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EFCC Nabs Bishop Defrauding People In God’s Name

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Benin Zonal Office has arrested a Bishop and suspected fraudster, Giniko Obi, for allegedly defrauding thousands of people of millions of naira, in the guise of helping them “fight poverty”.

Obi, founder of Beloved Gideon Foundation, based in Agbor, Delta State, with outreaches in Bayelsa, Onitsha, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Benin City, however, denied any involvement in fraud claiming that he was only “doing the will of God by trying to help the people fight poverty”.

According to him, it was his desire and God’s will to see people prosper that led him into operating what appears to be a Ponzi Scheme. Obi who claim to be a consecrated Bishop, possessing a diploma in theology explains thus:

“We write books such as ‘24 Nuggets for Successful Living’, ‘36 Nuggets for Successful Living’, ‘48 Nuggets for Successful Living’. We organise seminars and conferences on how to be successful. We tell the people to subscribe to these publications. If you subscribe with N10, 800, we give you N15, 000. If you subscribe with N18, 000, we give you N23, 000. I had about 30,000 subscribers and I was paying them”.

According to him, when he left Agbor for Lagos, his desire was to expand his subscription base but his subscribers were impatient.

“If they allowed me to hold the conference in Lagos, I would have paid them,” he claimed.

However, some of his victims who have continued to throng the EFCC office, since his arrest, described him as a “fraud”.

One of them, Janet Amaka Okafor, said the Bishop sold a dummy to them by claiming that he was from the famous Gideons International, based in the United States.

She said: “He organised seminars in Agbor market that he was from Gideons International and that their mission was to help eradicate poverty in Nigeria.

“He told us that unlike in the past when Gideons International distributed Bibles and Christian literatures, their mission now was to eradicate poverty”.

On how she became a victim of the scheme, Okafor, 35, who claims she has never participated in any Ponzi scheme in the past said she fell for his tricks because the “Bishop” swore with the Bible.

“The Bishop knelt down and swore with the Bible. He convinced us that he was from Texas, USA and we believed him. I subscribed with N10, 800 and he paid me N15, 000. It was after this that he engaged over 60 of us as canvassers. I brought many people including my relations and friends. All together, they invested over N5 million”.

Another victim, Bessie Nwadibire, 67, said the Bishop was very deceptive from the beginning.

“When he came to the market he gave out drinks and dashed some people money as much as N50, 000 as he said the poverty rate in Nigeria was too high,” Nwadibire said, praying and hoping that the Bishop will be made to refund her money.

Expressing gratitude that the EFCC has arrested the Bishop, she said, “Before he was arrested, we went into hiding, because all the people who invested their money into the business through me have threatened to kill me unless I refund their money. The money is over N8, 000, 000 (Eight Million Naira) only”.

The same tale of woes has become the lot of Wisdom Aderemor Okpuzor, a civil servant based in Agbor.

Okpuzor who said she had to flee her home for fear of being attacked described the Bishop as “callous and evil”.

The suspect will soon be arraigned in court. (NAN)

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Sanwo-Olu Reviews Administration’s Strides; Says Education, Security, Infrastructure Key Priority

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has highlighted key components of his administration, which he said are aimed at delivering his Greater Lagos vision.

The Governor named education, security, improvement of infrastructure as well as upgrading of the environment as some of the sectors his government will invest in to achieve a greater Lagos.

Governor Sanwo-Olu made the revelation while answering questions as a guest on Channels television’s flagship programme, Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.

While enumerating the success story of his administration in the last 196 days, the Governor said a lot of achievements have been recorded in the area of security of lives and property of the residents.

The Governor said: “At a period like this – going to the end of the year, criminal activities are usually on the increase because people want to do things to make quick money. We are working on salvaging the situation. We have a new Commissioner of Police who has hit the ground running from the first day he came in.

“You heard of the unfortunate incident of an expatriate that was stabbed to death by domestic staff recently. I was up till 2am last Friday because we were tracking the suspects. The Commissioner of Police led the team and we were able to apprehend the two suspects.

“Policing and security come in two ways. It comes with intelligence.

What kind of information do you have prior to or after the event? You really don’t know who has a criminal tendency by mere looking at their faces. We must have more men out there on the streets and we must have the ability to be able to respond when there is a distress call.

“That’s why we keep increasing the number of vehicles we provide for them. We keep supporting them with a lot of communication gadgets. We keep saying to them that whatever they need to be able to respond when the distress comes, which is often sudden, we’ll give to them. When we do the analysis, it will be an issue of how well we are able to track and get the perpetrators of these acts.”

The Governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to adopt technology to combat crimes and reduce them to the barest minimum.

He said: “One of the things we realize is that security is also going tech. You need a lot of technology and devices to monitor crimes, and whilst we are doing a lot of hard things, we are also building up technology. Next year, we are building a new Control and Command Center as part of our Safe City project and Mega-City security deliverables. We are going to bring to Lagos all those security measures you see in developed Nations.

“At the first phase, we will install about 2,200 high definition cameras across the State. From a CCTV, we can view, review, monitor and track incidents as they happen. We will also train officials. These are some of the things that will happen in the first quarter of next year”

On the issue of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), the Governor said: “The NURTW is a national body of the Nigerian Labour Congress. It is a registered trade union organization.’’

“Like other unions, they are under the supervision of the State government. We regulate and supervise them. And we have warned that they could be proscribed if they don’t conduct themselves well.

Sanwo-Olu spoke about the State government’s plans for the construction of the 4th mainland bridge, saying his administration will make use of private equity to achieve the project.

“Two weeks ago, we advertised for the expression of interest from construction firms around the world for the 4th mainland bridge project. Our total budget for next year is about $3 billion and that’s the highest in the country. The 4th mainland bridge, from the design, we have seen that it is a 37-kilometer road. We cannot handle it alone so we are going to use private equity.

‘‘We have advertised. We have the alignment, we have the right of way and all of the biometric study. Let everyone worldwide come and play a role.

The Governor also spoke extensively on his plan for the education sector, saying the state government is determined to elevate the status of the primary education to a very competitive level.

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BREAKING: Sigh Of Relief As Electricity Workers Suspend Nationwide Strike

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The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has suspended its strike embarked upon on Wednesday to draw the federal government’s attention to the plight of its members.

Following a meeting with officials of the federal government, the union accepted to discontinue the one-day-old strike.

According to the National President of NUEE, Comrade Joe Ajaero, who confirmed the outcome of the meeting to THISDAY, the workers’ grievances were conclusively addressed.

He said that all the concerns of the union and its members were addressed at the talks which lasted till the wee hours of today.

“We have concluded deliberations and all issues were addressed, but we are awaiting implementation. Meanwhile, our strike action is suspended,” Ajaero said.

Following the expiration of the 21 days ultimatum issued by NUEE to the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, to implement their demands, and the failure of the minister to dialogue with the union before the ultimatum which lapsed midnight Tuesday, a nationwide blackout was imminent as electricity workers began indefinite strike Wednesday morning.

The strike led to the shutting down of most of the offices of Distribution Companies (Discos) across the country.

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Trouble Brews In FIRS As Workers Rejects Fowler’s Handover To Aina, Demand Handover To Senior Director

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Twenty-four hours after the change of guard at the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), members of staff of the Service have given the authorities till Friday for the most senior director to take over as acting chairman.

Mr. Babatunde Fowler handed over to Abiodun Aina, Coordinating Director, Domestic Taxes Group after President Muhammadu Buhari named Muhammad M. Nami to replace him as chairman and sent his name to the Senate for confirmation.

According to a communique sent to the Acting Executive Chairman, the workers, under the aegis of the Joint Union Council of FIRS, threatened that they cannot guarantee industrial harmony after Friday if Aina continues to act as chairman.

The FIRS claimed that Aina, “does not have the basic qualification/requirement (HND or BSc) to be employed into the Service.”

Besides, the union said Aina’s appointment to the position of Coordinating Director “was against the provision of Section 2.19 of FIRS Human Resource Policies and Processes which states as follows: Appointment to the post of Coordinating Director shall be made by the Board on the recommendation of the Executive Chairman.”

Aina’s appointment they claim should “be open to all confirmed Directors of the Service and it shall be competitive based on experience, competence, and seniority, as he was never a director in the Service rather a Senior Special Assistant to the erstwhile Chairman of FIRS.”

They also claimed that “his name is not on the seniority list of confirmed FIRS staff and FIRS directors on the staff nominal roll rather on the list of Contract Staff of FIRS.”

At the end of the emergency meeting, union members resolved that “in accordance with the Presidential Directive, the seniority list should be followed and the appropriate person be directed to act, pending assumption of duty of the New FIRS executive chairman.

“That if by close of work on Friday, 13th December 2019, no action is taken to this effect, Union will no longer guaranty further industrial harmony in the system.”

The communique was signed by Okere Samson (JUC Chairman); Idris Hassan Abdulrahaman (JUC Vice-Chairman); Lekwot Friday Thomas (JUC Secretary); Jimoh Idowu; Kenechukwu Oliver; Shehu M.D; Esther Acheme; Jane Akinbami; Abba Dalhatu; Akpabio N.M; Ajoge J.Y; Akorga Lucy; Ohiwere Ahmed A; Abubakar Abeni; Hussaini Moses; Nwoha Godwin and Habiba Adekunle.

The union leaders sent copies of the communique to Finance Minister Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nígeria President and his Nigeria Civil Service Union counterpart.

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