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N20b Loan: Group Protests, Rolls Out State’s Indebtedness

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Group, Joint Forces for the Defence of Democracy (JOFDES) Monday, July 14, protested against alleged Edo State government plan to obtain N20b (Twenty billion naira) from the Nigeria Capital Market few weeks to the Edo State Governorship elections.

The group also alleged that the Godwin Obaseki-led government intends to obtain another $100Million and $150m loan from the World Bank respectively, just as it described the act as ” reckless, irresponsible and ignominious for the Obaseki-led state government to obtain another loan.”

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Co-covener of the group, Kola Edokpayi and Felix Osemwengie Isere, Esq in a statement titled ‘we reject the attempt by Governor Godwin Obaseki to mortgage the future of Edo youths by his recent moves to obtain another N20b loan’, noted that the state’s domestic debt profile stands at N84.76 billion, hence it will amount to a calculated attempt by the Governor to mortgage Edo youths future.

” As if these are not enough,  we have received reliable information that Godwin Obaseki also intends to obtain another $100Million loan from the World Bank.

READ ALSO: ‘We’re Committed To Relieving Obaseki Of His Office’- Ize-Iyamu Campaign Organisation

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“This loan, known as the performance for results loan which is awaiting board approval is aimed at funding the overblown Edo Best and Edo jobs projects. We the citizens are aware that Edo Best and Edo jobs projects are a mere facade and failed projects serving as conduit for siphoning funds for the coffers of the good people of Edo State  

” The most shocking part of it is that Mr. Obaseki is considering these loans when Edo State currently services the $150Million credit obtained from the World bank in 2016 and 2017.

” This is the highest level of political and economic betrayal for the good people of Edo State who have entrusted her collective patrimony into the hands of the governor. It is most unfair and is a demonstration of the mortgage of the future of Edo people.

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Joint Forces for the Defence of Democracy (JOFDES) protesting against Obaseki’s plan to obtain N20b loan on Monday in Benin

” We find this development not only worrisome, wicked, reckless, irresponsible and ignominious but a calculated attempt to completely mortgage the future of the youth and people of Edo State. This is totally obvious because Mr. Obaseki is fully aware that Edo State is already heavily overburdened by excess debts.

” At no time in the history of our dear state have we come under the volume of indebtedness that we face today”, the statement added.

READ ALSO: Edo Poll: APC, Ize-Iyamu Will Respect INEC’s Regulations – Campaign Organisation

While disclosing that the state is with the highest domestic debt in the South-South and second throughout the nation, noted that the governor has to ” answer reason why the state is indebted so high and other financial mismanagement.”

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According to the protesters, with all the borrowing, citizens of the state have not seen any tangible project from the state government “apart from some renovations of already existing infrastructure and window dressing.”

” We have the highest external debt in the entire South-South with an external debt of $257.92 milliion as at March 2020.

” Second, we have the highest domestic debt in Nigeria, second only to Lagos State.

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” We must get answers to these and other glaring cases of financial mismanagement that have become the hallmark of the Godwin Obaseki’s government 

” Apart from the few renovation of already existing infrastructure and window dressing of already completed projects, we have not seen any landmark or gigantic legacy projects the Obaseki Government has done with funds accruing to the state”, they said.

READ ALSO: Shame On PDP Leaders Fielding Obaseki After Condemning Him As Non-achiever -Ize-Iyamu

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The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari and other concerned authorities particularly Edo citizens to stop the loan from being approved, just as they added that if there’s any reason to obtain such loan, that should be considered after the election.

The group further said, ” We as a pro democracy group committed to defending the interest of Edo sons and daughters worldwide hereby call on the President of Nigeria, Secretary to the government of the federation, Hon Minister of state for budget and national planning, director general Debt Management Office (DMO) Abuja, the Chairman Senate and House of Representatives committees on local and foreign debts, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Senate President and speaker of the House of Representatives, DG of Nigerian Stock Exchange, Attorney General of the federation and all well-meaning Edo sons and daughters who have the future of our children at heart, to do everything within their powers to stop this loan from being approved for the governor of Edo State.

” However, if there is any genuine reason whatsoever to approve such a loan for Edo State, it can be considered after the forth coming Edo governorahip election to forestall the mismanagement of the funds under the tension that accompanies elections.”

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However, in his reaction, Special Adviser to Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie denied the allegation, just as he accused Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of sponsoring the protest.

Protest against Obaseki’s plan to obtain N20b loan on Monday

There is no such thing as N20 billion debt proposal by the Edo State Government, and Edo people cannot be distracted by such wild claim,” Osagie said.

Reacting to Crusoe’s allegation that the protesters were sponsored by Ize-Iyamu, Mr. John Mayaki, Chairman, Edo State APC Media Campaign Council said was insulting to the people of Edo State for the Governor’s Aide to attribute anger expressed by the citizens to Ize-Iyamu.

“It is ludicrous and insulting to the people of Edo State who are known for their agency and independence of thought, for Crusoe Osagie to suggest that the anger they expressed today on the streets of Benin over the 20 billion naira loan Obaseki is trying to obtain for his collapsing campaign was done at the behest of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

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READ ALSO: PDP Governorship Primary: Aspirants Step Down For Obaseki

“Is Crusoe suggesting that Edo youths cannot read the news, interpret it, and understand the implications of a failed government seeking loans toward the end of its tenure?” Mayaki said.

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Shiloh: Peter Obi Attends Living Faith Programme, Meets Bishop Oyedepo

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The Labour Party, LP, presidential candidate, Peter Obi, on Thursday attended the annual Living Faith Church programme, Shiloh.

Obi was present at the church’s headquarters in Ota, Ogun State.

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Members of the church erupted into loud cheering as Living Faith Vice President, Pastor Abioye announced Obi’s presence.

Since his emergence as LP presidential candidate, Obi has made it a point of call to visit churches and meeting with clergymen.

The former Anambra State governor had visited Apostle Johnson Suleman of Omega Fire Ministries in Edo State.

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He was at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, with Pastor Enoch Adeboye preaching.

READ ALSO: Peter Obi Loses Top Presidential Campaign Council Member To Death

In July, Obi had met with the founder of Living Faith Bible Church, David Oyedepo, at the church’s headquarters in Ota, Ogun State.

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Also, Obi met with Paul Enenche of Dunamis International Gospel Centre.

The LP presidential flag bearer had also met with the Methodist Church community.

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3 Lawyers Docked For Impersonating CBN, Unity Bank In N52m Judgment Debt

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The Federal Government has charged three Abuja-based legal practitioners before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on four counts of criminal charges, bordering on false information with the intent to mislead the Court into entering a N52m consent judgment in their favour.

The prosecution agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) told the court that the offences are contrary to sections 96 and 140 of the Panel Code law of Northern Nigeria as applicable in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

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The lawyers are Messrs Maxwell Opara, Gold Nwankwo and Jubilate Obasikene, all practising in the law firm of Maxwell Opara and Associates.

The charge filed marked CR/444/2022 and by the prosecution counsel, Ibrahim Buba followed a petition by the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, to the Chairman of the EFCC, accusing the lawyers of fraudulent representation and impersonation.

They were alleged to have fraudulently entered appearances for the CBN and Unity Bank Plc, without the consent and authorization of the banks in an appeal in respect of garnishee proceedings involving the sum of N52 million, at the Court of Appeal, Abuja division.

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READ ALSO: IGP Launches Portal To Report Stolen Vehicles

The proceedings were in respect of appeal No: CA/A/18M/2017, between Mr. Godwin Emmanuel Vs Chris Obot. Ambo Top Nig Ltd, Unity Bank Plc and CBN.

The appeal arose from garnishee proceedings wherein the CBN was served with an order Nisi dated November 3, 2015, by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Gwagwalada, Abuja.

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The Court of Appeal had granted the CBN leave to appeal against the judgment of the lower court on the condition that the entire judgment sum of N52m be deposited to the deputy Registrar to be kept in an interest-yielding account in a commercial bank within 30 days from the date of the ruling, pending the determination of the appeal.

The CBN said it was surprising to learn that the matter came up for hearing on September 9, 2020, and that on that day, based on the application filed by counsel to the judgment creditor, Maxwell Opara, the court ordered that the judgment sum be released to the judgment creditor.

The bank asserted that its concern was the fact that neither the bank nor its counsel was served with any hearing notice in respect of the proceedings of September 9, 2020.

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That it was further informed that CBN was purportedly represented by one Gold Nwankwo in the proceedings of September 9, 2020, a counsel unknown to or briefed by the bank nor affiliated in any way to any of its external solicitors.

That in the same vein, One Okechukwu Jubilate Obasikene was said not to have the authority of Unity bank and also appeared for Unity bank in the proceedings.

Upon investigation, it was discovered that the said Gold Nwankwo was listed on the letterhead of Messrs. Maxwell Opara and Associates(counsel to the judgment creditor), as one of its lawyers in chambers.

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That it, therefore, appears that the counsel from the chambers of Messrs. Maxwell Opara and Associates representing the judgment creditor, might have colluded to deceive the Court of Appeal by impersonating the counsel briefed by the CBN, contrary to the legal practitioners’ rules of professional conduct.

Meanwhile, when the case was called for trial, the prosecution counsel, Ibrahim Buba informed the court about the absence of witnesses from the CBN and Unity Bank in court.

He, therefore, urged the court to grant a short adjournment to enable him produce them in court.

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Following the consent of the defence of counsel, Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned the case to February 1 and 2, 2023 for trial.

The charge marked CR/444/2022, and dated August 26, 2022, reads:
“That you Barrister Maxwell Okpara and Barrister Gold Nwankwo sometime in September 2020 in Abuja within the judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, did conspire to commit an offence to wit: giving false information with intent to mislead public servant and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 96 of the Penal Code law of Northern Nigeria as applicable in the FCT, and punishable under section 97 of the same law.

”That you Barrister Gold Nwankwo on the 9th day of September 2020 in Abuja within the judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, did inform the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja that you were representing the Central Bank of Nigeria during the hearing of appeal No CA/A/18/M/2017 and consented to the withdrawal and striking of the motion paper dated August 29, 2020 and filed on September 1, 2020, knowing that the Central Bank of Nigeria never authorised you to represent it in the proceedings, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 140 of the Penal Code law of the Northern Nigeria as applicable in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, and punishable under section 140 of the same law.

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”That you Barrister Maxwell Okpara and Barrister Jubilate Obasikene sometime in September 2020 in Abuja within the judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, did conspire to commit an offence to wit: giving false information with the intent to mislead public servant and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 96 of the Penal Code law of Northern Nigeria as applicable in the FCT, and punishable under section 97 of the same law.

READ ALSO: Wike: Supreme Court Dismisses Alleged DSS Interrogation Of CJN

”That you Barrister Jubilate Obasikene on the 9th of September 2020 in Abuja within the judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, did inform the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, that you represented the Unity Bank Plc during the hearing of appeal No CA/A/18/M/2017, and consented to the withdrawal and striking out of the motion paper dated August 29, 2020, and filed on September 1, 2020, knowing that the Unity Bank Plc never authorised you to represent it in the proceedings and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 140 of the Penal Code law of the Northern Nigeria as applicable in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, and punishable under section 140 of the same law.

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2nd House Prize Winner Emerges In Festival Of Joy Promo Draw In Port Harcourt

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Foremost mobile network operator, Globacom, on Thursday held a draw to select the winner of a second three-bedroom house prize in Port Harcourt in furtherance of its Festival of Joy loyalty reward promo.

In a press statement issued by the company after the Port Harcourt draw, Globacom encouraged subscribers who desire to win prizes in the promo to dial *611# and keep recharging (voice and data during the promo period) to qualify for the draw.

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The winning number was drawn by an elderly Glo subscriber, Mr. Ogbomade Sampson Joe, who was present at the Gloworld to transact business. It was witnessed by several Glo subscribers, the media as well as Mr. Koko Finny, the representative of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) in Port Harcourt.

READ ALSO: Glo Festival Of Joy Train Arrives Lagos With Brand New Car, Other Prizes

The lucky Glo subscriber who emerged winner in the draw will receive the house prize at a presentation ceremony billed for Friday, December 9, 2022.

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Three lucky Glo subscribers had previously become landlords in Ibadan, Abuja and Port Harcourt courtesy of Glo Festival of Joy promo which has on offer, 20 houses, 24 brand new cars, 100 generators, 200 sewing machines and 1,000 rechargeable fans.

 

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