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The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions on Wednesday ordered an arrest warrant against the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

He is to be brought before the committee on November 7 to answer questions in connection with a petition the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, sent to the House.

Jonathan’s wife had petitioned the House, alleging harassment of her person and firms linked to her associates by the EFCC, the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency.

She also told the House that her personal bank accounts and those of the firms had been frozen on the directive of the EFCC.

However, the panel, which is chaired by a member from Abia State, Mr. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, said on Wednesday that Magu had shunned “several invitations” to appear in connection with the matter.

The NDLEA and FIRS had been appearing before the panel to respond to the petition.

The matter had earlier been adjourned till Wednesday (yesterday), but again, Magu did not turn up and the EFCC sent no representations to the session.

After a motion on arrest warrant moved by the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, the panel passed a resolution for Magu’s arrest.

Ruling, Nkem-Abonta stated, “The absence of the EFCC is making our work difficult. We are not against the EFCC doing its work but they have to comply with the law. With no counter motion, the motion on arrest warrant is hereby sustained.”

However, the committee also ordered all the companies linked to Jonathan’s wife to submit their statements of audited accounts to the FIRS within two weeks.

The panel explained that this was to afford the FIRS the opportunity to assess them for tax payment and ascertain the level of tax compliance since they started operations.

FIRS had in a submission to the committee, stated that the reason it kept watch over the activities of the companies was to verify their tax compliance.

On its part, FIRS was directed to conclude the verification within two weeks from the date of receiving the audited accounts from the companies and produce a report.

The committee had also summoned eight banks over the freezing of the accounts of Patience and her companies by the EFCC.

The banks that appeared before the panel on Wednesday were Fidelity Bank; Ecobank; Union Bank; Skye Bank; Diamond Bank; First Bank; Zenith Bank; and Stanbic Bank.

Some of the banks explained that while it was true that Patience secured court orders unfreezing a number of the accounts, the EFCC also appealed the court decisions.

However, they confirmed that Mrs. Jonathan ‘s accounts which had no “legal encumbrance,” had been released to her.

For instance, Union Bank informed the committee that none of Patience’s accounts was frozen any longer, while Diamond Bank disclosed that she had access to two of her accounts, but two others remained frozen.

Skye Bank disclosed that Patience had actually started making withdrawals from her accounts with the bank.

On its part, Zenith Bank said her accounts with the bank remained frozen on the directive of the EFCC and would require a court decision to free them.

The panel later resolved that the banks and Mrs. Jonathan’s lawyers should hold a reconciliation meeting to determine the accounts that were frozen on court directives and those that had no legal issues.

The committee clarified that it earlier directive to “unfreeze” Patience’s accounts was strictly for those accounts that were not backed by a court order or a written instruction from the EFCC.

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BIG STORY

Why Rescheduled Presidential, National Assembly Elections May Not Hold On Saturday — Group

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A civil society organisation, Citizens for Change and Advancement (CCA), has warned that the rescheduled 2019 general elections might not hold on the new date of Saturday, February 23 due to poor preparations and massive infighting within the top leadership of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

CCA policy director, Maxwell Abaji in a statement yesterday, said that some sensitive electoral materials in some states are still in INEC custody, and not in Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) vaults as being claimed by the electoral body.

“Election materials in states like Taraba, Cross River, Ebonyi and Benue are not in CBN vaults contrary to claims by the electoral umpire. Even INEC leadership does not know the exact locations of some materials in some states as at 4pm Tuesday. It is more worrisome that these materials are yet to be audited and verified by any independent stakeholder,” Abaji claimed.

The group further alleged that the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and the commission’s head of Operations and Logistics, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu are allegedly keeping logistics details away from other national commissioners due to infighting and poor working relationships among INEC leadership.

“With information at our disposal, the duo of the INEC chairman and Ibeanu are refusing to work with other national commissioners on the issue of logistics with regards to this Saturday’s elections; keeping the challenges confronting the elections to themselves like they did previously, hence the sudden postponement of last Saturday.

“With the current developments at the commission and if allowed unchecked, unknown forces could capitalise on it to undermine the process, wh,ich could warrant the need to shift the elections, again,” he said.

CCA, therefore, warned INEC to put its house in order, saying that Nigerians will not accept any further excuses for the elections not to hold as scheduled on Saturday.”

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BIG STORY

Atiku Did Not Offer Adamawa REC $1million Bribe —- INEC [See Tweet]

Peter Okunoren

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The Independent National Electoral Commission has reacted to the allegation that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, offered the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Adamawa State, Kashim Gaidam, $1m and a house in Dubai.

INEC condemned the allegation in a tweet on Monday.

The tweet was in reaction to a social media post which alleged that the former vice president had compromised the elections in Adamawa, his home state.

It read, “Breaking News: I rejected Atiku’s $1m bribe plus a house in Dubai- Adamawa REC”.

But INEC condemned the post, saying, “The Adamawa INEC REC completely dissociates himself from the allegation that he had an offer of $1m and a house in Dubai as no offer whatsoever was ever made to him by anyone.”

This comes two days after the electoral body postponed the general election, which was initially scheduled to commence on Saturday last week, by one week.

INEC has on Monday, reopened campaigns for political parties before the elections begin on Saturday. Campaigns are expected to end “midnight of Thursday, 21 February 2019”.

Read INEC’s tweet below;

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Buhari In Emergency Meeting With Service Chiefs, IGP, Some Northern Governors

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President Muhammadu Buhari is currently meeting with service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu

The meeting, which started around 11am, is holding at the President’s office in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Some governors from the northern part of the country are present in the emergency meeting, The Nation reports.

Governors at the meeting include those of Adamawa State, Jibrilla Bindow, Borno State, Kashim Shettima, and Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai.

Also at the meeting were the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau.

The meeting may not be unconnected with the security situation in the country

Recall that no fewer than 66 people were recently reported killed in Kajuru, Kaduna State.

Details later…

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