The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), has arrested about 16 suspected economic saboteurs, in its effort to protect the country’s economy.
The Commandant, NSCDC Rivers State Command, Mr Murktar Lawal, who spoke while parading the suspects, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, said they were involved in separate incidents of economic sabotage before they were apprehended.
Lawal said a truck, which was conveying about 48, 000 litres of product suspected to be crude oil was intercepted at Mbiama in Ahoada West Local Government Area.
Another truck, which belonged to the Nigerian Breweries, was also intercepted with several sacks containing products suspected to be illegally refined Automated Gasoline Oil (AGO), in between beer creates.
Also, electrical armoured cable valued over N100.000, no fewer than 58 drums of filled adulterated petroleum products, and pipes believed to be used for the illegal oil business were among the items recovered by the command.
He recalled that sometime in August, a Toyota Highlander Jeep with Registration Number: AJ 703 AHD Rivers, containing 27 jerry cans of 25 litres each, also had some products suspected to be illegally refined AGO, which was intercepted by the Nigerian Customs Service, Area 2 Command in Rivers State, and was handed over to NSCDC.
Concerning the arrest of the truck with Registration Number: EZA 766 XA ABIA, on September 15, 2020, at Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, he said that no suspect was arrested, but added that the command would go ahead with the prosecution of the suspects-at-large.
He further revealed that a sister agency, the Nigerian Army, had arrested and handed over two suspects in connection with illegal oil bunkering activities, stressing that suspects rode in a Mercedes Benz 508 car with Registration Number: XA 552 AXB, and were handed over to the NSCDC.
The NSCDC commandant expressed regret that people could still be indulging in economic sabotage, without recourse to the government’s repeated warnings.
According to him, the command, would not rest on its oars until every attempt to sabotage the country’s economy was brought under control.
He noted that between October 5 and 11, 2020, several illegal oil bunkering activities were frustrated by operatives of the command around Ukpeide Community in Ahoada West Local Government, and Rumuolumeni in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
He reiterated the readiness of the command to discharge the mandate bestowed on it by the government without fear or favour, and assured that the command would not relent in efforts to execute same.
The Nigerian Breweries driver, whose name was not immediately obtained, claimed ignorance of the product he was conveying, because, according to him, “I was doing it free of charge”.
Paris Club Refund: Suspicious N159bn Judgment Debts Worry NGF
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has engaged Femi Falana, SAN, to challenge the judgments awarding some “consultants and contractors” humongous shares of the Paris and London Club refunds received from the Federal Government by the various states and their local governments.
Falana, in a letter dated April 19, 2021, written to the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, on behalf of the NGF, requested that the plan to issue promissory notes to the purported creditors be suspended, in deference to the legal steps being taken to appeal against the judgments.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria’s letter is sequel to an earlier correspondence dated April 8 sent to the finance minister by a law firm, Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, SAN & Co, on behalf of one of the creditors, Ted Iseghoghi-Edwards.
Investigations on the controversial judgment debts have revealed that Iseghoghi-Edwards is laying claim to $159million for providing consultancy services to the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) to secure the Paris Club refund.
Findings show that a total of $418million judgment debts (about N159billion at the exchange rate of $1 to N380.5) has already been cleared for payment by influential officials of President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
It was gathered that those behind the desperate push for the payment are Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the finance minister.
They have concluded on paying the six creditors through the issuance of promissory notes to be funded from state governments’ allocations for 10 years.
It was learnt that the officials are pushing for the payment despite Mr President’s directive suspending it after the NGF raised an objection to it, and called for a forensic audit of the whole indebtedness.
The Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) has, on different occasions, written to the AGF, querying the claims by Iseghoghi-Edwards and a firm, Riok Nigeria Limited.
RSG Seeks Improved Media Partnership On Projects Delivery
The Rivers State Government has restated its commitment to partner with the media at all times in order to consolidate on the delivery of infrastructural development and good governance.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim stated this, last Monday, in a keynote address at the 2021 Media Day, organised by the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt, District 9141 in Port Harcourt, with the theme, ‘Developing Media Infrastructure for Good Governance’.
“Using the various media infrastructure in which a wide range of debates take place and variety of viewpoints represented, the Rivers State Government led by Governor Nyesom Wike has continued to deliver projects that impact positively for the betterment of Rivers State and her people.
“Between last year and the whole of the first quarter of 2021, Rivers State was on the global map as eminent citizens of Nigeria joined the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to commission projects in eleven local government areas of the state.
“This unprecedented development coming at a time when most leaders were hiding under the cover of the Covid-19 pandemic to cover their ineptitude will surely remain legendary,” he noted.
Nsirim asserted that many social commentators across the country have opined with convictions that the only person who can realistically beat the impressive record is Governor Nyesom Wike himself, especially when the next phase of projects commissioning would commence, “which will unveil some of the most amazing and marvelous legacy infrastructural projects ever seen in Rivers State.
“Project commissioning has become synonymous with the Governor Wike’s administration in the last five years and even against the backdrop of the noisome buzzing of a jobless, fragmented and confused opposition in the state,” he said.
No Reasonable Govt’ll Allow Pantami In Cabinet, Wike Mocks Buhari
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, should resign from office, irrespective of his recent volte-face on his previous support for extremist groups.
The governor noted that in an ideal society, an allegation that the United States of America has placed a serving minister on its watch list as regards to terrorism, should jolt any government into action.
He stated this during an interview with the African Independent Television (AIT) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, yesterday.
“If it was really where a government is working, if an American government says your minister is on a watch list, it calls for concern for you say look there is a problem. The moment a high government official is on a watch list as to regards to terrorism, no government can fold its hands and allow it.”
Wike, said the minister ought to have resigned from the government immediately the information about his extremist views in support of terror groups became a matter of public discourse.
The governor described as worrisome the decision of the Federal Government to remain mute amidst the raging controversy about the minister’s sympathy for global terrorist groups.
“I don’t understand why a reasonable government will allow such a person to be in the cabinet.”
The governor noted that the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government was known for its proclivity to shield persons of questionable characters, even when the country’s secret service presents overwhelming evidence against such individuals.
“But you were here when DSS wrote a report against (Ibrahim) Magu. What happened? Look, I have never seen a country that your secret service wrote a report about the nominee of Mr President, questioning his character and the rest, and that he is not appointable. What happened? So, what are you talking about? What removed Magu is power play.”
Wike also took a swipe at the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for not taking stern disciplinary action against former Governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, who recently claimed he conspired with others to ensure that President Goodluck Jonathan lost the 2015 presidential election.
“If I was the leadership of the party, I would have suspended Aliyu for that comment he made. But, you see nothing will happen. The National Working Committee will not do anything. Why? They need Aliyu to support them.
“I cannot understand why you are a leader; so, to speak, you come out and tell the world why you fought your party. I have never seen a thing like that in my life. Assuming you did it, you now want to rub it on them, and that nothing will happen.”
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