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AfDB’s Adesina Pledges Innocence, Fights Back at Accusers

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Akinwumi Adesina

By Adedapo Adesanya

The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Akinwumi Adesina, has pledged to continue working as he fights back against allegations of corruption and favouritism leveled against him.

Mr Adesina issued a press statement on Wednesday in which he strongly criticised what he termed “unprecedented attempts” to taint his reputation with accusations which have shaken the institution.

A petition had accused Mr Adesina of embezzlement, preferential treatment of Nigerians in senior appointments and promoting people accused or found guilty of fraud and corruption.

However, on May 5, the ethics committee of the board of directors of the bank said in its report that Mr Adesina was not guilty of any of the allegations contained in the petition.

Then in a letter of May 22, 2020 to the Chairman of the Ethics Committee, the U.S. government, through the Secretary, Department of Treasury, Mr Steven Mnuchin, faulted the committee’s decision to “totally exonerate” Mr Adesina of all allegations.

Noting that it was not yet time to make such a declaration, Mr Mnuchin called for a fresh “in-depth investigation of the allegations against Mr Adesina.”

To this Mr Adesina responded: “I maintain my innocence with regard to trumped up allegations that unjustly seek to impugn my honour and integrity, as well as the reputation of the African Development Bank.

“I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the bank, and rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution.”

Mr Mnuchin said that a complete dismissal of allegations against Mr Adesina without adequate investigation would taint the AfDB’s reputation at a critical point in time.

He added that further inquiry was necessary to ensure the AfDB’s President had broad support, confidence, and a clear mandate from shareholders.

The 60-year-old President had previously denied the allegations, labeling them as an attempt to discredit him from seeking another term at the helm of Africa’s largest multilateral lender.

Mr Adesina also accused the petitioners of violating Section 6.7.2 of the Whistle Blowing Policy of the bank by breaching the confidentiality of the proceedings of the matter by making public disclosure of the matter beyond submission to the ethics committee.

He accused the petitioners of disclosing their allegations beyond the committee “by acting in concert with others outside the AfDB system”.

Mr Adesina, formerly Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, was elected as the 8th President of the AfDB in 2015. He is the sole candidate in this year’s race at an annual general meeting scheduled for August.

The United States is the second largest shareholder of the AfDB with a 6.5 percent stake behind Nigeria, Mr Adesina’s home country, which has a nine percent stake.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Insecurity Will End With Full Cooperation of Citizens—Buhari

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Insecurity

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

President Muhammadu Buhari has said Nigeria will surely overcome insecurity in the country with the full cooperation of its citizens.

According to Mr Buhari, security is a responsibility of every member of the community and only through solidarity and cooperation with law enforcement agencies can defeat the problems finally.

“The federal government is willing to strengthen support and cooperation with all the states. I believe that with the full cooperation of the citizens, we will surely overcome this problem,” a statement issued on Sunday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, quoted Mr Buhari as saying.

He said the President made this comment in his message to the government and people of Niger State over the recent attacks in some communities in the state.

“I would like to express sincere sympathies to the government and people of the State following recent security incidents,” the statement further quoted the President as saying.

Mr Shehu noted that the President, as Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s armed forces, has set the ball rolling for a major military operation in Niger State which has faced continued attacks on its communities by bandits and remnants of Boko Haram terrorists fleeing theatres of war in the North-western and North-eastern parts of the country.

In a directive to the Defence Headquarters a few days ago, the President asked the military to respond robustly to the cases of killings and kidnappings in the state and to give effect to the strategic objectives through the use of force.

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NDLEA Intercepts 1.5 million Tablets of Opioids in Edo

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NDLEA

By Adedapo Adesanya

About 1.5 million tablets and capsules of pharmaceutical opioids such as Tramadol, Exol-5, and Diazepam loaded in Onitsha, Anambra State and heading to Yauri, Kebbi State have been intercepted in Edo State by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

According to NDLEA spokesman, Mr Femi Babafemi, the agency intercepted the drugs on Friday, January 14, adding that on the same day, about 425,000 Diazepam tablets were recovered at Segemu, Kano.

In addition, a total of N1.4 million was seized along with arms and ammunition from a suspected bandit and a drug kingpin in Plateau State while over 137.754 kilograms of assorted illicit drugs were recovered during interdiction operations across seven states in the past week.

It was stated that the interception in Edo State was made possible due to credible intelligence and when the truck was thoroughly searched, the items were discovered to be concealed under legitimate goods.

The drugs seized included 394,480 capsules and 3,000 tablets of Tramadol weighing 83.707kg; Exol-5: 647,500 tablets weighing 203.315kg; Diazepam: 12,500 tablets weighing 2.05kg; Bromazepam: 1,500 tablets weighing 0.45kg; Codeine based Syrup: 999 bottles weighing 134.865kg; Pentazocine injections: 4,000 ampoules weighing 16.64kg.

The driver of the truck, Mr Bashir Lawali, 30, was arrested along with Mr Abubakar Sani, 30, and Mr Ali Abubakar, 19, while the exhibits in Kano were seized from one Mr Sa’idu Yahya, 31.

In other related operations, attempts by drug traffickers to export 73 parcels of cannabis (34.05kg) concealed in foodstuff plastic containers to the United Kingdom through the NAHCO export shed of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja Lagos were frustrated by operatives on January 8.

Also, another 50 parcels of cannabis consignment (27.25kg) meant for the United States was also intercepted at the export shed of the airport on Tuesday, January 11 and at least three suspects so far arrested.

In the reverse bid, moves by illicit drug merchants to bring into Nigeria 94 parcels of cannabis indica (Colorado) weighing 43.4kg through the Tincan seaport in Lagos were crushed on January 13 when operatives intercepted the drug inside a 40ft container from Canada.

The exhibit was concealed inside a Toyota Camry car. This came on the heels of a similar seizure on 11th Jan. of 59 parcels of Colorado (17.3kg) concealed in a Mercedes Benz vehicle imported from Canada.

In Plateau State, a fake security agent, Mr Babagana Ma’aji has been arrested through a controlled delivery of 5.6kg cannabis from Lagos. The suspect based in Damaturu, Yobe State, was nabbed following the interception of a commercial bus bringing the consignment from Lagos to Gombe in Mararaban, Jos on January 8.

On Tuesday, January 8, operatives of the Plateau Command of the agency also arrested a suspected bandit, Abdullahi Usman Ahmad, 28, at Hwolshe with one Beretta pistol; seven rounds of live ammunition; two empty shells; 12 grams of cannabis sativa; a pair of handcuffs and one million one hundred and thirty-six thousand, three hundred and forty-four naira only (N1, 136,344), suspected to be ransom money as well as an Opel car with registration number ZAR35LQ.

Similarly, the suspected leader of a cocaine distribution ring in Plateau, Mr Chibueze Okoro John, 42, has been arrested along Zaria Road, Jos, with quantities of cocaine and Tramadol recovered from him as well as a Sienna Bus (BWR 584 AL), Toyota Camry car (RBC 461 BF) and the sum of two hundred and seventy-seven thousand naira only (N 277, 000), which the suspect offered to the narcotic officers as a bribe but was rejected.

Meanwhile, in Delta State, the bid by 38-year-old Ejike Obiora to smuggle different quantities of cocaine and heroin into the Nigerian Correctional Centre, Ogwashi-Uku, Aniocha South LGA, was foiled on January 8, when he was discovered to have concealed the drugs in foodstuffs meant for an inmate.

This is even as 598kg cannabis was recovered during a raid in the Owo area of Ondo State with the two owners: Mr Arataye Raimi, 41, and Mr Tope Osinnuwa, 36, eventually arrested in follow up operations.

Still, on the latest feats by the NDLEA, one Abdullahi Mohammed was arrested in connection with the seizure of 48.5 blocks of cannabis in Potiskum, Yobe State, another fake security agent, Dike Davison was nabbed at Aliade, Benue State with 50grams of cannabis and 29 rounds of live ammunition of 7.62mm calibre.

In Abuja, a buy and bust operation on Friday, January 14, led to the arrest of one Habib Yusif, 41, with a total of 28.2kg cannabis recovered from him, while in Osun State, the trio of Samuel Joseph; Francis Ujor, and Sola Johnson were arrested in Onikoko village Area 5, Ile-Ife, with 100 bags of cannabis weighing 1,530 kilograms recovered from them on Thursday, January 13.

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ASUU Gives February Deadline Before Planned Strike

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ASUU Suspends Strike

By Adedapo Adesanya 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has decided to hold on till February before embarking on a nationwide industrial action.

This follows intervention from the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) which plans to avert the strike action as the federal government was yet to fully fulfil its agreement with the academic pressure group.

The 50-member NIREC, under the co-chairmanship of the Sultan of Sokoto, Mr Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III; and the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Mr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, is also backed by the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Mathew Kukah, among other Christian and Muslim leaders.

ASUU had resolved to embark on industrial action to compel the federal government to meet its demands since last year, threatening strike action among government-owned universities.

However, following the intervention of NIREC, ASUU has opted to go for more consultations and to give the government a few days within January 2022 to address all outstanding issues arising from the December 2020 Memorandum of Action (MoA).

In an interview with THISDAY Newspaper over the weekend, ASUU President, Mr Emmanuel Osodake, said that the union had agreed to wait till February.

He also added that it has also submitted its position to NIREC which promised to help mediate and resolve the issues.

“ASUU leadership has agreed to wait till February to give NIREC and other stakeholders enough room to address the union’s grievances,” he said.

The decision of ASUU to suspend action till February is seen as bowing to pressure from prominent Nigerians and the leadership of NIREC comprising of the Sultan of Sokoto, the president of the CAN and other stakeholders.

Mr Osodeke noted that ASUU would resist any attempt to blackmail it and derail its patriotic struggle for a productive university system “by official propaganda founded on tokenism and crumb-sharing”.

Its earlier statement had summed up the decisions reached at the emergency National Executive Council (NEC) of the union held at its National Secretariat, University of Abuja.

The meeting was meant to review the level of government’s implementation of the FGN-ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA) of December 23, 2020, and other related matters to decide on the way forward.

In deciding to stay action on strike, Mr Osodake said: “NEC took full account of efforts by student union bodies, leading media organisations, traditional rulers, civil society organisations and other interest groups within and outside Nigeria to make government address all outstanding issues arising from the December 2020 MoA”.

In particular, the ASUU president said the union took special cognisance of the pledges made by the NIREC to make further consultations on the crisis in the coming days to find an amicable resolution.

He accused the government of reneging on its promise to set up an inter-ministerial committee to handle renegotiation of the 2009 agreement.

One of the issues in contention is the delay in approving the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) developed by ASUU.

ASUU said it was fully prepared to address all the reports of the “integrity test” on UTAS raised by the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to pave way for its deployment.

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