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BIG STORY

Skye Bank Disregards FG’s Order, Fires 175 Staff.

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Despite the embargo which the federal government placed on dismissal of staff in the banking sector, Skye Bank Plc fired 175 staff on Monday.

Though some of those affected put the figure at 200, saying the bank reduced the actual number of those dismissed.

Citing petitions and complaints, Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, asked the banks to suspend retrenchment pending a stakeholders meeting on July 2.

Ngige said any action taken in that regard would be seen as illegal, saying a meeting on the way forward would be held on July 2.

“Following spate of petitions and complaints from stakeholders in the banking, insurance and financial institutions, I hereby direct the suspension of the on-going retrenchment pending the outcome of the conciliatory meetings in the industry,” he had said in a statement late Friday.

“In this wise, all the retrenchments and redundancies done in the last four months and all proposed ones should be put on hold pending the outcome of the proposed stakeholders’ summit for the banking, insurance and financial institutions’ employers and employees, slated for July 2.”

But the commercial bank went ahead with its action on the next working day after the directive was given.

One of those affected by the sack said that he picked up his own disengagement letter at the Victoria Island, Lagos headquarters of the bank.

The staff, who worked in one the bank’s branches in Ikeja, joined the organisation at its inception in 2006, and rose to the position of a senior banking officer (SBO).

The banker blamed the situation on the economic crisis, saying his former employers paid him off.

Skye Bank later confirmed the retrenchment of staff, but said those affected failed in the bank’s appraisal exercise held in 2015.

The bank also explained that those laid off were duly exited in line with the bank’s staff exit policy.

The current economic crisis has led to massive job loss, particularly in the banking sector.

Last week, Ecobank relieved over 1,000 staff of their duties. The dismissal came a few months after 50 senior managers were sacked.

In its latest report, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said 1.5 million Nigerians became unemployed in the first quarter of 2016.

The report said the country’s unemployment rate grew from 10.4 percent in the last quarter in 2015 to 12.1 percent.

BIG STORY

Magu Quizzed Over 380 Houses, 7 Crude Oil-Laden Ships, N37bn Assets

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The embattled Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, was on Wednesday confronted with more allegations.

The Justice Ayo Salami-led Presidential panel asked him to account for 380 houses and seven vessels loaded with crude oil.

The probe panel also grilled on him on the disposal of assets worth N37 billion.

Magu is being grilled, following allegations raised against him by Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami(SAN).

The panel started quizzing Magu on Monday after his arrest by detectives in Abuja. On Tuesday, he was grilled on cash discrepancies said to be N539 billion realized from the sale of seized assets and N504 billion declared by the commission.

Both issues are part of the over 20 allegations leveled against the anti-graft agency chairman by the AGF.

It was also gathered, on Wednesday, that on the ground floor of the Federal Criminal Investigation Department, FCID, Area 10, Abuja, where the EFCC boss is being held, his family members are allowed to visit him.

A Presidency source had said, on Tuesday, that the probe was an affirmation that nobody under the present administration was above scrutiny.

The source had also explained that the interrogation of the anti-graft boss was being done to give him the opportunity to clear himself of the weighty allegations.

It was gathered that Magu was brought to the venue at about 11:14 am from the Force Criminal Investigation Department, FCID, building where he had been held since Monday. He was also joined by his lawyer at the panel for interrogation.

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BIG STORY

I Thank God The Police Arrested Us, My Gang Member Shot Me In The Leg For Condemning Killing Of Cops —- Leader Of Ondo Robbery Gang

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Nigeria Police on Thursday paraded seven members of a gang responsible for robbing three banks in Ondo and Ekiti States between 2019 and the early part of 2020, killing six policemen in the process.

Leader of the gang, 42-year old Ojo Tubonsun, who confessed to the crime, said he was grateful to God that they were arrested by the police.

Tubonsun was paraded alongside six other members of his gang at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad headquarters in Abuja.

Also paraded were suspects for other offenses including arms dealing, fraud, homicide, and kidnapping.

Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, who paraded 32 suspects said items recovered from them included one AK-47 rifle, one AK-49 rifle; two pump action rifles, 19 locally made pistols, 129 live cartridges for the pump actions, 145 rounds of live ammunition and one Toyota Corolla salon car.

The arrests were made by operatives of the Special Tactical Squad (STS).

Mba said Tubonsun’s gang carried out the three robberies between 2019 and the early part of this year.

“Between 2019 and the early part of this year, three cases of bank robberies were recorded in Ondo and Ekiti States. Three banks located at Ile-Oluji in Ondo State, Idanre also in Ondo State, as well as Oye in Ekiti State, were at different times attacked and robbed by this same gang.

“Operatives from STS carried very extensive and intensive investigations into this case that lasted for months and today we are glad that we can present to you the outcome of these comprehensive investigations. Six policemen were killed as a result of those robberies. Four were killed during the robbery at Ile-Oluji in Ondo, while two were killed during the Oye in Ekiti State. A branch of WEMA Bank, a branch of UBA as well as a microfinance bank were attacked in those three operations,” the police spokesman said.

Other members of the gang arrested were Ismail Ojo, 25; Victor Owoyemi, 36; Adeniyi John, 42; Sola Oladimeji, 50; Olubadu Fatoye, 41; and Dele Ariyo, 44.

Mba said the gang’s operations were highly organized and clinically executed.

“They had a clear cut division of labour and each member of the group had an assigned role and they played it as effectively as they could. Fatoye and Ariyo were Okada riders who carried out surveillance operations while the robberies were going on. Their roles were to monitor the roles and monitor the advance of the police and other security agencies and keep the group informed of any external incursion into the areas the operations were taking place and they were paid handsomely for it. They all participated in the three operations and got different amounts for their roles.”

Confessing to the crime, the gang leader, Tubonsun, said, “We robbed UBA in Oye, Ekiti, I led them inside to go and pack the money, while others were outside. I did the same for the other two banks. At Ile-Oluji, I shared the money. My share was N1.1 million, some got N500, 000, some 350, 000, and so on. At Idanre we also shared the money. At Ile-Oluji, four policemen were killed, at Oye Ekiti, two policemen were killed.

“We thank God for God that the police got us arrested because it is the will of God. It was the will of God for the police to arrest us. If not the will of God, it would not be so. God has a purpose for us that is why. We know that we have already sinned. We have sinned against man and God. We have already begged, I personally have begged, for the forgiveness of the Almighty God. I also beg for forgiveness of human beings, and God will help us in Jesus name.”

Tubosi, who said he started robbing in 2018, said they carried out the operations using three pump actions, one AK and some locally made guns.

He said, “I did not support the killing of the policemen. I was inside. When I came outside and saw they killed two policemen, I blamed them. When I started to blame them, one of them fired my leg. I used hot water and ampiclox to treat the gunshot wounds,” he said.

The Police also paraded 33-year Usman Garba for arms dealing.

Mba said Garba was arrested while taking arms to bandits in Kaduna.

The FPRO said Garba, who moved from Dede in Abuja, was going to deliver 131 rounds of live ammunition to one Sani in Kaduna when he was arrested by the STS.

Also paraded were a car thief, Sunday Ekele, 37, and a gang that specialized in obtaining money from innocent members of the public under false pretense.

Mba said the gang engaged in blackmailing, threatening, and even kidnapping their victims.

The gang at various times fraudulently pretended to be old men, women, or children as part of their ploy to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.

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BIG STORY

RCCG Sacks Pastor For Attempting To Sleep With Member’s Wife In Her Matrimonial Home

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The Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, has sacked an Assistant Pastor of the church in Akure, Ondo State, Mr Gideon Bakare.

The church also relieved him of all ministerial duties in the mission.

Bakare was recently accused of attempting to sleep with a woman in her matrimonial home in Akure.

In a viral video, the pastor is seen naked as the church member sits beside him while her family films the event.

The woman, in the video, accuses Bakare of wanting to sleep with her, as the cleric begs for mercy.

She also threatens to call his wife to see what he has done.

The RCCG, in a statement by the Head, Media, and Public Relations, Pastor Olaitan Olubiyi, on Thursday, said the church dissociated itself from the immoral act.

He described it as “completely contrary to the core values, doctrines, beliefs and practices of the RCCG and the undiluted word of God.”

“The church, after reviewing the report of its investigation, noted that by his conduct, Bakare has not only tainted his personal reputation but has portrayed the Church in a bad light.

“Mr Bakare has therefore been directed to return all official items in his custody and stay off all associated connections with the mission with immediate effect,” the statement added.

Olubiyi told journalists that Bakare was a part-time pastor with the church, adding that his family was also devastated by the incident.

Our correspondent gathered that the cleric is a senior civil servant in the Ondo State Civil Service.

He had been allegedly pestering the woman for a relationship, as she decided to play along and set him up.

The government worker had removed his clothes while with the woman at her house when her family members came in.

Olubiyi said despite the church’s decision, Bakare could still attend any of the ministry’s parishes.

“The church is open to everybody. But the only thing is that he can no longer hold any position of responsibility in the church,” he added.

The RCCG spokesperson said Bakare could appeal the decision of the church if he was not satisfied.

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