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Recovered Vehicles Auctioned To Presidential Villa, Ministries —– Magu

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The suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, says some of the vehicles recovered by the EFCC were auctioned to the Presidential Villa, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development as well as the Federal Inland Revenue Services and other agencies.

He further stated that some of these agencies had not paid for the vehicles but there was an arrangement that the money would be deducted from their financial allocation.

Magu, in a letter, addressed to the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel titled, ‘Re: Alleged Case of Conspiracy, Enrichment, Abuse of Public Office and Other Infractions,’ explained how some of the recovered vehicles were auctioned.

The letter was in response to an earlier report by the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets in which Magu was accused of being unable to account for the interest accrued to N550bn recovered funds as well as recovered vehicles and houses.

In his response to the allegations of being unable to account for recovered vehicles, Magu stated, “On allocation of vehicles to some government agencies through special auction with presidential approval. The beneficiary agencies are the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management of which the valued price is to be debited from their allocation; State House, National Commission for Refugees and Displaced Persons; Federal Inland Revenue Service and National Directorate of Employment.”

The suspended EFCC boss said about 450 other vehicles, which had been recovered, had yet to be sold despite receiving presidential approval to do so.

“The commission presently has presidential approval to dispose over 450 forfeited vehicles located in Lagos and Abuja. The vehicles have been valued by the National Automotive Council Valuers and the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. But no sale/disposal has been conducted yet,” Magu stated.

He said some of the houses permanently forfeited to the Federal Government by looters had also been handed over to some government agencies like the Voice of Nigeria, North -East Development Commission and the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate.

The suspended EFCC boss explained that some other properties, which had been forfeited pending the outcome of court cases, were being rented by the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Nigerian Army and other agencies of government.

The letter further read, “Real properties finally forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria and allocated to some agencies for official use in line with the Presidential approval are: Voice of Nigeria, National Directorate of Employment, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, North East Development Commission and Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate.

“Properties under interim forfeiture order are rented by the following government agencies: Nigerian Army, Federal Ministry of Finance, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.

“Other agencies of government that have approached the commission to rent properties under interim forfeiture order include the National Human Rights Commission and National Council for Arts and culture.”

Magu said the commission also temporarily handed over the property in Lagos to the Lagos State Government for use as isolation centres for COVID-19 patients.

The suspended EFCC boss attached photographs of some of the recovered assets to the letter he addressed to the panel.

However, it was learnt that an attempt by Magu’s lawyer, Wahab Shittu, to submit the letter to the panel on Monday was rebuffed.

The panel was said to have insisted that there was no basis for the letter and informed Shittu that Magu would be summoned if there was a need for clarification.

“An attempt to submit the letter to the secretary of the panel on Monday failed. Magu’s team was informed that the panel does not entertain letters but it is purely an investigative one. If there is a need for clarification, Magu would be invited,” a source said.

Magu’s lawyer did not respond to calls on Tuesday evening.

A government source, however, said the Presidency would not like to be dragged into the matter.

“Magu wrote to the panel, it is the panel that should be responding to him if the need be,” the source said.

Magu was arrested by the police on July 6, 2020, and brought before the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel which is sitting at the Presidential Villa.

He was subsequently suspended and detained for about 10 days at the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Abuja. While in custody, his house in the Karu area of Abuja was searched.

In an earlier statement and open letter titled, ‘Publications prejudicial to the proceedings of this honourable panel,’ Magu’s lawyer, Shittu, had complained that the allegations against Magu circulating on social and print media were completely false and a misrepresentation of the probe.

BIG STORY

JUST IN: Many Missing As Truck Plunges Into Lagos River

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Many people have been declared missing after a truck fell off the Berger bridge into the Epe river in Lagos State on Friday night.

As at the time of filing this report, the number of persons in the truck was unknown.

However, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) confirmed the incident on Saturday.

Head, Public Affairs of LASEMA, Nosa Okunbor, said search and rescue operations are ongoing.

More to come.

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BIG STORY

‘Jail Me But Set Him Free’ — Foreign Activist Writes Buhari Over 13-Year-Old Sentenced For Blasphemy In Kano

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Piotr Cywinski

Piotr Cywinski, director of Auschwitz Memorial in Poland, says he is ready to be imprisoned in Nigeria so that Umar Farouq, a 13-year-old boy sentenced for blasphemy, can regain freedom.

A Sharia court in Kano had convicted Farouq for “using disparaging language on Allah” during a disagreement with his friend.

In a letter dated September 25 and addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, Cywinski sought pardon for Farouq.

He said if Buhari is unable to facilitate the teenager’s release, he and 119 volunteers would serve a month in a Nigerian prison on Farouq’s behalf.

“I permit myself to write to you personally about a young boy named Omar Farouq, who was convicted recently in a Sharia court in Kano State in north-west Nigeria after being accused of blasphemy used during an argument with a friend,” he said.

“I wish to request the pardon of this 13-year-old boy. Regardless of what he said, he cannot be treated as fully aware and responsible, given his age.

“If it turns out that the words of this child absolutely require 120 months of imprisonment, and even you are not able to change that, I suggest that in place of the child, 120 adult volunteers from all over the world, gathered by us myself personally among them should each serve a month in a Nigerian prison.

“In total, the price for the child’s transgression will be the same, and we will all avoid the worst.

“If you agree to grant clemency, or to the above proposal in lieu of punishment, I will make an attempt to provide financial help for the boy’s proper education. This way, instead of a destroyed young man, Nigeria will gain an aware and educated young citizen.

“You will undoubtedly agree with the statement that human rights begin with the rights of the child. I kindly ask you to consider my proposal favorably.”

Cywinski’s request came days after the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) appealed to the Kano state government to reverse the jail sentence.

Auschwitz Memorial preserves the remains of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, where children were imprisoned and murdered.

Adolf Hitler, the late leader of Nazi Germany, reportedly oversaw the killing of 6 million Jews.

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Don’t Join Nationwide Strike, FG Warns Civil Servants

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Folasade Yemi-Esan, head of the civil service of the federation, has warned workers under the federal government not to join the planned strike by labour unions across the country, scheduled to begin on Monday.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and its affiliate unions had enjoined workers to embark on an indefinite strike, pending when the federal government reverses the price of petrol and electricity tariff.

In a statement on Friday, Yemi-Esan said the federal government is in talks with the labour unions towards ensuring that all agitations by the workers are resolved.

She, however, added that the workers cannot embark on the industrial action because there is a court injunction restraining them from doing so.

“Sequel to the call by the Labour Unions for workers to embark on industrial action from Monday, 28th September 2020, the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) wishes to inform all public servants that the Federal Government team is currently engaging with the Labour Unions with a view to resolving all contentious issues and avert the planned industrial action,” she said.

“Furthermore, it is important to note that there is a court injunction granted by the National Industrial Court (Suit No. NICN/ABJ/253/2020) on 24th September 2020, restraining the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria from embarking on any form of industrial action pending the hearing and determination of a Motion on Notice.

“Accordingly, all officers on Grade Level 12 and above and those on essential services are hereby strongly advised to be at work to perform their official duties.”

In two separate rulings, the National Industrial Court had restrained the labour unions from embarking on the strike.

Meanwhile, other unions such as the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE), the Joint Action Front (JAF), Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), aviation unions, among others, have declared their interest to join in the strike.

 

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