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Halliburton Scam: Nigeria Has Enough Evidence To Act – US …Findings ‘ll Be Made Public Soon – EFCC



United States has said the Federal Government of Nigeria has “enough information” to act on the Halliburton bribery scandal in which some top Nigerian government officials and politicians were fingered.

Speaking at the Foreign Press Center in Washington D.C., Wednesday, US Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Robin Rene Sanders said it was not true that her country did not give necessary information to the Nigerian Government to enable it prosecute those involved in the bribery scandal.

Sanders said: “We have been cooperating fully with the Nigerian authorities on all of those cases”.

The engineering subsidiary of Halliburton Co., Kellog Brown & Root (KBR) Inc. of the US, had pleaded guilty to five federal charges that it paid $180 million as bribes to some high profile Nigerian officials in the Executive branch, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) in respect of a contract worth $6 billion.

The Federal Government had said $150 million of the bribe money had been traced to an unnamed account in Zurich, Switzerland.

But the real identities of the Nigerian government officials that received the bribes have not been officially released.

The Federal Government had also said it formally requested the US government to assist Nigeria by de-classifying the information of the court proceedings in the US in respect of the scandal but that, that government had failed to do so.

In 2008, the Federal Government put in place an inter-security agency committee headed by former Inspector-General of Police Mike Okiro to investigate the Halliburton bribe-for-contract scandal.

At the press conference jointly addressed by the US envoy and her Nigerian counterpart, Professor Adebowale Adefuye, Sanders said: “Nigerian government and ministers have that information and they have enough information to act on their own as there are other countries that are involved and they have the same degree of access to those countries as we do.

“We know that that information has been with the Nigerian government for quite sometime and with the previous ministers that have held that ministerial position. So that information is there and is there for you to act on as your laws and your nation deems fit.”

Sanders, however, announced US endorsement of the ongoing banking reforms, saying it forms part of the framework to tackle corruption.

She said US hopes that those who compromised their positions in the sector would be taken through the nation’s judicial process.

 ”I like to seize this opportunity to talk about the banking reforms and we are hoping that Nigeria still moves forward on the banking reforms as part of your corruption framework or part of your anti-corruption framework. And secondly, those individuals who took advantage of shareholders, in the context of their positions, we hope that those individuals are taken through the judicial process as part of Nigeria’s commitment to rule of law and anti-corruption efforts,”

On what US is doing to help strengthen Nigeria’s anti-corruption crusade, Sanders said the US embassy in Nigeria has been providing training programmes for all the law enforcement agencies on money laundering, suspicious transaction reports and handling of currency confirmation evidence.

She said her country has also been providing technical assistance to the nation’s anti-corruption agencies with a view to enhancing their capabilities.

Commenting on the fears about the next general election and how US intends to assist Nigeria, Sanders said her country had been expressing the view that it does not see the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as presently constituted as laying the foundation that can produce fair and credible elections in 2011.

Sanders said US would like to see an electoral body that has a clear dedicated leadership that would ensure that Nigeria has transparent elections in 2011.

She noted US would be working with Nigeria under the bi-national commission signed last Tuesday between the two countries to strengthen the election process that would ensure transparent, free, fair and credible polls.

This, she said, involves a number of changes including better leadership in INEC and transparent voters’ register, among others.

Responding to a question on the image crisis Nigeria is experiencing as a result of advance fee fraud and emails scam, Adefuye said such allegations are unfair to Nigeria.

The Nigerian envoy said there were instances when the embassy had been informed of criminal cases affecting ‘Nigerians’, only to later discover that those involved are blacks from other African countries.

He noted that the population of Nigeria is more than that of all the countries in West Africa put together, and as such, the world should realise that with such a huge population, it is not unusual for Nigeria to have its own share of miscreants.

Adefuye said this does not, however, take away the fact that the larger population is made up of responsible, hard-working, intelligent and enterprising people.

 Meanwhile, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs Farida Waziri, in Abuja, on Wednesday, disclosed that investigation was ongoing in the Halliburton bribery scandal and findings would be made known soon.

Former heads of state, presidents and top government functionaries in Nigeria had been fingered in the $180 million bribery scandal which had seen some of the company’s executives jailed in the United States of America.

Waziri was reacting to a statement credited to the president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, that the probe had been stalled.

Akeredolu had, at the fifth Business Law conference organised by the Section on Business Law of the NBA, on Monday, said it was a shame that one year after the panel was constituted to investigate the scam, no report had been submitted and no prosecution initiated.

Waziri, while receiving the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in her office, said the committee set up by the Federal Government to investigate the scandal had been working hard at unravelling the facts of the case and would soon make its findings public.

According to her, “the committee, headed by the Inspector General of Police, is leaving no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the case and it is my belief that it will not be long before a definite pronouncement is made on it.”

She also lambasted Nigerian leaders for being selfish, adding that they had failed their generation, while urging the students to stop the leaders from compromising their future through corrupt practices.

“Let me remind you that as youths and future leaders, Nigeria’s hope of a better tomorrow lies in you, because quite a large number of our present leaders have failed the nation.

“So if you have been disappointed by our leaders, you can’t afford to disappoint yourselves so that your own generation won’t be as wasteful and wasted as ours.

“It is obvious; not many of our leaders seem to be interested in working for your future, as the level of decadence and infrastructural decay in our institutions pin-points.

“All of us, as stakeholders, must ensure that we do all that is possible to fight this cankerworm to a standstill,” she said.

Explaining the purpose of the visit to the headquarters of the anti-graft commission, president of NANS, Jude Imagwe, expressed the student body’s willingness to partner with the EFCC to kick out corruption, not only in the education sector, but also in the society in general.

He asked the commission to commence its war against graft at the grass roots, adding that the commission could work its way to the federal level from there.

“NANS requests urgent investigation and subsequent trial of government officials who have diverted funds meant for public development into self-control funds, thereby increasing the level of poverty and crime in the country,” Imagwe stated.

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Buhari Pays Tribute To Diya



President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday mourned the passing of retired Lt.-Gen. Oladipo Diya GCON, who served as Chief of General Staff from 1993 to 1997 and Vice Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council in 1994.
The President, in a statement by his Spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja paid tribute to Diya’s bold and courageous career in the Nigeria military.
He particularly lauded him for his dedicated service to the country as General Officer Commanding, 82 Division, Commandant, National War College (1991–1993), Chief of Defence Staff and Military Governor of Ogun from January 1984 to August 1985.
Buhari recalled that the late Diya was known for his brilliance, exceptional organisational skills and discipline, and he displayed these virtues in the important roles he held in office as a military officer.
The president saluted the former Chief of General Staff for his love, belief and loyalty to the country he cherished so much and fought gallantly on the frontlines to defend her unity.
Buhari, who extended heartfelt condolences to Diya’s family, friends and colleagues, prayed that “Diya’s soul finds rest with his Creator, and may his contributions to the nation never be forgotten.”
Diya, who was born on April 3, 1944 in Odogbolu, Ogun State, died on Sunday in Lagos.

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PDP Suspends Ayu For Anti-Party Activities



The ongoing crisis in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has deepened as the Executive Committee of the party in Igyorov Ward of Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State has suspended the National Chairman of the party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, with immediate effect.
They suspended Ayu for anti-party activities after passing a vote-of-no confidence on him.
While reading a resolution, the Secretary of the party in Igyorov ward, Banger Dooyum, said Ayu’s anti-party activities, alongside his allies, contributed to PDP’s loss in his ward and local government in the governorship election.
Ayu was also accused of not paying his annual dues as enshrined by the party’s constitution.
Twelve out of the 17 exco members signed the documents endorsing his suspension.
They also alleged that the PDP chieftain did not vote during the governorship and state assembly elections held on March 18, 2023.
According to them, most of Ayu’s closest allies worked for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) which resulted in the abysmal performance of the PDP in Igyorov Ward.
The ward chairman of Igyorov, Kashi Philip, also signed the letter alongside the exco.

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I Didn’t Work Against Obi, Wike Fires Back …Describes Obi’s Allegation As Unfortunate



Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has taken strong exception to Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi’s allegations that he denied him of victory in the state in the February 25 presidential election.
Wike clarified that there was never a time that the G-5 governors or the Integrity Group endorsed Obi or another candidate as their preferred candidate for the presidential election.
Speaking during a media chat last Wednesday in his home town, Rumuepirikom, the governor described Obi’s accusation that he manipulated the electoral process to his disadvantage as unfortunate.
“I don’t work for INEC, I don’t have INEC documents with me. I am not an ad hoc staff of INEC and so I am not in a place to rig election for anybody. It is when you have the materials of INEC that you talk about rigging. But I take exception to Peter Obi’s comments that I came out against him. People are not being sincere, people are not appreciative.”
The Rivers State governor, maintained that his primary preoccupation as far as the 2023 presidential election was concerned was for a southern Nigerian to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, whose tenure ends on May 29, 2023.
“I never told Rivers people to vote for the candidate (of the APC). I told Rivers people (to vote) for the unity of Nigeria. As far as Rivers State is concerned, their position is that ‘look, we want a power shift.’ And there are two candidates from the South – Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Peter Obi.
“If Rivers people have chosen to vote for Asiwaju, and the same Rivers people also voted for Peter Obi, that tells you that their decision was to vote for a Southern President. So, amongst them one must always get the highest vote. If you look at the votes, APC won, followed by the Labour Party. So that tells you what the decision they took. That is the decision of Rivers people”, the governor stated.
Wike said he was among those who recommended Obi to be PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s running mate in 2019.
“In 2019, ask Peter Obi, I was one of the team that chose Obi to be the Vice Presidential candidate of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. When we met at Abubakar’s house, he said these are the names, I will choose Obi. Obi was invited while we were at Saraki’s house in the night.
“I was fought by people like (Senator Ike) Ekweremadu; my own friend, the governor of Ebonyi State, (David) Umahi, and Pius Anyim. Every blame was on me, why will I be the one that will say Peter Obi? Why should I chose for the South-East? Did he come out to say Wike was the one who supported me to be the vice presidential candidate? He didn’t say so.”
He declared that the G-5 governors and the Integrity Group never during any of their meetings unanimously endorsed Obi or any presidential candidate of southern Nigeria extraction.
He said, “There was never a time the integrity Group met and say it must be this person. We only agreed on southern President. We formulated strategies and the southern President emerged. Our interest is that a southern President should emerge.
“When we went to our meeting, we decided on southern President. We didn’t say it must be this. We said whatever you are doing it must be southern President. The aim of G5 was equity, fairness and justice”.
The governor also said the G-5 governor and members of the Integrity Group cannot be accused of betraying the PDP.
He stressed that those who blatantly refused to implement the provisions of the party’s constitution on rotation of elective and appointive offices are to blame the party’s electoral misfortune.
He said all the G-5 governors consisting of Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Samuel Ortom of Benue; and Victor Ikpeazu of Abia; made tremendous sacrifice to ensure the emergence of a southern president.
The governor particularly expressed delight that the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, who had earlier said he would not mind sacrificing his second term on the altar of equity, justice, and fairness, was re-elected.
“Ortom said even if he loses his senatorial election, let equity, justice, and fairness prevail. He may not gain it now. But history will be kind to him. The same applies to Ugwuanyi and Ikpeazu. Even Makinde said even if he lost his governorship ambition, he was interested in the unity of Nigeria”, Wike recalled.
He boasted that in Rivers State, PDP won the governorship, three senatorial seats, 10 federal and 31 state constituencies in the general election.
He said, ironically, the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, who once derided that the G-5 governors are small boys failed to win his ward, local government and state for the presidential candidate in the February 25 election.
According to him, PDP also lost woefully in Niger, Jigawa, Imo, Sokoto, Yobe and other states.
“Ayu lost his polling unit. I won three senatorial seats, and 31 House of Assembly seats. He didn’t get anything. Lamido did not win the presidential election in Jigawa. Babangida Aliyu did not win. So, who is the betrayer? We won to make sure PDP exists. Of what relevance is he as national chairman? He couldn’t deliver his polling unit”, the governor stated.
Wike dismissed insinuation that he would manipulate the Rivers State governor-elect, Siminialayi Fubara, after leaving office.
The governor also clarified that Fubara, who resigned as Accountant General of the state to contest the 2023 governorship election, is not wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
According to him, some disgruntled politicians in the state were behind the rumour.
Wike stated that Fubara on assumption of office will continue from where his administration stopped and would consolidate on the NEW Rivers Vision.

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