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BIG STORY

Documentary On Oshiomhole’s ‘Dark Side’ Out January 30 —- Edo Ex-Speaker

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The immediate past speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Alhaji Kabiru Adjoto, says he is set to release a three-hour documentary, “exposing Mr. Adams Oshiomhole’s dark waters.”

But the Oshiomhole camp says the former Edo governor has done no wrong.

Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on Monday, Adjoto said the documentary would be shown to the public on Jan. 30 in Abuja.

Adjoto, who described Oshiomhole as his long-time political confidant, said the documentary would expose Oshiomhole’s “dirty malfeasance in his days as governor of Edo State.

He said that the documentary was part of his planned nationwide campaign against Oshiomhole, who is currently the national chairman of the ruling APC.

Adjoto disclosed that the three-hour documentary highlighted some shady deals allegedly carried out by Oshiomhole in Edo’s Central Hospital contract and the N30 billion Benin Storm Water project.

The former speaker named other questionable projects executed during the Oshiomhole era as the airport road contract and some other transactions, handled by Oshiomhole at the tail end of his administration.

“The problem I have with Oshiomhole is not personal but a disagreement over the reversal of initially professed democratic principles.

“Every atom of principle he preached and benefited from is a sharp contrast to what he is championing today.”

Adjoto claimed that he had the backing of critical APC stakeholders, including seven governors, whom he said, had thrown their weight behind the ‘Oshiomhole must-go-campaign, which he said, would hit the streets soon.

Commenting on the forthcoming Edo APC governorship primaries, the APC chieftain reiterated that any team sent by Oshiomhole to conduct the primaries would be vehemently rejected.

He said that the rejection of Oshiomhole was because the APC national chairman had been suspended from the party and that he lacked constitutional powers to preside over any affair of the party.

“Oshiomhole should be ready for a Zamfara showdown in Edo State if he makes an attempt to spearhead the primary process because he is behind the crisis bedeviling the party in Edo State.’’

He said that Oshiomhole’s suspension from the party had been ratified in his ward, local government and the state’s executive committee of the party.

The former lawmaker noted that the incumbent, governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, must enjoy the right of first refusal during the primaries, otherwise the process would be enmeshed in catastrophe.

He disclosed further that he would be meeting with notable traditional rulers in Oshiomhole’s senatorial zone, including the Otaru of Auchi, to inform them of the looming consequences that would face the “suspended national chairman of the party if he failed to retrace his steps.

“Without mincing words, the next few weeks will be very interesting.

“After the release of the Oshiomhole documentary, Nigerians would judge if he’s qualified to lead a party, whose principal trademark is fighting corruption,” Adjoto added.

He advised the four APC governorship aspirants against falling into what he called “Oshiomhole’s crafty political web’’.

Adjoto said he would meet with the aspirants to make them see the reason to queue behind Obaseki for the common good of Edo people.

But reacting to allegations of fraud against Oshiomhole, a member of the Oshiomhole camp, Mr Henry Idahagbon, said that Obaseki and the current Secretary to the Edo Government, Mr Osarodion Ogie, should also be included in any fraud charge against Oshiomhole.

Idahagbon, who was Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice during Oshiomhole’s administration said that every project executed during Oshiomhole’s era was approved by Obaseki as the chairman of the administration’s economic team.

He said that the contracts cited by Adjoto were over 90 percent completed by Oshiomhole before he left office, dismissing accusations against the APC national chairman as unfounded.

Edo State is set for governorship elections in August this year.

(NAN)

BIG STORY

FBI ‘Kidnapped” Hushpuppi From Dubai, There Was No Extradition, No Court Documents Filed —- Lawyer

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A Nigerian man accused of a multimillion-dollar fraud and money laundering by the United States was kidnapped by the FBI from Dubai, his lawyer says.

Ramon Olorunwa Abbas – known to his 2.5 million Instagram followers as Ray Hushpuppi – and another cyber-heist suspect Olalekan Jacob Ponle (aka Mr. Woodberry) were arrested in Dubai, where they lived, in June.

They then appeared in a Chicago court on 3 July.

The United Arab Emirates has no extradition treaty with the United States but Dubai police said they had been extradited to the US.

Mr Abbas’ lawyer Gal Pissetzky told the BBC that his client, who posts on Instagram about his extravagant lifestyle, was not a criminal and had made his money legitimately.

“He is a social media influencer with millions of followers, with millions of people that respect and loved him, and he loved them, and that’s what he did. In today’s society, that’s a business,” he said.

Mr Pissetzky admits that he is not “100% familiar” with social media and his children consider him too old but he knows “that’s how people make money today”.

The Chicago defence lawyer’s argument that Hushpuppi was paid by designer brands for promotion has set the stage for what promises to be a long trial in American courts.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) accuses Mr Abbas, 37, of conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from frauds known as Business Email Compromise (BEC) and other scams.

It is the latest high-profile fraud case involving a Nigerian national in the United States but his lawyer says the US had no authority to transport him from Dubai.

In my opinion, the FBI and the government here acted illegally when they kidnapped him from Dubai without any legal process to do so,” Mr Pissetzky told the BBC.

“There was no extradition, there were no legal steps taken, there were no court documents filed, it was simply a call to the FBI. He is not a citizen of the United States, the US had absolutely no authority to take him,” his lawyer says.

But the Dubai police said in a Facebook post that the FBI director had thanked them for extraditing the two men.

“You’ll have to ask them about why they called it an extradition,” the US Department of Justice (DoJ) spokesman responded in an email.

In a statement about Mr Abbas’ initial court appearance, the DoJ said “FBI special agents earlier this week obtained custody of Abbas and brought him to the United States” without giving any further details.

Mr. Pissetzky is not convinced.

“If Dubai wanted to expel him, they should have expelled him back to Nigeria. I’ve never heard of anything like that. That is the real story here.”

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Buhari Suspends EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Magu; Appoints Umar

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The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), says the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has approved the suspension of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.

Malami said this in a statement by his Spokesman, Umar Gwandu, on Friday.

He subsequently appointed the EFCC Head of Operations, Mohammed Umar, as the acting chairman.

The statement read in part, “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate suspension of Ibrahim Magu as Ag. Chairman EFCC in order to allow for an unhindered inquiry by the Presidential Investigation Panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has also approved that the EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, should take charge and oversee the activities of the Commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation and further directives in that regard.”

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Buhari Signs N10.8trn Revised 2020 Budget

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President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, signed the revised 2020 Budget of N10.8 trillion, passed by the National Assembly in June, into law.

While signing the bill into law, the President explained the revision became necessary because of the weakening effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s economy.

He also said ministries, departments, and agencies will be given 50 percent of their capital allocation by the end of the month.

The signing ceremony, which took place inside the State House, was witnessed by the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.

Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, and other principal officers also witnessed the signing.

The Ministers Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of State Finance, Clement Agba, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emiefile and Director General Budget, Ben Akabueze.

At 11:03am, Senator Babajide Omoworare, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) and Hon. Umar El-Yakub, on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), presented the budget to the President, while the Osinbajo, Lawan, and Gbajamilia joined him to witness the signing the budget at exactly 11:06

Details shortly…

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