowed by constitution,” Abati said.


Why Jonathan Didn’t Say Amen To Anti-corruption Prayer- Abati | Leadership Newspapers

Democracy Day Church Service: President Jonathan, Ministers, Refuse To Say "Amen" To Anti-Corruption Prayer By Clergy-PREMIUM TIMES



Goodluck, Gov. Yakowa, Senator Ayogu Eze, Patience Jonathan and 
Gov. Seriake Dickson at Abuja church service today 


By Bassey Udo

President Goodluck Jonathan, governors, ministers and top government officials on Sunday failed to demonstrate a public commitment to the fight against corruption.

At the interdenominational church service held at the Ecumenical Centre, Abuja, to commemorate the 2012 National Democracy Day, the guest preacher and immediate past Prelate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Most Reverend Peter Akinola, in his sermon, challenged the congregation to join him in the fight against corruption in the country by committing perpetrators to God.

But the congregation, including the President, who was accompanied by his wife, Patience, the Governor of Bayelsa, Seriake Dickson and Kaduna, Patrick Yakowa, Deputy Governor of Nasarawa state, Dameshi Luka, as well as some ministers failed to respond to prayers to take corrupt officials “to the court of God.”

Apparently, expecting to hear a thunderous YES from the congregation, the Reverend, who instead got a deafening silence, exclaimed: “There you go! Oh, corruption! So, you are not ready to fight it, because you are all beneficiaries of it. Whether you steal in a small or big way, stealing is stealing." 

Apparently disappointed with the response he got, the clergyman shot angrily at Mr. Jonathan and his delegation, “See, it is very clear. You are not interested in fighting corruption. If you do, let us take our case to the court of God, if you dare. Who is deceiving who? You are only deceiving yourselves, not God. And you who is stealing government funds, subjecting the poor to untold hardship; you who steal oil subsidy money, making Nigerians pay for fuel through their noses; you who steal funds meant for improving our power supply, deliberately making Nigerians live a life in utter darkness, will you repent today? I doubt it!"

Before throwing the challenge at the president and other officials at the Service, Mr. Akinola  had delivered a homily on the destructive impact of corruption on Nigeria.

“This hydra headed monster (of corruption) has literarily taken over the soul and eaten up the fabric of Nigeria,” Reverend Akinola said. “Officials steal our public funds openly by the pen, while others steal by the power of the gun. Successive governments have declared half-hearted war against corruption to no avail. We know only too well that the fight against corruption is largely selective directed at those opposing the government, with no strong political connection.



“Many of those fighting it (corruption) in police and Judiciary have no clean hands. When any National Assembly Committee or any government agency is inviting anybody for questioning it is because those being investigated have not yet given the agency inviting it their due share of the booty. 

“Worse still, those who have cleverly made away with public funds and are living above their legitimate incomes are those who are being honoured by traditional rulers, who make them chiefs and high chiefs. Recently, our universities have joined the queue by inviting those people and giving them some baseless honorary doctorate degrees.Sadly, therefore, corruption will continue in full gear, because Nigerians and the government only pay lip service to its eradication. But, I believed as a Christian, as a preacher, as one who reads the Bible, there a way out." 

He continued, “Corruption in a narrow sense is another name for stealing. Stealing is a sin God commands us all not to commit. As you know every soul that sins and fails to repent shall die in his sin and end up in hell. So, let us resolve here today to take to the court of God, beginning from this place, all those thieves, who have failed to repent. Will you join me? 

“You who steal the money for road construction, leaving our roads in a state of disrepair, causing several accidents and untimely deaths of thousands of our people, their blood is crying to the creator. You who steal the money earmarked for healthcare delivery, thereby running down and turning our hospitals into mortuaries; you who have destroyed our educational system, because the money meant for schools never got to them; you who make laws to inflate costs included in the budget, are you listening to me?  

“All of you, whoever you are, greedy, arrogant politicians and officials who are in government only for what you can steal from it and virtually nothing to contribute to national development and has turned Nigeria into a wretch, repent today, and make reparations and God will have mercy on you. Don’t say Amen, only if you repent. 

“It is true that ICPC, EFCC, the Police, judiciary may not catch you stealing. But believe me, the all-seeing, all-knowing, all-wise and the almighty God sees you very clearly. But, He is patiently waiting for you to return to the path of sanity and righteousness.”

In his speech, President Jonathan did not react to the issues raised by the preacher, who also proffered a proposal for a new Nigeria.

The president, who identified terrorism as a major challenge the country is currently facing, said with the prayers of Nigerians and commitment of government, “we will overcome”.

“We are working very hard to reposition our security architecture to cope with the modern challenge of terror. We will overcome,” he said. “Even though some people are predicting the disintegration of Nigeria, let me assure Nigerians that Nigeria will never disintegrate. Our forefathers worked hard to bring us together as a nation. Because of the country’s potentials and resources, no one individual or group can create problems that can disintegrate this country.”

Sunday, May 27, 2012

13 Ways the Nigerian Government is Similar to Boko Haram--NIYI AYIRI

Jonathan and former IGP Ringim


Boko Haram, with its campaign of incessant bombing commits murder and slaughters the lives of countless innocents without mercy. The Nigerian government, with its campaign of mindless corruption, diversion of public resources into private bank accounts, conversion of the Nigerian judiciary into its pockets and other crimes based on greed, and selfishness, also slaughters the lives of countless Nigerians without mercy.

The only difference is whilst Boko Haram with their explosive carnage slaughter innocents fairly quickly, often without the deceased even knowing the pain that led to their death, the Nigerian government  ensures that the majority of the citizenry die a slow and painful death whilst subsisting on less than a dollar a day. They are killing the masses with needless poverty, hunger, disease and other ailments and even the Presidency is culpable.

I wonder if  it is a sign from the Heavens saying “look you superstitious people, always praying for good luck and fortune in life. Well now Goodluck is in power, has he saved you? You fools need to save yourselves!”

Only this week we discovered due to a foreign source, that our President, Attorney General and other high level members of the cabinet are involved in a $ 1.1 billion oil block scam that was initiated by Abacha, sustained by Obasanjo and perfected by Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Their names reading like the holy trinity of corruption – Northerner, South-Westerner and Southerner, separated by religious lines but amalgamated by greed and corruption.

The full report on the atrocities can be viewed here in the Global Witness report.
Another bombshell dropped this week from foreign sources again, the United States State Department released a report on the corruption and human rights abuses of this administration.  Whilst reading the report one isn’t sure if even the American bureaucrats know the difference between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government.

Here are a few excerpts from the report and thirteen reasons the Government is as much a burden on the people as is Boko Haram:

1. “The most serious human rights problems during the year were the abuses committed by the militant sect known as Boko Haram, which was responsible for killings, bombings, and other attacks throughout the country, resulting in numerous deaths, injuries, and the widespread destruction of property; abuses committed by the security services with impunity, including killings, beatings, arbitrary detention, and destruction of property; and societal violence, including ethnic, regional, and religious violence.”

2. “Other serious human rights problems included sporadic abridgement of citizens’ right to change their government, due to some election fraud and other irregularities; politically motivated and extrajudicial killings by security forces, including summary executions; security force torture, rape, and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of prisoners, detainees, and criminal suspects; harsh and life-threatening prison and detention center conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; prolonged pretrial detention; denial of fair public trial; executive influence on the judiciary and judicial corruption; infringements on citizens’privacy rights; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion, and movement; official corruption; violence and discrimination against women; child abuse; female genital mutilation (FGM); the killing of children suspected of witchcraft; child sexual exploitation; ethnic, regional, and religious discrimination; trafficking in persons for the purpose of prostitution and forced labor; discrimination against persons with disabilities; discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; vigilante killings; forced and bonded labor; and child labor.”

3.” Impunity was widespread at all levels of government. The government brought few persons to justice for abuses and corruption. Police generally operated with impunity. Authorities did not investigate the majority of cases of police abuse or punish perpetrators. Authorities generally did not hold police accountable for the use of excessive or deadly force or for the deaths of persons in custody.”

4. “On July 9 the JTF reportedly committed illegal killings in response to a Boko Haram bombing in Maiduguri, Borno State. Local residents, media, and the international nongovernmental organization (NGO) Amnesty International (AI) reported that the JTF killed at least 23 and up to 40 persons, destroyed property, illegally detained residents, and raped women in the vicinity of the bomb blast.”

5. “Credible reports also indicated that other uniformed military personnel and paramilitary mobile police carried out summary executions, assaults, and other abuses across the Niger Delta and Borno State… The national police, the army, and other security forces committed extrajudicial killings and used lethal and excessive force to apprehend criminals and suspects, as well as to disperse protesters. Authorities generally did not hold police accountable for the use of excessive or deadly force or for the deaths of persons in custody. Police generally operated with impunity in the illegal apprehension, detention, and sometimes execution of criminal suspects. The reports of state or federal panels of inquiry investigating suspicious deaths remained unpublished.”

6. “On September 12, members of the police unit Operation Famou Tangbei (OFT) raided the home of Freddie Philip Ockiya in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. Members of the OFT arrested Ockiya and took him to the local police station. His family searched for him until September 21, when his body was discovered at the morgue. The family filed a suit against members of the police and government in a federal high court. The inspector general of police disbanded the OFT in late September, but authorities did not arrest any members of the OFT in connection with Ockiya’s death by year’s end.”

7. “In 2009 AI published Killing at Will: Extrajudicial Executions and Other Unlawful Killings by the Police in Nigeria, which documented 39 cases of security force killings and enforced disappearances based on interviews and research conducted between July 2007 and July 2009. According to the report, national police were responsible for hundreds of extrajudicial executions, other unlawful killings, and enforced disappearances each year. In a country where “bribes guarantee safety,” those who could not afford to pay risked being shot or tortured to death. Authorities did not investigate the majority of cases or punish perpetrators. When investigations occurred, they did not comply with international standards, and officers suspected of extrajudicial executions generally were sent away on training or transferred to other states instead of being prosecuted. Police often claimed that the victim was an armed robber killed in an exchange of gunfire or a suspect killed while trying to escape police custody. AI charged that Police Force Order 237, which permits officers to shoot suspects and detainees who attempt to escape or avoid arrest, “lets the police get away with murder.”

8. “Police use of excessive force, including live ammunition, to disperse demonstrators resulted in numerous killings during the year. For example, on February 11, Ekiti police reportedly shot and killed five persons protesting the announcement of the relocation of a federal university to Oye-Ekiti that the state governor previously had promised would be located in the Ado-Ekiti community. Authorities had neither charged nor punished anyone for the killings by year’s end.Police used gunfire to control or disperse political rallies, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries. For example, on February 12, police attempting to control the flow of participants at a PDP rally in a Port Harcourt stadium fired into the air. The gunfire prompted a stampede resulting in the death of 20 persons. Authorities had neither charged nor punished anyone for the incident by year’s end.”

9. “In 2010 AI released the report Port Harcourt Demolitions: Excessive Use of Force Against Demonstrators, which documented an attack in 2009 in which police and the JTF fired into a crowd of citizens peacefully protesting the proposed demolition of their homes. The report stated that the JTF shot and seriously injured at least 12 persons, and witnesses claimed that they saw six bodies in a police vehicle. Authorities had neither charged nor punished anyone for the killings by year’s end.”

10. “On August 14, police in Anambra State reportedly shot five persons at a roadblock after they would not pay a bribe of 20 naira ($0.13). One of the passengers reportedly died at the scene, while the other four were rushed to a hospital, where they were pronounced dead. Eyewitnesses stated that the driver claimed to already have paid 20 naira but could not produce a receipt that the policeman demanded. When the driver attempted to leave, the police opened fire. A police representative confirmed that one person was killed and three were rushed to the hospital. There were no developments in the case by year’s end.For example, on October 16, police reportedly shot and killed Victor Emmanuel in Bayesla State after he criticized the police for extorting money from passing motorists on the road from his church. On October 28, police officials announced that the accused officers received an “orderly room trial” that could lead to dismissal or prosecution; however, the case remained pending at year’s end.”

11. “Police sometimes shot bystanders by mistake. For example, on September 10, four federal police officers guarding a funeral procession in Akoko, Delta State, opened fire on mourners after drinking heavily, killing at least three persons. A police spokesman confirmed the incident but offered no explanation for the actions of the officers. The police force dismissed the four officers, and at year’s end the four officers remained in custody awaiting the filing of criminal charges.Police and military personnel used excessive and sometimes deadly force to quell civil unrest and interethnic violence, and to deal with property vandalism. For example, on June 12, antiriot police reportedly shot protesters in Ogoni, Rivers State. After villagers gathered to protest excessive use of force by police during an earlier protest over the construction of a military base in a nearby village, police attempted to arrest the protesters. Police reportedly opened fire, killing three persons. The Rivers State government reportedly investigated, but there were no developments in the case by year’s end.”

12. “On October 20, police shot and killed a girl and injured her two sisters while they were working in the fields of their family’s farm in Ekiti State. Local residents angered by the shooting protested outside the police station. When they would not disperse, police opened fire, injuring at least six individuals. On October 24,State Governor Kayode Fayemi criticized the killing and called for an immediate investigation. An investigation remained pending at year’s end.”

13. “According to credible reports, during the year security forces committed rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls with impunity. In May 2010 the Open Society Justice Initiative reported that rape was “a routine but unspoken aspect of policing” and was “one of the fringe benefits attached to night patrol.” This report on corruption within the country’s police force highlighted the problem of rape of arrested prostitutes by police. The report described police officers raping women who could not pay as little as 1,000 naira ($6) for their release. Police allegedly raped women who came to report crimes at police stations. The report also claimed that officers, both male and female, sodomized women with bottles and metal pipes. In August 2010 Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report detailing widespread police abuse of power, including acts, or threats, of rape or sexual assault, as a means to extort bribes from female detainees or women traveling between road checkpoints.”

Niyi Ayiri wrote in from Lagos.
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Saturday, May 26, 2012

13 years of Democracy: Looted hopes from leaders steering Nigeria to its end



Stories by Chioma Gabriel, Taye Obateru, Luka Biniyat, John Bulus, John Bosco Agbakwuru, Ayo Onikoyi
The morning of 29th May, 1999 was like the first day in a new recreated Nigeria after 29 years military tyranny.
Drumming, singing, dancing and jubilation filled the Eagle Square, Abuja as Nigerians awaited the handover of power from a  military regime to a new legitimately elected democratic government under the leadership of  President Olusegun Obasanjo that morning.
It was same in all the 36 federating states of Africa’s most populous country – celebrating a future full of hopes for improved wellbeing of everyone.
Vice President Namadi Sambo with Other Heads of State, at the Global African Disapora Summit in Johannesburg South Africa on Friday (24/5/12). NAN Photo
The inaugural speech of President Obasanjo even re-enforced this faith the more, as Nigerians at the Eagles Square and millions more who  werewatching  live on TV or listening  over the radio allowed tears of joy to drip freely when they thought of the past and what the new “messiah” was promising.
“Nigeria is wonderfully endowed by the Almighty with human and other resources” Obasanjo reminded all.
“ It does no credit either to us or the entire black race if we fail in managing our resources for quick improvement in the quality of life of our people.
“Instead of progress and development, which we  are entitled to expect from those who governed us, we experienced in  the last decade and a half,  particularly in the last regime but one, persistent deterioration in the quality of our governance, leading  to instability and the weakening of all public institutions ”, he said
“Good men  were shunned and kept away from government while those who should be  kept away were drawn near. Relations between men and women who had  been friends for many decades, and between communities that had lived  together in peace for many generations became very bitter because of  the actions or inactions of government.
“The citizens developed distrust in government, and because promises made for the improvement  of the conditions of the people were not kept, all statements by  government were met with cynicism”, he pointed out.
“Government officials became progressively indifferent to propriety of  conduct and showed little commitment to promoting the general welfare  of the people and the public good.
“ Government and all its agencies  became thoroughly corrupt and reckless. Members of the public had to  bribe their way through in ministries and parastatals to get  attention and one government agency had to bribe another government  agency to obtain the release of their statutory allocation of funds.
“The impact of official corruption is so rampant and has earned  Nigeria a very bad image at home and abroad. Besides, it has distorted and retrogressed development”.
Of course, he promised to reverse all, in a rare oration that pulled down the wary stand of pessimists.
Looking back these 13 years of democracy, those past leaders  that Obasanjo so disparaged, would be completely right if they asked for an unreserved apology from  Obasanjo, who left Nigerians arguably, worse than he met them .Virtually everything Obasanjo said has remained the same, and has even gone worse in some instances.
The tragedy of 13 years of Nigerian democracy is even more vexing when looked through Nigeria’s earning for this duration.
According to analysts, the country has  grossed in  far more income between 1999 and 2010 than the prior 35 years before 1999. It has been estimated that  Nigeria’s GDP had jumped  from  $90 billion  in 1998 to about $350 billion in 2009 alone, about 300% and on an absolute value.
Yet on Human Development Index, Nigeria remains among the most impoverished  nations on earth, with an estimated 79 million of its 150 million  populace living below the poverty level.
The North Western part of Nigeria, according to recent UNESCO rating, has the lowest literary   level in the world.
Nigeria spent not less that $16 billion (N2.5 trillion)  to improve on the 3,500 Mw of power that civil rule inherited from autocratic military rule.  It is doubtful if Nigeria produces Imw  above that figure today.
Yes, some roads, boreholes, hospitals and some schools may have been built, but on the aggregate that  falls extremely far  from expectation.
The story of Nigeria in the past 13 years is the story of corruption finding a cosy, ripe breeding ground. Never in the history of Nigeria had civil servants, politicians and even men and women in uniform stolen so brazenly.
With a judicial system that is a caricature of itself, all the billions spent on creating laws and institutions that should fight corruption, lay waste.
Since the Nigerian civil war, Nigeria has never been on the brink of collapse and disintegration like now.
After all these earnings, we have won fewer laurels in sports than for the same period under military rule.
Our image abroad has gotten worse as Nigerians make the bulk of thieves and drug criminals in foreign prisons.
There is hardly anything to cheer in the past 13 years of our democracy.
It has been the story of looted hopes by Nigerian leaders at all tiers of government, as Nigeria totters on the brink of disintegration.
Read more on 13 years of Democracy

13 years of Democracy: Looted hopes from leaders steering Nigeria to its end

U.S. Delivers Damning Verdict On Jonathan’s Anti-Corruption War

Dr. Jonathan

The American government says there’s “massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption” at all levels of the Nigerian government and the security forces
Just as the Goodluck Jonathan administration is facing mounting scrutiny at home over an illegal payment of N155 billion to cronies and associates of government officials on a presidential order, the United States of America has delivered a stringent critique of the government’s anti-graft effort.
In its year 2011 report on global human rights released Thursday by the State Department, the U.S. said the three tiers of the Nigerian government was ridden with “massive, widespread and pervasive corruption,” that failed to receive appropriate punitive response from the authorities.
“The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; however, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity,” the report, submitted by Secretary of States, Hillary Clinton, to the U.S. Congress said.
“Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security forces,” it continued.
The report, an X-ray of human rights abuses ranging from extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest and detention, free press abuses, to cases of graft worldwide, comes as the Jonathan administration is being linked to a scandalous funneling of public funds to shady associates of officials, amid multiple cases of official corruption in the fuel subsidy and pension funds unearthed by the National Assembly.
In details published by this website, partly based on court papers from the US state of New York and PREMIUM TIMES’ investigation of the deal, Mr. Jonathan allegedly authorized the illegal transfer of N155 billion to a former petroleum minister, Dan Etete, convicted of money laundering.
The elaborate corruption scheme, also involving two government ministers, those for Justice and Finance (minister of state) – Mohammed Adoke and Yerima Ngama, triggered multiple disbursement of the money into several account held by figures linked to government officials.
Since the stories broke out this week, government officials have maintained a defeaning silence, refusing to explain their roles in the scandal.
The disclosures came as the government faced growing calls from opposition, rights group, and the media for the prosecution of officials indicted in the fuel subsidy fraud involving more than N2 trillion.
This week, the president has ordered that the monumental fraud uncovered produced by the House of Representatives be re-investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), fuelling concerns those indicted may never face justice after all.
The details of the US report cover between January and December 2011. It hammered on the administration’s penchant for allowing impunity, and letting indicted officials off the hook, affirming public concern about government’s resolve to punish official theft.
The report described the anti-corruption effort of the Farida Waziri-led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) as “largely ineffectual” and cited the corruption in the judiciary and the police.
Mrs. Waziri was removed on November 23, 2011 by President Jonathan based on what the report says were “credible allegations” that she was engaged in corrupt practices.
“Citizens encountered long delays and alleged requests from judicial officials for bribes to expedite cases or obtain favourable rulings,” it said.
“Police corruption remained rampant, particularly at highway checkpoints. Police routinely stopped drivers who did not commit traffic infractions, refusing to allow them to continue until they paid bribes.”
The report named typical celebrated high profile arrest that had more political undertone than real motive to deliver justice, decrying the endless legal voyage such cases usually follow with no fruitful end.
“On October 26, the Code of Conduct Tribunal commenced the trial of former governor of Lagos State Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who allegedly failed to disclose multiple foreign bank accounts he operated while serving as governor. There was no decision in the case by year’s end,” it said.
It mentioned all high profile arrests involving past governors and lawmakers, and particularly cited the refusal of the government to try former military head of state, Ibrahim Babangida for corruption.
“In August 2010 Attorney General Mohammed Adoke announced that the government could not authenticate the Pius Okigbo Panel report on former military president and General Ibrahim Babangida, which charged that Babangida mismanaged 12.4 billion naira ($76 million) during his administration.
“The civil society group Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) accused the attorney general of a cover-up. A federal high court was scheduled to announce a ruling on July 28, but did not do so by year’s end.”

U.S. Delivers Damning Verdict On Jonathan’s Anti-Corruption War « African Spotlight

Anti-Fraud Police Interrogates Toyin Saraki Over Former Governor Saraki’s N11 Billion Fraud Case, As New Facts Emerge

Toyin Sarak


The Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria police in Lagos has interrogated the wife of the former governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki, over allegations that her husband connived with his protege, Mahmoud Lai Alabi, to defraud the defunct InterContinental Bank of N11 billion in unsecured bank loans.

Mr. Saraki made a privileged personal appearance at the police unit to answer questions about his involvement in the fraud.
  
His Saraki's regal appearance at the unit took place after the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, arranged a soft landing for him as court actions filed at an Abuja federal court failed to stop the police from arresting him.

Mr. Saraki was subsequently declared wanted by the police as facts emerged that he was planning to flee the country via South Africa.

SaharaReporters sources said that new facts emerged last week that Mr. Saraki lied to police investigators when he claimed that he was not aware of how the bank accounts of one of the companies used in the fraud was operated after his personal assistant died mysteriously.
Mr. Saraki's longtime Personal Assistant, Mathew Obahor, was listed as the owner of Joy Petroleum Nigeria Limited.  Joy Petroleum acted as a shield for several of Saraki’s companies involved in fraud.  They include  Skyview Properties Limited, owned by Mrs. Toyin Saraki and Toyin Pinheiro SAN; Carlisle Properties, owned by Mrs. Toyin Saraki (nee Ojora); Dicetrade; and Linkers, owned by Toyin Pinhero, Kolade Babafemi and Tokunbo Agoro.

Police investigators said they found Mr. Saraki's assertion to be untrue as several withdrawals were made from the account between the former governor's wife, Toyin, and another lawyer, Toyin Pinhero (SAN), who were identified to be on the board of several companies used by the former governor as a front for the bank loan fraud.



The interrogation of Mrs. Saraki is coming on the heels of further findings by Saharareporters about how the former governor used a complex scheme of fraudulent strategies to defraud InterContinetal Bank through Joy Petroleum Limited.

For instance, a board resolution of the company obtained by Saharareporters shows that on January 22nd 2009, the board of Joy Petroleum agreed to obtain a loan of N2.088 billion from Intercontinental Bank.  The resolution claimed that the meeting was attended by Matthew Obahor, his wife, Joy Obahor and one Hamza Ibrahim.  One Esther Olaitan acted as the secretary during the purported board meeting.

Curiously, the board resolved that the loan would be operated by Mr. Hamza Ibrahim.

Mr. Ibrahim is the Managing Director of Mr. Saraki's Limkers Nig Ltd.

Our sources stated that Hamza was never a member of the board of Joy Petroleum and that the entire board resolution was forged by Mr. Saraki and his cronies.

The loan was later disbursed to Saraki's Limkers Nigeria Ltd with the aid of his former protege, Mahmoud Alabi.

Family sources told SaharaReporters that Mr. Obahor was hospitalized at the Lagos State University hospital, and was bedridden from Janaury until December 2009.  They said he could not possibly have attended a board meeting during that time. Mr. Obahor died mysteriously on December 8, 2009.


At the center of the bank loan scam is another issue that emerged during SaharaReporters investigations, that Mr. Saraki's Limkers Nigeria Ltd is the company the former governor used to buy over the defunct Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria.
A source told Saharareporters that Mr. Saraki funneled 1.5 billion Naira of the bank loans he fraudulent acquired from InterContinental Bank to the Central Bank of Nigeria to enable him take over Societe Generale bank that deal was done through Intercontinental Bank in 2010

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Anti-Fraud Police Interrogates Toyin Saraki Over Former Governor Saraki’s N11 Billion Fraud Case, As New Facts Emerge | Sahara Reporters

Bishop Oyedepo Denies Slapping Church Member, Says He Cannot Be Sued-PREMIUM TIMES


Bishop David Oyedepo

By Ben Ezeamalu
"We submit that slapping being an act of assault an item outside the provisions of Chapter 4 of the 1999 constitution and the African Charter, this court therefore lacks jurisdiction over same."

The multi billionaire founder of the Living Faith Christian Church International, Bishop David Oyedepo, has denied slapping a young member of his congregation; stating that neither he nor his church could be sued.
In a notice of preliminary objection filed at the High Court of Ogun State and made available to PREMIUM TIMES; Bishop Oyedepo maintained that he and his church are "non juristic persons" and therefore asked the court to strike out the suit as it lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter.

Robert Igbinedion, a Lagos based lawyer, had in April, filed a suit on behalf of the young lady, who was slapped during a church service, for the enforcement of the lady's fundamental rights to freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment, human dignity, fair hearing, and freedom from discrimination.

Mr. Igbinedion prayed the court to award the sum of N2bn as 'general and exemplary damages' against the bishop as well as compel him to publish a public apology in two national dailies and one international satellite television.
In a counter affidavit deposed by Olugbenga Adegboye, the church's senior legal officer, Bishop Oyedepo stated that "his ministry is a ministry where the holy bible is preached and people are prayed for without coercion."

The church also said that there is no record of anyone called Miss Justice - a sobriquet given to the young lady for the purpose of the suit - in any of its services organized in the past.

A written address to support the preliminary objection signed by F. B Agbanwu, the church's Solicitor, insisted that the matter is not within the Nigeria constitution or the African Charter on Human and People's Rights.
Furthermore, the church urged the court to determine whether Mr. Igbinedion is capable of "bringing this kind of application" before it and whether "it is proper to bring this application against the 1st and 2nd respondents (Bishop Oyedepo and his church respectively).

Arguing that both Mr. Igbinedion and the respondents cannot sue and be sued, Bishop Oyedepo's lawyers noted that the cause of action must centre on clear infringement of a fundamental right.
"The cause of action or principal claim in this application centres merely on slapping one Miss Justice by the 1st respondent.
"The slapping of Miss Justice is an act that could be described as an assault which is a criminal offence punishable under the criminal code...

"We submit that slapping being an act of assault an item outside the provisions of Chapter 4 of the 1999 constitution and the African Charter, this court therefore lacks jurisdiction over same."
The court sits, June 1, for parties to adopt their motion before judgment is fixed.

In December last year, a YouTube video of Bishop Oyedepo viciously slapping a young lady who admitted that she was "a witch for Jesus" during an altar call went viral on the internet.
A second video that surfaced days later showed the bishop justifying his action adding that it is "his ministry to slap" and that "if he sees another witch, he'll slap."



Friday, May 25, 2012

The 155billion naira presidential scam: How Jonathan’s associates, ministers shared largesse

image The president, his associates and some ministers have been named in a monumental money laundering scandal, one of the most elaborate in Nigeria's history

PREMIUM TIMES can reveal today that the N155billion secretly paid to convicted money launderer, Dan Etete, by the Federal Government, on the orders of President Goodluck Jonathan, was actually a slush fund, with a huge chunk of it ending in bank accounts of cronies and business associates of government officials and at least one individual with links to Mr. Jonathan.

Our investigation also indicates that in order to cover up what is clearly one of the most elaborate corruption schemes in Nigeria’s history, the president tapped the junior minister in the finance ministry, Yerima Ngama, and Attorney General Mohammed Adoke to hurriedly transfer the funds to Mr. Etete on August 16, 2011, a day before the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, assumed office.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala was not available Friday to comment on her knowledge of the transaction. Her spokesperson, Paul Nwabuikwu, said she was away in Zimbabwe on an official engagement.
This website had on Monday reported how the Nigerian subsidiaries of two multinational oil companies Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited (Agip) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (Shell) paid $1.1billion (N155billion) to the Federal Government in April last year for onward transmission to Malabu Oil whose principal is Mr. Etete.

Our subsequent investigations later showed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had indeed investigated the deal, concluding that the transaction pointed at a “cloudy scene associated with fraudulent dealings.”

The EFCC investigation also clearly established that Mr. Etete’s Malabu only served as a money laundering machine, as substantial parts of the funds was later transferred to various accounts owned by “real and artificial persons” suspected to have links with the presidency and other government officials.
Presidency sources familiar with the matter say the EFCC intimated President Jonathan and Mr. Adoke of its findings.

“But I can tell you that the investigation has suffered a setback since the presidency got wind of it,” one of our sources said. “There is high-level complicity in the deal and there is therefore high-level cover up. The report is gathering dust on the president’s desk.”

Mr. Jonathan’s spokesperson, Reuben Abati, could not be reached on his mobile telephones to comment for this story Friday. And so also was Mr. Adoke. Mr. Ngama did not return calls to his mobile telephone.
Relying on court papers in the United States (where some consultants have sued Malabo for breach of contract), checks at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and on its own investigations, the EFCC established  that “a prima facie case of conspiracy, breach of trust, theft and money laundering can be established against some real and artificial persons.”

The beneficiaries

At the heart of this brazen theft of public funds is one Abubakar Aliyu, a man whom top presidency and EFCC sources described as “Mr. Corruption” and who has very close business ties with Diepreiye Alamiesegha, convicted former governor of Bayelsa state.  

Mr. Alamiesegha, the self-styled governor-general of the Ijaw nation, is the man who picked Mr. Jonathan as his running mate in the 1999 governorship election in Bayelsa state and whom Mr. Jonathan succeeded in office after the former was impeached over corruption charges.
The disgraced former governor played a major role in Mr. Jonathan’s election last year, serving as both an adviser and a top campaign official.

Mr. Aliyu, through companies co-owned by him, received direct payments of $523mn (N81bn) from the largesse. Investigators believe that the businessman, introduced to the president by Mr. Alamieyeseigha, was Mr. Jonathan’s front in the transaction.

Mr. Aliyu is however not new to corrupt deals. One of his companies was recently found to be involved in a shady deal which involved the buying of a landed property from a government agency (NITEL) for N1billion and then reselling the same property to another government agency (CBN) for N21billion.

He allegedly used his links with late President Musa Yar’Adua and President Jonathan to broker the deals, and then reportedly paid kickbacks to some government officials.
Mr. Adoke, the current Justice Minister was named in that deal too just as sources believe he played a major role in the sharing of the N155billion largesse.

Sharing the money

On August 16, 2011, Mr. Adoke and the Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama, coordinated the payment of a first tranche of $401.5million (N60billion) into a First Bank account 2018288005 belonging to Malabu.
Another $400millionn (N60billion) was, based on the duo’s instructions, transferred into a Malabu Bank PHB (now Keystone bank) account 3610042472 from a Nigerian government account with JP Morgan International Bank. The balance of the funds was reportedly lodged into Mr. Etete’s account with Zenith Bank.

Immediately Malabu received the money, the distribution began. Rocky Top Resources Limited, co-owned by Mr. Aliyu received $336 million (N50bn) from the Malabu Keystone Bank deposit. Other companies that got money from the Malabu curious transfers include A-Group Construction Company, also co-owned by Mr. Aliyu. It received $157mn (N24bn), while Novel Property and Development Limited, also co-owned by Mr. Aliyu got $30 million (N4.5bn).

Companies not linked to Mr. Aliyu but got money from Malabu include Mega Tech Engr Co. Ltd, which received $180 million (N27bn) and Imperial Union Limited, $34million (N5.1bn).
Sources say these companies, like Mr. Aliyu’s, simply acted as fronts for political office holders, who helped to facilitate the transfer, as they have no basis to receive such huge sums of money from Malabu. The EFCC has also not identified what task these companies performed to deserve the payments.

“Reasons for this payment is yet to be ascertained,” the commission said.
Long before the largesse was shared however, Malabu had become a company renowned for shady deals.

A history of fraud

According to investigators, through “conspiracy, forgery, uttering forged document, criminal misappropriation and money laundering,” Mr. Etete and Malabu Oil had been involved in illegalities since its formation.
Formed on April 24, 1998, Malabu Oil had three shareholders: Mohammed Sani (Abacha, son of late military dictator Sani Abacha), Kweku Amafagha (who was representing Dan Etete on the board), and Hassan Hindu (representing her husband, Hassan Lawal, a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK).  Mr. Sani owned 10 million of the 20 million shares in the company; Mr. Etete six million and Mr. Hassan, four million.

Five days after the company was formed and registered at the CAC, it got two oil blocks awarded to it by the then military government:  OPL 245 and OPL 214.
Mr. Etete was petroleum minister at the time.
Controversy however trailed the oil blocks as President Olusegun Obasanjo, in 2001, revoked the allocations, giving OPL 245 to Shell.  

After several court cases in Nigeria and overseas between Malabu, Shell, and the Federal Government, the oil blocks were re-awarded to Malabu in 2010.

Scheming out Abacha

Following a secret resolution on the oil block with the Federal Government, Mr. Etete decided to edge out Mr. Abacha from the ownership of Malabu. It is not clear if this is one of the conditions the Federal Government gave to Mr. Etete during the negotiations.

However at an extraordinary general meeting of Malabu on June 9, 2010, Mr. Abacha and a company related to him, Pecos Energy, were removed as shareholders of Malabu. The new owners (believed to be fronts for Mr. Etete) became Munamuma Seidougha and Amaran Joseph, both of whom had 10 million shares each.

These changes, the EFCC stated “gave rise to a lot of moral and ethical question that can necessitate an objective and full blown investigation into the matter.”
Mr. Abacha however fought back fiercely. Sensing that he had been schemed out and aware that Mr. Etete was already negotiating with Shell and Agip, he decided to act.

The Shell, Agip, FG, Etete conspiracy

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that Ednan Agaev, an international counsel hired by Malabu told the Supreme Court of New York in an affidavit that he was appointed by Malabu to find an investor for OPL245.
“One John Coplestone of SHELL, a party to the negotiation informed him that Mohammed Sani (Abacha) is laying claim over OPL 245,” the EFCC stated. An AGIP official also told Mr. Agaev that “in view of the new claim by Mohammed Sani (Abacha), a direct deal with Malabu would not be possible.”

Mr. Agaev then informed Mr. Etete of the new development and suggested a way out.  
To put off Mr. Sani (Abacha)  from realizing his claim, “The FGN (should) take back the oil block from Malabu, transfer the rights to ENI AGIP/Shell and pay Malabu a compensation from the payments made by ENI AGIP and Shell,”

The oil companies agreed accepted the proposal. “By the end of March 2011, the FGN seemed to have acted with the suggestion,” the EFCC said.
This new evidence gathered by the EFCC contradicts the claims of Shell, who through its spokesman, Precious Okolobo, denied knowing that Malabu was to be the recipient of its payment.
“Shell was not aware that that money was to be paid to Malabu,” Mr. Okolobo had told PREMIUM TIMES.