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Patience Jonathan’s N2bn Worth Abuja Hotel To Become Isolation Center

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Former First Lady Patience Jonathan has struck a deal to release her 200-bed hotel as COVID-19 Isolation and treatment centre.

The Abuja hotel, which is believed to be worth about N2 billion, is under interim forfeiture secured by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the court on April 30, 2018.

The former First Lady, it was learnt, struck the deal with First Lady Aisha Buhari, which led to her release of the hotel, under litigation, for use by the government at the critical time.

The First Lady, through her pet project, the Future Assured Programme, entered into separate agreements with Mrs. Jonathan and the Ministry of Health to convert the hotel into a COVID-19 treatment centre.

Mrs. Buhari made an offer to the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, to equip it as a treatment centre to international standards.

Although the hotel will be formally handed over to the Minister of Health on Monday, it will be managed by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) COVID-19 committee.

The Future Assured Programme is providing facilities like water, furniture, beddings, fittings and modern health equipment used to manage COVID-19 cases.

It was gathered that the “deal” between the First Lady and her predecessor was struck at a recent meeting by the duo at the Presidential Villa.

A source quoted Mrs. Jonathan as saying: “This is the time we must all come together, irrespective of political differences, to assist this nation to fight the pandemic. It is time to shun politics.

“I will do everything to help this great country that has also given me the opportunity to serve.”

Investigation revealed that the First Lady decided to collaborate with Mrs. Jonathan to avoid the Future Assured Programme running into any legal crisis.

A highly-placed source added: “Since the dispute over the property is still in court, the First Lady opted to seek the consent of Mrs. Patience Jonathan on the temporary use of the seized hotel. This mutual understanding has removed all legal hurdles.

“After the nation has overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotel will be handed over to the Federal Ministry of Health, which will, in turn, revert back to the EFCC. Those involved are, therefore, the Future Assured Programme, the Ministry of Health, the EFCC and ex-First Lady Mrs. Patience Jonathan.

“All the existing agreements are without prejudice to the final decision of the court on the property, which the First Lady said is owned by a separate entity, Aurora Foundation.”

About 1.15pm on Sunday, about 30 workers were seen putting final touches to the centre.

A 20-man team of mobile policemen was on the alert to secure the sophisticated equipment already installed.

A source said: “It is a five-storey hotel which can actually be upgraded into 300 bedrooms. But so far, we have fitted the ground floor and three out of the other five floors.

“All things being equal, the hotel will be handed over on Monday by the First Lady. We have been working day and night on this project.

Asked to be specific on the cost being expended on the upgrading of the hotel to a medical centre for COVID-19, the source added: “Only the First Lady and the Future Assured Programme could account for such.”

The hotel is located in a valley in Mabushi part of Abuja, off the ever-busy Mabushi Kado Expressway.

By the description of Abuja Geographic Information Systems(AGIS), an agency under the Federal Capital Administration, the property is located at Plot No. 1758, Cadastral Zone, B06 Mabushi, and Plot No.1350, Cadastral Zone, A00 Central Business District.

Being a reserved area, the five-storey hotel is unique with its ash colour paint.

It is easily noticed by shoppers who take the route to one of the biggest shopping Complex in Abuja, the Jabi Lake Mall.

Less than two kilometres to Jabi Lake, the breeze from the lake at night provides additional ambience to the facility.

BIG STORY

JUST IN: Ebonyi Governor Tests Positive For COVID-19

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Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease.

This was contained in a statement personally signed by him on Saturday.

Details later…

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BIG STORY

Heritage Bank Shuts Branch For Disinfection Over Suspected Coronavirus Case

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Heritage Bank Plc said it has closed down an Experience Centre- EC (branch) at Allen Avenue; Ikeja over the “unconfirmed case” of Coronavirus for deep hygiene clean up after an employee took ill last week.

The bank in a statement made available to the press and customers noted: “in line with our emergency response plan and following regulatory practices, we have taken immediate steps to close down Allen Avenue, Ikeja Experience Centers- EC (branch) for thorough disinfection of the affected location.”

Contrary to rumour, the bank disclosed that whilst the suspected staff awaits her medical test from the Covid-19 Test Centre in Yaba, she had not exhibited any symptoms related to the virus.

“Neither of the suspected person or others in the EC had exhibited any symptoms,” the bank said in the statement.

Specifically, the bank stated that staff were advised to self-isolate for 14days forthwith which was in consonance with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The bank stated that the EC will undergo “thorough disinfection,” further affirmed, “Customers and staff safety remains paramount; hence we will recommence business with a new set of relief employees, as the current staff self-isolate.”

In the interim, the bank advised customers, “please visit other ECs or branches in Ikeja where you can conduct your daily transactions. Otherwise, you can use our alternate e-channels for seamless service deliveries.

“Heritage Bank remains resolute to continually serve you seamlessly despite prohibitions imposed on physical contact through our bouquet of electronic products which have been made available on notable mobile stores and our website (www.hbng.com).”

The bank noted that it would continue to intensify ongoing efforts via its intranet and other channels to keep staff and customers up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 information and provide clear direction and guidance expected of workers and customers.

“We have set up a COVID-19 Support Centre to offer COVID-19 safety tips to all our customers during this period, in support of the efforts of the Government and relevant bodies. Please send any information relating to the COVID-19 pandemic via these channels: E-mail: [email protected] and contact number: 01-2369099,” the bank stated.

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Hushpuppi Conspired To Defraud Premier League Club Of $124 Million

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United States authorities on Friday said an English Premier League club was among the victims the suspected Nigerian fraudster Igbalode Ramoni Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi, conspired to defraud.

US Department of Justice said Hushpuppi will face criminal charges, alleging he conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other scams, including schemes targeting a U.S. law firm, a foreign bank and an unnamed English Premier League soccer club.

“Abbas and others further conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from other fraudulent schemes and computer intrusions, including one scheme to steal £100 million (approximately $124 million) from an English Premier League soccer club, the complaint alleges,” the Department of Justice said in a statement on Friday.

Abbas, popularly known as Huspuppi was arrested earlier in June along with Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Woodberry and 10 others.

The 12 suspects were arrested in six simultaneous raids carried out by the e-police unit of the Dubai Police.

The gang was responsible for Dh1.6 billion (about N169 billion) fraud involving over 1.9 million victims. Items worth N15.845 billion (Dh 150 million) were also seized.

13 luxury cars worth N2. 640 billion (Dh 25 million), 21 laptops, 47 smartphones, 15 memory storage devices, 5 external hard drives, and 800, 000 emails of potential victims were also recovered from the gang.

Their arrest in an operation codenamed Fox Hunt 2 came after about four months of painstaking investigations into their activities., during which their social media activities were monitored by the highly trained police unit.

The video posted by the Dubai Media Office said their police were able to track the locations of the suspected fraudsters using their social media activities.

The Dubai Police said the Hushpuppi and his gang specialized in hacking corporate emails and then send fictitious messages to the clients of the companies whose email accounts they have hacked to redirect financial transactions and bank details to their own accounts.

“This was a challenging case, one that spanned international boundaries, traditional financial systems and the digital sphere,” said Jesse Baker, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Los Angles Field Office.

The DoJ affidavit alleges that Abbas and others committed a BEC scheme that defrauded a client of a New York-based law firm out of approximately $922,857 in October 2019.

DoJ said Abbas and co-conspirators allegedly tricked one of the law firm’s paralegals into wiring money intended for the client’s real estate refinancing to a bank account that was controlled by Abbas and the co-conspirators.

The Dubai Police said he and Woodberry were extradited to the United States this week to face charges of money laundering. If convicted, Hushpuppi would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

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