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90 Ships Seized By EFCC Rot Away In Lagos, Others

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Some of the ships seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have begun to sink in waters across the country, while many of those temporarily and permanently forfeited by suspected corrupt persons are being damaged due to lack of maintenance.

According to Punch, sources in the know of the development at the House of Representatives said that the Nigerian Navy, which was mandated to oversee the seized, recovered or forfeited assets, had no budgetary provision to maintain them, leaving them damaged and submerged eventually.

According to the lawmakers, most of the vessels are in Lagos State and they are the worst hit by the abandonment.

The House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loots Movable and Immovable Assets from 2002 to 2020 by Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for Effective, Efficient Management and Utilisation had recently embarked on oversight visits to the locations of such assets for an on-the-sight assessment.

Some members of the committee, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity as the investigation was still ongoing, expressed their displeasure at what they found out during the tour.

A member said, “There are some of these assets that are still being managed by third parties. But a lot of them are just totally sealed up. Like business premises, they allow the people operating on the premises to continue, while they pay (rent) into the Recovery Account…they are paying rent to the EFCC. But for the ones that are not like that, they are sealed up and those ones are depreciating.

“Now, let me tell you the worst-case and where you will feel bad about depreciation (of recovered/seized assets): houses depreciate but not as bad as the vessels in the waters. Most of the ships that were supposedly seized, a number of them sunk – three or four of them have submerged because nobody can take care of them.

“In fact, most of the ones in the Lagos waters have badly depreciated…they are like just holding the shell when the snail is dead. That is what has happened to most of the vessels. About 10 percent have been submerged, while the other ones are just in a terrible state that they cannot attract much value again.”

When asked for the number of ships and vessels on the waters across the country, the lawmaker disclosed that over 30 were in Port Harcourt, about 10 in Warri, and about 10 in Bayelsa, adding, “They (Navy) have quite a lot and they are really in a bad shape.”

The source noted that while the “ones with the most value are in Port Harcourt,” they are all in the custody of the Nigerian Navy.

“Even though they were forfeited to the EFCC, the EFCC cannot protect them; it is the Navy that is protecting them,” he said.

The lawmaker noted that ships that were supposed to be powered regularly had been abandoned for close to seven years “and because of that, they have started to take in water.”

“I initially doubted the submerging story. We went to the water. I actually did not believe that they were submerged. But we actually saw ships inside the water,” the lawmaker added.

Another member of the committee was asked how the panel felt about recovered assets wasting away when the Federal Government was crying about revenue shortage and had embarked on a borrowing spree locally and internationally.

The lawmaker said, “The problem is that there is a wide gap between forfeiture and sale (auction). Most of the ships and vessels were forfeited over five years ago; the minimum is two years ago. And they are all still there. And these are assets that cannot be abandoned for long; they are depreciating assets.

“The waters in Nigeria have a lot of corrosion due to the high salt content (salinity). So, they are corroded from the base and as long as they get corroded, they will end up damaged.”

Responding to a question on plea bargaining being an alternative, the lawmaker said the government and its anti-graft agencies should have made the offer before approaching the courts to secure orders of interim and permanent forfeiture of the vessels.

The lawmaker added, “Part of the problem is that keeping custody of and maintaining them is gulping a lot of funds from the Navy and nobody is refunding the money being spent by the Navy. So, if we have like 100 vessels and six naval ratings working on each ship, it means that every day, the naval men will be patrolling the waters, so you have about 600 of them tied down to these assets

“Also, they are to be provided fuel and fed at that location. Yet, the EFCC does not refund the Navy for the expenditure on the assets. So, because of that, it is becoming a burden on the Navy and the level of maintenance is dropping gradually.

“And because the Navy was part of the process of seizing the assets, seeing what is now becoming of them, the Navy is not encouraged to carry out more seizures. When you seize something and you find out that it eventually becomes a burden on you, you may compromise and allow some (of the vessels) to go.”

The Chairman of the committee, Adejoro Adeogun, however, declined to comment on the revelations. When contacted to confirm the findings, he said, “You don’t expect me to speak on a probe that we have not concluded. All the details you need will be provided in our report to the House.”

The spokesman for the Attorney-General of the Federation, Umar Gwandu, could not be reached for comments on Sunday ditto for the spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren.

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Lekki Killings: It Will No Longer Be Business As Usual For Okada Operators In Lagos – Jejeloye

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In continuation of a total clampdown on recalcitrant and killer okada operators in the state following the recent killings of one Mr. David Omahi by suspected commercial motorcyclists, The Lagos State Taskforce has continued with its mob up exercise to rid Lekki axis and the entire State of unscrupulous Okada operators who have refused to heed the sound of warning and carried on with their illegal operations.
Leading today’s exercise, the Chairman of  Lagos State Taskforce, CSP Shola Jejeloye stormed the axis in a sting operation at mid-day and seized 115 bikes for flouting the State Traffic laws of operating on restricted routes and plying the State’s Highways.
Jejeloye said that the Agency will make do of its promise by ensuring that the illegal business carried by these operators will be frustrated till they obey the laid down laws of the State.
“This operation will be a continuous one not just in Lekki but in every other part of the State, and we will make sure that their activities are truncated till they abide by the rules. They will never be above the law no matter how large their numbers are” He stated.
CSP Jejeloye made further appealed to Lagosians to join efforts with the Government in ensuring that the fight to restore and maintain sanity on Lagos Roads is won collectively for the betterment of all who reside or visit the City of Lagos
“Restoring sanity is not an easy task, neither is it a job for one man or the Agency alone. If we joined hands together we will achieve our desired goals of ensuring that no one takes the laws into their hands and gets away with it, especially not in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos”
The Chairman promised to raid black spots and hideouts of Okada operators within the axis and other parts of the State within the coming weeks in order to make their illegal activities unproductive and make the state harsh for any operator who has turned deaf ears to the warnings of the State Government.
“More enforcement for.compliance.activities will be carried in the comings days under the banner of Operation Kogberegbe in order to amplify their shady activities in the State.
The Chairman stated that business for them will no longer be as usual.”If they refuse to comply with the State best practices by  obeying the laws, then they will be arrested and prosecuted, while their bikes will be forfeited to the State Government via the Court” Jejeloye concluded

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JUST IN: Lagos Imposes Total Ban On Okada In Six LGAs [Video]

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The Lagos State government, on Wednesday, announced a “total ban” on commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada,  in six LGAs in the state.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, announced the directive while briefing the state’s security agents on Wednesday.

The six local governments listed by the governor are Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island, and Apapa.

Sanwo-Olu said, “The whole of Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island, and Apapa local governments have been placed on a total ban effective from the first of June. This is the first phase of banning that we are going to be embarking on so that others should know… They should find something else to do.”

Sanwo-Olu further advised residents patronizing Okada riders on highways to embrace the alternative transport schemes already provided by the Government to plan their journey.

According to him, the government had provided Last-Mile Buses, medium-capacity and high-capacity buses in the affected areas for the convenience of commuters.

“We will not sit back and watch criminally-minded people use motorcycles to perpetrate crimes and criminality in Lagos. Lives are being lost on a daily basis, preventable accidents are happening every day and the riders are not respecting any of our traffic laws. The situation has led to a complete breakdown of law and order. This ban has come to stay and we will not tolerate any weakness in enforcement.” he said.

Earlier before the ban, the Chairman of Lagos State Taskforce, Shola Jejeloye was said to have stormed the Lekki axis in a sting operation where 115 motorcycles were seized for flouting the State Traffic laws of operating on restricted routes and plying the State’s Highways.

Jejeloye emphasized that as part of the agency’s effort to clamp down on uncooperative and killer okada operators in the state, it would continue with its mob up exercise to rid Lekki axis and the entire State of unscrupulous Okada operators who have refused to heed the sound of warning and carried on with their illegal operations.

“This operation will be a continuous one not just in Lekki but in every other part of the State, and we will make sure that their activities are truncated till they abide by the rules. They will never be above the law no matter how large their numbers are” he said.

The chairman further urged residents of the state to join efforts with the Government in ensuring that the fight to restore and maintain sanity on Lagos Roads is won collectively in order to improve security.

Watch Video Below;

 

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BREAKING: Court Denies Nnamdi Kanu Bail, IPOB Leader To Remain In Detention

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Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has denied the bail application of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Ruling on the bail application, Justice Binta Nyako, said the issue of Kanu’s absence in the past, since 2017, should be determined, before his bail application, will be entertained.

She added that Kanu breached his former bail conditions, and until that is heard, his present bail application is immature.

Ahead of the ruling on the bail application, on Wednesday morning, the Federal Government had filed a six-count amended charge against Kanu.

Justice Nyako, however, berated the prosecution for filing the amended charge just hours before the ruling. She said she was not aware of the amended charge until she got to the court in the morning.

According to her, the prosecution cannot dump the new amended charge on the court, on the morning of the hearing.

On dismissing his bail application, the court noted that Kanu’s trial had since 2015, suffered various setbacks owing to over 19 interlocutory applications that have been filed in the matter.

It, therefore, implored the parties to allow the case to proceed to trial to enable the charge to be determined.

Kanu had in the application he filed pursuant to sections 6(6) and 36(5) and (6) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as sections 161, 162, 163, and 165 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, prayed the court to release him on bail, pending by determination of the charge against him.

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