Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, has dismissed the allegations of money laundering levelled against him by a member of the United Kingdom parliament.
He condemned the claims in an interview with Channels Television on Thursday, three days after the UK lawmaker, Tom Tugendhat, accused him of looting half of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He stated that it was disappointing that a British parliamentarian could make such a statement without checking the facts.
“It is certainly surprising, and I am disappointed that a British parliamentarian could make such a statement without checking the facts of what he was saying.
“I honestly was disappointed that such a remark is made,” the former Nigerian leader told Channels Television London correspondent via telephone.
He insisted that there was no time when he was held or questioned for money laundering, stressing that the allegation that he looted the nation’s treasury was false.
General Gowon, who said he heard about the allegation from social media, insisted that there was nothing to hide and the record was there for the lawmaker and the British authorities to check.
He also called on the UK government to take the necessary step to order, stressing that making an allegation of such was an insult to him and Nigeria as a nation.
The former Head of State said, “The record of my service to the nation is there for everybody to see and even the British government itself, and I don’t know why somebody got the information to make such a very ridiculous statement.
“I am disappointed with that one and I hope the British authority will do something to rightly bring that parliamentarian to order to check his facts before he makes such allegation because it is more or less an insult to the leadership of Nigeria and certainly an insult to me to say that I did something of the sort to take half of Nigeria’s Central Bank and I must have put it in a British bank.”
“So, he should check all the British banks to see whether any such thing has happened, and he (the UK lawmaker) will be surprised that I was not being held for money laundering,” he added.
General Gowon, 86, served as the Head of State from 1966 to 1975.
Tugendhat had accused General Gowon and some other leaders in Nigeria of robbing the people during a debate on a petition on #EndSARS at the UK parliament.
He also alleged that the leaders ran to London to hide the loots, adding that British banks were used for illegal transfer of assets.
Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia returns as high court judge four years after her dismissal
Four years after Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia was dismissed as a judge of the federal high court, the National Judicial Council (NJC) has reinstated her.
Her reinstatement is coming three years after the court had cleared her of corruption preferred against her that led to the dismissal.
This is contained in a December 5 circular sent to all judges of the federal high court.
According to the circular signed by John Tsoho, chief judge of the federal high court, the reinstatement takes immediate effect.
It stated, “Your Lordships are by this circular letter notified that at the meeting of the National Judicial Council held on the 1st of December, 2022, the council reinstated the Hon. Justice R. N. Ofili-Ajumogobia as a judicial officer.
“The reinstatement takes instant effect and there shall be consequential posting.”
The chief registrar of the court as well as the director of library and deputy director of finance and accounts were copied in the memo.
In 2016, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned the judge on charges bordering on money laundering and breach of public trust.
However, Hakeem Oshodi, judge of a Lagos high court, struck out corruption charges against her.
In his ruling in April 2019, Oshodi struck out the 31 counts bordering on alleged perversion of the course of justice, unlawful enrichment and forgery on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit.
The charges were filed by the EFCC against Ofili-Ajumogobia and Godwin Obla.
In 2018, the NJC dismissed Ofili-Ajumogobia from the service of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) on the grounds of alleged judicial misconduct.
Dissatisfied, she instituted a suit before Inyang Ekwo, judge of an Abuja federal high court, challenging the process adopted by the fact-finding committee of the NJC that recommended her dismissal.
She prayed the court to declare her dismissal unconstitutional, null and void.
Hijab circular: MURIC expresses appreciation to Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu
The Lagos State Government earlier this week issued an official circular which formally approved the use of Hijab in all Lagos schools.
Newsbreak.ng reports that this was sequel to the appeal made recently by an Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to intervene in the hijab affair in Lagos State.
It would be recalled that last week, MURIC appealed to Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, to wade into the delay in the enforcement of the Supreme Court judgement on hijab in Lagos State schools.
Consequently, MURIC has expressed gratitude to Tinubu, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and others for ‘their role in facilitating’ the issuance of the circular.
The statement signed by MURIC’s Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, partly reads: “MURIC expresses profound appreciation to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for rising to the occasion.
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“We also thank the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for giving the final approval. Both the Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Okunola and the Commissioner of Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, for their constructive engagement which eventually led to the fruitful outcome.
“Equally worthy of mention are those who were involved in high-level diplomatic consultations behind the scene in the past 48 hours towards resolving the impasse. This resulted in treating the matter with military dispatch and the emergence of the circular within 24 hours. We are very grateful to them.
“MURIC congratulates the Muslim lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN), the Lagos Muslim Community and the entire Muslim Ummah who have shared our concerns over the years for the issuance of this historic circular.
“With this new development, MURIC pledges to double its pursuance of the presidential ambition of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as well as the second tenure goal of Governor Sanwo-Olu. We call on all Islamic organisations in the country and all lovers of good governance to join hands with us in ensuring that these two goals become fait accompli.”
FG losing $64m daily to oil thieves, inaugurates investigative panel
Worried about Nigeria’s continued loss of revenue to oil thieves put at $64m daily, the Federal Government on Tuesday inaugurated an investigative panel to unravel those behind the criminal act and bring them to book.
The National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd) disclosed this in Abuja as he inaugurated a nine-member Special Investigative Panel (SIP) on oil theft with a mandate to unravel individuals, organisations and groups involved in the Niger Delta region.
He said, “Some sources put the figure of daily crude oil losses at 800,000 bpd. This translates to a loss of income of about $64 million daily at the rate of $80 per barrel. Consequently, it is projected that if this trend continues unchecked and these figures keep fluctuating, it will result in a revenue shortfall of approximately $23bn in 2023.
”This translates to a loss of about N10 trillion when calculated at N445 to $1 exchange rate. This menace assumed a more worrisome dimension with recent discovery of illegal pipeline connection through which Trans Escravos pipeline was siphoned for several years.”
Monguno also said that recent interventions by the security agencies had revealed massive illicit platforms of stealing, ranging from marine evacuations via vessels, and load-outs from illegal operations platforms.
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The panel, according to the NSA, is expected to commence its assignment with immediate effect and submit its report on or before February 21, 2023.
He said Nigeria had consistently failed to meet its daily production quota of about two million barrels per day as provided by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) due to oil theft orchestrated by unscrupulous elements.
He added that Nigeria’s current crude production struggled to meet even one million barrels per day.
He said the oil and revenue losses were a major threat to the economy, constraining the present administration to revert to less popular monetary and fiscal policies to address revenue side constraints with dire implications.
He noted that the security operations in the region brought to the fore, “a pathetic pattern of organised criminal enterprise of economic sabotage orchestrated by unpatriotic private individuals/groups, local and international companies, leaders and communities that had shortchanged the economy and portrayed the Administration in bad light.
He said the government had been briefed on the dwindling economic fortunes including, inability to replenish foreign reserves and reduction in revenue thereby, affecting accruals into the Federation Account.
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The NSA said, “With the scale of the theft and losses and the alleged complicity of regulatory agencies/officials and security personnel as well as the involvement of international collaborators, the enterprise is deeply entrenched and would be extremely difficult to exterminate without very stern and decisive action by the government.”
The panel has Major General Barry T Ndiomu (retd.) as chairman and Mr David Attah as secretary.
Other members are Mr. Erobiri Uchena, Mrs. Donu-Kogbora, Colonel B.A. Oguntayo (retd.), DIG Zaki Ahmed (retd), Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, Mr. MO Ijere, Rear Admiral Atiku Abdulkadir (retd.), DIG Maigari Abbati Dikko (retd) and, Patrick Okonjo.
According to Monguno, nobody involved in the crime should be spared, whether serving or retired.
“We must fish them out and I guarantee you that they will be taken care of appropriately,” he said.
He rolled out the terms of reference as, to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the illegal insertion into the Trans-Escravos Pipeline (TEP) around Yokri area in Burutu local government area of Bayelsa State; establish the ramifications of crude oil theft/losses in Nigeria; ascertain the causative factors immediate and remote, of crude oil/theft/losses in the country; ascertain the extent of crude oil theft/losses in the country; with the widest possible amplitude identify persons/entities whether public, private or foreign, involved in the criminal enterprise; establish the level of culpability of identified persons/entities in the enterprise; examine the specific roles of Regulatory Agencies; Security Agencies, Tiers/Arms of Government and International Oil Companies (IOCs) in aiding and abetting the criminal enterprise; among others.
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