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Money Laundering: Customs Hands Over Lebanese To EFCC

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Two Lebanese nationals held by men of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) for alleged money laundering have been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Rivers State.
The two Lebanese: Dina Khalil and Chamseddine Mohammed, were arrested enroute Labanon when customs men at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state, allegedly found $890,000 cash on them.
The Area Controller of NCS at the airport, Auwal Mohammed, told newsmen that Khalil had on him $670,000 while $220,000 was found on Mohammed at the time of their arrest.
The area controller said it was most likely that the money was being smuggled out of the country.
He said, “The two suspects were arrested because they attempted to smuggle the money out of the country without making proper declaration to the officials of Nigerian Customs Service.”
In his remarks, the Principal Detective of the EFCC, Port-Harcourt Zone, Macaulay Olayinka, pledged thorough investigation of the alleged crime, adding that the suspects would be prosecuted, if found culpable.
Meanwhile, residents of Ngo community in the Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, have lamented the continued closure of the general hospital in the area since February over alleged insecurity.
The President, National Union of Andoni Students, Efuk Festus, during a tour of the hospital, expressed sadness that the health facility had been taken over by grasses.
He appealed to the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to order its reopening in order to avert further loss of lives in the area.
It was learnt that doctors posted to the health facility in Ngo had abandoned their duty and shut it down for fear of being kidnapped.
It was further gathered that the hospital had been under lock and key for the past seven months as doctors posted to the facility refused to resume for duty, a development that forced the residents to seek medical assistance in other places.
Festus said, “Our general hospital has been shut down since February this year; grasses have taken over and it’s saddening that sick people here are usually stranded and can’t get medical assistance.
“We are begging the governor to immediately order the reopening of the facility for the sake of the Obolo people as our people are suffering.
“This is the seventh month this hospital has been under lock and key; we heard that doctors have been posted here, but we have yet to see them and this is making us to become worried.”

 

By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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Wike Advocates New Re venue Sharing Formula To Favour States

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has advocated a new revenue sharing formula that will make the states get more money for development.
Wike made the suggestion when he received a delegation of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission on a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt, Tuesday.
The governor pointed out that the states bear more development burden and would require more money to cater to the needs of the people.
“There cannot be a Federal Government without the states. So, we advocate a new revenue formula that should take more revenue out of the Federal Government and given to the states.
“This is because the burden is more on the states than the Federal Government. So, the states should have more revenue to cater for the people,” he said.
The governor described as unfortunate comments by the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri over ownership of Soku Oil Well.
Wike said Soku Oil Well belongs to Rivers State, and urged the commission to continue to ensure the payment of the accruing revenue to the state.
“It is unfortunate that the Bayelsa State governor told you when you visited him that you should not pay us revenue from Soku Oil Well.
“The matter was at the Supreme Court when the National Boundary Commission admitted that they made an error in their 11th edition publication by situating Soku Oil Well in Bayelsa State.
“They were therefore, directed to correct the error in their 12th edition publication. When they also failed to effect the correction, we had to go back to the Federal High Court. The court, in its wisdom directed that all revenue accruing from Soku Oil Well should be paid to Rivers State.
“That is the position. For Bayelsa State governor to come up to say that you should not pay us our money is unfortunate.
“If they have filed a matter at the Supreme Court, it is not an injunction to stop the implementation of the subsisting judgement”, he stated.
The governor commended the commission for taking the bold step to correct fraudulent practices adopted by some states in order to gain financial advantage.
He assured that the State would continue to interface with the commission to make their work easy.
Wike reiterated his determination to deploy all resources received for the development of the state.
Leader of the delegation, Alhaji Mohammed Kabiru Usman said they were on an advocacy and sensitisation tour to the state.
He said their 2018 verification exercise was characterised by fraud because some data supplied by some states were very spurious.
According to him, such over inflated figures were to make those states get money that they do not deserve and deny others.
Usman said the visit would afford them the time to sensitise the relevant financial officers in the state on the importance of providing correct data to the commission.

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FG Launches Digital Nigeria Portal, Mobile App

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The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, on Monday, launched the Digital Nigeria Portal and Mobile App, in furtherance of the Digital Nigeria Programme, kicked off by President Muhammadu Buhari, on March 19, 2020.

This was disclosed by the minister’s spokesperson, Mrs Uwa Suleiman, who stated that the portal is part of the Federal Government’s initiatives to empower innovators and entrepreneurs with requisite skills to thrive in the emerging digital economy.

The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, in delivering this key mandate, is in partnership with global institutions, including the African Development Bank (AFDB), Microsoft, to enable Nigerians acquire cutting edge digital skills within the comfort of their homes.

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36 States Drag FG To Supreme Court Over Executive Order

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Governments of 36 states of the federation have dragged the Federal Government to the Supreme Court, challenging the Presidential Executive Order Number 10 of 2020 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on the funding of the courts.

In the suit, the states argued that the president, by virtue of the Executive Order signed on May 20, had pushed the Federal Government’s responsibility of funding both capital and recurrent expenditures of state High Courts, Sharia Court of Appeals and Customary Courts of Appeal to state governments.

They also prayed the court to hold that the Executive Order 10 was issued in clear violation of Sections 6 and 8(3) of the 1999 Constitution which placed the responsibility of funding the listed courts on the shoulders of the Federal Government.

The 36 states, who filed the action through their respective attorneys general, also sought an order of the Supreme Court to quash the Executive Order for being unconstitutional.

The states further pressed for an order of the apex court to direct the Federal Government to make a refund to them for funding these projects.

The suit was filed on their behalf by a consortium of nine Senior Advocates of Nigeria, led by former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN).

It listed the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) as the sole defendant.

 

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