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Niger Delta

POS, Bankers, Others Risk Jail In Bayelsa

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Yenagoa Branch, said it would commence taking up bullish actions against operators of point of sales outlets(POS), banks and other service providers who refuse to render services in consonance with its financial rules and regulations governing the cashless economic policies.
The Tide gathered this during a media briefing held at the instance of the Director, Governor’s Department of the CBN, Mr Joseph Omayokun, at the Yenagoa branch office of the bank.
Omayokun alleged that some fifth columnists may have hijacked the apex bank’s motive of the redesigned new Naira notes.
He expressed regret that the fifth columnists have subjected Nigerians to untold hardship, even as the apex bank has continued to work within the confines of the extant laws and regulations establishing it, to ameliorate the cash crunch issue bedeviling the nation.
He warned against criminal elements and perpetrators of fraudulent acts in the course of carrying out financial transactions following the rampant artificial scarcity of the new and old notes.
He noted that prior to the introduction of the new notes, and stating of time lines within which the old notes would stop being legal tenders, the apex bank had injected substantial amount of the newly redesigned notes into circulation.
The CBN Director emphasised that what the bank has brought into circulation was enough to take care of economic activities in the nation
He said he would convene a meeting with the various banks operating in the state with a view to proffer workable solutions to some of the likely difficulties occasioned by the cash crunch in the banking sector.
“Prior to the CBN’s intitial timelines on when the old Naira notes would cease being legal tender, the apex bank injected substantial amount of the newly redesigned notes into the financial sector.
“Unfortunately, there seem to be a fifth columnist in the banking sector who never wanted the rationale behind the CBN Naira redesign and cashless policies to be achieved.
“Any bank or staff of a bank in the state caught engaging in hoarding cash would be arrested and prosecuted. For the POS operators, the maximum amount they’re expected to charge on customers for a transaction of N10,000 was not supposed to be more than N200,” he said.
“From information at our disposal, POS agents now charge between N1,000 and N2,000 for a transaction of N10,000. This is disheartening.
“Even the petrol stations and other business operators who used to accept electronic transfer as options for payment by customers too are now rejecting it upon the introduction of the newly redesigned notes. They’ve all resorted to cash payments, just to undermine and frustrate the CBN’s cashless policy.
“It’s fraudulent, the public should report any POS operator who charges more than the maximum amount expected as charges on customers of any business outfit who rejects any of the extant electronic option of payment from customers, and be rest assured that the CBN wouldn’t only arrest, but also prosecute such persons.
“The general public should also know that not all POS operators were licensed to operate as cash withdrawal and deposit agents.
“Some POS outlets were only registered to use POS as means for electronic payment in their supermarkets and other businesses, but upon the introduction of the redesign notes, almost all POS agents from information available were now operating as deposit and withdrawal points just to defraud customers with the illegal charges they get from their illegal transactions.
“Going forward, we’d be bullish on these set of fraudulent elements”, the apex bank added.

By; Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Niger Delta

Eno Sacks Commissioner For Special Duties

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Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno has relieved the Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Bassey Okon, of his appointment with immediate effect.
Secretary to the State Government, Mr Enobong Uwah, disclosed this in a statement in Uyo on Monday.
Uwah, who did not give reasons for the commissioner’s sack, directed him to hand over all state government properties in his possession to the Permanent Secretary.
He thanked the former commissioner for the period he served the state, and wished him well in his future endeavours.

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Niger Delta

Check Oil Pollution In N’Delta, Stakeholders Urge Oil Firms

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Stakeholders in host communities have demanded that oil companies be compelled to address adverse health impact of oil exploration in the Niger-Delta.
They made their position known on Monday during a public presentation of the research report on the impact of oil extraction on women’s health in Otuabagi community in Bayelsa.
The Tide’s source reports that Dr Emem Okon, Director, Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, an NGO, championed the event.
The source also reports that Otuabagi Community within the Oloibiri District in present Ogbia Local Government Area is where crude oil was discovered in commercial quantity in Nigeria in 1956.
Okon said the report highlighted the adverse consequences of oil extraction which had profound negative impact on health and livelihood of women in Otuabagi community.
She said research revealed that several of the participants had hydrocarbons in their blood sample more than World Health Organisation (WHO) threshold and therefore demanded for compensation from oil companies and government.
“There is, therefore, a need to demand for compensation and restoration of polluted sites as well as health actions to keep us alive and to resist death, poverty and injustice”, she said.
She stated that the findings and data would serve as a tool for policy makers, community leaders and all those who strove for a more equitable and sustainable future.
Meanwhile, Dr Bieye Briggs, a public health physician and head of the research team, said from the findings of the report, it was revealed that there was very high and unacceptable level of exposure of the people to hydrocarbons.
Briggs advocated for the Federal Government to carry out health audit in Otuabagi community and other oil producing areas in the Niger-Delta region.
He explained that such audit was with a view to instituting intervention program to halt and reverse the impact of oil exploration.
Similarly, Chief Daniel Amangi, the traditional ruler of Otuabagi community, commended Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre for undertaking the project and urged the Federal Government to focus on developing the community.
Amangi also called for the immediate implementation of the recommendations of the research findings for the overall benefit of the people.
In the same vein, Alagoa Morris, a stakeholder, lamented that life expectancy was lower in the Niger-Delta region than in other parts of the country due to the hazards caused by oil exploration.
He called for compensation to be paid to host communities to ameliorate the health impact of oil extraction in the region.
The ceremony also featured a drama presentation by Otuabagi women and panel discussion on the findings of the report.

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Niger Delta

Court Orders AAU Graduate’s Car, iPhone’s Forfeiture To FG

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A Benin High Court on Monday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to sell a Toyota Venza 2012 model, recovered from a graduate of Biochemistry from Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Osadolor Edomwonyi.
The EFCC charged Edomwonyi with internet fraud.
Delivering judgment, Justice Efe Ikponmwonba, sentenced Edomwonyi to three years imprisonment.
The judge also ordered the forfeiture of an iPhone 13 Promax, recovered from the convict .
He also ordered that balances in his Opay account, Kids Bank account and Access Bank with which he was charged and convicted to the Federal Government through EFCC and the accounts be parmanently closed.
The convict prayed the court for a plea bargain agreement.
Ikponmwonba, however, gave him an option of fine in the sum of N100,000.
Earlier, the EFCC counsel, Mr I K Agwaisaid, said the convict committed an offence contrary to the provisions of Sections 6 and 8 (b) of the advance free fraud and other fraud-related offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.
The prosecutor said in a plea bargain agreement, Edomwonyi pleaded guilty to the one-count charge of possession of fraudulent documents.

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