The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, has vowed to tackle looters of public funds, drainers of resources and other corrupt elements in Nigeria to make room for growth and development across the country.
The EFCC boss stated this in Abuja on Saturday during a road walk held in commemoration of the 2023 International Anti-Corruption Day.
The theme of the 2023 International Anti-Corruption Day is “Uniting the World against Corruption”.
Olukoyede pointed out that the EFCC under his watch would not allow resources meant for economic growth and the greater good of Nigerians to be cornered by looters and that every stolen fund would be recovered to develop social systems in the country.
Olukoyede said, “We are going to give sleepless nights to those stealing our money. We are going to remove opportunities for corruption. We are going to plug the loopholes.
“We are in the era of a new budget. We have sent word to all the gatekeepers of our finances in Nigeria that we are going to work with them. Every money that is released, we are going to track them.”
He further promised that the anti-corruption mandate of the EFCC is being refocused to stimulate growth and development in all the sectors of the economy.
“We are refocusing the anti-corruption mandate of the EFCC. We will fight corruption to stimulate growth and development and remove all the threats to the progress of the nation. We are tired of corruption in Nigeria. Our youths must have job opportunities.”
On the theme of the 2023 International Anti-Corruption Day, Olukoyede stated that the whole world must come together to fight corruption and expressed readiness to approach the international community for the recovery of stolen funds kept abroad.
He said, “Those who are keeping looted funds abroad are more corrupt than us. We are going to go after them. We will recover our funds and use them to develop our systems.”
The Tide reports that the road walk was held in all the 14 zonal commands of the EFCC, as the one by the Abuja Zonal Command in Wuse district witnessed massive turn out of Nigerians, including staff of the EFCC, civil society organisations, representatives of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Police, Armed Forces, National Youth Service Corps, women groups, media and other stakeholders.
Meanwhile , the EFCC has raised the alarm over increasing cases of land fraud and cyber crimes in South-East geopolitical zone.
Enugu Zonal Commander of the anti-graft agency, Aliyu Naibi, spoke on Saturday, while fielding questions from journalists during the anti-corruption road walk in Enugu in commemoration of this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day, as declared by the United Nations
According to him, the ugly trends of land fraud were increasingly discouraging investments, while announced that the commission had put machinery in place to discourage the scourge.
He, however, noted that it was still the people and government of the region that should permanently end it.
He said, “Our major challenge in South-East and Enugu in particular, are people using land to defraud other people. This is the kind of report we get almost daily. Another is the issue of cybercrime mostly by youths.”
The EFCC chief called on the anti-corruption stakeholders to rise and save the region from the ugly trend of land fraud and cybercrime in the interest of the region and her youths.
“We want to use this opportunity to implore our community, religious leaders and traditional rulers to intervene and checkmate this ugly trend.
“The state government is not left behind also. They and every aspect of society must stand up against this by talking and taking action.
“I say this because land fraud is an economic sabotage and it discourages investors from coming into any state where it is practised,” he said.
On the road walk in Enugu, Naibi explained that it was meant to create awareness about the negative effects of corruption.
While delivering the speech of the Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, Naibi called on anti-corruption stakeholders to unite and continue to support the commission to break the chain of corruption in the country.
Customs Suspends Rice Sale As Seven Die In Stampede
The Nigeria Customs Service has announced the suspension of the sale of foodstuffs following a stampede that reportedly killed seven persons at the NCS Old Zonal Headquarters in the Yaba area of Lagos State, last Friday.
A Chief Superintendent of Customs and National Public Relations Officer for Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada, disclosed the suspension of the exercise in a statement on Monday.
Nigeria Customs had said it was selling seized food items at N10,000 per 25kg to alleviate the people’s suffering as a result of the current high cost of living and other economic hardships.
Last Friday, a pregnant woman and six others reportedly died in a stampede after some suspected hoodlums attempted to force their way into the Yaba Customs office compound.
Some Lagos residents who thronged the NCS office in Yaba expressed disappointment on Monday following the suspension of the initiative.
However, in a statement on Monday evening, the NCS said the suspension became necessary considering “the recent unfortunate event.”
“We regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, February 23, 2024,” the NCS spokesman said.
He explained that: “The disposal of the food items got off to a smooth start at about 0800hrs. We enjoyed the cooperation of the large crowd that obliged us, giving preferences to the elderly, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable Nigerians who showed up for the exercise.
“This was the case up until about 1700hrs, as attested to by the over 5,000 beneficiaries and members of the press. However, unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome.
“The crowd became desperate and charged through our barricades in search of rice bags inside emptied containers. In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded.”
The Customs extended its “heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident.”
The service said it was working with health authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families on their next steps.
Court Dismisses Police Objection Against Fubara’s CoS …Restrains Police From Arresting Ehie
A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, yesterday, dismissed the preliminary objection by counsel to the Nigerian Police, Celestine Dickson, challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the fundamental rights suit by the Chief of Staff to Governor Siminalayi Fubara, Hon. Edison Ehie against the police for lack of merit.
The trial Judge, Justice Sika Aprioku, in a ruling, yesterday, assumed jurisdiction and held that the non-joinder of the Nigeria Police Force in a matter that the Commissioner of Police is a party to does not render the suit incompetent.
Justice Aprioku said the application by the Police lacks merit and thereby dismissed it with a cost of N100,000 in favour of Hon Edison Ehie.
Aprioku also granted the prayers of the counsel to Edison, Damian Okoro to restrain the Police from arresting, detaining, harassing, or inviting Ehie based on the trumped-up charges in the suit by Rt Hon. Martin Amaewhule in connection to the destruction of the Hallow chamber of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, counsel to the Police, Celestine Dickson, said he would study the judgment and advise his clients accordingly.
Dickson stated, “That is the wisdom of the court and we cannot criticise the wisdom of the court. The outcome of court decisions must bind parties.
“If you are not satisfied I think you study the judgement and take the next step. The court made it clear that in a couple of minutes, we were going to have copies of the judgement. That will give us the opportunity to look at the judgement and advise our clients accordingly.
On his part, one of the counsel to the Chief of Staff, Ibioku Mac-Barango said the judgment reflects the position of the law.
Fubara Expresses Confidence In Tinubu To Address Labour Concerns
In the midst of the ongoing nationwide protest organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has expressed confidence in President Bola Tinubu’s ability to address the concerns raised by the organised labour and alleviate their fears.
Fubara gave the assurance during the NLC’s protest to the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday .
The State NLC, led by its chairman, Alex Agwanwor, had joined its counterparts in other parts of the country to protest against high cost of living in the country occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government in May last year.
Recall that there have been a series of protests across the country over the cost of living, inflation, insecurity and hardship among Nigerians.
The NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had on February 8 issued a 14-day nationwide strike notice to the Federal Government over the failure to implement the agreements reached on October 2, 2023 following the removal of the fuel subsidy.
Responding to a letter of demands presented to the governor by the State NLC, Fubara noted that the grievances outlined by the protesters primarily fell within the purview of the Federal Government.
The governor, who was represented by the Head of the Rivers State Civil Service, Dr. George Nwaeke, said, “To all who listened to every presentation of the labour leader as it is being read out, we can find out none is local, not originating from local source here. They are all national issues and we have hope in the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Federal Government. We have hope. And I know Governor Fubara will also deliver this message as presented by you to the President.”
Fubara further assured the protesters that his administration remained committed to alleviating the economic hardships faced by the people of Rivers State.
He highlighted initiatives such as the provision of palliative buses in response to the fuel subsidy removal and the ongoing development of 20,000 housing units for low-income earners.
The governor also emphasized his administration’s dedication to improving the welfare of civil servants, citing measures such as the employment of 10,000 youths into the state civil service, promotions, and the provision of bonuses.
He affirmed the significance of the issues raised and reiterated his commitment to prioritizing the welfare of workers in the State.
He, however, assured that the NLC’s demands would be conveyed to the President as presented.
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