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EFCC Benin Zonal Office Recovers $7,000, Secures 88 Convictions

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Benin Zonal Office, says it has recovered three hundred and three million, eight hundred and twenty eight thousand, six hundred and forty one naira (303,828,641.00) and seven thousand US dollars ($7000) within the last 12 months.

The zonal office, which comprises Edo, Delta and Ondo states added that, under the same year, it also secured 88 convictions out of 125 cases after proper and deligent investigations.

Dr. A.H. Danmusa, Head, Benin Zonal Office of the EFCC, while making this revelations, said out of the recovered amount, the sum of N274,507,723.00 has been returned to the victims, adding that the Commission also secured the final forfeiture of a 4-bedroom bungalow at Ughelli and a Petroleum Filling Station at Udu, all in Delta State.

READ ALSO: Man Bags 10years Jail Term For Defiling Minor

“In the period under review, the Benin Zonal Office which has jurisdiction over Edo, Delta and Ondo States received 1246 petitions out of which 788 were found worthy and approved for investigation. A total of 132 cases were forwarded to the Nigerian Police Force and other sister agencies as the matters raised in the cases were not within our jurisdiction.

“We are glad to inform you that within the period under review, a total of 125 cases were filled in court. And Due to our diligent investigation and prosecution, we secured 88 convictions while the zone recovered the sum of three hundred and three million, eight hundred and twenty eight thousand, six hundred and forty naira one naira (303,828,641.00)”, the Zonal Head added.

While adding that the Zonal Office also secured the final forfeiture of 14 exotic cars which were consequently shown to newsmen, Danmusa noted that as part of strategic plans to nip corruption in the bud and ensure a corruption free nation, the Commission embarked on “aggressive sensitisation and enlightenment campaign to school.”

READ ALSO: Man In Court For Allegedly Obtaining N1.8m Under False Pretence

He continues, “As part of our strategic plans to nip corruption in the bud and ensure a corrupt free nation in the nearest future, we embarked on aggressive sensitisation and elightenment campaign to secondary schools and tertiary institutions across the three states within our coverage area.

“We also collaborated with members of the NYSC anti-corruption groups to take the anti-corruption message to market women and men”, he added.

Danmusa urged members of the public to be more vigilant and circumspect so as not to fall victim of misguided elements who are “bent on reaping where they do not sow.”

He further warned members of the public to do away with any investment proposal with very attractive and outlandish returns, adding that such are fraud.

READ ALSO: Bauchi Govt Sensitises Communities On Land Title Registratio

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Obanikoro Testifies Against Fayose, Says Ex-Ekiti Gov Got N1.2bn For Election

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A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, on Wednesday, narrated to a Federal High Court in Abuja how N1.219bn cash was airlifted to support the election of a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.

According to him, the inability of a defunct bank, Diamond Bank, to handle huge amount of money prompted the airlifting of the money.

Fayose and Spotless Investment Limited are standing trial on 11 charges bordering on money laundering and stealing to the tune of N6.9 billion.

Led in evidence by the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wahab Shittu (SAN), Obanikoro explained that the money came from the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd.), adding that only he could explain its source.

READ ALSO: Rivers Court Remands Couple Over Alleged N500m Fraud

He added that he only got the information about the money from Dasuki, saying that it was the former NSA who told him that the said money had been paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited.

Obanikoro said, “I was a minister under Jonathan’s administration in 2014. Sometime in 2014, we were going to have an election in Ekiti State. I was saddled with the responsibility of coordinating the activities in the election.

“Some days before the election, I got a call from Gov. Fayose asking me if I received any message for him from ONSA, I can recall that prior to that, we had some activities among which was fundraising for that election.”

He also denied taking out the money as speculated in a report by an online media platform.

READ ALSO: Bauchi SEC Approves N300bn 2024 Budget

Obanikoro said, “When Mr. Fayose called, I told him I would call him later. I had a call conversation with the NSA and was told he would get back to me. After, he got back to me that N2.2 billion was paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Lomited..

“The money came came from the NSA. Only the NSA can explain the source of the fund.

The bank lacked the capacity to handle the situation. It was a last-minute decision- to ferry the money to Ekiti.

“I handed over the cash to Agbele for onward delivery to Fayose. I did not take any money or N19 million, contrary to the publication by a Lagos-based online platform.”

READ ALSO: Ondo Crisis Worsens, Assembly Demands Aiyedatiwa’s Resignation

When asked about his relationship with Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, Obanikoro said the account was initially opened to tackle terrorism in Lagos after which it was used to disburse funds for elections.

He said, “The account was created to deal with the issue of Boko Haram in Lagos, the account was created by Taiwo Kareem, and the account was used for the purpose of disbursing funds for election.

“I put a call through to let Fayose know that the money had been paid. Diamond Bank had said it did not have the capacity to make the funds available, so we opted to airlift the fund. The funds were airlifted from Lagos in two tranches, the volume was much.”

After listening to Obanikoro’s testimony, the presiding judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba adjourned the case till February 27, 2024.

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Northern Elders Forum Gets New Spokesman

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The Northern Elders Forum has appointed Abdul-Azeez Suleiman as its new spokesman, following the exit of Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.

The PUNCH reports that Baba-Ahmed was appointed by President Bola Tinubu, as the Special Adviser On Political issues in the office of Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

Until his appointment, Suleiman was the spokesman for the Coalition of Northern Groups which comprises over 50 civil society organisations in the 19 northern states and Abuja.

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NEF’s Convener, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, in the appointment letter he personally signed, said Suleiman’s appointment was a reflection of his contributions towards promoting and protecting the interests of the North and Nigeria.

Abdullahi, a former Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said, “I am pleased to inform you that I have approved the recommendation to appoint you as the spokesperson for the Northern Elders Forum.

“Your appointment is a reflection of your unwavering dedication and contributions towards promoting and protecting the interests of the North and Nigeria as a whole, during your time with the Coalition of Northern Groups.

READ ALSO: Rivers Crisis: Call Wike To order, Ijaw Group Tells Tinubu

“Furthermore, your extensive experience in credible, fearless, selfless, and ethical journalism, also contributes to making you a great fit for this role.

“The NEF hopes that you will utilise your exceptional qualities and experience to enhance NEF’s activities and promote its image through cooperation with its directors and other members of the Forum.

“Congratulations on your appointment, and we look forward to the incredible value you will bring to the NEF.”

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Bauchi SEC Approves N300bn 2024 Budget

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The Bauchi State Executive Council (SEC) has approved the medium term expenditure of about N300 billion for the 2024 physical year.

Mr Aminu Hammayo, the Bauchi state Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting on Wednesday.

According to him, the budget estimate was made on the basis of certain assumptions like increase in oil production capacity, increase in Value Added Tax.

READ ALSO: Kano Youths Protest Teenager’s Killing, Police Arrest Killer Cop

Other assumptions he said included the impact of the withdrawal of oil subsidy as there had been an increase in the amount of revenues accrued into the federation account as well as the increase in the cost of goods and services.

“The budget estimate for the year 2024 is about N300 billion and we have a proportion of about 58.8 per cent allocated for capital expenditure and about 41.2 per cent for recurrent expenditure.

“This means the emphasis is basically on capital expenditure so as to generate more revenue in the future.

“This budget estimate is going to be presented as a bill to the state House of Assembly and after the presentation, we will still come back to where there will be a budget briefing to give the details of what the budget is all about,” he said.

READ ALSO: EFCC Warns Nigerians Against ATM Swap Fraudsters

Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Usman Garba, explained that a decision had been taken to create a Ministry of Regional Integration so that the problems and challenges of the people would further be attended to.

He said that this decision was taken during the Northeast Governors Forum meeting held in Yola, Adamawa state on Saturday.

“Here in Bauchi state, the governor has decided to merge this new ministry with the ministry of Higher Education.

“So, what we have now is the Ministry of Higher Education and Regional Integration,” he said.

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