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Alleged N9.7bn Fraud: AVM Dikko Converted NAF’s N1.2bn To Private Use -Witness

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A witness, Hammadama Bello, yesterday told a Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja, that former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Umar Dikko allegedly converted the sum of N1.2billion, belonging Nigerian Air Force to his personal use.
Dikko is under prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on seven-count charge bordering on money laundering and procurement fraud to the tune of N9.7 billion.
Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Dr.Onyeachi Ikpeazu, SAN, the witness who the 9th prosecution Witness and, investigator with the EFCC, said that funds meant for Air Force operational purpose were diverted by Dikko to his personal use.
The anti-graft spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren disclosed this in a statement in Abuja.
Uwujaren said, “The witness further revealed that not all the capital projects like building of and equipping of hospitals, Comprehensive School, Kano; Comprehensive School, Yola; building of Conference Centre in Kado, Abuja and the renovation of barracks, as well as the Air Force barricade, were sponsored from the tranche, earmarked for them.
“In addition to the project listed above, the defendant Air Marshal Umar Dikko, helped himself by carrying out some project for himself, like his house in Maitama, which amounts to almost a billion naira”.
He further noted that a case of alleged money laundering was established against the defendant following the results of investigations into properties linked to the former Chief of Air Staff.
Bello also reportedly revealed that that all directives regarding the disbursement of NAF’s funds came from Dikko to the Director of Finance and Accounts, who was assisted by the CFO, Group Captain Bukar Abubakar.
He stated that Abubakar was in turn assisted by Squadron Leader, Emmanuel N. Agbor and a number of other junior cashiers, adding that the former Air Chief gave directives in the absence of the Director, Finance and Accounts.
Further, at the previous court sitting, Bello had told the court how some properties were allegedly purchased by the defendant.
“Although the defendant (Dikko) claimed he bought the property for N35million, investigations revealed that the property was originally a guest house of the Nigerian Air Force, which was sold to one AVM Lex.
“Upon questioning, AVM Lex confirmed that he had been approached by one Yushau, who told him that the buyer preferred to stay anonymous and N85million (Eighty-five Million Naira), was paid to AVM Lex, for the property and another N75million paid for renovation of the same,” Bello added.
According to the witness, the investigations also revealed that the former Chief of Air Staff came from a humble background, rising from the position of a teacher, then a library assistant, before becoming a serving officer and then the Chief of Air Staff and wondered how he could have acquired such properties.
“He (Dikko) was not a business man while in service and would have to be Chief of Air Staff (at his last grade level) for 250 years to be able to afford the properties linked to him.
“Investigations revealed that during Dikko’s tenure as Chief of Air Staff, he received N558, 200,000 million on a monthly basis, which he converted into dollars,” Bello stated.
According to the witness, searches conducted on companies linked to the defendant at the Corporate Affairs Commission, (CAC), and several bank accounts, revealed that none of the accounts of these companies were used directly or indirectly for the purchase of the properties.
On the monies transferred to the account of Capital Law Firm, the legal agent engaged for the purchase of the defendant’s Asokoro property, Bello reportedly stated that investigations revealed a trail of about N900million, which was paid in cash, as being payment for the property and N40million in legal fees and additional monies (in dollars), were paid to the agent’s account for renovation of the property.
However, with the conclusion of cross -examination, presiding Justice Nnamdi Dimgba discharged the witness and adjourned the matter till November 1, for continuation of hearing.

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FG Adopts Innovative Approach To Fund Climate Change Mitigation

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The Federal Government has adopted innovative approach, including carbon tax, to fund the mitigation of the impact of climate change in the country.
The Director-General, National Council on Climate Change, Dr SalisuDahiru, disclosed this to newsmen in Lagos.
Dahiru spoke on the sidelines of a technical workshop on Agro Climate Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) project, yesterday.
Dahiru said that President MuhammaduBuhari, in creating the council, adopted an innovative approach because the council was going to be the main vehicle that would drive his climate change policy and agenda.
“So, he decided to adopt an innovative approach that will provide sufficient funding and in a timely manner.
“This is to ensure that the council is able to operate, function and discharge responsibilities with little hindrance.
“So, two things are associated with the funding; the major funding source will be the budget.
“But within the Act establishing the council, there is going to be the introduction of Carbon Tax,” Dahiru said.
The DG said that carbon tax was done all over the world because of the grave existential threat of climate change.
“If we do not deal with climate change, climate change will deal with all of us.
“So, this carbon tax will have to come in because that’s the only way that we can clean up our environment and refresh the air,” Dahiru said.
He said that there would be the establishment of a climate change fund, where the government, the private sector and development partners would make contributions.
Dahiru said that another way the council hoped to raise fund was through the establishment of a Redd Plus registry.
“We can demonstrate through the Redd Plus programme, which is called reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
“If we show that we are no longer cutting down the forests, that we are conserving the forest, then, we will be eligible to be paid carbon credits.
“This is calculated based on how much emissions we have prevented from going to the atmosphere as a result of conserving the forest that will also be fed into the funding of the activities of the council.
“And then we will also have this support from the International Organisation for Climate Change.
He said “we are able to do clean projects; projects that will add to our ability to fulfill our obligations under the nationally determined contributions to climate change mitigation in the world”.
“Then development partners under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will provide additional support to the country,” Dahiru said.

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Nigeria Losses 400,000 Barrels Daily To Oil Theft, FG Laments

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has affirmed that the country loses 400,000 barrels of crude daily via oil theft.
Sylva stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, at the Government House, Owerri.
He described the development as a “national emergency”.
Sylva regretted that the nation had fallen short of OPEC daily quota, from 1.8million barrels to 1.4million barrels, due to crude theft.
The minister warned that such a huge economic loss was capable of crippling the nation’s economy if not given the seriousness it deserved.
He expressed concern that the menace had persisted, in spite of the efforts by the federal and state governments to arrest it.
Sylva said the problem of crude theft could not be handled in Abuja alone.
“It is a national emergency because the theft has grown wings and reached a very bad crescendo.
“This is because the thefts are taking place in the communities that host the oil pipelines.
“As a result, it has become necessary to involve the stakeholders, especially the host communities.
“And because of the height and orchestrated nature of the menace, Nigeria could not take the advantage and opportunities that abound in the gas production.
“This is because no investor would want to invest where there is incessant insecurity and vandalism of the infrastructure,” he said.
The minister, therefore, appealed to the stakeholders to collaborate to solve the problem.

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We’ve Disbursed N100bn To Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, Buhari Boasts

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Federal Government has disbursed a total of N100billion to indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare investors as loans to expand their capital base and boost local production of medicines and medical consumables.
Buhari said this, yesterday, while receiving the new executive members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The president said the loan was extended through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s support to the private pharmaceutical sector.
He added that the Health Sector Reform Committee chaired by Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, was currently exploring models for revitalising the nation’s healthcare system, in ways that improve quality of care and the benefit package to care providers.
On brain drain in the health sector, the president said he has directed the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, to look into ways of turning “brain drain” to “brain gain” by engaging top Nigerian medical experts in the Diaspora in knowledge and skills repatriation.
He urged the NMA and other stakeholders in the health sector to support initiatives by the Federal Government and work with the committees set up to chart a fast track to a health system that best meets the needs of Nigerians in the 21st Century.
The president also commended the association, which is the umbrella body of all medical practitioners in Nigeria, for consistently choosing peaceful resolution of differences on matters pertinent to the National health system.
“I commend our medical professionals for their contribution to Nigeria’s exemplary management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the control of malaria, HIV and Tuberculosis, and other feats also achieved by Nigerian doctors in the Diaspora.
“Our response to COVID-19 pandemic has been praised internationally and your members are key parts of this success.
“I recall that in the last quarter of 2021, the immediate past NMA Executives visited me and presented recommendations for the health sector, which included, the review and amendment of NHIS Act; upgrading and equipping existing health institutions; loans to fund hospital equipment; the repeal and re-enactment of the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Act; and Appeal for more funding for the four newly established Universities of Medical Sciences.
“I am pleased to inform you that most of these recommendations have been addressed, whilst further action is being taken to study those involving cross-cutting administrative processes with legal implications,” Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement issued, yesterday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
Buhari further congratulated former NMA President, Dr.Osahon Enabulele, on his emergence as the president-elect of the World Medical Association, the first Nigerian to hold the position.
While wishing him a successful tenure, the president expressed hope that Enabulele would use his position to support improvement in health care delivery in Nigeria and lower income countries.üÿ
He also wished the new executive members of NMA a successful tenure, urging them to earnestly continue to serve as arbiters of peace and progress.
The Minister of Health, Dr OsagieEhanire, who led the medical practitioners to the meeting, affirmed that the doctors have been good partners with his ministry, helping to regulate the health profession as well as stressing quality service delivery.
In his remarks, the NMA President, Dr Uche Rowland Ojinmah, said the new National Officers Committee (NOC) was elected on May 21, 2022.
Ojinmah commended Buhari for his “steadfast war against corruption, assent to the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Act which will improve the health indices of our nation, the constitution of the Health Reform Committee under Vice President YemiOsinbajo, and the various infrastructural projects embarked upon by the Buhari administration.”
He, however, enjoined the president to ensure full and appropriate implementation of the NHIA Act, provision of “adequate work equipment, conducive work environment and necessary budget support”, as well as elongation of the retirement age for medical consultants to 70 years and 65 years for non-consultant doctors and other healthcare workers.
Others include implementation of the hazard allowance circularised in December 2021 with the arrears as well as the setting up of a Health Bank.
The NMA president also requested a representation of the Federal Government at the inauguration of Enabulele in Berlin, Germany, later in the year.

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