An Ikeja High Court has refused to grant bail to Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, one of the indicted oil marketers being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, held that Ogunbambo be remanded in Ikoyi Prison pending the commencement of his trial.
Ogunbambo was on July 30 arraigned with Habila Theck and Fargo Energy Limited on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and use of false documents.
The counsel to the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, had told the court that on Feb. 10, the defendants fraudulently obtained N980 million from the Federal Government.
Efforts to secure their bail had suffered a setback on the day of arraignment, as prosecution counsel craved more time to respond to the application.
Refusing the bail, Onigbanjo said that ordinarily he would not have objected to bail for the first defendant because it was a constitutional right and the offence was bailable.
He said that issues raised by the prosecution, who objected to his application, however, made him to refuse the request.
“The issue of dual identity cast a huge question on the defendant and therefore the bail application failed and is hereby refused,’’ he said.
Onigbanjo granted bail to the second defendant, Theck, in the sum of N20 million with two sureties in like sum.
The judge said that one of the sureties must be a Grade Level 14 employee in the Federal Civil Service, verified by the Head of Service.
He said that the second surety must be employed in Lagos State, owned property valued at N100 million and must submit original the title of the property to the court after verification by the Land Registry.
Ogunbambo’s counsel, Mr Babajide Koku, urged the court to grant bail to the defendant on liberal terms, assuring that he would not jump bail or interfere with the trial.
Jacobs, however, opposed the bail application on three grounds, one of which was an allegation by Stanbic IBTC Bank that Ogunbambo allegedly collected loans to the tune of N230 million and N430 million respectively with forged documents.
He alleged that the defendant had since jumped bail.
Jacobs said his second ground of objection had to do with Ogunbambo’s arrest at Dublin Airport with cash, which he had refused to declare to the authorities.
He said that the Ireland Embassy had already petitioned the EFCC over the matter and Ogunbambo’s two passports had been seized by the anti-graft agency.
The counsel alleged that the defendant had another passport with which he had been travelling, adding that Ogunbambo had multiple identities.
“Ogunbambo changes name as he like; his name is just a wearing apparel which he changes as he likes.
“This is a clear case from the past rulings by the court; the facts are unique and we have shown that the evidence against the accused are quite heavy and the charge a serious one.”
Jacobs said that contrary to Ogunbambo’s claim that he never had a criminal case against him, the defendant had all along been jumping bail.
The prosecution, however, raised no objection to the bail application of the second defendant, Theck, saying he had lived up to his undertaking with the EFCC.
Onigbanjo adjourned the case to September 21, for further hearing.
Eradiri Faults NDDC Leadership Structure Wants Agric As Top Priority
The Special Adviser to the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Youths, Udens Eradiri, has faulted the leadership structure of the commission, saying it has not helped the cause of the Niger Delta in the last 25 years.
Describing the leadership structure of the NDDC as faulty, he said that the faulty leadership structure was the reason why President Muhammadu Buhari ordered for a forensic audit in the commission.
Eradiri who is the former president of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC)
disclosed this while speaking to aviation correspondents, last Friday, shortly on arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, from Abuja.
He said the outcome of the forensic audit would be used to do a wholistic reorganisation of the organogram of the commission.
According to him, the wholistic review of the organogram of the NDDC will help in putting the leadership structure in order, and enable things to function properly.
“The leadership structure of NDDC in the past years had been faulty, and that was why the President said there should be forensic audit, which would be used to do a wholistic review of the organogram of NDDC, so that it can function properly.
“The new board is coming soon, but the whole process will pass through the National Assembly to be cleared”, Eradiri said.
On the achievement of the present NDDC management, the special adviser said that the Effiong Akwa led administration had recorded some landmark achievements compared to the last 25 years.
He said that the present interim management within two years completed and commissioned the headquarters of the NDDC, which had been left for over 25 years.
He also said that the completion of the East-West road project had intensified under the present management, adding that NDDC has also supported states on sanitation through donation of trucks.
Eradiri, however, admitted that the present interim management had not taken a firm stand on agricultural development even though it has been working with the Central Bank of Nigeria on the Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
“I believe that the only tool to use and get ourselves out of the quagmire we find ourselves is agriculture, and I think that the NDDC can design its own scheme on how to grow agriculture as a deliberate policy.
“This will bring change that will grow the region’s economy. We must talk about agricultural processing, and we can put palm oil into sachet, and even students can be buying them,” he said.
By: Corlins Walter
Nigeria Lost N851bn To Oil Theft, Sabotage – NEITI
Nigeria lost N851.84bn ($2.78bn) to oil theft and pipeline sabotage in 2019, the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has said.
NEITI said this in its latest oil and gas industry audit report.
NEITI stated that it arrived at the estimate after using an average price of $65.61 per barrel and an average exchange rate of N306.42/$ .
It, however, noted that there was a significant reduction of 21 per cent from the previous year, where 53.28 million barrels were lost.
Losses such as these are recorded by companies whose crude volumes are carried through pipelines easily compromised by saboteurs.
The report also stated that some oil terminals recorded no production. These included Aja operated by Bayelsa Oil, whose license was revoked by the government.
Others were Asaramatoru and Oyo managed by Prime and Allied/CAMAC who were reportedly inactive for the year.
Nigeria earned a total of N10.49tn ($34.22bn) from crude oil and gas sales. This was a marginal 4.88 per cent increase from 2018 revenues of N9.99tn ($32.63bn).
The total crude oil production recorded was 735.24 million barrels, a 4.87per cent increase from 701.10 million barrels reported in 2018.
A total of N2.145tn ($7.011bn) was the domestic sales proceeds in 2019 from 107.24 million barrels of crude oil. This was 0.36 per cent lower than the domestic crude sales of 107.63 million barrels in 2018.
Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies
Some residents in the 23 local government areas of Rivers State have urged the newly sworn-in council chairmen in the state to come up with good agricultural and developmental policies that will transform the grassroots.
They also urged the council boss to take pragmatic steps and actions towards tackling security challenges to encourage business activities thrive in their domains.
Some of the residents who spoke with The Tide at the weekend, noted that the local government administration in the state had not faired well in terms of real development in recent times, and urged the new council helmsmen to change the narratives.
A resident of Emohua Local Government Area, Mr Charles Amadi, noted that no real development had taken place in the area, lamenting the dearth of companies and small scale industries in the area.
He, therefore, called on the new chairman, Dr. Chidi Lyoid, not to solely depend on the monthly allocation, but to go all out to attract small scale companies to the area so as to create employment opportunities as well as generate revenue for the council.
He also urged the new chairman to invest in agriculture, especially farming and fishing.
On his part, Mr Ebenezer Otamiri who lives in Etche, urged the Etche council boss, Obinna Ayanwu, to consolidate on the achievements recorded in his first tenure, especially by building more markets for the people, as well as initiate good agricultural policy to drive the economy of the area.
He also urged the council boss to tackle the issue of electricity and security in the area, saying electricity and security are key to the development of the area.
In his own charge, Mr Mene Geoffrey Dekaa who hails from Bori in Khana Local Government Area of the state, called on his new council chairman, Bariere Thomas, to show capacity and competence in the area of security.
He noted that the issue of security has left native imprint in the development of the area, saying many investors have left Bori, the headquarters of the council, for other places.
“Because of security challenges, many people have left Bori to build houses and invest in Nonwa- Tai, and Eleme.
“Areas like Kono-Boweeh communities are no go areas, as people there can hardly sleep. So if the chairman can work with government recognised traditional rulers and security agents, security issues will be tackled, and people’s confidence will be restored, and business activities will move on”, he said.
By: Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies
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