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Lagos Defends Anti-Graft Law, Asks Critics To Go To Court

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The Lagos State Government yesterday defended the recently signed Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission Act, saying that anybody who is dissatisfied with the law should challenge it in court.

Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, who spoke yesterday on ‘The Morning Show,’ a programme on ARISE NEWS Channel downplayed concerns by critics that the law was meant to protect a former governor of the state, Senator Bola Tinubu, or any politician.

Under the law, which was sponsored by the executive arm, the state government is to establish an anti-corruption agency to take over graft cases concerning present and former officeholders from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Already the EFCC is said to be probing Tinubu and the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, for alleged fraud and financial misappropriation, while one of Obasa’s predecessors, Mr. Adeyemi Kuforiji, is under trial for alleged corruption.

The enactment of the Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission Act, especially amidst swirling speculations about Tinubu’s presidential ambition in 2023, has triggered the suspicion that the law was meant to take over any corruption case involving the politician as the 2023 general election approaches, with a view to giving him a “soft landing.”

But Omotoso said there was no ulterior motive behind the enactment of the law as the state House of Assembly reserves the right to make laws for the good of the state.

He also faulted claims that the law may have conflicted with any federal law.

According to him, any idea that the law is meant to protect Tinubu or any other person is highly speculative, conjectural and imagination of anybody who thinks so.

“It is presumptuous and out of place to think that a law will be made because of a section of society or personalities. That is not the aim of the law. The governor said so when he signed the law and made it very clear that it is for accountability.

“It’s not a law that somebody just woke up one day and put together and it was signed. A lot of sleepless nights went into it. So many lawyers have called me to say that is the way to go,” he stated.

He added that anybody who breaches the law would be prosecuted, stressing that people shouldn’t consider the angle that it was enacted because of Tinubu as the governor has shown that he can be trusted to act in the best interest of the state.

He described the development as being in tandem with the practice of true federalism, stating that the state House of Assembly has the power to make the law, which it has rightly done, to complement the federal government.

He said: “This is what he (governor) promised the electorate when he was elected; to say that there will be accountability, people will not misappropriate state funds and get away with it. Why is it that people are talking about personalities when we talk about corruption? They are not even talking about contractors who may go away with the state’s money without doing the job.”

Omotoso said anybody that is dissatisfied with the law should approach the court, adding that such a step will be in the interest of deepening jurisprudence and knowledge of the law.

“I do not see any conflict of this law with that of the federal government. The commission that it’s setting up is to complement what the federal government is doing and if there’s anybody that feels that there’s a conflict and the person goes to court, it is also in the interest of jurisprudence which will advance our knowledge of the law,” he stated.

Asked to throw more light on his point that the law could help tame fraudulent contractors, he expressed wonder why Nigerians started picking politicians out when the law could work in other areas.
“A contractor could get a job and refuse to do it. They will be subjected to this law,” he stated, adding that “the law is all-encompassing in the fight against corruption.”

According to him, because the federally controlled police have a traffic department does not mean that the state government shouldn’t set up its own version.

On the alleged non-disclosure of procurement processes in the state, he stated that there’s no contract in Lagos that doesn’t go through a bidding process, stressing that the finances of the Lagos State government can be found everywhere, including the state’s website.

BIG STORY

BREAKING: EFCC Takes Over Nestoil Boss, Ernest Azudialu’s Ikoyi Residence

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Nestoil and NECONDE Boss, Ernest Azudialu, is caught up in the turbulence of steep and unforgiving commerce and the sad fact is that he lacks the instinct and judgment required to wade through the scary storm.

Yes, the truth dawned on the Anambra State-born flamboyant dude in a moment of profound terror.

According to The Capital, Azudialu’s massive mansion located in the pristine and prosperous Modupe Alakija Crescent formerly known as Ikoyi Crescent has been sealed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

A reporter who was at the house affirmed that the anti-graft agency’s red ink embarrassingly announcing that the property was under investigation is boldly written on the building.

Whether Azudialu and his family can access the home is, however, not certain as at press time. What is sacrosanct, though, is that the property he calls home is now a subject of investigation by the EFCC.

This is coming at a time when the residents of the very serene and exclusive neighbourhood and Lagosians conversant with happenings in high society felt that what happened to Festus Fadeyi, the chairman of Pan Ocean Corporation, an indigenous independent oil and gas company, would not have an encore there. Fadeyi’s mouth-watering mansion, which had served as his family home for several decades in the same street, was confiscated by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, last year. The federal government agency took over Fadeyi’s Pan Ocean Corporation’s assets and its subsidiaries over bank loans totaling about N240billion.

Now, it is the turn of Nestoil’s Azudialu. This has left high-profile residents of Ikoyi shell-shocked because he was perceived to be a decent businessman despite his la Vida loca lifestyle. Although the reasons behind the EFCC’s action are sketchy, there are speculations that he is under investigation for financial crimes.

A while ago, he ran into stormy waters with a foremost commercial bank, which solely financed his Nestoil Towers straddling Akin Adesola and Saka Tinubu Streets in Victoria Island.

The allegation then was that he defaulted in servicing the facility that he obtained to build the towers.

In the past dispensation of former President Goodluck Jonathan, he benefited from juicy contracts and basked in luxury accruable from his position as Nestoil boss and a player in Nigeria’s oil industry. As cool cash flowed into his accounts, Ernest developed a taste for expensive luxury and soon he was known for his obsession with aircraft and his penchant for acquiring private jets and pricey automobiles.

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BIG STORY

Okorocha To FG: Give Me N76billion And I’ll Create One Million Jobs From Cattle Business

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Rochas Okorocha, former governor of Imo state, says he can create one million jobs from cattle rearing if provided with the financial capital.

In recent times, Nigeria has witnessed a spate of farmers-herders crisis in many parts of the country, which has led to the loss of lives and property.

As a result of the crisis, 17 southern governors, last Tuesday, resolved to ban open grazing in their region, after a meeting in Asaba, Delta state.

Speaking on the development in an interview on Sunday Politics, the senator representing Imo west said the country should look into the business of cattle rearing, noting that billions by not handling it well.

“Let me talk to Nigerians for the first time as a businessman. Do you know how many billions of dollars this nation is losing by not handling this business of cattle well in the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.

“This business of cattle can create one million jobs for Nigerians, if well-managed. I wish Nigerians can call me or the government will call me and say Okorocha this seventy-six billion.

“We want to give you, it is your share, take it and fix the cattle business. If I do not create one million jobs within the shortest time, just know I’m not Rochas.

“This is business. See money and people are just joking with it. We used to be exporters of leathers, skins. What about dairy products and milk?

“Assuming we have this business, do you know how many welders and fabricators will build body carriers for the cows, while we import the head from China and fix it.”

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BIG STORY

Daily COVID Tracker: NCDC Records Seven Infections ,Lowest Single-Day Count In 5 Months

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says the country recorded seven fresh coronavirus infections on Sunday — representing the lowest single-day count so far in 2021.

The latest cases of COVID-19 were recorded in two states, according to the agency’s update for May 16, 2021.

States that recorded new positive samples are Niger (5) and Rivers (2).

The NCDC reported zero death from COVID-19 complications on Sunday, leaving the death toll at 2,066.

Also, one person was discharged on Sunday after recovering from the infection.

Out of a total of 165,709 COVID-19 cases now confirmed across 36 states and the FCT, 156,413 patients have recovered.

 

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