Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has challenged the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Mr Abdullahi Maina to go ahead and tell Nigerians those thieves that he alleged were surrounding President Muhammadu Buhari and his government and answer the corruption allegations against him as well as his fraudulent reinstatement.
Governor Fayose described the Maina’s interview shown on Channels Television yesterday, as explosive, saying he was sure that President Buhari will look the other way just as he did on the allegation of award of $25 billion contracts without following due process made against the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr.Maikanti Baru by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu and many others.
In a statement yesterday, by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose said he had again been vindicated on his position that the kind of corruption being perpetrated in President Buhari’s government was unprecedented and mind-boggling.
He said; “The Maina’s challenge is another opportunity for President Buhari to proof to Nigerians that he is actually fighting corruption. But I am sure that since it again borders on his closest men, he won’t do anything.”
Governor Fayose said it was important for Maina to wash himself clean of the N2.1 billion pension fraud that made him escaped from the country and earned him dismissal from the civil service.
The governor, who challenged Maina to name those in Buhari’s government that are thieves, noted that “There is no need waiting for the President to conduct public inquiry on the pension scam, Maina should just go ahead and tell Nigerians who the thieves among Buhari’s men are.
“Even after naming them, Maina should not expect any action from the President. Rather, he should be contented with satisfying his conscience and putting those Buhari’s men that he said are pretending to be saints in the court of public opinion.”
While maintaining his position on the self-appointed human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), over the allegation by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), linking the lawyer to a N1 billion property on Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja, Governor Fayose said it was sad that Falana and his collaborators have turned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to their source of huge income.
“EFCC has become Falana’s daily meal. Falana and his collaborators live on EFCC. They have turned themselves to brokers of bail and suppliers of lawyers to accused persons while at the same time buying seized properties at ridiculous amount.
“Even the likes of Madaki, who have retired from service, have been brought back into the system so that he can continue to help them to perpetrate fraud,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose has slammed human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) over the allegations by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) linking the lawyer to N1billion property located at 43 Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja.
While reacting to the allegation in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi, Fayose said, “It is embarrassing, shameful, disgraceful that such a man of his stature, reputed to be a human rights activist, friend of the masses, crusader of justice and defender of democracy could be linked to such scandal.”
While addressing the press in Ado Ekiti, last Monday, Fayose said, “It has become necessary to add my voice to the new scandal where you find our supposed men of honour, defenders of democracy, crusaders of justice, people who want corruption stamped out of our land, allegedly traced to similar unfortunate purchases of alleged stolen property, especially, when such allegations are coming from the number one Minster of Justice for the nation, Abubakar Malami (SAN),” he said.
It would be recalled that the embattled former chairman of the defunct Pension Reforms Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, had accused Falana of buying the building which was one of the properties he helped to seize from pension thieves, and handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Malami had while testifying before the National Assembly, last week, echoed the allegation, saying the property was sold to a ‘Lagos lawyer’.
Falana has, however, denied the allegations, but the governor said, “The disclosure by the minister of justice and attorney-general of the federation, that a Lagos-based lawyer, was one of many highly placed Nigerians who allegedly were compensated by the EFCC and Ibrahim Magu with properties retrieved from corrupt government officials was initially taken with a pinch of salt.
“However, Falana, friend and defender of every obnoxious act by EFCC and Magu, has come into the open to not only give veracity to the allegation but also admit that he was the Lagos-based lawyer in question.
“Falana’s attempt to be clever by half in the explanations he offered to justify his alleged atrocious act; whether or not he was a first degree or third degree buyer; his efforts to white-wash what is an alleged fraudulent deal and a betrayal of public trust ; whether or not he bought personally or through company or proxy; and his desperate double speak to wriggle out of this tight corner; whether court has ruled or has not ruled, all fell flat on its face,” he said.
The governor, therefore, urged the Federal Government to ensure that the allegation against Falana is properly investigated and not swept under the carpet.
“Linking Falana to illegally acquired properties seized by the EFCC is bad enough but the facts provided by Malami make the case against Falana even worse.
“This must be the real reason why Falana always fall head over heels in defence of the EFCC and Magu, not minding the vicious violations of the constitutionally-guaranteed rights, freedoms, and liberties of citizens. What we have always suspected has now been confirmed publicly, and by no less a person as the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice.
“Falana’s alleged unprincipled and disgusting defence of the EFCC and Magu’s penchant for disrespect of the rule of law and due process is for selfish reasons and personal gain.
“How many more Falana’s do we have in the system? Malami should please help us to expose them. Some dubious elements have been deceiving the people and feeding fat on a so-called anti-corruption war that exists only in their imaginations. This Falana-gate must not be swept under the carpet like so many others before it. It is so disgusting that what was recovered from a thief has been stolen by an armed robber. It is a case of the loot being re-looted.
“Investigations must go back to the time of the pioneer EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu to uncover those who have been cornering all choice properties recovered from looters,” Fayose added.
Tai APC Collapses As Hundreds Return To PDP …Say They Were Blinded By Fake Promises
Over 500 former members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Tai Local Government Area have returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The returnees led by the first PDP Chairman of the area, Hon Peter Gwezia, announced their return to the PDP, last Saturday, during the GDI’s sensitisation programme for the collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) at the Council Secretariat, Saakpenwa.
Speaking on behalf of the rest of the returnees while renouncing membership of the APC, Hon Peter Gwezia, said he and other APC members decided to leave the party due to failure of leadership.
While promising to work for the success of the PDP in the 2023 election, Gwezia said the APC lacked ideas, and was like a vehicle without engine, could not take them to their desired destination, hence their decision to leave the party.
In his remarks, Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Hon Chukwuemeka Aaron, who received the returnees on behalf of the Chairman, PDP Rivers State, Amb Desmond Akawor, assured them of equal treatment, saying there are no new members in the party.
“I want to welcome you all and to say that in PDP and GDI where you are today, no person is new. We all have equal status, we all have equal rights. Some of the people that were with you there doing the jamboree that came back today, they are commissioners; they have gone to the National Assembly, become chairmen of councils.
“So, having seen what our leader, Chief Nyesom Wike has done in Rivers State, and in Tai, and what your chairman of council is doing in Tai, they have come back to take their rightful position. We want to thank all of you, and to say that the party chairman and the chairman of council will integrate you into the activities of GDI”.
Also speaking, GDI President-General, Chief Bright Amaewhule, said the performance of the present administration in the state was enough testimony for any Rivers son or daughter to reckon that PDP was the only party which had their interest at heart.
Amaewhule said that of the candidates lined up for the governorship seat in the state, only the PDP Governorship candidate, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, was competent and qualified to give the state good governance from day one.
He, therefore, challenged eligible voters who have not collected their PVCs to do so as soon as possible, and prepare to cast their votes for the right party which was a master of good governance and quality projects’ delivery in the state come 2023.
The returnees, alongside GDI members from the 10 wards of Tai, including youths, women and students groups, later engaged in a wild gyration, turning the entire arena into dance frenzy.
The event also featured solidarity speeches from stakeholders among them former and current National and State Assembly members, former and serving council chairmen, former commissioners, party stalwarts, and captains of industry, among others.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
MOSOP Tasks SPDC On Fresh Oil Spill
Factional President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Mr. Fegalo Nsuke, has called on Shell Petroleum Development Company (Shell) Joint Venture (JV), the oil and gas multinational company, to take full responsibility and appropriate action to curb a fresh oil spill in Bodo Community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Nsuke, who noted that the spill was first noticed in the community early last week, blamed Shell for the spill and urged the Dutch multinational to alleviate its impact on the community, curtail its spread and commence proper remediation and compensation in accordance with global best practices.
The MOSOP leader noted that the oil spills from the Trans Niger Pipeline operated by the Shell JV, suddenly erupted within the residential area of the community, alleging that it must have been caused by equipment failure.
He observed that although the cause of the spills, which was occurring 11years after the release of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports, was yet to be ascertained, the spills have affected residential areas and community dwellers have been asked by the MOSOP to evacuate the area, to avoid causality in case of a fire.
“This massive spill is occurring 11 years after the UNEP released a damning report exposing Shell’s devastation of the Ogoni environment.
“We have communicated with community leaders to cooperate with investigations and ensure that every detail about this spill is communicated to our secretariat as soon as possible”, he said.On his part, Executive Director, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC), Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, said, “the cause of the crude oil spill which occurred inside the community where people live is not yet known at this time.”
By: Tonye Nria-Dappa
Nigeria’s Freedom Of Expression Attracting Global Attention, Buhari Claims
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Sunday, said it was instructive that Nigeria was attracting positive international attention as a country that promoted media freedom and freedom of expression.
He said this was premised on the government’s understanding of the important roles that information literacy and media education played in sustainable development.
According to a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said this while pledging his “full support” for three major international events scheduled to hold in Nigeria in October and November 2022.
They include: the 2022 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s Global Media, Information Literacy Week in Abuja, in October, the first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry in Lagos, as well as the second Global Association of Literary Festivals Conference, Abeokuta, in November.
In the statement titled ‘President Buhari pledges support as Nigeria hosts major cultural, tourism and literary events,’ he said the global events were opportunities to showcase the nation’s rich heritage in culture, arts, tourism and entertainment as well as advancements on media freedom.
Earlier, the Minister of Information ad Culture, Lai Mohammed, said that hosting the 2022 UNESCO Global Media, Information Literacy Week, would help to address the rising spate of fake news, misinformation and hate speech.
Expressing his delight to welcome international visitors to Nigeria, Buhari urged citizens to leverage the events to exhibit the values “that make us a unique, friendly and peace-loving people.”
The statement read in part, “Welcoming the decision by the UNESCO’s World Tourism Organisation and the Global Association of Literary Festivals to grant Nigeria the right to host these separate historic events, the President assures all relevant stakeholders and participants of the warmth and hospitality of the people of Nigeria.
“On the MIL Week, Buhari notes that it is instructive that Nigeria is attracting positive international attention as a country that promotes media freedom and freedom of expression, recognising the important roles information literacy and media education play in sustainable development.
“On the first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry, the President says the rapid growth of Nigeria’s film, fashion, music, and the Information and Communications Technology sector, and the increase in international appeal and acceptance would continue to spur government to devote more resources to the sector.”
Among other initiatives, Buhari noted that the Creative Industry Financing Initiative, established by his administration and managed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, had provided single-digit financing to many young Nigerians in the fields of fashion, film, music and information technology.
He noted that the $100 million re-development of the National Theatre, Lagos, into a world-class creative park is also ongoing, following the handover of the facility to the CBN and the Bankers Committee.
The President, therefore, expressed confidence that the literary world would find many good things to celebrate about Nigeria when they meet in the historic city of Abeokuta, homeland and birthplace of one of Nigeria’s finest literary icons and Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka.
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