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The last has not been heard of the controversies surrounding the payment of the 5 per cent commission to the whistle-blower who gave the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission tips that led to the recovery of $43.4 million, N23.3 million and 27,800 Euros that was stashed in an apartment at the Osborne Towers in Ikoyi, Lagos on April 22, 2017 as the original whistleblowers have petitioned the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, PRNigeria has learnt on good authority.

In a petition dated August 24, 2017, addressed to the AGF and received on September 8, 2017, solicitors to the claimants, No Limit Legal Partners, on behalf of Abdulmumin Musa, Stephen Sunday and Bala Usman, told Malami that his clients by the workings of EFCC have shortchanged the whistleblowers by bringing others who were not the arrowhead of the whistleblowing.

The solicitors noted: “Our clients informed us sometime in December 2016 that three (3) of them voluntarily walked into the office of the EFCC at 15A Awolowo Road Ikoyi, Lagos and gave vital information that led to the recovery of over N13 billion at the Ikoyi Towers, Lagos.”

The Legal Practitioners further told the AGF: “Upon subsequent visit to give a detailed information as required by the commission to raid the Tower, they were told if the operation was successful, 5% of the amount recovered will be their take-home within 72 hours of recovery, they were also cautioned that if the information happened to be false, then they will definitely be in trouble which the three mentioned above accepted because they were sure of their facts.

“That when the operation was carried out, it was successful but since then they have not received any commendation by the commission, let alone give any reward as stated even though the EFCC have their names and phone numbers.”

The petitioners said rather than to do the needful, some of the EFCC staff gave them further information that they were not the only people who gave them information on the Ikoyi Tower as others were also involved without mentioning them.

Upon various meetings by the three persons, they agreed to go back and meet the Head of EFCC operations, Alhaji Samaila Muhammed, and were told on their visit that the numbers have increased to nine who made the report, urging them to bring the remaining persons.

When contacted on the matter, the Special Adviser to the Minister of Finance on Media and Communications, Oluyinka Akintunde, said that such issues be referred to EFCC and not the responsibility of the Ministry.

Akintunde added that the ministry comes in when the rightful persons were duly recognised by the relevant authorities for payment after due process.

When PRNigeria contacted the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Wilsom Uwujaren, to explain the role of the commission in the matter, he said several persons have in the past besieged the commission to say that they were part of whistleblowing.

Uwujaren confirmed that that the commission has records of the original whistleblowers of the Ikoyi Towers, stressing that all will be done to make sure that the right persons are paid accordingly.

Meanwhile, PRNigeria has learnt that the petitioners are heading to the court to stop the payment to wrong persons who were not involved in the whistleblowing.

They added that two clear months after the submission of the petition to the AGF, nothing concrete had been done by the Minister to look into their matter.

They alleged that the EFCC sold out in the processes leading to the recovery of the said amount, stating that the development would discourage genuine whistleblowers in the fight against corruption by the present administration.

There were recent controversies as to whether the whistleblower had already been paid or not between the EFCC and the Ministry of Finance.

Explaining the development, Adeosun on Sunday gave reasons why the whistleblower who gave the EFCC tips that led to the recovery of $43.4 million, N23.3 million and 27,800 Euros at the Ikoyi apartment has not been paid.

Her response came at a time that Nigerians placed the blames on the doorstep of the Federal Government over its unwillingness to pay the whistleblower his 5 per cent commission as enshrined in the policy.

The Minister further said: “The Federal Government has not withheld any fund due to any whistleblower. The Ministry has in place detailed procedures for processing payments due under the Whistleblower Policy. The procedures were designed to prevent abuse and legal disputes and to ensure protection of the information providers.

“These procedures include an application by the agency who recovered the funds including evidence of the recovery, confirmation that there are no pending legal issues on the recovery, verification of the identity of the information provider, calculation of the amount payable and computation of relevant taxes.”

BIG STORY

Ritual Killings: Police Arrest Six Native Doctors Native Doctors As Delta Girls Fortify Selves Against ‘Yahoo Boys

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Following the increasing spate of kidnapping and ritual killings in Delta State, detectives attached to the criminal investigation department ( CID) at the state police command on Thursday arrested six native doctors In Ughelli town and Abraka community through intelligence gathering.

The commissioner of police in the state, Anthony Agbidi, who confirmed the arrest of the suspects to newsmen in Asaba, disclosed that the detectives acted on intelligence gathering, adding that three of the suspects were arrested in Ughelli town, while the three other suspects were nabbed in Abraka community with strange substances including prepared charms in different containers.

CP Agbidi said: “The suspects were arrested on intelligence gathering by officers and men of the state CID and they recovered different prepared charms in containers. The suspects made useful statements to the police and they shall be charged to court upon completion of investigation”.

He however called on members of the public to always provide useful information to the police with a view to arresting criminals in their hideout.

He gave the names of the suspects to include: Bernard Thomas 52, Babalola Akin 48, who claimed to have hailed from Ijebu community, Lucky Omorofu, 47, Maculey Obaro, 52, Aghalokpe Kennedy 49, and Chief Chiedu Agbarho 56 years old, adding that the suspects will remain in the police custody until investigations are completed and they are charged to court.

Meanwhile, the police have confirmed moves by young girls across the state to fortify themselves against being kidnapped for rituals purposes.

CP Agbidi, while exchanging views with newsmen on Thursday in Asaba, disclosed that young girls between the ages of 18 and 20 years have allegedly resorted to patronizing native doctors to fortified them against ritual killings among others.

He said; “the report reaching us has indicated that young girls have allegedly resorted to patronizing native doctors to help fortify them against ritual activities. The police have gone after these fraudsters and Yahoo, Yahoo boys. We will bring all of them to book soon.”

Reports say the ritualists allegedly use female pants, breasts, tongues, hearts, womb including other vital organs to enhance their diabolic activities.

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BIG STORY

LASU Will Get Faculty Of Pharmacy When I Become Governor —— Sanwo-Olu

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To strengthen capacity in pharmaceutical profession in Lagos State, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the 2019 election, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has assured members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria that he will ensure that Lagos State University gets a faculty of Pharmacy, if he elected as the Governor.

Sanwo-Olu made the promise on Thursday during his interactive session with the Lagos State chapter of the PSN.

He said the state university after more than three decades of existence should be a centre of academic excellence for the production of manpower in the field of pharmacy.

He said: “To strengthen the profession and boost manpower in the field of Pharmacy, I am convinced that our state university should have a Faculty of Pharmacy.

“If elected, we will make sure LASU within our four years have Faculty of Pharmacy.

“It is not just right that we have Medical College without Faculty of Pharmacy.

“I am promising you that our government will ensure that everything is done to make Faculty of Pharmacy a reality for the State-owned University.

“As professional body of pharmacists, I will implore you to give us a position paper on what we need to do that will enable us achieve our objective and I can assure that as government, we will do all within our powers to make it a reality.”

The APC candidate told the pharmacists the importance he attaches to their profession and the entire health sector in general.

Sanwo-Olu said: “Your profession is one of the most important fields for human existence.

“No one can joke with the health sector.

“So when I received your invitation, I pledged to attend this event regardless of my schedule because it is about health and we must listen to you.”

The Chairman of Lagos State chapter of the PSN, B. T. O. Adeniran, urged Sanwo-Olu to help pharmacists practicing in the State when he gets to government.

Adeniran described the issue of turnaround time in getting drugs at government hospitals across the State as very cumbersome.

She said: “We need the government to look into the welfare and working condition of pharmacist working in Lagos State.

“We want upward review of salary and allowances.

“On capacity development, we need more training for our members so we can serve the state and the public better as integral part of the health system.”

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BIG STORY

2019: Why We Chose Five Presidential Candidates For Debate —- NEDG

Peter Okunoren

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The Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) has explained how five political parties were selected to participate in the presidential and vice-presidential debates.

NEDG Executive Secretary, Eddie Emesiri, said in a statement on Thursday that the parties for the debate were picked through an independently administered multi-stage process.

The statement was issued in reaction to the criticism triggered by the number of political parties selected by the group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) organizers of the debates.

Emesiri stressed that the decision to select five parties was taken at the beginning of the process to ensure that the debates were managed effectively.

According to him, the stages of the selection process focused on political parties while the organisers considered the importance of diversity in the nation.

The NEDG Executive Secretary insisted that no preference was given to any candidate or party, adding that nobody influenced the organisers to include or exclude any political party from the debates.

The statement read: “Further to our earlier announcement of participating parties for the Presidential Debates, the organising partners of the Debates hereby reiterate the transparency and independence of the selection process that resulted in the five participating political parties.

“Firstly, we would like to state that the Presidential Debates are organised by a partnership of the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), a broad coalition of over 100 public and private broadcasters in Nigeria with coverage of terrestrial radio, television, direct-to-home, digital terrestrial television and multimedia distribution system. The members of BON are responsible for over 250 radio and tv stations across Nigeria.

“The choice of participating parties for the debate was made through an independently administered multi-stage process. The first stage was an independent online poll and the second involved the distribution of survey questionnaires per state, to professionals, artisans, students, etc; respondents were within the voting age and spread across urban, semi-urban and rural classifications. The third stage was to take an aggregate of the stage result and extend invitations to the top 5 parties for the debate.

“Following our disclosure of the participating parties earlier in the week, our attention has been drawn to some reactions in the public space over the decision to limit the participation to five parties and exclusion of some party flag bearers from the debate. Considering the vast number of contending parties, the decision to limit to five parties was taken at the beginning of our process to ensure ease of management for the debates. All the stages of the selection process were focused on political parties, taking into consideration the importance of national spread and diversity. Focus was not on specific individuals or candidates.

“We wish to emphatically state that the NEDG and BON were not influenced or induced by anyone to include or exclude any political party from the debate. We understand the disappointment of some political parties who would have wished to see their candidates share their visions for the country at the Debates. However, Nigerians have spoken through the multi-stage process and we urge all Nigerians to respect their choice as we abide by the outcome of the independent party selection process.”

NEDG and BON had named only five political parties to participate in 2019 vice presidential and presidential debates.

The parties listed were Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP).

This meant that the presidential aspirants expected at the debate are President Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku Abubakar, Oby Ezekwesili, Fela Durotoye and Kingsley Moghalu.

However, Presidential candidate of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN, Oby Ezekwesili, has sought for five more influential presidential candidates.

The five candidates include: Donald Duke of the Social Democratic Party, SDP; Omoyele Sowore, of the African Action Congress, AAC; Byron Fagbemj of KOWA Party; and John Gbor of the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA.

The Vice-Presidential Debate and the Presidential Debate are scheduled for Friday, December 14, 2018, and Saturday, January 19, 2019, respectively.

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