The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property has arrested two whistleblowers for allegedly misleading it with false information.
Newsmen report that the alleged false information was provided against Mr Emmanuel Mbaka, foremost real estate developer and Managing Director of Platinum Mortgage Bank.
The male suspects, Prince Jeff Ove, 37, from Bayelsa, and Mohammed Sanusi, 39, from Kogi, were presented to newsmen by the spokesperson of the panel, Lucie-Ann Laha, in Abuja on Friday.
Laha alleged that the suspects told the panel under oath that the victim, who was present at the news briefing, had looted and stashed huge sums of money in his Abuja home. She said the bogus tip-off prompted operatives of the panel to raid Mbaka’s home, an effort that ended in futility as nothing of such was found.
“We received information from the suspects that the victim was a politician who looted a large amount of money and stashed it in his house.
“We have found out that the person is not a politician. I don’t think an association with politicians automatically makes you a politician.
“We were told there was a large cache of money in his house. The panel has carried out a thorough investigation, turned the house inside out and we found nothing,’’ she said.
Laha, who apologised to Mbaka on behalf of the panel, said the suspects would be prosecuted to show that the Federal Government’s Whistleblower Policy was not an instrument of character assassination.
“The policy is meant to encourage Nigerians to assist anti-corruption agencies with credible information to apprehend those that have looted the commonwealth of Nigerians.
“Anyone who brings information to the panel and any other anti-corruption agency is assured of confidentiality and certain rewards.
“Conversely, when Nigerians try to circumvent this policy by giving false information in a bid to malign other Nigerians, the law says we should reprimand them, which is what we are doing here today,’’ she said. Speaking to newsmen, the two suspects said they were in turn misled by informants, and apologised to Mbaka amid pleading with the panel for forgiveness.
Ove said, “I was in Bayelsa when I got information that there was a fund that a politician kept in Abuja here.
“We came and someone introduced me to a friend, who also corroborated the information that has turned out to be false, and that was why I approached the panel to report.
“Once again, I apologise to the man, I am very sorry, I have learnt my lessons and I promise this will never happen again.’’ On his part, Sanusi said sometime in March 2017, one Aliyu told him that he knew a house in Abuja where stolen money was being kept. He said he never bothered to take the information to anti-corruption agencies because Aliyu had said he wasn’t too sure of its authenticity.
“But the brother of this very man (Ove) standing beside me here came all the way from Bayelsa and said he had a special power to enter the house and search it.
“He said all I needed to do was to show him the house, and he made me understand that with the power he acquired from India he would be able to know whether the money was there or not.
“When we got there, he told me that the spirit had told him that there was money in the house and that we should give him a little time to work on it,’’ he said. Sanusi said he never knew that Ove and his unidentified brother had already approached the panel to inform it about the money.
Nationwide Strike: NLC Shuts Offices, Schools In Delta
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Delta chapter has started to shut offices and schools in Asaba ahead of the planned strike over delay to implement the new minimum wage.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports on Wednesday that the NLC members were seen patrolling Asaba in a marked Hiace mini-bus, closing government offices and turning back school children.
Recall that the national body of the NLC had threatened to go on strike from Thursday if the Federal Government fails to meet its demand on the consequential adjustment.
Before the meetings, labour was demanding a 29 per cent increase for officers at grade levels 07 to 14 and 24 per cent adjustment for officers at grade levels 15 to 17.
While the Federal Government proposed an 11 per cent increase for officers at grade level 07 to 14 and 6.5 per cent adjustment for workers at grade level 15 to 17.
Mr Goodluck Ofuburuku, NLC State chairman confirmed to NAN on the phone that labour was on strike in the state.
“We are on strike and that is all I can tell you for now. We expect offices and schools to comply.
“The strike is in force that is why we are going round to enforce compliance,” Ofoburuku said.
NAN reports that most government offices and schools within Asaba metropolis were closed as at this morning.
The state government secretariat, along Okpanam road, was equally shut as some workers who had reported for work were seen milling around the gate.
Mrs. Tina Okolo, a civil servant told NAN that the NLC members came and locked her office premises and ask the workers to go home.
“They came this morning and ask us to go home. I reported to work at about 8:15am, but now am going home.
“I don’t know much about the strike, so I am just waiting to see how things will turn out,” Okolo said.
NAN reports that the gate of West-End Mixed Secondary School, Asaba, was also closed, as the students were seen going home at about 10:15 am.
A teacher, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that the students had been asked to go home because of the strike.
Also, members of the NLC were seen at the Achievers Group of Schools, DLA road Asaba, driving out the students and trying to lock up the school gate.
However, most banks in Asaba remained open for business as customers continued their transactions without hindrance.
Kayode Alfred Now Writes For This Day Newspapers
Industrious entrepreneur-cum-society Kayode Olanshile Alfred has officially joined the leading and widest-circulated news journal, This Day Newspaper as a columnist. The award-winning and dynamic writer will be reporting the social lifestyle of the rich and the famous personalities in the society.
The unassuming Kayode, still in the attitude of his passion for the written word, either by commission or omission again went back to his first love as a columnist with This Day on Sunday where he resumed with his society page, High Life.
The charismatic, innovative and very industrious Kayode Alfred, is one of Nigeria’s most prolific society writers that is dedicated, even obsessive, about his work even as he loathes the disappointments that at times, come with it. Alfred will always be a pride of the journalism industry, especially when it comes to society reporting. His impressive career as a journalist speaks volumes and this is just stating the obvious, as he has proved this over time, with his gist, interviews, articles, and stories on those who matter in the society.
The Lagos State University graduate has carved a niche for himself in this volatile industry and can conveniently rank among the best five in society reportage, and this is no hyperbole.
He started making waves in the pen-pushing world many years back, when he joined the National Encomium magazine as a very pro-active Society writer, the credentials of which gave him the leverage to move instructively to The Nation Newspapers, to resume his normal beat as a prolific society writer, with his must-read page, called Society Watch in The Nation on Saturday.
The journalist turned designer has carved a niche for himself among fashion buffs. He can also be regarded as a celebrity journalist and fashion aficionado, a self-driven entrepreneur with astounding diligence and sartorial depth. It is no surprise, therefore, that his foray into the fashion world is predicated on the high art and culture of bespoke designs.
Sanwo-Olu Declares Emergency On Lagos Roads As Work Begins
Work begins today(Monday) on the deplorable city roads in Lagos State as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Sunday declared an emergency on the situation.
The governor gave the directive for the commencement of repairs to construction companies. It followed his promise last week to start fixing the roads immediately after the rains.
Lagosians have been groaning under the state of roads and the attendant traffic situation. The extended rainfall has not helped matters.
According to the governor, all the construction companies had been mandated to mobilize their tools to the sites assigned to them.
He said: “This (Sunday) afternoon, we have just concluded meetings with various reputable construction companies and all of them have been given the brief to immediately commence major construction work in various parts of the state. The exercise will begin tomorrow with palliative work on the selected roads, which are on the Island and the Mainland.
“The contractors have been given the mandate to start mobilizing their equipment to their respective sites without further delay. Their activities must first give our people immediate relief on the affected roads so that there can be a free flow of traffic even during the rehabilitation work.”
To complement the major construction work on the highway, Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) would be carrying out repairs on 116 inner roads across the state.
This, he said, would be in addition to the over 200 roads already rehabilitated by the corporation in the last three months.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration was not oblivious of the pain experienced by road users in the past few days, which was compounded by the persistent downpour.
He appealed to residents to bear with the government while efforts were being made to assuage their pains and bring permanent relief to them.
He said: “We expect the rains will begin to subside in this month of October and this is why we are mobilizing our contractors to immediately start the major construction work on the identified highways and bring permanent relief to residents. I am giving all Lagosians the assurance that the contractors will start the construction in earnest and will deliver on the terms of agreements reached with them.”
Sanwo-Olu said officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) would be working round the clock to control traffic on the areas where the construction would take place.
The Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure, Aramide Adeyoye, listed some of the critical areas to include Ojota stretch of the Ikorodu Road; Motorways – Kudirat Abiola Way; Apogbon Highway; Babs Animashaun Road; Agric/Ishawo and Ijede roads in Ikorodu as well as Lekki-Epe Expressway from Abraham Adesanya to Eleko Junction.
She added that there would be massive re-construction on a network of roads in Ikoyi, Ikeja GRA and Victoria Island.
The contractors deployed by the government are: Julius Berger, Hitech, Arab Contractors, Metropolitan Construction, Slavabogu Construction, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Rajaf Foundation Construction and RCF Nigeria Limited.