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FG Discovers 96 Financiers Of Boko Haram, ISWAP …Links 123 Companies, 33 BDCs To Terrorism

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The Federal Government has confirmed uncovering 96 financiers of terrorism across the country, especially those backing Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP).
This was disclosed by Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, during a press conference on the administration’s fight against corruption in Abuja, yesterday.
He said the “Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), in 2020-2021, revealed 96 financiers of terrorism in Nigeria,” while 424 associates and supporters of the financiers were also uncovered.
Also, about 123 companies and 33 Bureau de change, were linked to terrorists in addition to 26 suspected bandits/kidnappers and seven co-conspirators who have now been identified.
According to the minister, “the analysis has resulted in the arrest of 45 suspects who will soon face prosecution and seizure of assets”.
Still, on terrorism financing, Mohammed said the NFIU had intelligence exchanges on Boko Haram, ISWAP, banditry, kidnapping, and others with 19 countries.
During the same period, 2020-2021, the organization returned fraudulently-obtained funds totalling US$103,722,102.83;£3,000; 7,695 Singapore dollar, and €1,091 to 11 countries of victims who came into the country.
The Federal Government also linked 123 companies and 33 bureaux de change to the sponsorship of Boko Haram and ISWAP.
Also, 96 financiers of terrorism have been uncovered in Nigeria.
Forty-five of the 96 terrorists’ sponsors have been arrested and would soon be charged to court.
In addition, 424 associates/supporters of the terrorism financiers are under surveillance of security agencies.
Mohammed said “For its part, the analysis by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), in 2020-2021, revealed 96 financiers of terrorism in Nigeria, 424 associates/supporters of the financiers, involvement of about 123 companies and 33 bureaux de change, in addition to identifying 26 suspected bandits/kidnappers and seven co-conspirators.
“The analysis has resulted in the arrest of 45 suspects who will soon face prosecution and seizure of assets.”
Full text of the statement reads, “As you are aware, one of the three major policy planks of this administration is the fight against corruption, with the others of course being to tackle insecurity and also to revamp the economy. We will be having a series of thematic press conferences on these issues in the days ahead, with this one – on the fight against corruption – being the first one.
“It is common knowledge that one of the most difficult tasks for any government is to fight corruption, because when you fight corruption, corruption will fight you back! This explains why naysayers have continued to belittle or dismiss the administration’s anti-corruption efforts. Let me say here that fighting corruption is a marathon, and never a sprint. Also, investigations, arrests, prosecutions and asset forfeiture – which are the immediate, visible indices by which many measure success in tackling corruption, constitute – as important as they are – just a part of the strategies to combat corruption.
“There is also a more fundamental strategy, which I will describe as structural and governance reforms or, if you like, institutional reforms. Today’s press conference will, therefore, look at this fundamental strategy and also highlight the successes recorded in recent times by the various anti-corruption agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
“Gentlemen, the Buhari Administration has taken bold measures to streamline cumbersome bureaucratic processes in the implementation of government policies, check corrupt practices and ensure accountability in the implementation as well as delivery of these policies. These reforms are all inclusive, cutting across all spheres of governance and not excluding even the private sector.
“They are the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), Petroleum Industry Act, Financial Autonomy for State Legislature and Judiciary (2020), Whistle-Blower Policy, Assets Recovery, Justice and Law reforms, Nigeria’s membership of the Open Government Partnership as well as the various instruments at the disposal of the Federal Government to track, trace and stop the flow of illicit funds used in financing terrorist activities within Nigeria, among others. For those who may say that some of these reforms, like the TSA, predate this Administration, our response is that what’s the use of a policy that is not implemented? This Administration has implemented these reforms with fidelity, and the reforms have made a huge impact in preventing corruption.
“For example, upon assuming office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari operationalized the TSA, a public accounting system that enables the Government to manage its finances (revenues and payments) using a single/unified account or a series of linked accounts domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The President issued a directive to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to close their accounts with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and transfer the funds therein to the CBN on or before 15th September 2015.
“The TSA system was launched in 2012 but failed to gain traction until President Buhari gave it a fillip. The TSA system has now been implemented in more than 90 percent of all Federal MDAs and it has resulted in the consolidation of more than 17,000 bank accounts previously spread across Deposit Money Banks in the country, and monthly savings of an average of N4 billion in bank charges.
“Also, against stiff opposition, the Buhari Administration has expanded the coverage of IPPIS. TSA and IPPIS remain an unfolding revolution in public finance in Nigeria that has incorporated transparency and accountability into the system. The use of BVN to verify the Federal Government’s payroll on the IPPIS platform has so far led to the detection of 54,000 fraudulent payroll entries. The Federal Government has also utilized the BVN system to verify beneficiaries and vendors in the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), the N-Power Programme and the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP), among others.
“The Whistle-blower Policy is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning. The policy is meant to encourage the voluntary disclosure of information about fraud, bribery and looted government funds, including financial misconduct and any other form of corruption or theft. The Whistle Blower whose information leads to recovery is entitled to 2.5 to 5% from the recovered funds. Information and tips received are usually referred to the EFCC, ICPC, and NFIU for further painstaking investigation. The policy has helped in the cleansing of IPPIS, led to compliance on TSA and enhanced the Procurement Act 2007. As at 2020, a total sum of N700billion has been recovered through the Whistle-Blower Policy.
“Then, there is the Petroleum Industry Act (2021). As you are aware, there has been a dire need for Nigeria to reform the laws of its oil & gas sector, which accounts for 90% of its foreign exchange earnings and about 65% of government’s revenue. While some of the laws had become outdated and unsuited to the 21st century, some were simply non-existent to regulate certain activities, thereby providing loopholes to be exploited by corrupt practitioners. One of such is the P&ID case in which a company registered in a foreign tax haven colluded with corrupt officials over a set-to-fail gas processing project to secure about $10billion award against the Nigerian government via an arbitration process abroad. Attempts to revamp petroleum laws by successive governments proved futile for over 20 years until President Muhammadu Buhari broke the jinx to push through the Petroleum Industry Act in 2021, through strong will and determination.
“Gentlemen, President Muhammadu Buhari signed an Executive Order in May 2020 that unequivocally granted financial autonomy to State Houses of Assembly, State Judiciaries as well as the Local Governments, as the third tier of government. The order also mandated the Accountant-General of the Federation to deduct, from source, funds due to state legislatures and judiciaries from the monthly allocation of states that fail to comply. Lack of financial autonomy for the separate arms of government at the state level is a major structural flaw that is in need of reform, and this has been addressed by the Buhari Administration. Also, the financial suffocation of LGs is a major enabler of insecurity and terrorism in the Nigerian countryside.
“Most of Nigeria’s 774 LGAs exist in rural areas where effective local governance is an existential issue. To underscore their responsibility to the people, President Buhari recently reminded the LG Chairmen of their burden of accounting for every kobo allocated to their Councils, should they fold their arms and allow the sharing to continue by the state governors.
“On Assets Recovery, the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) has assisted anti-corruption agencies in devising clearer strategies for obtaining forfeiture of assets suspected to have been fraudulently acquired from state coffers before prosecuting suspected culprits. Part of this work has involved painstakingly reviewing existing Laws (Money Laundering Act, 2004, EFCC Act, 2004 and ICPC Act, 2000) to identify and highlight sections directly conferring powers of forfeiture on Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies.
“This advocacy has led to a significant increase in the use of Non-Conviction Based Asset Forfeiture Mechanisms by anti-corruption agencies.
“To check terrorism financing in Nigeria, the Federal Government has deployed a plethora of tools, including the Money Laundering Act, 2004, the EFCC Act, 2004, the ICPC Act, 2000, Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to deal with the issue of corruption, money laundering and terror financing. The ongoing harmonization of Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) with National Identification Numbers (NIN) is also a means of tracking the flow of funds within Nigeria and, by extension, tackling terror financing.
“Let me now highlight the much more-visible activities of some of the various anti-corruption agencies, all of which have been effectively carrying out their mandates. In 2021 alone, the EFCC secured a total of 2,220 convictions. That represents a 127percent increase in the number of convictions (976) recorded in 2020, and a far cry from the 195 convictions secured in 2016, the 189 in 2017, the 312 convictions in 2018, and the 1,280 recorded in 2019. The 2021 figure of 2,220 convictions represents a 98.49 per cent success rate, with only 34 cases (representing 1.51 per cent) discharged. On Monetary recoveries, in 2021 alone, the EFCC recovered a total monetary amount of N152,088,698,751.64; £1,182,519.75, 50 Emirati Dirham, 1,723,310 Saudi Riyal, 1,900 South African Rand; US$386,220,202.85; €156,246.76; 1,400 Canadian Dollars;5.36957319 Bitcoin and 0.09012 Ethereum. The last two are digital currencies.
“The ICPC has played a pivotal role in bringing about structural changes in the operations of the government, especially regarding improvements in MDAs budget utilization, better value for money, improved project completion, service delivery and higher level of anti-corruption awareness. Recall, gentlemen, that the Commission established the Constituency and Executive Projects Tracking Initiative in 2019 to ensure value for money for the Nigerian people and full execution of projects. Between 2019 and 2021, ICPC traced2,000 projects worth over N300 billion.
“During the same period, 326 contractors of abandoned projects across the six geo-political zones were forced by the Commission to return to site to complete projects worth N32.183billion. Also, the ICPC’s Assets Tracing, Recovery and Management (ATRM) project led to the recovery of cash totalling N34.346billion and US$1.62million between 2019 and 2021. Also, the Commission’s System Study and Review of personnel and capital votes of MDAs resulted in savings of N261billion to the government between 2019 and 2021. ICPC has also secured 66 convictions from the 243 cases it filed in court during the same three-year period.
“For its part, the analysis by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), in 2020-2021, revealed 96 financiers of terrorism in Nigeria, 424 associates/supporters of the financiers, involvement of about 123 companies and 33 bureaux de change, in addition to identifying 26 suspected bandits/kidnappers and 7 co-conspirators. The analysis has resulted in the arrest of 45 suspects who will soon face prosecution and seizure of assets.
“Also, from its analysis of tax evasion and tax avoidance linked to corruption, NFIU has identified N3,909,707,678,112.43 in VAT and N3,737,918,335,785.82 in WithholdingTax due to the Government. NFIU has also sent 1,165 intelligence reports on cases of corruption, money laundering and other serious offences to 27 domestic agencies for investigation, prosecution and asset recovery. On terrorism financing, NFIU had intelligence exchanges on Boko Haram, ISWAP, banditry, kidnapping and others with 19 countries. During the same period, 2020-2021, the organization returned fraudulently-obtained funds totalling US$103,722,102.83, £3,000; 7,695 Singapore Dollar and €1,091 to 11 countries of victims who came into the country.
“There is also the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), which was established as an institutional response to the observed deterioration in the conduct of Public Officers, especially because these behavioural changes manifested greatly in the abuse of public office for private gains. The Bureau handles, among others, issues of asset declaration by Public Officials as well as the verification of their assets.
“In 2021, CCB issued 125,000 Assets Declaration Forms, out of which 97,201 forms were returned.
“These figures represent a 48% increase in the number of Assets Declaration forms issued and an 81% increase in submission compliance, when compared with the previous year. As part of its reforms, the CCB is ready to deploy an Online Assets Declaration Portal that will allow for enhanced storage and retrieval of data, reduce delays caused by incomplete and incorrect declarations and reduced errors, among others. In 2021, the Bureau investigated several cases involving illicit enrichment, conflicts of interest, abuse of office and ethical breaches, resulting in the filing of over 200 cases before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
“Gentlemen, we have gone to this length to let you know that the Buhari Administration’s fight against corruption is unwavering and on course. This Administration has put in place structures that will not only check corrupt tendencies but will also make corruption unattractive and costly to those who may want to engage in it. Even the World Bank says when approaching anti-corruption at the country level, it is important to put in place ‘institutional systems and incentives to prevent corruption from occurring in the first place’, and that is exactly what we are doing with the structural and governance reforms that I have enumerated above. I want to most sincerely commend the efforts of the various anti-corruption agencies for their unwavering commitment to the fight against corruption. I also want to implore all Nigerians to join in this fight, as it is not a fight for the government alone.
“With the support of all citizens, I can assure you that we will defeat this monster that stunts development and impedes investment”.

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Hold Leaders Without Character Responsible For Nigeria’s Woes -Wike

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Leading Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant and Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that Nigerians should be wary of those who campaigned vehemently and foisted President Muhammadu Buhari on Nigeria as its messiah, for the woes that have overwhelmed the country.
Wike specifically berated some aspirants in the PDP who caused disunity in the party in 2015, formed the new-PDP and sold out the party’s goodwill and electoral opportunities.
He made the accusation when he met with Oyo State PDP leaders and delegates in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State, yesterday, to solicit support ahead of the party’s presidential primary this month.
“The issue is, who are those who made PDP to lose election in 2015 that today we are suffering? Today, we are in opposition and trying to take power back.
“But see what the country has been turned into. Who are those who told Nigerians that President Buhari is a saint, that President Buhari will salvage Nigeria? What is their sense of judgement? Who are those aspirants who abandoned PDP, betrayed PDP and went to support President Buhari?”
Wike insisted that some PDP presidential aspirants brought Buhari to power, and now, the country is suffering for their wrong sense of judgement.
“Now, we are suffering. People are dying every day. From January to March in Kaduna, over 1,000 people have been killed. So many people have been kidnapped.”
The Rivers State governor also alluded to a similar behaviour that was demonstrated by a PDP chieftain who got immense support of the party in 2019.
Wike stated that there was need for electorate at all levels to be more concerned about the kind of people they want to entrust the leadership of the country.
The Rivers State governor said anyone who desires to govern Nigeria must be must be firm, courageous and should own up what he says.
“If it was the wrong thing that was said, say I am sorry but I have to say something as a leader. Not when you say something one minute, the next moment you say they didn’t get your approval.”
Wike said PDP and Nigeria as a while do not require theorists, but somebody who has the ability and qualities to offer focused leadership.
He explained that if he becomes the president of Nigeria, he would put the best of heads together who will work under good supervision and coordination.
According to him, anybody who fails to deliver would be relieved of the appointment.
“Nigerians know my views. I believe in restructuring. I believe in state police. You cannot stop insecurity in this country without state police which is the practice in all countries that run true federalism. Intelligence is key. Before it happens, you’ve stopped it or cage them.”
Wike insisted that Nigeria has to be rescued from the APC-led Federal Government so that sanity can be restored and conscience reinforced in public servants.
“Look at it, 42 people died in train blast, up until now, no concrete report. This is a country where a Minister of Transport, after people died in such accident and the next day, he went and collected form for Presidency.
“You’re a Minister of Education, schools have closed for how many months, the next thing, the minister went and collected form for Presidency. I have not seen a country like this, no conscience.”
In his remarks, Oyo State Governor, Engr Oluseyi Makinde, assured Wike of the support of Oyo and South-West geopolitical zone support.
“If they say Seyi Makinde and the delegates from the South-West of Nigeria are supporting Governor Wike, say there is a reason. When people come to canvass for your vote listen to them, but at the end of the day tell them this is who (Wike) we are supporting.”
Similarly, the former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, explained that South-West delegates would be meeting in Ibadan before the PDP national convention to take decision on who to support.
According to Fayose, for the first, delegates from the South-West will be speaking with one voice during the convention to pick the party’s presidential flagbearer.
“We will take a position and we will hand over the delegates to our governor, our leader (Makinde). If you like me, follow me. If you like Governor Wike, follow him. But by the grace of God we will do house meeting before we set out. We will go to Abuja with, at least, 85 to 90percent of our votes in one direction.”

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Electoral Act: S’Court Joins Rivers In Buhari, Malami’s Suit

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The Supreme Court, yesterday, okayed an application that Rivers State Government filed to be joined as a party in the suit President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami filed to void Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
A seven-man panel of the Justices of the apex court led by Justice Musa Dattijo, allowed the joinder application that Rivers State brought through the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani and the state Attorney-General, Prof Zacheaus Adangor, even as it shifted hearing on the suit till May 26.
The applicants told the court that they were opposed to the suit marked SC/CV/504/2022, which originally had the National Assembly as the sole Respondent.
President Buhari and Malami had approached the Supreme Court to contend that Section 84(12) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2022, is inconsistent with the provisions of Sections 42, 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the Constitution as well as Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
They are, among other things, seeking, “a declaration that the joint and or combined reading of Section 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the Constitution, the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 which also ignores Section 84(3) of the same Act, is an additional qualifying and/or disqualifying factors for the National Assembly, House of Assembly, Gubernatorial and Presidential elections as enshrined in the said Constitution, hence unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void.
“A declaration that having regard to the clear provision of Section 1(3) of the Constitution read together with section 4 of the same Constitution, the legislative powers vested in the defendant do not permit or empower it to make any other law prescribing additional qualifying/disqualifying grounds for election to the National Assembly, House of Assembly, gubernatorial and presidential election outside the express constitutional qualification and disqualification provisions as already provided in each or all of Sections 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and without amendment to any of those sections is for the reason of inconsistency, unconstitutional, and therefore, null and void.
As well as, “An order nullifying the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 by application of the blue-pencil rule, for being unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and having been made in excess of the legislative powers of the defendant as enshrined in Section 4 of the Constitution (as amended).”
In the same vein, the National Assembly has asked the Supreme Court to strike out the suit.
The National Assembly, in its counter-affidavit, filed by its lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, said the Supreme Court cannot be invoked to amend the provision of any law validity made by lawmakers in the exercise of their legislative powers as granted by the Constitution.
They argued that the 1999 Constitution, as amended gave the National Assembly the power to make laws for good governance.
May 11, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, vacated the judgement of the Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia, which voided the provisions of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
The appellate court, in a unanimous decision led by Justice Hamma Akawu Barka, held that the High Court, acted without jurisdiction.
It held that the Plaintiff, Mr Nduka Edede, lacked the locus standi to institute the action.
According to the appellate court, Edede, failed to establish any cause of action that warranted him to approach the court on the issue, noting that the plaintiff was unable to prove how he was directly affected by that section of the newly amended Electoral Act.
Consequently, it struck out the suit marked: FHC/UM/CS/26/2022, which Edede filed before the Umuahia court.
Nonetheless, the appellate court, while determining the appeal on the merit, held that the said provision of the Electoral Act was unconstitutional because it was in breach of Section 42 (1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, stressing that the section denied a class of Nigerian citizens their right to participate in election.

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Experts Express Worries Over Paediatrics HIV Prevalence

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An expert in HIV/AIDS, Dr. Adesigbin Clement Olufemi, has said that in order for Nigeria to end HIV by 2030, necessary attention should be paid to checking paediatrics HIV prevalence.
Speaking at a two-day meeting on “FGN/Breakthrough Partnership, Advocacy Mapping Consultation” in Abuja, recently, Olufemi said there was the need to “expand active paediatric and adolescent HIV case-finding, using novel strategies”.
Olufemi, whose presentation was titled, “Paediatrics and Adolescent HIV Status in Nigeria: Advocacy Mapping”, also called for an improved community-focused service delivery strategies, which, he said, would focus greatly on specific identified children.
Olufemi, who is of the National AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), and Viral Hepatitis Control Programme (NASCP) of the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, and Deputy Director, Head, Treatment Care and Support at the ministry, stated the need to address demand-side barriers to uptake HIV services by children, adolescents and their families.


According to him, Nigeria will further need to implement service delivery frameworks, as well as to ensure weight-based Anti-Retroviral (ARV) prescription and transition of treatment optimisation.
These, he said, are in line with the reversed National Acceleration Plan for Paediatrics and Adolescent HIV Treatment and Care (2020-2022).
“Of course, children die of HIV because they are fragile. If we don’t find these children on time, within two years we can lose up to 50percent of them, and in five years, we can lose 80percent of them.
“Currently, Nigeria records about 12,000 children that die yearly of HIV”, he stated.

Speaking in a post-meeting exclusive interview, the Senior HIV Specialist, UNICEF, New York, Dr. Dorothy Nbori-Ngacha, explained that the essence of the two-day meeting was to work towards ending HIV/AIDS in 2030 by focusing on HIV infection in children and women.
While acknowledging that Nigeria has achieved a lot in checking HIV among adults, she stated that the country has not fared well in paediatrics infection.


“Nigeria has done something exceptionally well in adults getting tested and being placed on treatment at a high level. Over 90percent of adults needing treatment in Nigeria are already receiving treatment.
“Unfortunately, for the children, we are not doing well. Only 40percent to half the proportion we’re seeing in adults get treatment. Why are our children left behind?” she said.

By: Sogbeba Dokubo

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