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A former Minister of External Affairs and Vice Chairman of the 2014 National Conference, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, has criticised the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, for referring to delegates at the conference as boys.

Akinyemi also faulted the claim by the SGF in an interview published on Monday that delegates to the conference were paid N7m.

“I have no quarrel with the SGF reiterating the opposition of Government to the 2014 National Conference. But I find the language in which his views are couched to be crude, rude, offensive and unbecoming of the high office of state he occupies,” Akinyemi said in a statement “on the intemperate language” used by the SGF in the interview.

Akinyemi expressed disappointment that the SGF referred to delegates at the conference including traditional rulers and scholars who had served the country excellently as boys.

He said, “He (SGF) referred to the delegates as “boys”, BOYS!!!!!!!!!! Among the delegates are the Emir of Ilorin, the Lamido of Adamawa, King Arfred Diete Spiff, the Gbong Gwom of Jos, Emir of Yauri, Emir of Dutse, Emir of Askira, the Amanyanabo of Nembe, various judges of the High Courts.

“BOYS!!!!!!!!!!!! Delegates included a former Chief of Defence Staff, a former Chief of Air Staff, three former foreign ministers, a former Inspector General of Police, two former Senate Presidents, a former SGF, several former ministers, several SANs, several former Governors, Professors etc. etc. etc. Presiding was a former Chief Justice of Nigeria and a former Minister of External Affairs.”

“My own upbringing and diplomatic and scholar’s disposition will not allow me to yield to the temptation to call Engr Lawal by the name his own choice of words has reduced him to.

“Most of the delegates there were people who had paid their dues, served this country in high and exalted positions, risked their lives in the civil war and other domestic insurrections and showed exceptional excellence in the performance of their duties, obviously more excellence than Engr. Lawal had demonstrated in his one year in office.”

On the claim by the SGF that everybody in the conference committee got N7m, Akinyemi said the SGF could simply have gotten the facts from his office.

“Come on Mr. SGF, grow up. You have been in the office that funded the Conference and you have been there for over a year, and all you need to do is to send for the files to know that what members were paid is much less than N7m per member. You do not have to depend on rumours or “dem say”,” he said.

He stressed that it was up to the government to implement the resolutions of the conference, saying, “Frankly, I will not plead for the Report of the Conference to be considered by your Government. Governments come and Governments go. The problems will remain. We will all be judged by whether we were part of the solution or part of the problems.”
Fani kayode and Usman in court today

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday ordered the remand of a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, and two others in prison over an alleged fraud of N4.6bn.

Justice Suleiman Hassan gave the remand order shortly after Fani-Kayode, Nenadi Usman and Danjuma Yusuf were arraigned before him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The judge said the three accused persons were to remain in the prison custody pending the determination of their bail applications, the hearing of which has been fixed for July 1, 2016.

Joined with Fani-Kayode, Usman and Yusuf in the 17 counts filed by the EFCC was a company, Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited.

The charges bordered on conspiracy, unlawful retention of proceeds of theft and money laundering.

Fani-Kayode, who was the spokesperson for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign organisation in the 2015 general election, was accused of conspiring with the others to directly and indirectly retain various sums which the EFCC claimed they ought to have reasonably known were proceeds of them.

The accused persons were said to have allegedly committed the offences between January 8, 2015 and March 25, 2015 in the build-up to the general election.

In one of the counts, the EFCC alleged that Fani-Kayode, who it listed as the seconnd defendant in the charge sheet, and his co-defendants conspired among themselves to “indirectly  retain the sum of N1,500, 000,000.00, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing.”

The EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the said conspiracy and indirect retention of the N1.5bn constituted an offence under Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012, punishable under Section 15(3)( 4) of the same Act.

In another count, the EFCC alleged that Fani-Kayode “directly retained the sum of N350m,” which the anti-graft agency claimed that he ought to have “reasonably known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing.”

Fani-Kayode was accused of directly using parts of the money at various times, including a N250,650,000.00, which he allegedly used between March 20 and 25, 2015.

Fani-Kayode was also accused of making a cash transaction of N24m with one Olubode Oke, said to still be at large, on February 12, 2015 “to Paste Poster Co of 125, Lewis Street, Lagos Island.”

The duo were said to have made the transaction without going through any financial institution an act the EFCC claimed was contrary to sections 1(a) and 16(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable  under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

Upon reading the charges to them on Tuesday, all the accused persons pleaded not guilty.
Counsel for Fani-Kayode, Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), and that of Usman, Mr. S.I. Ameh (SAN), subsequently informed the court that they had filed applications for the bail of their clients.

On his own part, Yusuf’s counsel, Mr. Fred Orbih, who also indicated his plan to apply for his client’s bail, however, said he had yet to do so.

In a short ruling, Justice Hassan adjourned the case till July 1 for hearing of the three bail applications.

The judge however, ordered the remand of the accused persons in the prison custody.

The EFCC listed 17 witnesses that will testify against the defendants when the trial commences.

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Two suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers blew themselves up near Sulemanti Mosque in Maiduguri metropolis, Borno State, in the early hours of yesterday.

The suspects, according to Borno State Police Command, strapped with Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, targeted a mosque in Sulemanti. However, the bombs went off, killing the two suspects during midnight Ramadan prayers.

Spokesman of Borno Police Command, Isuku Victor, confirmed the incident yesterday in Maiduguri, stating that “a team of Police Explosives Ordinance Department, EOD, has been deployed to the scene this morning (yesterday) near Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, depot.”

A civilian Joint Task Force member, Bukar Fantami, said the suicide bombers were intercepted near a mosque premises, where they blew themselves up. Fantami said: “The people in the mosque took to their heels, while we challenged the explosives-strapped suspects on their mission to the mosque, before the explosives exploded near the mosque, under this tree.

“It was God that saved us. We would have been killed in the dawn suicide bombings. One of our members was injured by a shrapnel from the explosives. A woman also sustained a leg injury. She has been taken to a nearby clinic for treatment.”

On how the suspected terrorists sneaked into Maiduguri, Fantami said: “Sulemanti ward and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, quarters, south of the metropolis, is porous with no military posts and patrols at the south flank.”

Meanwhile, the mosque has been condoned off by soldiers and policemen to prevent any further attacks on mosques and other public places in the metropolis.

T he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it will sack chief executive officer and chairman of any bank that fails to publish its financial statement within the regulatory period. 

Emefiele CBN Governor Emefiele CBN Governor This was contained in the Monetary, Credit, Foreign Trade and Exchange Policy Guidelines for the 2016/2017 fiscal year released by the apex bank, yesterday.

According to the CBN, all banks must publish their financial statements latest four months after their financial year or risk severe sanction, including removal of the chief executive officer and the chairman.

The CBN stated: “In accordance with BOFIA 2010 LFN, banks are required, subject to the written approval of the CBN, to publish not later than four months after the end of each financial year, their audited financial statements (statement of financial position and statement of comprehensive income) in a national newspaper printed and circulated in Nigeria.

“To facilitate the implementation of consolidated supervision, all banks, discount houses and their subsidiaries shall continue to adopt December 31, as their accounting year-end.

“The CBN shall continue to hold the Board Chairman and Managing Director (MD) of a defaulting bank directly responsible for any breach and impose appropriate sanctions which may include the following:
Barring the MD or his/her nominee from participation in the Bankers’ Committee and disclosing the reason for such suspension; suspension of the foreign exchange dealership licence of the bank and its name sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (in the case of a public quoted company); and removal of the chairman and managing director from office if the accounts remain unpublished for 12 months after the end of the bank’s financial year.”