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REVEALED: How Igboho Escaped, Lured Back To Airport By Travel Agents, Arrested On Return; Buratai Pushes Move For Extradition

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Facts on Tuesday emerged about how Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Benin Republic, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.), was instrumental in the arrest of the Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.

According to Punch, a top security source in the Benin Republic said that the former Chief of Army Staff wrote the government of the small West African country and insisted on the arrest and extradition of Igboho.

It was gathered that Buratai was at the forefront of the ongoing move to extradite the activist.

A few hours after Igboho’s arrest on Monday, his Beninese lawyers and other experts met with some Benin Republic government officials and called for the halting of his extradition.

Buratai, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff between July 2015 and January 2021, was deployed as Nigeria’s envoy in the Benin Republic in June 2021.

Before then, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had presented Buratai’s nomination to the Senate and the upper chamber of the National Assembly had confirmed the ex-COAS’ nomination despite public outcry of some crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the Nigerian Army under Buratai’s leadership.

A top security source in Benin Republic, who spoke to one of our correspondents said that Buratai through the Nigerian Embassy in the small West African country sent a secret letter to the Benin government to be on the lookout for Igboho.

It was gathered that the letter was instrumental to the arrest of Igboho and his wife, Ropo, at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou, the largest city in the French-speaking country.

Recall that three weeks ago, the Department of State Services declared Igboho wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms, an allegation he had since denied.

Before then, the DSS on July 1, 2021 raided his house at Soka area of Ibadan, killing two of his aides and arresting 12 others.

Later that day, the DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, at a press briefing in Abuja, paraded Igboho’s associates and detained them thereafter, denying them access to their lawyers and not charging them to court.

The DSS also paraded some passports, AK-47 rifles, rounds of ammunition, African bulletproof vests, among others as exhibits. The secret police claimed that the items were recovered from Igboho’s house during the bloody raid.

The Federal Government subsequently placed the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Nigeria Customs Service on alert to stop Igboho from leaving the country.

It was gathered that the government beefed up security at Iwajowa, Saki West, and Ibarapa local government areas of Oyo State which were adjoining areas to the Benin Republic.

Igboho, who rose to prominence in January 2021 after he issued an ultimatum to ‘killer herders’ in parts of Ibarapaland was said to have escaped the security apparatus in the areas to the Benin Republic where he was scheduled to catch a flight to Germany.

According to a top source familiar with the matter, the Nigerian government foresaw the possibility of Igboho flying to Europe through Benin Republic and planted a landmine for him there through Buratai.

Benin Republic immigration stops Igboho from boarding flight to Germany

The source said, “He (Igboho) was arrested in Cotonou on Monday night while he tried to travel. He was already at the airport with a passport. The immigration officers suspected the passport and so they stopped him. In the process, they discovered he was the one. He was able to escape in the course of discussion and we were grateful to God for that.

Igboho initially escapes but lured back by a travel agent, arrested by Interpol on return

“But the travel agent called back saying the matter had been resolved. But on going back, he was arrested. He was trying to travel to Germany when he was apprehended.

“A lot of people made effort to resolve the matter but we discovered that the Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic (Tukur Buratai) was already aware and he said that he (Igboho) must be extradited.”

A security source present in Benin Republic also told The PUNCH that the International Criminal Police Organisation, at the behest of the Nigerian Government, arrested Igboho and his wife at the airport around 8pm on Monday.

The source said, “Interpol at the airport came and arrested him saying he was wanted in Nigeria. He was together with his wife.”

When asked whether the ex-COAS and current Nigerian envoy in Benin Republic was aware of the development, the source said, “Of course, he (Buratai) knew about the case. On July 7, 2021, the Nigerian Government through the Ambassador sent a secret letter to Nigerian Embassy, Nigerian Embassy sent a letter to Ministry of External Affairs in Benin Republic, External Affairs sent to Internal Affairs, Internal Affairs sent to police to arrest Sunday Igboho.”

The source added said Igboho and his wife had been detained in “Benin Republic Criminal Police cell”, adding that “Buratai should have gone to the police station because he was the one that told them to arrest him.”

The source said though the German Embassy was intervening in the matter because Igboho’s wife is a German citizen, the Nigerian Government could have its way and extradite Igboho today (Wednesday).

“I was told they are coming tomorrow. My prayer is that he should remain in Cotonou or be allowed to go to Germany because I don’t know what would happen to him in Abuja,” the source said.

Igboho’s legal team reaches out to Benin govt to stop activist’s extradition

Meanwhile, the activist’s lawyers have reached out to the Benin Republic government to halt his extradition.

It was gathered on Tuesday that the legal team in Benin met with some senior officials in the Francophone country to thwart moves by the Federal Government to repatriate Igboho.

A member of Igboho’s legal team, Pelumi Olajengbesi, confirmed the development to The PUNCH in Abuja on Tuesday.

Speaking on the circumstances of Igboho’s arrest and moves by the FG to repatriate him to Nigeria, Olajengbesi explained that the legal team representing the activist had said they would do all that was necessary to prevent their client’s extradition.

He said , “The lawyers we engaged in Benin have met with some officials of the country to prevent the extradition.

“Igboho’s lawyers in Benin have already reached out to senior officials in Benin to ensure that he is not brought back to Nigeria. They (legal team) have assured us that they are doing all that is necessary to keep him in Benin.

“The Federal Government or Benin Republic won’t be able to circumvent the law to bring him to Nigeria. He is currently a prisoner of conscience in Benin Republic and the entire world is watching how the Benin government would manage the matter.”

Olajengbesi stated that the Federal Government would not be allowed to give Igboho “the Nnamdi Kanu treatment.

“When Nnamdi Kanu was arrested, nobody was aware and the Federal Government has refused to admit that he was arrested in Kenya. Since we have been informed of Igboho’s arrest, there have been a lot of legal interventions that the law is followed.

“The lawyers we engaged in Benin are especially discussing with the Benin Republic government. We are very confident that they won’t be able to repatriate him.”

Security sources said the Federal Government would go to any length, including offering juicy concessions to the Benin Republic to get them to release Igboho to Nigerian security operatives.

An official disclosed that the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation may charge Igboho with unlawful possession of firearms, attempted treason, conspiracy and disturbance of public peace, among others.

Igboho’s lead counsel, Yomi Alliyu (SAN), in a statement obtained by The PUNCH on Tuesday, confirmed that Igboho and his wife were arrested in Benin Republic.

He stated that the Nigerian Government treated his client unjustly and committed “savagery acts” by “invading” the activist’s house in the middle of the night, destroying his property, detaining and killing his associates.

Alliyu argued that “The Extradition Treaty of 1984 between Togo, Nigeria, Ghana and Republic of Benin excluded political fugitives. It also states that where the fugitive will not get justice because of discrimination and/or undue delay in prosecution the host country should not release the fugitive.

“Now, Article 20 of African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights to which the four countries are signatories made agitation for self-determination a fundamental right to be protected by all countries. This made Chief Sunday Adeyemo a political offender who cannot be deported and/or extradited by the good people of the Republic of Benin for any reason.”

The senior advocate, who described the arrest of his client as shocking, urged the government of Germany, Benin Republic and the international community “to rise up and curb the impunity of the Nigerian government by refusing any application for extradition of our client who already has an application before the International Criminal Court duly acknowledged.”

 

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It’s Insulting Comparing Me With Hushpuppi, He Can Never Achieve What I’ve Achieved — Invictus Obi Speaks From Prison

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As a seasoned criminal journalist of Virginia, Obi’s case fascinated me as I wondered how a successful businesses man that graced the front pages of several business magazines found himself in jail.

I reached out to Obinwanne Okeke, popularly known as Invictus Obi, for a prison interview and he kindly accepted. I met Obi on a hot summer August day where he greeted me with a firm handshake, a confident smile, and the charisma of someone very intellectual. My interview was to find out his journey, thoughts, and regrets as he now starts his 10-year prison sentence.

Hi Obi, thanks for accepting this interview, how are you doing?
I am doing very well thank you, I am alive and healthy which I always give thanks for.

How is your reality now you have started serving your 10-year sentence?
The transition from the outside world to prison is hard but I have to face the music. I did what I did and I accept the consequences. I am just making sure I become a better man day by day.

Let’s go back a bit, how would you describe Nigeria growing up?
Nigeria is great when you are young and naive but when you become old enough to fend for yourself you quickly realize that Nigeria is a hazardous obstacle course that most will never navigate their way through. Nigeria is a beautiful country but poverty is too widespread and you can’t rely on the government for help but you have to find your own way. Basic needs such as 24 hours electricity is unheard of, fuel scarcity is common, inflation is high and many are dying of hunger. Most Nigerians are in a state of desperation.

How did the journey to the frauds you are accused of come about?
I was doing a little here and there but the level changed through this one particular friend I used to look up to. I visited him one day and he was living very comfortably with three new cars and a huge house at a young age. When at his house I noticed him on a website www.vionz.to that was selling crypto and bank logins. I asked him about the website and he showed me that he buys bank and crypto logins from there and easily withdraws above $20,000 at a time, that’s how he was funding his lifestyle. In 15 minutes he demonstrated it to me and from there I tried it myself when I got home. After successfully doing my first transfer so easily it was hard to stop after that. From there I got introduced to other money-making schemes that got me where I am today.

How much money have you made from fraud?
I didn’t really keep count, I am a very ambitious person in anything I do regarding money. I believe I will always be an overachiever.

According to your case charges, you made $11 million?
Then there’s your answer, you already know the details.

People compare you to Hushpuppi (Abbas Ramon) who is also facing jail if found guilty, what are your thoughts?
It’s insulting, I and Hushpuppi are not on the same level. Hushpuppi could never achieve what I achieved. He cannot run a business and we are not similar in any way. He was out to please the crowd, I was out to change lives, create jobs, and conquer the business world. I have done so much for my community back home with my charity foundation, which lives has he helped? Nobody.

It sounds like you dislike Hushppupi?
No, I have never met him, but I just find the continued comparison very annoying. Our impact on the world is very different. I have made a much more positive contribution to society than he has.

What do you miss most about the outside life?
I miss being in business, I was a workaholic and most of my joy came from growing my businesses bigger and bigger. I miss family too and of miss my daughter.

Do you have any regrets?
Of course, I do, if I was a little more patient I could have achieved everything I achieved in business by not rushing to get startup capital the way I did, however, hopefully, I can be a lesson to the younger generation that may be tempted to take the quick route in life.

What’s your advice to the youth of Nigeria?
Pick your role models wisely, look up to great leaders and people of good character that look after their communities and families. Believe and you will achieve. Also, remember life is a marathon, not a sprint.

Yahoo News.

 

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BREAKING: Gunmen Kidnap Air Vice Marshal Sikiru Smith In Lagos

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Masked gunmen have abducted Air Vice Marshal Sikiru Smith (retd.), in the Ajah area of Lagos State.

Smith is a cousin to a former Inspector-General of Police and current Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Musiliu Smith.

It was learnt that the retired general, who is currently the Chairman of Double Wealth Ventures Limited – a dredging and engineering firm – was supervising work on a site in the Ajah area of Lagos State on Monday when masked gunmen invaded the place and shot sporadically.

The gunmen were said to have whisked the retired general away in a waiting speedboat and sped away.

According to an SOS voice note shared by his driver, Corporal Odiji, the retired AVM engaged in a struggle with the gunmen before he was subdued.

Odiji stated, “This is an emergency. I am Corporal Odiji attached to Air Vice Marshal Smith. They just abducted him from the site where we were working. Some gunmen who were wearing masks just came and snatched my boss now. They shot everywhere. I was near where I was fixing my boss’ vehicle.

“As I was coming, I saw them leaving in a boat but I wasn’t armed so I just ran to the site and I saw his glasses and where he struggled with them. Please pass this information. It is an emergency.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Adekunle Ajisebutu, promised to make inquiries and give a detailed response in due course.

The Spokesman for the Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, also promised to make inquiries and provide information on the matter later.

AVM Smith was commissioned into the Nigerian Air Force as a Pilot Officer in 1979 and had a highly successful military officer that combined soldering with serious academic pursuit.

He holds BSc, MSc, MBA, and Ph.D. degrees. He is an Alumnus of Harvard University and a fellow of many professional bodies including the Institute of Management, Nigeria.

Smith attended several military courses both locally and overseas which include flying and engineering. He was awarded numerous military decorations such as Distinguished Service Star, Pass Staff College (Dagger), and Fellow of the prestigious National Defence College.

The notable appointments he held include Commanding Officer Air Engineering Wing, Sierra Leone/Liberia; Commander, Nigerian Air Force Station, Calabar; Deputy Director, Air Engineering, Nigeria Air Force Headquarters, Abuja, Commander 333 Logistics Group, Kaduna, Commander, 401 Aircraft Maintenance Depot, Ikeja; Chief of Logistics, Nigerian Air Force Headquarters, Abuja and Chief of Defence Communications, Defence Headquarters, Abuja.

Smith, who was a guest on The PUNCH Roundtable recently, had advocated for the use of drones in security surveillance and military offensives in the country to curb the use of military jets.

 

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eNaira: All You Need To Know About Nigeria’s New Digital Currency

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The official website of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) digital currency, the eNaira, has gone live, exactly one week to the planned launch of the initiative.

The CBN will launch the eNaira on October 1, 2021.

Let us take a closer look at the eNaira, what it means for you, and how you can position to take advantage of its launch.

What is the eNaira?

eNaira is a central bank digital currency (CBDC) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as a legal tender. It is the digital form of the Naira and will be used just like cash.

The e-Naira will be a digital representation of the paper Naira currency issued by the CBN. The eNaira will be a “complementary” legal tender in Nigeria, having the same exchange value as the Naira, and maintain a “parity of value” with the Naira. The e-Naira will not earn any interest to holders. The e-Naira is built on a blockchain open ledger technology. Creating the eNaira on the blockchain means you cannot have a duplicate or fake eNaira. Each eNaira note will be unique.

What is eNaira wallet?

The eNaira wallet is a digital storage that holds the eNaira. It is held and managed on a distributed ledger.
The eNaira wallet is required to access, hold and use eNaira.

What makes eNaira different from the money in your bank account?

eNaira is the digital form of cash and is a direct liability on the Central Bank of Nigeria while the customer deposits are direct liabilities on the financial institutions.


Is the eNaira a Stablecoin?

A stable coin is a cryptocurrency backed by reserves. The keyword is reserves, but what kind of reserves? Stable coins are backed by holding an equal equivalent of FIAT money like the US dollar. FIAT means government-issued but usually not backed by any commodity, e.g., gold. Thus a stable coin like USDT is tied to a currency, the US dollar, and maintains a stable exchange value. Note, stable, not immovable. The eNaira technically is linked to the FIAT Naira, but is the Naira stable? Well, not exactly. To be a stablecoin, the eNaira has to be tied to a currency like the US Dollar or Euro or even the Yuan.

How safe is the e-Naira?

Think of the e-Naira in this way; you want to send N100 to an uncle in a remote village without a bank branch. A common practice is to buy mobile phone recharge cards of that value, load them to your phone, and text your uncle. Your uncle can then go to any phone card retailer and discount his N100 mobile phone credit for N95. The mobile retailer can redeem the call credits and pay cash because he trusts the person doing the exchange; however, he cannot tell if the mobile numbers are real.

The eNaira is designed to solve this verification risk by assuring all holders that each eNaira is a valid token. This authenticity is achieved by building the eNaira on the blockchain. Thus instead of buying phone credits, I will debit my bank account for N100, convert to eNaira, and transfer it to my uncle. My uncle can spend the funds directly from his phone or transfer and get cash. Every retailer is more likely to accept the eNaira because it can’t be easily faked.

How will I get the eNaira?

The CBN has planned a rollout in a tiered manner; first, it will issue the e-Naira, to financial institutions like banks. Your bank will then retail the e-Naira to you. If your transaction value is less than N50,000 a day, you don’t need a bank account to get the eNaira; you can use a NIN verified phone number to buy eNaira. If you want to withdraw more than N50,000 but up to the daily limit of N1 million, then you will need a BVN in addition to a NIN verified phone number. The CBN has very strict ‘Know Your Customers” protocols for this process, the aim being to assure all retailers of the safety and utility of the eNaira.

Why should I use the eNaira?

The eNaira has a low-cost advantage when compared to FIAT. The daily transfers between accounts are at no cost to the holder of the account. Lower transaction cost is a massive incentive as traders will pay no fees for withdrawals and deposits to and from their bank account. No transaction fees reduce the cost of commerce while improving safety.

How will dollar remittance to eNaira work?

The e-Naira will be integrated into the CBN’s forex process, and this is to make it easier to receive remittances to Nigeria. These transfers could be from the CBN crediting e-Naira directly to the International Money Transfer Organisation (IMTO). A Nigerian abroad sending $100 to his uncle can debit his US bank account and credit $100 to an IMTO, who will buy eNaira from their corresponding Nigerian bank. The $100 is converted to e-Naira instantly at a far lower transfer fee which is a real benefit and a significant advantage the e-Naira will enjoy.

What about inflation?

The street definition of inflation is too much cash chasing too few goods; however, not all inflation is this simple. Coins in Nigeria are scarce; thus, most merchants round up their prices to match with available currency, usually notes. This rounding up induces an artificial rise in prices because any cost-push does not cause the price hike but other factors, for example, selling eggs for N100 instead of N88. With the e-Naira, it becomes possible to transfer the exact cash price in the marketplace, especially in rural areas. This reduces the possibility of “round-up inflation.”

The eNaira can be the ECOWAS currency

The eNaira can be used by any two parties who can credit a Nigerian banking institution with corresponding currency. This means a trader banking with UBA in Burkina Faso can settle his import bills from the Gambia using e-Naira. This will be the next level of the rollout. The financial institutions and FINTECH start to build out an ecosystem with eNaira as the base product.

The eNaira helps the financially excluded

The e-Naira will also bring in the vast majority of the unbanked Nigerians who have no bank account but have a phone into the formal financial economy. With the e-Naira, salary payments and payments for goods and services can be concluded. A plumber can accept payments on his phone, store them in his wallet, and make transactions with any vendor.

What are the risks?

Data security. The e-Naira is online, the BVN and NIN information is also online, the risk of malicious actors attempting to hack or gain access to the data is very low. The process of minting and burning eNaira tokens by the CBN has to be top-notch.

Overall, it’s a plus to the Nigerian economy, and it’s a positive progression towards a cashless society, with lower costs, and higher productivity.

(Additional information by Nairametrics)

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