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BIG STORY

Free My Son, Sowore’s Mother Begs Buhari, Osinbajo [VIDEO]

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Mother of Omoyele Sowore, Esther, has made a passionate appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari, his wife Aisha, and other leaders to compel the Department of State Services (DSS) to free her son.

She made the appeal just as a former Police Commissioner, Abubakar Tsav, the All Progress Congress (APC), the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, expressed diverse opinions on the Sowore saga.

Sowore’s mother, in an interview, aired on Sunday by Television Continental (TVC), also urged Vice –President Yemi Osinbajo, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to intervene in the matter.

She said: “I am begging Buhari in the name of Allah to release my son. It has affected my health. Release my son for me; it is time to release Omoyele. Enough is enough. Aisha help. Everyone is preparing for Christmas and New Year. If not for his detention, my son would now be preparing to go to the village to meet me and everybody in the village.

“Everybody is waiting for him in the village. I am now pleading with President Buhari to help me release him. I mean, fully release Sowore. It should be 100 percent release.

“I am inviting all the leaders – Tinubu, Soyinka and the Vice President to intervene and help release Omoyele Sowore. He is not a criminal; he is a man of God. I know my son; my son loves everybody.”

But Tsav, who served as a police commissioner in Lagos State appeared to have countered Sowore’s mother when he said on Sunday: “If I were President Buhari, I would have taken a sterner step on him than what he is doing now

He stated that the Presidency was justified in likening Sowore’s case to that of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

Tsav argued that Sowore committed a grave offense by planning to stage a revolution after contesting and losing the last presidential election.

This, he said, implies that he wanted to govern Nigeria by force.

The former police boss said: “As somebody that was involved in law enforcement for 35 years, I will tell you the action and utterances of Sowore are very dangerous. They have serious consequences for the country. This is because he contested an election and lost and the next thing we are hearing is that he wants to stage a revolution. That means he wants to govern the country by force.

“If I were him, I would have kept my mouth shut and comply with the conditions of his bail. But he did not do so. So, if I were President Buhari, I would have taken a sterner step on him than what he is doing now.”

SERAP, however, faulted the Presidency for comparing Sowore with Boko Haram militants.

It said: “It is unacceptable to compare citizens who are also activists simply exercising their human rights including freedom of expression with militants who are killing our people and destroying property.”

The group said what was happening to Sowore and his co-accused, Mr. Olawale Bakare, showed clear attempts to further silence critics, activists and the media while the Federal Government continued to undermine the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.

The group tweeted: “We condemn the statement today by @NigeriaGov issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to President Buhari, which seems to compare Sowore and Bakare to Boko Haram militants. To be absolutely clear: Sowore and Bakare are not terrorists.”

Also on Sunday, the ruling APC accused former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar of spreading falsehood about the event leading the re-arrest of Sowore.

It’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu said in a statement that Nigerians should be wary of people who are bent on bringing the country down at all cost.

The party called on Atiku to apologize to Nigerians for misinforming them about what happened.

The statement reads: “Following the recent court drama that greeted the resumed trial of the convener of #RevolutionNow, Mr. Sowore, the PDP and its defeated presidential candidate, Alhaji. Atiku Abubakar has typically chosen to present and spread their concocted “alternative facts” and lies on the incident.

“The party will not be drawn into arguments over the powers of the DSS to arrest and re-arrest Sowore over his actions and utterances. The constitutional mandate of the DSS already addresses that.

“Also, the Presidency has clarified that the DSS does not necessarily need the President’s permission in all cases to carry out its essential and constitutional responsibilities.

“Again, whether Sowore flouted any of his bail conditions or staged the incident in court is another matter which the court and the prosecuting agency should address.

‘Atiku in his horrid statement particularly accused the DSS of attacking the presiding judge among other lies being chorused by the PDP and their hirelings. Documentary evidence such as videos and pictures have shown that the tales are a complete ruse until anyone is able to present contrary evidence.

“If Atiku’s intervention was sincere, having realized the truth, he has not deemed it proper to apologize to Nigerians for misinforming them on the incident. Instead, he hangs shamelessly on lies. A commentator has correctly described Atiku as “the king of the bandwagon.”

Meanwhile, Sowore’s lawyer, Mr. Falana, has described as contradictory, the statement by the DSS on Friday’s incident.

He said the DSS made an unsuccessful attempt to absolve itself of responsibility “for the armed invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja” and “the desecration of Court No 7.”

Besides, he said Sowore’s re-arrest was illegal.

“Having declared that the service arrested Sowore ‘outside the court’, despite the ‘stage-managing’ argument, what the Nigerian people want to see happen is the immediate release of Sowore, pending his trial as ordered by the court,” Falana said.

Falana said the facts show that the DSS was solely responsible for the desecration of the hallowed chambers of the court.

He added, “When I informed the court that fresh charges were being filed against our clients and that they could be re-arrested, the prosecution denied any such plan.

“As soon as the case was adjourned the SSS pounced on Sowore and caused a disruption of the proceedings of the court.

“Having taken over the courtroom vi et armis (trespass with force), Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu hurriedly rose and asked the Registrar to adjourn all other cases.”

Falana said the DSS officers were identifiable by their roles and acts of seizing Sowore and pinning him down.

He added, “It is utter poor reasoning to say that Sowore’s supporters were also those bent on injuring him in order to arrest him.

“The argument of the service in this respect is as unfortunate and pitiable as the earlier argument of the Service in respect of the Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi who was once accused of wanting to set ablaze his own house.”

Arguing that the DSS did not inform the court that Sowore flouted his bail terms, .he demanded his release.

 

 

Video Credit: TVC News

BIG STORY

Police Disband IRT, STS State Offices

Peter Okunoren

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The Police at the weekend disbanded all satellite offices and bases of the Intelligence Response Squad (IRT) and Special Tactical Squad (STS).

The directive followed moves by the Force Headquarters to reposition the police and ensure accountability as well as due process.

The IRT and STS were recently integrated into the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) headed by Ibrahim Lamorde to improve efficiency and ensure operational discipline.

According to a signal sighted by our Correspondent, the Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs) in charge of IRT (Abba Kyari) and Yusuf Kolo (STS) are to ensure that all bases and offices outside Abuja were shut with immediate effect.

It was learnt that the disbanded offices were ordered to submit all firearms in their possession to the central armory, all suspects in their custody transferred to the state command’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) while cases already charged to court but investigation not concluded be moved to State Criminal investigation Departments (SCID).

Commissioners of Police were also directed to monitor strict compliance of the directive.

Already, DCP Kolo in compliance with the directive has asked his sector commanders to “fall-in” with their men, exhibits, suspects arms, and ammunition on July 16 at the unit’s Abuja office to be inspected by the DIG.

“You are further directed to warn all your operatives to remove the IGP inscription on their operational kits. The correspondences should bear FIB STS,” Kolo said in a signal to the sector commanders.

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BIG STORY

Magu Didn’t Account For N47.8b, Linked With BDC With 158 Accounts, Gave Falana N28m — Probe Panel

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The suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, may be facing fresh cases of alleged re-looting of funds recovered by the commission as well as bribery.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Magu is currently being interrogated by a presidential probe panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami over allegations of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets by the EFCC.

A final report of the Presidential Investigation Committee on the EFCC Federal Government Recovered Assets and Finances from May 2015 to May 2020, obtained by NAN, had seriously indicted and implicated Magu on various allegations levelled against him.

The investigative committee terms of reference were to:

Investigate, verify, and review the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets as it relates to the EFCC, with a view to ascertaining the complicity or otherwise of the Ag. Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, in the mismanagement of the assets recovered by the Commission;
Identify Avenues through which the recovered assets are dissipated and seized, recovered, forfeited (Interim and Final) assets are valued, managed, disposed, and/or mismanaged with a view to ascertaining compliance or otherwise with extant laws, regulations, processes and procedures.

Review the existing procedures on the Management of the seized, recovered, and Forfeited assets (interim and final) and proffer Standard Operational Procedures for the management of seized, recovered and forfeited assets.

Determine whether assets recovered during his tenure, whether locally in Nigeria or abroad, are being kept safely in a manner as to preserve their original value and determine:-

Whether all the assets could be properly accounted for by the Ag. Chairman.

To confirm if any of the assets have been diverted to the benefit of the Ag. Chairman, his family, relation, friends, or favoured staff.

To recover any such diverted assets and return back to the EFCC or appropriate government agency.

The committee was also to investigate and report on corruption and money laundering allegations involving Magu and Bureau De Change operators, as well as some of his associates; as per the intelligence reports and petitions.

It was to audit the Assets and Finances of the EFCC as a legal entity from 2015 to 2020, with a view to establishing compliance or otherwise with procurement procedures of the EFCC in line with the provisions of the Procurement Act.

However, new facts have emerged on how interest rates accruing from N550 billion recovered by the EFCC in the period under review were allegedly re-looted.

Magu is now expected to disclose the whereabouts of the missing interest funds running into millions of naira.

NAN also observed that the Final Report of Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets that covered the period of May 29, 2015, to November 22, 2018, had also confirmed the concerns of the public about contradictory recovery figures emanating from Magu.

The report said: “It is quite disturbing that conflicting figures are being circulated in the public space by EFCC as the amount of recovered funds

“For Foreign currency recoveries, EFCC reported a total naira equivalent of N46,038,882,509.87, while the naira equivalent of the foreign currency lodgements were N37,533,764,195.66, representing a shortfall of N8,505,118,314.21.

“These inconsistencies cast serious doubt on the accuracy of figures submitted by the EFCC. It is the committee’s view that the EFCC cannot be said to have fully accounted for cash recoveries made by it.

“While EFCC reported total Naira recoveries of N504,154,184,744.04, the actual bank lodgements were N543,511,792,863.47. These discrepancies mean that EFCC’s actual lodgement exceeded its reported recoveries by N39,357,608,119.43.

“It must be pointed out that the discrepancy of more than thirty-nine billion naira does not include interest accrued in this account since it was opened.

“It, therefore, cast serious doubt on the credibility of the figures and means that a substantial amount of money has not been accurately accounted for.

“Failure to report on the interest on actual lodgements clearly establishes that interest element of over N550 billion has been re-looted relating to the period under review.

“This is an apparent case of manipulation of data in a very brazen and unprofessional manner and this has greatly eroded the public confidence in the anti-corruption efforts.”

NAN also reports that the PCARA revealed how the investigative reports on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit exposed acts of corruption and money laundering against some EFCC officials, including Magu.

The report added: “The NFIU reports established that the Acting Chairman has been using different sources to siphon money from the EFCC, and in some cases collecting bribes from suspects.

“The report has shown that a particular Bureau de Change, owned by Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono linked to the Acting Chairman based in Kaduna has more than 158 accounts and has been receiving huge sums of funds.

“The link to Magu was also established by the payment of N28 million to FALANA who is a close associate and ally of the Acting Chairman.”

NAN reports that the Salami probe panel is expected to continue sitting on Monday while Magu’s lawyer, Oluwatosin Ojaomo, had on Friday applied for an administrative bail for his client, who is facing corruption and other charges before the panel.

NAN.

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BIG STORY

Manhunt Launched For Pastor Allegedly Used By Magu To Buy N573m Land In Dubai —Probe Panel

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A report by the Presidential Probe Panel has revealed details of how the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, allegedly used a cleric to launder funds abroad.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Magu is currently being interrogated by the panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami over allegations of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets by the commission.

A copy of the report made available to NAN on Saturday in Abuja said one Pastor Emmanuel Omale of Hand of God Prophetic Ministry was used by Magu in laundering the funds.

Omale’s name was uncovered through an investigative report on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit and mentioned in the final report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets.

According to the report, the unknown clergy is alleged to have bought a landed property on behalf of Magu worth N573 million in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The report added: “Another individual who is helping in laundering funds for the Acting Chairman and who has been referred to in several petitions is one Pastor Emmanuel Omale (Hand of God Prophetic Ministry).

“He is reported to have travelled to Dubai with Mr Magu and his name was used in purchasing a property in Dubai for Mr Magu.

“As an unknown pastor, the NFIU’s report showed the huge movement of funds ranging from N573,228,040.41.”

NAN also gathered that efforts had been intensified to expose the real identity of the Pastor with a view to arraigning him for prosecution if found culpable.

On the Diezani Alison-Madueke case, the PCARA report accused Magu of failure to cooperate with authorities in the United Kingdom to facilitate effective prosecution of the case.

The report said: “In the Diezani Alison Madueke case, the Acting Chairman is failing to further cooperate with the UK NCA to enable them to charge the Former Minister to court in the UK.

“The Acting Chairman despite his knowledge that Mrs Madueke will not be extradited to Nigeria until after her trial in the UK has consistently been accusing the UK government on the pages of print and electronic media of not wanting to extradite her to Nigeria.”

Magu was also accused of deliberately refusing to provide documentary evidence that would make the office of the nation’s Attorney-General to commence the extradition process of Alison-Madueke.

“This has strained the EFCC relationship with Europe most strategic partner,” the report further observed.

NAN reports that Magu, who is being held at the Police Headquarters in Abuja, is expected to reappear before the Salami probe panel on Monday to defend himself against several allegations.

NAN.

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