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EFCC Issues 2 Weeks Ultimatum To Bank Debtors … Nabs Church Financier Over $96,000 Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has given debtors of recently bailed out banks two weeks to pay up or face another round of action from the anti-graft agency. The latest ultimatum is coming following reports from the affected banks that most of the debtors had reneged on their promises to pay up within a stipulated period. According to the statement made available to The Tide through its spokesperson, Mr. Femi Babafemi. “It is worrisome that those that made part payments with a promise to paying up within a certain period as agreed with EFCC, have failed on their own terms. It is therefore necessary to remind them that the recent withdrawal of the EFCC operatives from the affected banks should not be misconstrued”, he said. Meanwhile, Chairman of the Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, has said that the anti-graft agency will henceforth, focus its attention on Other Financial Institutions, OFIs, such as mortgage firms and discount houses in its efforts to rid the country of money laundering and terrorism financing. Other Financial Institutions, which the EFCC Chairman said have become potentially weak links in the war against money laundering in Nigeria, include: Discount Houses, Primary Mortgage Institutions and Micro Finance Banks. Mrs. Waziri who was represented by Emmanuel Akomaye, Secretary to the Commission, made the remark at the Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Terrorist Financing training/seminar, organized by the EFCC through the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, for other financial institutions, last Monday. “Focusing on the OFIs or strengthening AML/CFT measures within the OFIs Sector will help us weed out unscrupulous operators who have brought disrepute to other sector; enhance business transparency and promote legitimate private business growth; provide a fair and enabling environment for all OFIs operators; increase investors confidence thereby attracting more investment and facilitate the prevention and detection of money laundering and all associated predicate offences,” Waziri said. According to her, empirical evidence shows that criminals are gradually moving towards Other Financial Institutions to commit crimes because of the relatively weak AML/CFT regulations. The OFIs, she said have become a potential weak link in the war against money laundering in Nigeria . “The stigma of being the weak link does not bode well for the OFIs sub-sector, the professions within the sub-sector and indeed the overall implementation of Nigeria’s AML/CFT regime”, she added. Mrs. Waziri urged the participants to cooperate and partner with the NFIU by fulfilling their obligations under the relevant laws in order to confront effectively the menace of money laundering, terrorist financing and other related crimes in Nigeria. Norman Wokoma, Director, NFIU, listed the objectives as including, creating awareness on Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Terrorist Financing among operators of Discount Houses, Primary Mortgage Institutions, PMIs and Micro Finance Banks it is also aimed at enhancing operators’ responsiveness to their obligations under the Anti-Money laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 and guides the operators of Discount Houses, Primary Mortgage Institutions, Micro Finance Banks on filing cash transactions, foreign transactions and suspicious transactions reports. Meanwhile a former student of the Igbinedion University, Okada and Edo State, who is prominent financier of the Christ Embassy Church, Okoro Osagie Victor, alias Jerry Finger has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for allegedly defrauding foreigners to the tune of $96, 607 through the internet. The 23 -year old former Chemical Engineering student who dropped out of the university in 2004 due to what he called ‘family issues’, was picked up by operatives of the Commission in Benin city following a petition by a regional compliance officer with Money gram International, who suspected that the large number of foreign ladies, mostly Americans and Germans, who have been wiring money to the fraudster were victims of fraud. The suspicion was triggered by a communication with one of Victor’s victims who told money gram that she met the fraudster over the internet and that she has been sending him money because he claims that he wanted to set up a business. Investigations subsequently revealed that Victor is a serial marriage scammer. He has been fleecing his victims posing as Jerry Finger, a white British American expatriate working in Nigeria. Apart from sending photograph of a successful white male with the assumed Identity of a Jerry Finger to his victims and promising them marriage, he would also tell them that he was in Nigeria to execute a project and then demand for money from them, with a promise to refund them when he is paid for the project. Some fell for the gimmick and paid.

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N’Delta Leaders Insist On Resource Control, Self-Determination

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Some leaders of the Niger Delta have demanded granting of self-determination to their region to take total control of its resources and end years of alleged exploitation, deprivation and slavery of their people in the Nigerian state.
The leaders, who lamented that the people of the Niger Delta had been talking and agitating for resource control and restructuring of the country through conferences but to no avail, said the time had come for them to take their destiny in their hands.
In a keynote address at a conference by the Niger Delta Alternative Convergence (NDAC) to endorse the eight-point demand in the “Niger Delta Manifesto for Socio-Ecological Justice” in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, former Chairman, Editorial Board of The Guardian, Prof. G. G. Darah, said: “From the challenges we are facing in the Niger Delta region, we seem to assume that the Federal Government is on our side whereas the Federal Government is the number one enemy of the Niger Delta.
“Today, people are anxious to be the president of Nigeria because there is the Niger Delta oil for them to squander. What this means is that the political system is all organised for taking control of the oil money, to share it among the friends of the president. All the parties are organised gangs to loot and plunder the Niger Delta resources.
“That is the country we are in. Therefore, we must assume that whatever government that comes to office in 2023 will not be different from the past ones since 1960. Nigeria has been designed to steal our resources and share. They gather monthly in Abuja to share the money. All our presidents, now and past, occupied office for the purpose of plundering our resources, otherwise our own son would have done something. Jonathan, when he was president, had no capacity to touch any bad section of the constitution against the Niger Delta”.
According to Darah, “Nigeria exists today because of Niger Delta oil and Nigeria is the only country in the world that has colonised its people.
“Now, we are pleading that the Federal Government should implement the manifesto. We have to do it by ourselves because if you look at history, it is not today that our people have been fighting against injustice. Jonathan called for a national conference and all the issues raised could not be implemented. So, what we are doing now is the authentication of the national conference for Nigerian people.
“The structure of Nigeria is against us and to build a new Nigeria will take time. We need a Niger Delta that will be in charge of its own resources and aim to be a country of its own, a sovereign country. Some ethnic groups in the Niger Delta are bigger than some European countries and our ancestors in their grave will not forgive us that we succumbed cheaply. We are well populated”.
Prof. Lucky Akaruese of the Ishekiri nationality aligned with the position of Darah, noting that many countries of the world like East Timo and Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, Denmark and Norway, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union that split into many countries are products of negotiations, so the Niger Delta and Nigeria cannot be an exception.
A prominent traditional ruler from Rivers State backed the demand for a sovereign state.
“I agree with Prof. Darah that we should clamour for Niger Delta Republic, and the manifesto we are signing today, we should speak with one voice. We have been talking and now it is only action that will bring result. There is nothing the Niger Delta has gotten without struggle.
“The manifesto will remain a document if we do not put it to action. The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) presented a 16-point agenda but only two were implemented. So, we need to take a deliberate action on some of the issues we raise here.”
The convener of NDAC and Executive Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Comrade Nnimmo Bassey, said: “The convergence also aims to produce an inclusive Niger Delta Manifesto for Socio-Ecological Justice highlighting needed alternatives for transformation and social mobilisations for resource justice. It is hoped that NDAC will provoke a platform for convergence of communities in the region to galvanise action for needed changes for re-source access, including through demands for legislative changes, debates on the Petroleum Industry Bill and for critical attainment of re-source democracy – defined as the right of a people to live in harmony with nature and to retain a right to use, or not use, the gifts of nature.”
He stated that 64 years of oil extraction had brought untold misery and cut life abysmally low in the region.
“Things cannot continue this way. We have demands and resolves in the proposed Niger Delta Manifesto shared to delegates. Let’s all rise to be counted, demand that politicians declare their environmental plans before they gain our votes. Let us demand real climate action, including a halt to gas flaring and a restoration of our ecosystems. Let us demand action to stall the washing away of our communities. After 64 years of a nightmare, it is time to wake up, it is time to demand socio-ecological justice. We are not calling for charity, we are calling for justice”.
Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, and the National Chairman of PANDEF, Senator Ibok Essien, clamoured for restructuring and total control of resources.
They pleaded with the people of the region to get their PVCs to vote people that will carry out restructuring of the country.

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Nwuke Dismisses Wike’s Alleged Plan To Dump PDP

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A former member of the House of Representatives, Ogbonna Nwuke, last Friday, dismissed the speculations that Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, would soon dump the Peoples Democratic Party.
There have been insinuations that Wike might join either the Labour Party or the New Nigeria Political Party (NNPP) ahead of the 2023 general election.
This is coming after the governor met with the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi; and the presidential candidate of NNPP, Rabiu Kwankwaso, in Port Harcourt, last week.
While speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt,Nwuke said Wike has no plans to dump the PDP for any other party.
He further stated that the Rivers State governor would not defect considering the large followership he has built across the country.
Nwuke said, ”It just tells you who Governor Wike is. This is the first time he is playing national politics. But you can see that Wike has entered the minds of a lot of Nigerians. They are taking him seriously. Even the performance at the convention where the North rallied behind the scene to stop him, did not end in disgrace.
“So, if you look at the outcome of the convention, you will know that Governor Wike controls a sizable number of PDP members. A huge segment of the party is behind him. When you look at the gap between him and Atiku Abubakar and the gap between him and the rest, that should tell you something that the one we have been talking about has become notable when it comes to Nigeria’s politics.
“Frankly, he has followership in the North-Central; followership in the South-West; followership in the South-South and followership in the South-East. So, I am not surprised that a lot of people are coming to Port Harcourt, and saying, ‘Governor, why not come fully into the campaigns?’ They need him in the PDP house, and I am glad that Governor Wike has said ‘I am not going anywhere’.”

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2023: Guber Candidate Faults INEC On APC, LP Placeholders 

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The governorship candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) in Delta State, Engr Igbini Emmanuel, has said it is not out of place for presidential flagbearers to choose placeholders, especially as it conforms to the new Electoral Act that has been signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Recall that some presidential flagbearers picked vice Presidential candidates as placeholders, prompting reactions from cross sections of Nigerians.
Odefe said INEC erred by discrediting the candidates that picked placeholders in the build up to the general election in 2023.
He said, “As a political activist and a former three-time governorship candidate, I am compelled to react to the recent claim by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) through its National Commissioner, Barr. Festus Okoye, that there exists no place in Nigerian Constitution and Legal Framework for what is now described as “placeholders” in Nigeria’s electoral process specifically as it concerns submission, change or substitution of names of candidates for general elections by registered political parties.
“This claim by INEC is a fundamental falsehood deliberately made by it to mislead Nigerian voters and to cast aspersion on some political parties like APC and Labour Party which publicly disclosed that the names they submitted to INEC as their Vice Presidential Candidates were meant only to beat the June 17, 2022 date set by INEC but which they may change or substitute within the window provided by the sections 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2021, as amended to do so.
“Contrary to INEC’s claim, I wish to state unequivocally that actions taken by APC and LP are constitutional and in line with sections 29, 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2021, as amended. The use of the word, “Placeholder” is merely misinterpreted by INEC. “Placeholder” simply means that it is not substantive but temporarily standing in for something or someone else. The word is used in solving Algebraic Expression and Equations in Mathematics.
“Let me also inform Nigerians that this idea of changing or substituting candidates for general elections have been in our electoral laws of 2006, 2010 and now 2021, as amended.
“Furthermore, it is imperative for me to inform Nigerians that changing or substituting candidates for elections is not limited to only Vice Presidential Candidates as we now seem to focus on. In fact, all names so far submitted by Political Parties to INEC as Presidential, Vice Presidential, Senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly Candidates are all “Placeholders” and can be changed or substituted before the 90 days to date of election, after which, no change or substitution is allowed except in case of death of a candidate.
“In conclusion, APC and LP have not acted against the Constitution and Electoral Act of Nigeria”.

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