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US names 6 Nigerians in wire fraud [Sun]

The United States Attorney’s Office in Nebraska and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), have announced the disclosure of scam indictment and treasury sanctions against six Nigerians.

The disclosure was made by US Attorney, Joe Kelly for the District of Nebraska and Special Agent in Charge, Kristi K. Johnson of the FBI Omaha field office.  The offences include conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud, identity theft and access device fraud.

The affected Nigerians are: Richard Uzuh; Micheal Olorunyomi; Alex Ogunshakin; Felix Okpoh; Abiola Kayode and Nnamdi Benson.

The United States alleged indictment of the six Nigerians was for their involvement in Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes.

The schemes, according to the United States, included individual victims and victim businesses both in Nebraska and other states.

“BECs are sophisticated cyber crimes involving electronic transfer payments or automated clearinghouse transfers.

“The indictments charge the defendants with one or more of the following violations of federal law: 1) Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud, punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000; 2) Identity theft and access device fraud, each punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. The Nigerian nationals charged and still at large are: Richard Uzuh; Micheal Olorunyomi; Alex Ogunshakin; Felix Okpoh; Abiola Kayode and Nnamdi Benson,” the United States Government said.

The United States, however, said an indictment was a formal accusation returned by a grand jury upon establishing probable cause, adding that indictment was not evidence of guilt and defendants were entitled to a presumption of innocence. The United States Government further said two related defendants have entered pleas of guilty.

“Adewale Aniyeloye was sentenced in the District of Nebraska to 96 months in prison for wire fraud. Onome Ijomone received a 60-month sentence for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Because of the BEC scheme set forth in the unsealed indictments, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) has taken the extraordinary step of imposing financial sanctions on each of the six fugitives. As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property held by these individuals and subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked and other persons are blocked from engaging in financial transactions with these fugitives,” the United States added.

In the statement made available to Daily Sun in Abuja by the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, U.S. Attorney Joe Kelly thanked the efforts of the Omaha FBI and more particularly, the excellent work of the FBI Omaha Field Office Cyber Task Force.

 

APC crisis deepens as 2 NWC members claim headship [Sun]

  • Obaseki meets Secondus over PDP ticket

The national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was a theatre of war yesterday as two members of the National Working Committee (NWC) laid claim to the headship of the ruling party and issued conflicting directives. To avert crisis, security agents took over the duty of screening of staff and visitors at the gate.

The faction loyal to national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, initially issued a statement announcing that Abiola Ajimobi had taken charge of activities at the secretariat. However, armed with the court order granting him permission to take over the running of the party, former acting national secretary, Victor Giadom, was at the secretariat by 9am to take charge.

INEC warns parties on June 29 deadline [Sun]

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reiterated its stance against accepting candidates nominated by political parties after the 6pm, Monday, June 29, 2020, deadline.

Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, handed the warning yesterday during the second virtual meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).

He urged parties to eschew tendencies that could lead to litigations in the conduct of their primaries: “The fact that this is our second meeting in less than two weeks underscores our commitment to the security of forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, as well as the increasing number of off-cycle elections across the country. Therefore, as we work towards the two governorship elections, we should equally prepare for six senatorial and five states assembly by-elections across nine states of the federation.

Revised 2020 budget in jeopardy [Sun]

  • Daily crude production falls to 1.4m bpd

One week after the National Assembly passed a revised 2020 budget pegging daily oil production at 1.8 million per barrel, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, has revealed that daily production quota has reduced to 1.4 million per day.

He spoke during an interactive hearing on “Exiting Petroleum Subsidy: Ensuring Self-Sufficiency in Domestic Refining of Petroleum Products” by the Joint Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream).

According to the NNPC, there will now be a daily shortfall of 400,000 barrels per day and a yet-to-be disclosed financial loss that will result from the reduction.

A substantial part of the revised budget is expected to be funded with money generated from sale of crude oil, while the rest will be sourced through borrowing.

NWC Disowns Gaidom, Says Ajimobi Remains APC Chair [Leadersship]

A move to hijack the leadership of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) was resisted yesterday, as the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party insisted that former Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi is acting national chairman of the party.

The NWC rejected the party’s deputy national secretary, Chief Victor Giadom, who declared himself national acting chairman of the party.

The controversy began on Tuesday night following the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, which affirmed the suspension of the party’s erstwhile national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from the party.

Giadom yesterday declared himself as the new acting national chairman of the party following the verdict of the appellate court which withdrew Oshiomhole’s rights and privileges as national chairman of the party, including his security details.

Giadom’s declaration came a few hours after the national publicity secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, had issued a statement announcing Ajimobi who was the party’s deputy national chairman (South) as the acting national chairman.

Briefing journalists at the APC national secretariat yesterday morning, the deputy national secretary of the party declared himself acting national chairman of the APC relying on the order by Justice S.U. Bature in a suit number FCT/HC/M/6447/2020.

Giadom declared null and void the Edo screening committee, calling on all aspirants to report for fresh screening, just as he assured aggrieved aspirants of fairness.

He further announced the removal of the national organising secretary of APC, Mr Emmanuel Ibediro, insisting that the move was in compliance with the judgement of the Federal High Court in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/733/2018 which had removed him.

China To Grant Debt Relief To African Countries [Leadership]

Chinese President, Xi Jinping, has promised that his country will cancel the debt of relevant African countries, particularly those that  are hardest hit by the coronavirus, in the form of interest-free government loans that are due to mature by the end of 2020, .

This is even as President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday called on the international community to support collaborations and initiatives aimed at sharing knowledge from research and science to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

President Xi who spoke yesterday at a virtual Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against the COVID-19 co-hosted by the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), also pledged to continue to work with other members of the G20 to implement the DSSI while urging the G20 to extend debt service suspension still further for countries concerned, including those in Africa.

The summit was co-hosted by the Chinese president, South African president, AU chairperson, Cyril Ramaphosa, and Senegal president and co-chair of FOCAC, Macky Sall.

Xi said, “Within the FOCAC framework, China will cancel the debt of relevant African countries in the form of interest-free government loans that are due to mature by the end of 2020. For those African countries that are hardest hit by the coronavirus and are under heavy financial stress, China will work with the global community to give them greater support, by such means as further extending the period of debt suspension, to help them overcome the current difficulty.

“We encourage Chinese financial institutions to respond to the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and to hold friendly consultations with African countries according to market principles to work out arrangements for commercial loans with sovereign guarantees.

“China will work with other members of the G20 to implement the DSSI and, on that basis, urge the G20 to extend debt service suspension still further for countries concerned, including those in Africa.

He urged the world to mobilise resources and do whatever it takes to protect lives, adding that China will do whatever it can to support procurement of supplies, sending medical experts and in other diverse ways.

Noting that China and Africa account for nearly one-third of the global population, President Xi pledged to step up support for Africa, adding that China will provide $2billion over two years to support the work of the world Health Organisation (WHO) in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Insecurity: Ministers, Security Chiefs Storm Katsina [Leadership]

The ministers of defence, police, interior and information and culture as well as the security chiefs have converged on Katsina State for a strategic meeting following a presidential directive to them to evolve new strategies to deal with the security challenges in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and other parts of the country.

The directive tasked the Ministers of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir  Salihi Magashi; Police Affairs, Muhammad  Maigari Dingyadi; Interior, Rauf Aregbesola and Information and  Culture, Lai Mohammed to fashion out a new operational template to end the activities of criminal elements.

A statement by the special assistant, Media and Publicity, to the minister of Defence, Mohammad  Abdulkadri, noted that the strategic security  interface by the four political  heads which lasted for about  three hours held behind closed doors.

The host, Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Magashi, at the end of the meeting revealed that the political heads had resolved to drive the presidential directive to put an end to the menace and put the country  back on the track of normalcy, especially  the states facing daily incursions of banditry and terrorism.

The Minister assured that the military will double their efforts to decimate the bandits for peace to reign in their operational axis.

The minister  of information,  Lai Mohammed revealed that the meeting focused on how to deploy crisis communication strategy  to end the phenomenon  of banditry in the country.

On his part, the national security adviser (NSA),  Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd),  has urged local communities in northern Nigeria  to intensify efforts toward providing intelligence to security agencieson activities of criminals in their areas.

He said that such information would  enable the security agencies to address  the insecurity  bedeviling  states in the North-western region of the country.

Monguno made the call  in Katsina yesterday after meeting with Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State on security challenges in the state.

Obaseki, Tambuwal, Secondus meet, perfect defection plan [Punch]

Obaseki, on Wednesday met with the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum, Aminu Tambuwal and the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus.

Our correspondent gathered that the meeting was held at the Abuja residence of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesome Wike, in Asokoro.

Although details were still sketchy as of the time of filing this report late on Wednesday, it was gathered that the two PDP leaders and some others in attendance, gave the Edo State governor assurances of their support.

A source privy to the meeting said, “The meeting held after a virtual meeting with PDP governors in their various locations. That is the much I can say.”

It was gathered that issues discussed included the fate of Obaseki’s deputy and others who would join the PDP with him.

The meeting came barely one week to the Edo State PDP  Primary scheduled for June 23 June 24.

FG unveils fresh plans on concession of 10 highways [Punch]

The Federal Government has perfected a plan to concession 10 major highways in the country.

The Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, stated this on Wednesday while presenting details of the plan to the National Assembly Joint Committee on Works.

He told the lawmakers that the project titled, “Highway Development and Management Initiative,” was anchored on a private sector engagement.

The minister said investors would carry out the development and management of the road networks

He said the rationale behind the private sector engagement was to provide an avenue to mitigate paucity of funds.

Fashola said the first phase of the project would attract a capital investment of N163.32bn at a cost of about N16bn per each of the 10 roads.

He also said about 23,322 jobs would be created in the first phase.

The roads are Benin-Asaba, Abuja-Lokoja, Kaduna-Kano, Onitsha-Owerri-Aba, Shagamu-Benin, Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga, Kano-Maiduguri, Lokoja-Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Ilorin-Jebba.

He said the investors are expected to provide streetlights, toll plazas, rest areas, and weighbridge stations.

Balarabe, kidnap kingpin Wadume are close friends –Ex-DCO [Punch]

A former Divisional Crime Officer in charge of the Ibbi Police Station, ASP Aondona Iorbee, who was arrested for involvement in the release of Taraba kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu, aka Wadume, has disclosed that Capt. Tijjani Balarabe was a close acquaintance of the principal suspect.

The ASP, who has been dismissed from service for aiding Wadume’s escape, also said Balarabe asked him for the key to remove the handcuffs on Wadume after the three policemen and two civilians were killed by the soldiers.

He stated these in his statement dated August 14, 2019, made to the Joint Investigation Panel set up by the Chief of Defence Staff.

Wadume was allegedly assisted to escape on August 6 by soldiers attached to Battalion 93, Takum, led by Balarabe after the police team which arrested him came under attack from the troops.

The ex-DCO also said Balarabe asked him to deny seeing Wadume in handcuffs, adding that he put pressure on him on the issue.

Police investigation had indicated that Iorbee assisted in removing Wadume’s handcuffs. call logs also showed that the former DCO had over 200 phone calls with the kidnap kingpin.

Wadume had in his statement identified Iorbee and 10 soldiers as his accomplices. They are Balarabe; Staff Sgt. David Isaiah; Sgt. Ibrahim Mohammed; Corporal Bartholomew Obanye; Private Mohammed Nura; Lance Corporal Okorozie Gideon and Corporal Markus Michael. Others are L/Corporal Nvenaweimoeimi Akpagra, Staff Sgt. Abdullahi Adamu, and Private Ebele Emmanuel.

The police had filed 16 counts against the soldiers and 10 other accomplices but the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), dropped the charges against the troops without explanation.

Iorbee stated, “On Thursday, August 7, 2019, around 05:30 hours, Capt. Balarabe called me with phone number, 07038589262 to tell me to deny seeing the suspect (Wadume) in handcuffs and one of his boys called me with phone number 08032207716, also asking me to deny that they asked me for handcuffs’ key.

“The captain called me back by 17:04 hours to tell me to switch off my phone which I declined. Wadume has never visited me in my lodge but he has been visiting the captain in his lodge and I have seen them together on a couple of occasions.

“Rumours have it that he bought the captain a red Mercedes Benz GLK 350 SUV which I have seen,” he added.

The ex-DCO further stated, “I never conspire with Balarabe to hide his (Wadume’s) assets such as cars; I am not on Wadume’s payroll but he gave me N20,000 when a friend asked him to give me a loan, but he said I should not bother repaying him.

“When I saw him in handcuffs, I called for the keys because the soldiers painted the picture that he was actually kidnapped.”

Oshiomhole: Giadom’s ‘take over’ makes no sense [Nation]

The suspended National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said last night that claim by Deputy National Secretary Victor Giadom that he had taken over as acting chairman is against common sense.

According to him, the party is ruled by its guidelines.

He spoke on a Channels Television programme.

The Court of Appeal, he said, did not suspend the National Working Committee (NWC) from functioning and the constitution of the party states clearly who acts as the chairman in his absence.

He said: “My advice to my brother, Victor, is about common sense – in the absence of the Chairman, there is nothing in our rules and the court can only interpret the rules of the party and the Constitution of Nigeria. It serves to common sense that if the chairman is absent, it should be the deputy; in the absence of the deputy, it is the vice-chairman. How does the deputy secretary come in? As we speak, we have a secretary in the office. People should put God first, our party’s interest second, and our democracy deep in their hearts and not trying to use any externality to destabilise it.

“Everybody knows that we ought to resolve issues in line with the party’s rule. How can a deputy national secretary, assuming he was still one, claim to be the chairman?”

Adamant doctors warn against intimidation [Nation]

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Wednesday directed its members across the country not to sign any work register.

Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige and his Health counterpart, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had directed medical directors in Federal Government hospitals to open work registers for health workers to enable the government compile a list of those who report for duty as from today.  But the association, which called for the resignation of both ministers, advised its members to shun any work register.

The association’s First Vice President, Dr. Julian Ojebo, spoke on Wednesday in a radio interview in Abuja.

He accused the ministers of stalling government’s process of meeting their demands and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call them to order.

Ojebo said: “In saner climes where things work properly, Dr. Ngige and Dr. Ehanire will be resigning by this morning (Wednesday) for failure of leadership.

“It is no longer news that the Executive Appointees of government are the ones that are actually stalling these processes. It is a blatant lie when they say that the resident doctors refused to come back to a meeting. The meeting started around 12 p.m and lasted for quite a while, for about four hours, and then we went on a recess.

“When you go on a recess and you are about to come back for a meeting, the government is telling us to call off an industrial action without meeting any of our demands in their entirety. That is wrong.

“Concerning all our demands, we have not seen anything, and they said they have paid. We called our members out and asked them: ‘Has anyone received any monies?’ and the answer was no.

“Yes, they said the timing is wrong, but there is no timing that is right. No doctor will want his or her patient to die, and no doctor will want to commit suicide because of his or her Hippocratic Oath.”

APC okays Ajimobi as chair, sacks Giadom from NWC [Nation]

             Uzodimma to conduct Edo primary

             Obazee steps down

             PDP meets today on Obaseki

An attempt to stoke crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC) following the Appeal Court ordered suspension of National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole was doused Wednesday.

The National Working Committee (NWC) ratified the appointment of Deputy Chairman (South) Senator Abiola Ajimobi as acting national chairman.

Sixteen of the 20 NWC members took the decision at a meeting. National Publicity Secretary Lanre Isa-Onilu said this is in line with Section 14.2 (iii) of the party’s Constitution.

“Due to Senator Ajimobi’s unavoidable absence, the NWC unanimously appointed the Party’s National Vice Chairman (Southsouth), Prince Hilliard Etta to act on Senator Ajimobi’s behalf, an action backed by the Party’s constitution which empowers the NWC to appoint one of its members in acting capacity and stipulates that the acting National chairman must be from the zone of the national chairman.

“Sixteen members of the NWC attended the meeting held at the Party’s National Secretariat (13 members attended physically and three others joined the meeting online).”

Those who joined through zoom are: National Vice Chairman, South-East, Eneukwu; National Financial Secretary, Bello; and National Disabled Leader Mishau Lawal.

According to Isa-Onilu, the NWC approved the committees for the party’s Edo State Governorship Primary Election scheduled for Monday and the Appeal panel scheduled to sit on Wednesday.

Members of the Primary Election Committee are Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma – Chairman; Sen. Ajibola Basiru (Secretary); Alh. Abdullahi Abass; Hon. Ibrahim Sabo; Hon. Ocho Obioma;  Hajia Amina Lantana Muhammed and Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye.

Members of the Primary Election Appeal Committee are Prof. Mustapha Bello(Chairman); Dr. Kayode Ajulo (Secretary); Hon. Umar Ahmed; Nasiru Ibrahim Junju; and Hon. Rasaq Mahmud Bamu.

National Secretary, Waziri Bulama said “there is no constitutional lacuna in holding the NWC meeting. And the session was held with 75 per cent of members in attendance.”

The NWC also on Wednesday declared the deputy national secretary seat vacant. The post is held by Victor Giadom.

The NWC took the decision having taken cognisance of the fact that Giadom had ceased to be an officer of the party since 2018.

Giadom resigned in 2018 to contest as the deputy governorship candidate of the APC in Rivers State.

Giadom returned to office at the National Secretariat without a fresh nomination by South-South Zone of the party.

The NWC said by the provision of Article 31(iii), Giadom had ceased to be a national officer of the party since 2018.

The Article reads: “Any party office holder interested in contesting for an elective office(whether party office or office in a general election) shall resign and leave office 30 days prior to the date of nomination or party primary for the office he or she is seeking to contest.”

It was also learnt that the NWC yesterday asked the South-South Zone of APC to either re-present Giadom or nominate a new candidate for the office of the Deputy National Secretary.

The National Secretary of the party, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “Going by Article 31 of the APC’s constitution, Giadom has not been a national officer since 2018 when he resigned to contest the governorship primaries.

“In line with our constitution, the NWC has declared the seat of the Deputy National Secretary vacant until the laid down procedures are followed for a fresh nomination of Giadom into the party’s executive.

“At our meeting, we made it clear that the South-South Zone can re-nominate Giadom or make a fresh nomination. This is the process adopted by the zones which led to the emergence of Ajimobi (Deputy National Chairman), Bulama (National Secretary), and Paul Chukwuma (National Internal Auditor).

The party acknowledged the recent High Court ruling which declared Hon. Igo Aguma as its acting chairman in Rivers State. “In compliance with the court ruling, our party has recognised Aguma as Rivers State acting Chairman pending when new congresses will be held to elect party executive members at the ward, local government and state levels,” Isa-Onilu said.

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