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Buhari seeks Senate approval to replace EFCC with new agency

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President Muhammadu Buhari has commenced moves to replace the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with a new body, Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who read a letter from President Buhari on the proposed bill tagged: “Proceeds of Crime Bill”, said it would address the problem of lack of transparency and accountability associated with the management of recovered funds by anti-corruption agencies in the country.

In the letter, Buhari said the transmission of the piece of legislation to the National Assembly for consideration followed its approval by the Federal Executive Council.

According to the letter dated October 6, the agency would be critical in sustaining the fight against corruption, money laundering and illicit movement of stolen funds through the banking system and across Nigerian borders.

“An important feature of the bill is the creation of the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Agency. The objectives of the agency include the enforcement and administration of the provisions of the bill and the coordination of the recovery and management of the proceeds and instrumentalities of unlawful activity in Nigeria in all collaboration with anti-corruption and other law enforcement agencies.

“Most importantly, the agency will ensure that Nigerians can benefit from proceeds of crime by ensuring that once recovery is made, the properties and assets will be secured and that the final forfeitures granted through a court order can be paid into the Confiscated and Forfeited Account to be domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

If signed into law, the bill will stop the EFCC and six other anti-corruption agencies from securing freezing orders on suspicious bank accounts under investigation.

The other agencies are the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC); National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA); Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU); National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP); Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the police.

“The Proceeds of Crime Bill is essential and critical in building and enduring and sustainable foundation for the fight against corruption, money laundering and illicit movement of stolen funds through the banking system and across the Nigerian borders. The bill will also improve the ability of law enforcement agencies to seize, freeze, and confiscated stolen assets in Nigeria while observing all related constitutional and human rights laws,” the President said.

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Updated: FG asks NRC to increase new Lagos-Ibadan trains

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The Federal Government has directed the Nigerian Railway Corporation to increase the number of trains currently being run on the new standard gauge Lagos-Ibadan rail line.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, gave the directive on Saturday after inspection of train stations along the route.
Amaechi spoke at Moniya railway mega station, Ibadan, just as the Managing Director of the NRC, Fidet Okhiria, said 16 trips would be run daily on the route.
The corporation began one return trip (two trains) on the new rail line on December 3, 2021 after completing the track laying from Lagos to Ibadan.
Amaechi expressed satisfaction with the quality and level of work done so far by the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.
He, however, did not give any specific date for the delivery of the entire project.
Meanwhile, the NRC MD said 11 new locomotives, two of which are for shunting, and 44 coaches had been delivered to the corporation.
He added that they would be deployed for freight and passenger standard gauge trains currently running in Nigeria.

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Updated: FG reopens Third Mainland Bridge

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The Federal Government has announced the full reopening of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos after an extensive repair work.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, confirmed this on Saturday via a tweet.
“Third Mainland Bridge rehab completed. Fully opens to traffic at 12 noon today. Thank you all for your patience. Drive safely,” he tweeted.
This is coming about 12 hours earlier than the scheduled reopening.
The Lagos State Government had said earlier in the week that the bridge fully closed from Friday midnight to Saturday midnight to enable the contactor to remove all the heavy equipment used during the repair including replacement of the expansion joints.
The bridge was partially shut on July 24 for another round of rehabilitation work.
The repair was initially expected to last six months but extended by one month due to the recent #EndSARS protests, extending the completion date from January 2021 to February.
The 11.8km bridge is the longest of the three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the Mainland.
Constructed in 1990, the bridge was adjudged as the longest in Africa until 1996 when the October 6 Bridge in Cairo, Egypt was completed.
The reconstruction/rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on the other hand was flagged off in 2013 by former President Goodluck Jonathan and was awarded to two firms.
Julius Berger is constructing section one which spans from Ojota in Lagos to the Sagamu Interchange while the RCC is working from the Sagamu Interchange to Ibadan.

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Abducted Kagara students released

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Exactly 10 days after their abduction, students of Government Science College, Kagara in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State have been released.
The state government confirmed this on Saturday morning.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger announced this in Minna.
A total of 27 students, three staff members and 12 members of their family were abducted after the attack on the Kagara school in the early hours of last week Wednesday.
The statement said the released persons were received by the Niger State government officials at the Niger State Development Company suite in Minna.

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